Social media has become an increasingly important part of marketing and advertising strategies for businesses of all sizes and it is especially true in China. Indeed the country has a dynamic and innovative social media landscape offering numerous advertising options to brands and today we are taking a look at Weibo advertising. As Weibo becomes an increasingly important marketing platform in China, it’s essential for brands and marketers to understand how to integrate its paid advertising system into their social media strategy.

In this guide, we’ll break down all you need to know about Weibo advertising, from the different types of ads to their costs and how they compare to ads on platforms such as WeChat. So whether you’re thinking of dipping your toes into Weibo advertising or are looking for ways to improve your existing strategy, read on for everything you need to get started!

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What Is Weibo and Its Place In China’s Social Media Landscape for Marketing?

Weibo is a combination of Facebook and Twitter that is a great way to reach out to Chinese consumers. It’s China’s biggest microblogging site, where users and brands post content in form of photos or videos. There is also a possibility to engage with the audience from your official Weibo account through the use of some polls and mini-games, or by collaborating with influencers.

Understanding the incredible impact of this Chinese social media on business sales and e-reputation is now a major element of their paid and organic advertising initiatives. Boasting over 573 million active monthly users, Weibo is one of China’s most effective social platforms for advertising. When contemplating Paid Advertising in China, organizations should have Weibo in their mind.


Weibo Paid Advertising

Weibo advertising or Weibo Native ads are becoming increasingly popular due to the high click-through rates they generate. There are also primary sorts of advertising on Weibo. It is important to develop a strategy based on your budget, objectives, and industry through these Weibo advertising rates.

weibo advertising - type of paid ads

Different types of Weibo ads

Below we present different types of ads on Weibo and their rates:

Weibo News Feed Ads

Also called Weibo display ads, those ads are simply enhancing your current Weibo posts. If you see an unsatisfactory quantity of views or engagements on a Weibo post, you may purchase to display the post to a larger audience. There are no extra conditions, including establishing a marketing account or confirmation, so getting more publicity is easy and quick.

You can reach 10,000+ users for as little as 80-100 CNY (15 USD). The more you advertise, the more discount coupons you will receive.

Weibo Fan Connect Ads

These are more complex than News Feed Ads, and they offer advanced bidding and targeting opportunities. Most marketers doing Weibo search engine promotion are already familiar with this model.

CPM is the most used advertising model for this, meaning costs per 1,000 impressions. After a while and sufficient data collection, you can switch to Optimized CPM, where you can choose a maximum budget. The system will automatically adjust the bid.

Fan Tunnels

A Fan Tunnel placement is similar to a Fan Headline in that it is a sponsored post that shows at the top of user feeds for 24 hours. However, a Fan Tunnel targets the entire Weibo community rather than simply your admirers and associated relationships. It collaborates with CPM (Cost Per Mille) on budget matters with the cheapest option of 5 RMB for 1000 views.

Fan Headlines

This focuses on your existing followers and their connections. As with a tunnel, the post or account will show at the top of followers’ and mutual followers’ news feeds — doubling the likelihood of re-sharing by 65% (1-3 posts shared on average per day). For 24 hours, Weibo charges 2.37 RMB for every post featured above others in the stream.

How Much Does It Cost To Run Paid Advertising Campaigns on Weibo?

One of the primary advantages of Weibo over all the other search-focused media advertising in China is its pricing method flexibility. The average startup fee for brands promoted on Weibo is $1,499. You can choose to run advertising and flash sales campaign through two different models of advertisement Weibo offers both fixed and auction-based pricing models for this option.

These are the two different models to determine how much it cost to run paid adverting on Weibo:

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) 

This pricing model is the most common way to charge for web advertising. You pay a fixed price each time your ad is shown 1000 times. In China, CPM rates are usually lower than in other countries because there is more competition and many potential customers. It will charge you depending on the number of chances your advertisement appears in the feed of Weibo users. The average cost per thousand is 10 RMB.

Cost Per Engagement (CPE)

This pricing model is a little different. You only pay when someone interacts with your advertisement, such as by clicking on it, signing up, or making a purchase. With this option, you can set a budget and track how many engagements each campaign achieves.

It costs advertisers according to the number of times people engage with an advertisement. The cost per engagement on Weibo is priced at 0.5 RMB for each engagement, with bids raised by 0.1 RMB.

Durex ads on Weibo
Durex ads on Weibo

Different Types of Payment Systems for Weibo Ads

When you are ready to start advertising on Weibo, you will need to decide how you want to pay for your ads. As you know, the Chinese market is different than the Western one and Chinese people use different payment methods. Here are the two different payment systems that Weibo uses:

Weibo Payment: Weibo Payment is intended to facilitate offline and online purchases — as well as social buying — among Sina Weibo users.

Alipay: Alipay is presently focusing its efforts on offline expansion. Offline payment can be done by scanning QR codes with the Sina Weibo and Alipay Wallet apps, which are prevalent in China despite their lack of appeal in Western markets.

Who Should Invest in Paid Advertising on Weibo?

Paid advertising can benefit small businesses such as startups and large international corporations. While it is interesting to directly increase the population of smaller businesses through Weibo marketing, it is also necessary to keep in mind that Chinese customers are somewhat hesitant and cautious when purchasing brand products they have never heard of. Even if people see your advertisements, they are not obligated to re-share your content.

For larger businesses that already have a strong social media presence, paid advertising can be an exceptionally useful method to reach out to customers more efficiently and target those who have not yet interacted with the company.

Why Is Weibo Advertising More Advantageous Than WeChat Advertising?

Weibo and WeChat lead the Chinese social media landscape, even more so now that Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube are all restricted. While Westerners may confuse the terms Weibo and WeChat, marketers attempting to engage Chinese audiences must understand the distinctions between both platforms, how they will be used, and why Weibo’s marketing strategy is more advantageous than WeChat Advertising.

These are the differences between the two advertising platforms:

Sina Weibo users are more open to advertising

Weibo is more popular with users, especially in terms of demographics. It has approximately 600 million registered members and 400 million corporate entities on its platform. It generates the majority of its revenue through advertising and marketing, making it an ideal platform for brands targeting young consumers.

While WeChat also has around 1.26 billion users, the app is a lot less handy when it comes to virality as it is a “closed” social media. Think of WeChat as a Facebook account where all the privacy settings are on; except users can also choose who sees what and brand posts won’t appear in users’ feeds.

Weibo is an open social media, perfect for visibility and online marketing

Weibo posts, messages, and promotions are more accessible and visible to the public than those on WeChat, which gives it a higher chance of going viral and reaching its target audience. Posts on both platforms can be shared by users. Still, since there are more active Weibo users and brands prefer its demographics, your message is likely to reach more people on Weibo.

Numerous features & marketing tools

Both WeChat and Weibo offer numerous marketing tools and features to brands through their official account system and are complementary. As social media goes, however, Weibo is more akin to what you are used to in the West with users’ feeds featuring followed accounts but also a recommendation and hot topics.

On Weibo, you can directly engage with your users through your posts via comments, live-streaming, poles, contest games, lucky draws, and so on. This brings us to our next point: user engagement.

Users’ engagement on Weibo

Consumers use Weibo to socialize with people, discover trustworthy news and information, investigate brands, discuss experiences, and read reviews. Weibo is used by key opinion leaders and influencers who are trusted experts on specialized topics, often with many followers. This means users may be attracted to a product or service as a response to a recommendation by a known personality.

WeChat, on the other hand, is more private and relationship-oriented. The hashtag system is particularly efficient to get users’ engagement and create viral posts that will be shared thousands of times.

Weibo Advertising: our conclusion

Here are some of the main points to remember when it comes to Weibo advertising:

  • Weibo is a great place for paid advertising, not only the ad format are varied but the targeting system is precise and allows you to reach out to your target audience smoothly.
  • Weibo advertising is also rather affordable compared to many other social media in China which matters for many of you.
  • Weibo users are varied and interested in many topics meaning that pretty much any company can include Weibo advertising in their China marketing strategy
  • Last but not least, Weibo users are open to commercial content when scrolling the app, which they are not on WeChat.

Wanna get started with Weibo Advertising?

Weibo has a lot of potential to discover and even though there are more and more new Chinese social media popping up on the market every year, Weibo is still one of the most popular ones. It’s a perfect platform for brand building, creative campaigns, and consumer engagement, but it requires a good marketing and advertising strategy so that you get the best ROI.

We have solutions to help you unlock the power of Chinese social media! Gentlemen Marketing Agency has been on the market for more than 10 years and we have the experience and know-how needed for your success in China.

Here are some of our Weibo services:

Drop us a request and let’s schedule a free consultancy session to discuss your project in China!

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