Weibo is an effective digital marketing platform for companies seeking to engage Chinese consumers. However, it can be difficult to select the most suitable advertising option for your brand’s needs. Advertising on Weibo is a difficult skill to master due to the complexity of the platform. This article will explain the different Weibo advertising options, and help you select the option most suitable to your brand advertising needs.
There are several advertising options to choose from on Weibo which can help you connect with your target audience or the broader Chinese market.
The four types that this article will discuss are:
● Display Advertisements
● Weibo Search Engine Promotion
● Fan Headline (also known as “Fanstop”)
● Fan Tunnel
1. Display Advertisements
Display ads are banners of various dimensions on different pages of the mobile and webpage versions of Weibo. When users click on the ads, they’re directed to the advertiser’s homepage.
The price for banner ads varies according to placement and size. The most recent price list for banner ads can be found here (2017 Q2).
Below are examples of different banner ads:
↑ Figure 1: AHong Kong Tourism Board banner ad displayed on the search page (in the “Discover” section) of the Weibo app.
↑ Figure 2: A Youku banner ad displayed on the Weibo homepage.
2. Weibo Search Engine Promotion
Weibo search engine promotion is another potential advertising option for brands advertising on Weibo. The search bar on Weibo is always pre-loaded with search terms based on hot topics or advertising. Search engine promotion pre-loads the search bar and puts an account at or near the top of the results list when the suggested keywords are searched. The price for Weibo search engine promotion varies according to the popularity of keywords.
Below is an example of search engine promotion:
↑ Figure 3: Weibo search engine promotion for Chinese movie Railroad Tiger.
3. Fan Headline (粉丝头条)
Fan Headline (also known as “Fanstop”) is an alternative option for those looking to advertise on Weibo. It offers quick and efficient promotion of Weibo posts and accounts based on the daily updates and social networks of the target audience. There are three types of Fan Headline on Weibo:
● Fan Headline for Posts (博文头条),
● Fan Headline for Others’ Posts (帮上头条)
● Fan Headline for Accounts (账号头条).
I. Fan Headline for Posts (博文头条)
Fan Headline for Posts is the most common type. If you want a Weibo post to be seen by a large number of people, you can promote it using this function. A “Fan Headline” Weibo post will usually appear at or near the top of users’ feeds within 24 hours.
You can not only choose to promote your designated Weibo post to your existing followers, but also to potential followers based on the relationships of your original followers, as well as based on different industries or interests. For example, if a user wishes to promote a post about fashion, Fan Headline will select users who follow fashion news and are interested in fashion-related posts. Additionally, you can also select one to five Weibo accounts and promote your Weibo post to users who are similar to followers of these accounts.
The price for a “Fan Headline for Posts” varies greatly according to your follower base; the more followers you have, the more expensive it is. Once you successfully promote your post using this function, a tag will be shown on the top left of the post signaling that it has been promoted, like “推广” (Promoted), “热门” (Hot) or “推荐” (Recommended). Below is an example of a Weibo post promoted by Fan Headline.
↑ Figure 4: A “Hot” tag is placed on the top left of this promoted Weibo post.
II. Fan Headline for Others’ Posts (帮上头条)
Fan Headline for Others’ Posts is similar to the previous one, except it puts another user’s post at or near the top of their followers’ feeds. For example, if a KOL releases a post related to your brand or product, you pay to promote the post and it appears first in the KOL’s followers’ feeds.
III. Fan Headline for Accounts (账号头条)
Fan Headline for Accounts is one of the most effective methods for advertising on Weibo. It ensures that your account is recommended to Weibo users who are deemed the most likely to follow you, within a limited time-period (e.g., 72 hours).
4. Fan Tunnel (粉丝通)
Fan Tunnel is another popular way of advertising on Weibo. Fan Tunnel is similar to Fan Headline as it promotes a Weibo post or account. Posts or accounts promoted by Fan Tunnel also appear at or near the top of target audiences’ feeds. Apps can also be promoted by Fan Tunnel.
↑ Figure 5: Examples of Weibo posts, apps, and accounts promoted by Fan Tunnel (from top to bottom).
Key Differences Between Fanstop and Fan Tunnel
The biggest difference between Fan Headline and Fan Tunnel lies in the source of target audience.
Fan Headline is based on your existing followers and looks for potential relationships with their Weibo friends, who are considered your potential followers.
Fan Tunnel, on the other hand, enables you to cater to a much larger target audience because it sources from Weibo’s large user base. You can define your target audience demographics by age, gender, region, interests, and even the type of device used. Therefore, Fan Tunnel is able to target an audience precisely and accurately. Fan Tunnel is a very specific and focused way to advertise on Weibo.
Pricing of Fan Headline and Fan Tunnel
The pricing for Fan Headline and Fan Tunnel is also different. Fan Headline charges users according to the number of followers they have. The more followers they have, the more expensive it is.
On the other hand, Fan Tunnel charges users based on the results of the promotion, CPE or CPM.
CPE refers to Cost Per Engagement (按照微博有效互动计费), which refers to effective interactions from the target audience, including clicks, comments, reposts and likes. Charges based on CPE start from 0.5 RMB per engagement and the minimum price raise unit is 0.01 RMB.
CPM refers to Cost Per Mille (按照微博在信息流中的曝光次数计费), which refers to the amount of post/account/app exposure you have in your audience’s feed. Charges based on CPM start from 5 RMB per thousand exposures and the minimum price raise unit is 0.1 RMB.
The size of your target audience depends on the quality of your content, the competitiveness of the market that day, the promotion period and the budget you set for the promotion. You can refer to the bid suggestions on the settings page to assist you in making your final decision.
Choose the Weibo advertising option that fits your business objectives best and take another step toward successful, effective Weibo marketing.
Is there anything you’d like to know more about? Do you know how to spot fake accounts on Weibo? What’s the best way to grow your follower base? Leave a comment below and we’d be more than willing to answer any questions you have.
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