Now that 2018 is upon us, it is the time to take stock and look at how to improve our PPC strategies as we move through the year.

In the past year, Baidu PPC advertising has seen several exciting updates. To PPC experts, that means new challenges as well as new opportunities. We have to prepare ourselves and adjust our PPC campaign strategies to achieve the maximum return on the investments while using PPC ads.

In case you are wondering how or where to start, here are some pointers for you:

Mobile First (Duh)

Mobile First has been reality instead of prediction for years, not just for web design, but also online marketing.

Back in 2014, Baidu's monthly active users on mobile surpassed desktop and the gap has been getting bigger.

In 2017, Mobile First is not just limited to B2C and retailing businesses - the trend has been seen in more "serious" industries too such as B2B.

That requires an even better mobile design:

1. A responsive or adaptive design that suits major screen sizes, especially when considering iPhone's market share in China has been dropping in recent years.

Google Chrome's built-in Mobile DevTools is quite handy for that.

chrome devtools

2. Good load speed on mobile devices. Yes, China has nearly 900 million 4G users, but that doesn't mean your web design can go wild with obese photos and external resources that are embarrassingly slow in China.

Optimize the size of your photos using a service like TinyPNG, and use a China-based public CDN instead of a Google-hosted one.

3. Mobile-friendly tasks. Ideally, a visitor should complete specific tasks on your website before leaving, such as reading & sharing your content, placing an order, submitting the contact form and downloading your app.

For example, how do you feel when filling a contact form on your phone, compared with a click to email or call option?

Touch is the primary mode of input on mobile devices. Make it easier for users to interact with your site on a smartphone.

Speed, Speed, and Speed

In October 2017, Baidu has released a new algorithm named "Lightning", which makes the loading speed of mobile sites a vital ranking signal.

Baidu is unusually clear about the update: sites that complete loading within 2 seconds will have a better chance of being displayed to Baidu's users and ones whose loading time exceeds 3 seconds will be considered bad experience and their rankings will be affected.

Not just the search algorithm update - Baidu has also introduced Mobile Instant Pages (MIP), which works similarly with Googles' AMP.

Baidu MIP is an open-source frontend library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users in China.

It consists of MIP HTML, MIP JS and MIP Cache. Below is a quick sample for beginners:

<!-- Baidu MIP sample -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html mip>
    <head>
        <meta charset="UTF-8">
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,minimum-scale=1,initial-scale=1">
        <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="https://c.mipcdn.com/static/v1/mip.css">
        <link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/your/path.html">
        <title>Hello World</title>
        <style mip-custom>
            h1 { color: red;}
        </style>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>Hello World!</h1>
        <mip-img layout="responsive" width="350" height="263" src="https://www.mipengine.org/static/img/mip_logo_3b722d7.png" alt="MIP LOGO"></mip-img>
        <script src="https://c.mipcdn.com/static/v1/mip.js"></script>
    </body>
</html>

All these updates reflect how much importance Baidu has attached to loading speed.
If you want to improve the performance of your Baidu PPC campaigns, make sure your landing page is properly optimized for China.

Enabling HTTPs

Now HTTPs is a positive ranking signal for both Baidu organic and paid search too.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user's device and the server.

https-secure

We highly recommend purchasing an SSL certificate and enabling HTTPs on your website, especially when your site deals with sensitive user information such as credit cards, names, and addresses.

It will not only benefit your website's Baidu PPC campaign performance, but also make your site more secure.

Avoid Disturbing Ads

In the eyes of search engines, every web page should fulfill a particular purpose. The user experience of a web page somewhat equals if your page matches the goal, and how easily a visitor can satisfy the purpose on the page.

Things like floating windows, popups, ads that cover part of or the entire screen, and a button that initiates unwanted download are not only annoying but also make it difficult for a visitor to fulfill their goals.

Don't Overprotect Your Content

We all want to protect our properties, but people are in a rush these days.

It does piss people off when they come to your site from Baidu but find they have to register first before viewing the content.

Think twice before you make a web page only available to registered users, especially when that page is used for a Baidu advertising or SEO campaign.

Paid search on Baidu evolves as fast as organic search. All Baidu PPC experts should closely follow the changes of the landscape of Baidu search marketing.

The above are our tips and recommendations on Baidu PPC in the year of 2018. Do you have any suggestion or questions? Leave a comment below or shoot us a line. We are always eager to hear from you!