How to use Weibo in Your Chinese Marketing Strategy
Since its inception nearly ten years ago, Weibo has been a highly popular social media platform. With its interactive and attractive content format, it is often a catalyst for viral posts and is just the right platform to discuss the “hot topics.” Weibo is a highly interactive microblogging platform due to its various content formats – 140 character-text posts combined with images, videos or links to embedded interactive H5 pages.
Weibo marketing benefits
With such a rich choice of social media options, why choose to market on Weibo? Foreign companies normally choose WeChat over Weibo, and the benefits of a Weibo presence might be unclear.
For one, Weibo is known as one of the most interactive platforms. The unique benefit of Weibo in terms of online marketing for a brand lies in its “social” essence, allowing brands to fine-tune communication with their target audience serving as a great basis for the brand’s promotion.
The three main pillars that form the brand’s goal in terms of Weibo marketing are:
- Brand message delivery
In order to attract an audience during the first contact, you must have a certain message that will appeal to them. However, a strong message is not enough since you need to ensure proper exposure. For this case, Weibo provides advertisers with plenty of ad formats, allowing your brand to reach your audience and to provide them with an incentive to stick with your brand by following the social media account.
- Audience accumulation and engagement
Once the audience is accumulated and the follower base is built-up, it is important to keep your users close through engagement so that you can establish a stronger connection, as well as to build and stabilize the proper image of your brand.
- Online community management
You’ve got your audience and they engage with your content – that’s great, but don’t miss the chance to maintain your reputation and ensure the audience is happy with your products. Weibo can be a great platform for customer support and as a user feedback tool.
Weibo advertisement options
Engagement with the audience is the key to success in terms of social media promotion, but if you don’t have a built-up audience yet, Weibo offers a number of advertisement solutions that can help improve your brand’s visibility. Let’s take a look at the most popular advertisement formats on Weibo:
Exposure & display ads
Exposure-focused ads are a type of highly visual ads (like a banner or poster) that usually have a fixed daily cost and a set initial payment. Suffice to say, this type of advertisement is relatively pricey and has fewer targeting functions, but it brings more general exposure effects.
One of the most common advertisements of this type is the App opening static or dynamic poster that, dependent on type, is displayed for 3-5 seconds when a user opens the app. According to the platform, a one-time advertisement roll can guarantee up to 20 million views. The ad can feature an internal or external link (to a landing page, e-commerce store, etc.) or H5 integration, and can be in an image poster, animation or video format. The advertisement is CPD (cost per day)-based and the base price per day starts at over 1 million CNY. Therefore, mainly relatively established brands use these ads to further boost their visibility or specific product/service exposure.
Display ads mainly refer to banners, such as that on a website homepage or App’s Discover page, and just like an app-opening poster, can be linked to an internal or external page/store or H5. App’s banners are also based on the CPD format, while some of the Desktop banners do support CPM format.
Similar to Facebook or Instagram, Weibo offers a variety of feed advertising formats based on the advertiser’s preferences and preferred way of message delivering. Here are the feed advertisement formats offered by Weibo:
- Fans Connect
As a targeted advertisement format, it supports targeting selection based on demographic criteria (geography, age, sex), as well as on user data (interests, followed accounts, downloaded app types, hashtags usage). Fans Connect supports both CPC and CPM formats and allows a number of publication options ranging from the simple image&text post linked to a company website, to posts linked to complex H5 which allow simultaneous video-watching and image/text scrolling.
- Brand Express
This advertisement format is very similar to Fans Connect with slight differences, as it can be shown in more sections of the Weibo feed and ranks at a higher position. Due to these preferential positions, the CPM/CPC prices can be three to four times higher compared to Fans Connect. Therefore, the brand section is named so as it suits bigger brands aiming to boost their visibility.
- Fans Headline
Unlike Fans Connect, Fans Headline features post advertising specifically for the account’s followers and their friends, which allows the paid feed to appear above all the rest of other followed accounts. This can be considered a form of retargeting, and this option is often used by KOLs when they collaborate with brands to ensure reach of necessary exposure to the target audience.
- Video Recommendations
Inspired by Instagram, Weibo created a “故事” (Stories) section on the main following page, where mobile users can check short videos recently posted by users/accounts they follow. A corresponding 15 second video ad is located in the position of the fourth story, and viewers can watch the video and interact with it by clicking on the embedded external links.
Search and hashtag marketing.
One of the hidden native advertisements is search advertising that allows brands to buy-out a keyword/hashtag (certain keywords/hashtags) on a CPD or per week basis. The price of the keyword will depend on its specific characteristics, with the most expensive keywords being those that refer to the hottest trends on Weibo and can cost up to 800,000 CNY per day.
The purchased keyword will be displayed on top of the Discover page in the search panel and once the keyword is searched, the associated result page can be customized based on the brand’s requirements. This can include:
- Brand poster
- Brand’s graphic USP highlights
- Recommended account to follow (usually brand’s official Weibo account)
- Recommended post (can be the post from the brand’s account or from KOL displayed on the very top)
- Relevant topic/hashtag/keyword posts
What is our final take on Weibo advertising? Weibo is a must if you want to keep in touch and build strong relationship with your target audience, but it also fits short-term advertising to increase exposure and raise brand awareness. Come and explore more with the help of our Weibo marketing specialists. We are waiting for you to come on board and can’t wait to get your ads on Chinese most active social media platform!