Meanwhile we were observing the Internet titans Alibaba and Tencent spreading their ecommerce activities, we almost missed the search engines battlefield.
Baidu just published its Q2 results and for the first time, mobile search outnumbers PC users with 500 Million monthly active users Baidu CEO Robin Li declared the company’s “mobile revenue, which is largely comprised of mobile search revenue, accounts for 30 percent of our total revenue.” (translation by seeking Alpha)
The search engines war hasn’t just begun, however their individual willingness (Baidu, Google, Sogou, Qihoo...) to build an empire has created a complex situation for brands desperately trying to develop, implement and measure online strategies.
Baidu rules China search engines market:
Baidu is ahead of its rivals and undertakes the market with 60% percent market share. So, In China it’s not an option for a brand to exist on Baidu, it’s mandatory ! If you are not on Baidu, you are not in China, furthermore they focus their strategy on mobile.
By using Baidu you will discover Baidu Tongji 百度统计 (Google analytics Like) and Baidu Phoenix Nest (AdWords like biding-system) to create and manage your Marketing campaigns.
Baidu is also controlling the Chinese Wikipedia, Baidu Tieba 百度贴吧, the largest communication platform in China.
However, Baidu has the same principles than Google, the SEO strategy has to be adapted because they don’t apply the same algorithm and you will need to carefully use its services and products to target your audience.
Qihoo 360, from software to search engine:
Qihoo 360 is initially a internet security provider that launched its search engine in august 2012 to successfully reach a market share of 28% at the end of June 2014.
The search engine outsider has announced its objective to reach 35% by the end of 2014.
To achieve this figures, Qihoo 360 just launched its own ad network and he partners with Weibo by providing the "We Media" publishing platform (affiliation).
We Media, or “zi mei ti” in Chinese, refers to individuals and a group of individuals who are independent with large number of followers or fans on Chinese social media creating quality and unique content on certain topics. These are often influencers in China. (source)
Sogou strategical new partnership with Wechat:
Sogou can be a useful tool to target lower tier cities with lower CPC.
Far to compete with Baidu and Qihoo 360, its last move can announce an agressive strategy to start soon.
Indeed, since June, you can search WeChat content using Sogou search engine tool and it’s quite surprising to observe that advertising doesn’t arrive yet to optimize the search results.
Should we see a consistency in WeChat strategy, as the SEO isn’t possible within the native app or only a smooth launch of this new feature that is aiming to soon generate revenues ?
Google is dead but Google analytics remains :
With 10% Google is mainly used by Chinese brands to communicate abroad however, it seems to be the favorite solution when it comes to target your audience and generate leads and measure your performances.
However, it seems to maintain its leadership for the analytics but for how long ?
To conclude, performance marketing agencies don’t need to worry, chinese search engines landscape isn’t getting easier for brands and they will need strong skills to support their campaigns.