In Part 1 of our guide to Weibo advertising, we introduced the types of ads available to businesses, their advantages and disadvantages, and their unique features. In Part 2 of our guide, we are going to explore how to target an audience on Weibo, how to maximize effective reach, the bidding process, and the account registration process.
Targeting Your Audience
For any ad campaign to succeed, it’s vital not only to be seen, but to be seen by the right people. Once the target audience is defined, Weibo is on hand with a huge variety of customization options when it comes to delivering your ads.
You may choose users based on their gender, age or location, as well as their interests, and device. More than that, it’s possible to target users based on their relationships with other followers, and the followers of particularly popular accounts. This latter function allows brands to piggy-back on the popularity of individuals who occupy the same niche.
The final thing to think about is timing. Weibo’s backend can give you a good idea of when certain users are most active. This is a careful choice to make, because while rush-hour times certainly represent a swell in user activity, they also represent a swell in the activity of other ad campaigns. The best thing to do here might be some careful a/b testing, to see whether peak usage times are in fact the best for your brand, or your campaign.
As aforementioned, the Weibo userbase is gigantic. The monthly active users represent a number almost the size of the entire population of Europe. However, it’s important to bear in mind the characteristics of those users, and how they relate to your target campaign reach.
Consider, for example, that the vast majority of users are under 40 (78%), with the bulk being those who came of age as Weibo rose to saliency, aged between 30 and 39 (48%). Campaigns looking to target those above 50 years old, who make up only 4% of the userbase, have far less targeted reach capability.
The best way to think about reach is not in terms of the absolute number of users who share one attribute, but rather the number of users who share the multiple attributes that a campaign is targeting. Each attribute introduced, when creating a target user profile, narrows the pool of potential users. If one attribute narrows the pool as much as 96%, as in the case of ‘older than 50’, this can become an issue. On the flip side, if each attribute narrows the pool by half, then high reach of a decent, targeted quality can be achieved.
There are slightly different bidding mechanics for the different forms of Weibo ads. Search-based ads follow a standard keyword popularity and competition mechanism. Fan funnels and fan headlines, meanwhile, also take into account the quality of the promotional content, as defined by Weibo’s standards. High-quality content can allow brands to win auctions at lower prices than normal. Bids are set with an upper limit, and are then made by way of an automatic system. It’s important to set a daily budget, which once used will allow Weibo to automatically stop all advertising activity related to your account for the day.
Weibo helpfully provides a ‘bid suggestion’ in the settings page on the backend.
Account Opening Process
There are two types of accounts on Weibo – official accounts and individual accounts. For businesses, it’s essential to go through the official registration process, lest your account be deleted and all posts removed.
Businesses registered in China
If your business is registered in China, then follow these steps. If not, skip to the next section.
First, prepare your documentation. You will need your business license, as well as all of the information on it in a format that you can enter manually into the sign-up tool. Then, you will need scanned copies of the business license and any additional certificates. You will have to write a short introduction to the company, in Chinese, and provide contact information.
Once all that’s prepared, go to www.weibo.com/signup/signup.php. Here, select ‘Official registration,’ and complete the steps to submit your documents for verification. Once submitted, the application will take roughly five working days to be processed. The official account costs 300RMB per year to keep open.
Businesses registered outside of China
Businesses registered outside of China have a few more hoops to jump through, and the fee is higher, usually set depending on where the business is registered, as a one-off payment of between US$800 and US$1,200.
Documents to prepare include business registration documents and business license, application letter and authorization letter with the company’s seal, or the signature of its legal representative; a purchase order form; a business card of a representative; an official website URL; an introduction to the business’s products and/or services; contact information; finally, a bio for the account.
After submitting, verification takes roughly six weeks, as long as all the documentation submitted was correct and in order. It’s advisable to contact Weibo directly during the submission stage to double-check whether requirements have been met, or use a third-party service to help with registration.
For an additional fee, US$17/month at time of writing, it’s possible to upgrade to a VIP account. This allows you to pin a post at the top of your account page, to change the cover image, edit posts after publication and a few other features.
Once signed up, and verified, all advertising features will be available through the Weibo back-end. Simply login, go to the account settings, and find the advertising section. Alternatively, go to tui.weibo.com, or for those who seek a higher degree of design and functionality customization, login at developers.biz.weibo.com. For those who can read Chinese, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the reports Weibo publishes about its advertising. They can be found by clicking here.
The Right Partner
Last but not least, planning the right Weibo ads strategy and adopting the right approach is crucial before the implementation phase.
With its 13 years of experience in China Marketing, Sekkei Studio can help you raise the right questions, scope your needs, define your KPIs and adopt the right Weibo ads approach in order to achieve the desired results. Let us know more about your project.