Marketing Guide: Sina Weibo Advertising for Massive ROI

If you’re looking at the Chinese market and starting to strategize your online marketing and advertising strategy, you need to be on Weibo. This popular social media platform has over 500 million active users and is a great way to reach potential consumers. But advertising on Weibo can be tricky.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of advertising on Weibo, and show you how to get the most out of your investment. So whether you’re just getting started or are looking for ways to improve your results, read this Weibo advertising guide

What is Sina Weibo?

Sina Weibo, known as a micro-blogging Chinese social media platform, is the second-largest in China. With more users compared to other international platforms on the market, it is arguably the most useful marketing tool when it comes to promoting businesses to Chinese internet users.

Weibo offers a versatile platform for marketing for all topics of content creation such as e-Commerce, gaming, entertainment, or current affairs, through pictures, videos, or other text post sharing. It offers extensive features that launchpad these solid content strategies with rapid delivery to end-users and allows businesses to partner up with social media marketing.

Why Do Businesses Choose Advertising on Weibo?

Weibo provides a wide array of benefits to businesses, for both domestic and foreign brands. Look no further, if you’re researching how to build a Weibo strategy to promote opportunities for brands. We’ve compiled a list of benefits that sellers can enjoy through Weibo advertising methods.

Gain a Wide Audience through Weibo Users to Boost Your Brand Awareness

As mentioned before, Weibo is the second-largest social media platform in China. In 2023, there were over 573 million Weibo users (MAU -million monthly active users ). By choosing to promote your brand on Weibo, you gain access to millions of social media users. These users are eager to consume content and browse through the best products on the market.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) otherwise known as Chinese influencers, gain the most traction on Weibo, which greatly benefits the brands that they choose to work with. This is important for overseas companies that have not yet established a reputation in China and need to boost their brand reputation.

Generates Engagement with Consumers

One of the first things to tick off your Weibo marketing strategy checklist is to build trust between you and your consumers. Quality original Weibo posts are going to be your savior. It will help you engage with existing followers while reaching out to your target audience. 

By producing effective content that generates attention, consumers will feel inclined to interact with your posts by commenting or sharing them. Remember, the key to making it a foreign brand in China is proving that your brand is authentic and reliable. Frequent user engagement on your official accounts makes it easier for them to remember your brand, which encourages them to turn to your brand when the need occurs.

Weibo for business: Weibo advertising

Specialized Marketing on Weibo

Weibo advertising provides a platform for a variety of promotional features which are flexible and can be curated to match a certain demographic, depending on what you and your brand need for your local potential customers and increasing your user base.

Creating a Weibo marketing strategy presents you with unique options for ads and campaigns, which have been tested and proven by other brands to be an effective way to market.

Unlike WeChat advertising, Weibo advertising is something we as a digital marketing agency in China would recommend to pretty much any brand that wants to make it in the Chinese market.

Let’s explore Weibo advertising and find what works for you through their extensive list of options.

How to Create an official account on Weibo

Why do you need a Weibo business account? Many businesses and organizations are using Weibo to connect with their Chinese customers and promote their brands or products. A Weibo business account allows you to establish a presence on this social media platform and communicate with your target audience more efficiently, as well as gives you access to Weibo promotion tools.

l’occitane official account on weibo

There are two ways to create and verify a business account setup on Weibo. This first one is applicable only to those who have a Chinese Business Registration License:

  1. Sign up on the Platform: A new and unused email address or phone number, Weibo record. Enter the required details before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Gather the requirements to file for the license: The requirements could include a registration license for your business, a trademark registration certificate, a record of your Internet Content Provider Registration (ICP), and more. Additional documents may be requested during the process, so it’s best to prepare everything you could need ahead of time.

However, there are also options for foreign companies that aren’t able to secure a Chinese Business Registration License. It involves the same steps, but with different requirements.

  1. Sign up on the Platform: A new and unused email address or phone number, Weibo record. Enter the required details before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Prepare and Submit the Necessary Documents: For businesses with no Chinese Business Registration License, you only need to submit your registration documents from your own country. n application and third-party letter of authorization, and the contact details of the people who will be managing your brand and team. Bear in mind that the business registration requires a Chinese translation.

The verification process takes up to a maximum of 7 days for licensed businesses and 15 days for non-licensed businesses. Upon your approved application, you can start advertising on Weibo.

How Much Does Weibo Advertising Cost?

When it comes to advertising on Weibo, the costs will depend on the format you chose, your target audience, and so on. There are several types of ads on Weibo with varying price ranges. We’ll explain more about this in the next section. The prices of the three types of ads on Weibo can range from USD15 to USD3,000 depending on the complexity and reach of the advertisements.

Business accounts will need to pay a verification fee upon completing the sign-up process. Businesses that have secured a Chinese Business Registration License cost less compared to overseas sellers. Registered businesses with licenses are only required to pay around USD43 for the verification fee. Foreign sellers who do not have a license, regrettably, will be charged a whopping USD1,000 verification fee.

Integrate Weibo Ads in your China Digital Marketing Strategy

weibo advertising chinese social media marketing
Weibo Ads on the Loading page

Marketing on Weibo can be difficult if you are a foreign company that is starting out on the platform. Foreign brands can enhance brand awareness much faster through the use of paid ads and elaborate campaigns with an effective Call to Action (CTA) that can redirect your customers to varied landing pages such as your Weibo account, your own website, and e-commerce platforms, and so on.

We have listed the types of Weibo paid advertising, hoping to help new business owners understand the highlights and differences between each one;

  • Display Ads
  • Fan Headline Ads
  • Fan tunnel
  • Brand Share ads

Weibo Display Ads and News feed Ads

Feed ads are the most cost-friendly among paid ads on Weibo advertising. This is great for foreign businesses who are having trouble gaining interaction and views on their posts. Display ads work by boosting your existing posts to target a broad audience. 

The setting up is also accessible and seamless since there aren’t any extra requirements. All you need is to pick out the post you want to boost and toggle the settings so that the post is targeted toward a specific demographic. 

Display advertisements on Weibo are relatively cheap, indeed with only USD15, you can reach up to ten thousand people.

Weibo Fan Headline Ads 

Fan headline Ads are comparably pricier than display ads and a bit more complicated to set up. The features and results will definitely give you your money back in results. Compared to feed ads that only allow businesses to toggle with limited options, Fan headline gives companies access to a more cutting-edge set of features. 

You can categorize your target audience through criteria such as their age, device, interests, and many more.

Fan headline ads also have the largest reach out of all Weibo Ads types. Indeed, they are displayed on top of the user’s feed, giving more visibility.  With fan Headlines, you are reaching out to your existing followers and their friends and followers.

Fan Headlines Pricing models:

Fan headline Ads rely heavily on the CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) model. This measures the cost for every 1,000 impressions gained. Without fail, your posts will end up at the third and ninth spot on your target audience’s news feed. 

There is one setback to this advertisement method. To qualify, you need a Chinese Business Registration License. However, the engagement and brand awareness you accumulate through this method will be worth the extra time and effort.

Fan Headline formats and display

The Fan headline ads have 3 different formats; They are usually displayed on top of followers’ feeds.

  1. Fan headlines for posts 
  2. Fan headlines for others’ posts
  3. Fan Headline For Accounts

The difference between fan headline for posts and fan headlines for others’ posts is where it is displayed. With a Fan headline for posts, it will be displayed to your follower’s feeds, users on a targeting topic (for instance users that follow fashion news), and up to 5 Weibo accounts of your choice. 

With Fan Headline For Accounts, your Weibo is recommended to a target audience that has an interest in the type of content you publish. Accounts promoted through this type of ad can reach out to many potential followers. 

Fan Tunnel

Similar to Fan Headline, you’ll find Fan Tunnel and Fan Stop. Although they are displayed in similar places in users’ feeds, Fan Tunnel allows you to target a wider audience than a fan headline

Brand Share Ads

Brand Share Ads are undeniably expensive, but they are guaranteed to attract more attention and engagement to your brand. These ads are generally preferred by large companies and luxury brands. They have a large budget allotted for their Weibo strategy.

The concept of Brand Share ads is similar to Fan Connect ads, but the difference is that Brand Share ads have a massive reach. Due to the fact that it exercises unique ways to promote brands throughout Weibo.

This form of display advertisement targets a wide audience because it is often displayed as banners. These display ads can be found in the comment section of popular posts. Weibo users thoroughly enjoy scrolling through the comments of posts. 

They engage and interact with what others have to say. This is a great contribution to brand awareness. Brand Share ads can also be set up as GIFs, video content, and other creative media. These mediums are usually paired with an interactive CTA. Overall, it is the most engaging and appealing form of advertisement for Chinese consumers.

Weibo Search Engine Promotion

Search engine marketers will be happy to hear that there is such a feature on Weibo. 

The Weibo search engine promotion feature is keyword-based, in fact, when looking for specific terms in the Weibo search bar, users will be recommended keywords and accounts. 

When it comes to the Weibo search engine promotion format, the price depends heavily on the keywords you chose (similar to Google search ads).

It is an efficient way to reach Weibo users that are already looking for something specific. In a sense, it is more targeted than others types of ads on Weibo, as you are leveraging user searches to get to them.

One could argue, that the Weibo search engine is more than just paid ads as you could also try to rank your Weibo post and content organically on the search page result,  using search engine promotion techniques as well as hashtags.

Weibo Advertising: more than just paid ads?

Although Weibo paid advertising seems to be one of the most effective ways to giant traction rapidly on Chinese social media, Weibo advertising has a lot more to offer. Let’s see some of these tools: 

Marketing Tools for Weibo Campaigns

  • Lucky Roulette Campaign: A fun and interactive game of chance. Users can spin the wheel to determine which prize they will receive. Prizes are generalized and can be composed of several random items.
  • Flash Sales Campaign: This marketing tool is best when boosting brand awareness. The main focus of this campaign is engagement. Companies often collaborate with Weibo. By including their products or a discount voucher for their shop as one of the prizes.
  • Repost Campaign: Another simple but interactive competition. Winners are chosen from a pool of participants who reposted a certain post. The participants are often asked to tag two to three friends in the report. The goal is to generate a wider audience and follower base.
  • Content Collection Campaign: Encourages users to express their skills and creativity. By creating their own take on a certain brand’s content or product. The winner is judged on the best quality or most creative Weibo story among all participants.
  • Pre-Order Campaign: This type of campaign builds anticipation amongst consumers. Allowing them to buy their desired products ahead of time. In most marketing experiences, items that are high in demand will only be available during the pre-order period.
  • Free Trial Campaign: Users are given a chance to sample or test out their products. Most of the time, winner selection is concluded when they give the most convincing reason about why they deserve it. Then, experience the benefits of the Free Trial.

Weibo Advertising Through Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)

Chinese consumers take their trust in influencers to the next level, and their Weibo posts will often go viral. Chinese consumers are very deliberate with the products they choose to support. Influencers have the capability to persuade consumers by promoting it on their social media. 

Normally, influencers won’t give newcomers the time of day because they base their decisions on consumers’ opinions. How the company showcases itself as a brand becomes less relevant in decision-making. That said, KOLs hold the key to getting customers to invest in your products.

Types of Weibo Sponsored Posts

You can produce several types of content in collaboration with KOLs, but here are the most commonly used examples:

  • Sponsored Weibo Posts by KOLs about your products
  • Hosting Giveaways wherein fans of the KOL receive your items as a prize
  • A detailed review of your products, posted by the KOL on their social media

Want to get started with advertising on Weibo and grow in the Chinese market?

Contact us, we can help you with paid ads and Weibo! Whatever your business objectives are, we assist you to reach your goals and Chinese audiences! 

We take care of everything From advertising campaigns to Weibo search engine promotion or Weibo community building, sponsored posts, and so on.

Contact us and talk to our expert about your project in China and how you would like to integrate Weibo Advertising into your marketing strategy.

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