There are lots of different opportunities to advertise online in China. It can be done via search engine platforms, on social media, on e-commerce platforms, using mobile ads and in collaboration with key opinion leaders (KOLs / influencers).


Advertising in China is a billion dollar business. China, the world’s second-largest advertising market after the US, is expected to generate about $10.3 billion in Advertising spending between 2019 and 2022. While traditional print and broadcast advertising channels are generally shrinking, outdoor and internet advertising is experiencing exponential growth. The expansion is largely due to the country’s rapid technological progress and mobile savvy population.


Online advertising in West vs Online advertising in China

A) China has its own electronic ecosystem

Unlike the West, which often uses Instagram and Facebook for online advertising, China’s locally owned electronic ecosystem is complicated. In some industries and themes, China has specific social networks in high numbers, such as fitness platform Keep, and travel platform SixDegree, which allows for both more targeted or spread advertising on platforms.

B) Online advertising in China is particularly important

Online ads are often viewed negatively by Western audiences as annoying. Yet Chinese audiences often welcome targeted online advertising as a way to explore new brands.

C) Rely more on social media

The West still has the habit of using Email, and DM advertising. However, Chinese consumers especially hate these advertisements which are directly linked indiscriminately. Social media is the main battlefield of advertising, and Chinese consumers will find brands for good advertising content.

D) Working with KOLs is essential

Unlike in the West, offline shopping still has a place. Most shopping in China takes place online. As a result, Chinese viewers will do everything possible to find product information online before buying, by watching videos with explanations, reading reviews or discussing brands on social media, and relying heavily on KOL advice.

Traditional advertising in West vs Traditional advertising in China

A) Advertising costs in China are not cheap

Advertising costs in China are often comparable or higher than in Europe or the US. Local companies often even lose money trying to gain market share. Never underestimate the cost of advertising in China.

B) Need to pay advertising companies in advance

Unlike in the West almost all online platforms in China charge for paid advertising first and usually have a clear set price.

C) The position of the government in advertising communication is different

In western countries, the use of government or state elements is not so strict, but in China, special attention should be paid to avoid these serious topics that may violate China’s advertising law. It is illegal to use or disguised use of the name or image of state organs and state organ staff.


Search engine (SEM) advertising

1. Baidu PPC advertising

Baidu, can be seen as China’s Google, pays according to the number of users who click on ads. 544 million monthly active users makes it a good choice if you want to launch widely in the Chinese market. Baidu advertising includes:

A) Search advertising

When you search for a keyword, you will immediately see the brand’s products and services, which will attract potential customers.

B) Brand search advertising

Create professional brand image pages and enhance consumer trust when consumers search for brands.

C) Information flow advertising

Use AI big data to naturally integrate brand promotion information into all kinds of messages and information for easy dissemination.

2. Sogou PPC advertising

As the second largest search group after Baidu, the advertising offered by Sogou is similar. But Sogou has formed partnerships with WeChat and Douyin, enabling  users to search for content from those platforms. The cost of PPC is lower than Baidu, which makes it more suitable for enterprises looking for niche market breakthroughs from social media.

Social media advertising

WeChat advertising

A) WeChat moments

Similar to Facebook’s timeline ads, WeChat can target consumers by location, interests, age, device type, gender and phone network. In order not to annoy users, it will only be shown after four times browsing the page.

B) Public account advertising

More suited for corporations that already have brand ignition in China. Since it is targeted at users who already follow your account, you can customise the content according to your users. The types of WeChat public account advertisements include article banners, in-text banners, KOL banners, and video banners.

C) WeChat mini program

WeChat Mini programs, which provide paid media space, are popular among WeChat users because they support more diverse and interesting forms of advertising. Includes Mini game ads, banner ads, and pop-up ads.

Weibo advertising

Unlike WeChat, where people focus more on chatting, users of Weibo are usually looking for the latest information. They keep their eyes on new content for a longer time, rather than quickly sliding away, which may have better advertising effects. Weibo advertising  includes:

A) Page destination

There will be a full page of posters to introduce products and services. Weibo also has the advertising on the front page for higher prices, where users are shown a full-page ad for about five seconds before they open the application.

B) Display advertising

Provide the video advertisement to play, when the user browses to the information bar, without clicking, the advertisement video will play automatically.

C) Feed advertising

Similar to the function of WeChat moments advertising, the target audience is defined by big data and will be placed at the top of the target user’s new information bar. More suitable for new brand accounts, can quickly gain a large number of followers.

RED advertising

A) Brand promotion advertising

Promotion advertisements appear according to user preferences. For example, if the consumer is focused on bubble tea recently, your bubble tea ad will show up to their page, which may attract high demand customers. 

B) Brand official account advertising

Brands can issue their own advertising notes on RED through a certified official account, which is more focused on brand marketing and has limited effect on increasing sales.

C) Keywords ranking optimization and drop-down words

For example, a brand chose the keyword  520 我爱你(I love you), and then on May 20, this keyword became a RED trending topic, so its whole product range got huge brand exposure.

D) User advertising

Star Notes: ​​​​The star accounts of RED have greater influence than other platforms. For example the products recommend by the young actress Nana Ouyang(欧阳娜娜) are almost all out of stock due to the high sales. From the perspective of environment creation, as a sharing platform, it doesn’t have much to do with other commercial behaviours which makes it more reliable.

E) KOL notes

​​​After KOLs release notes ad on RED, it quickly spreads to highly sticky users through the mechanism of pushing the notes to fans on the platform, and the interaction of fans can continuously increase the popularity of notes and realise the continuous exposure of advertisements.

Douyin advertising

With more than 731 million daily active users, Douyin is a platform with multiple functions such as short video, long video, live-streaming, e-commerce and social networking. Gen Z spends 20% of its daily online time on Douyin, and if your customer base is younger, Douyin ads are a good fit. Douyin advertising including:

A) Dou+  

Is a special program used to increase traffic to advertising videos or live-streams. Brands can purchase Dou+ services with different traffic levels depending on their budget.

B) Information flow advertising

Meets the multi-dimensional promotion needs of exposure, clicks, application download, fan growth and so on.

C) Openning banner advertisement

Very similar to the page advertising of Weibo, it will be displayed when you open the App, with strong visual impact.

D) Search advertising

Advertising are displayed in search results after a user searches for a product keyword just like other search advertising.



TV advertisement

In 2021, China’s TV advertising spending continues to decline, and the decline further expands, down 13.5% year-on-year. But, if your target audience is older generations, television advertising is still very effective.

Radio advertising

The stability of China’s broadcast advertising market is mainly driven by the continued growth in the number of cars sold. In China, the audiences of in-car radio is very loyal, and with increasingly more young people starting to drive, there is a certain trend of younger listeners.

Display advertising

Many people don’t realize how big the display advertising market is. In fact, the market has shown growth in recent years, especially for elevator and subway ads with LED screens, because viewers can’t really escape and are forced to look at ads placed in those places.



It’s important to know which channels work best. Some campaigns work better than others for different brands. Track the advertising channels that have the best ROI and develop strategies around these types of campaigns.

The advertising industry in China is very competitive, and if you don’t take the necessary time to understand how it works, chances are you won’t be successful in the market. Advertising is one of the best marketing strategies for China. It’s consistent, scalable, and brings in high-quality leads from the day you start your marketing campaign. Our advice is to take the time to understand your target audience, your target market, and the different advertising channels to get the best results for your business.


It’s never easy to enter a new market, especially when it requires understanding the sentiment of a new group of consumers and their communication channels. By working with us, you can be sure that:

  • Our team will help you not only with WeChat account set up and management but with the most important step of all – developing a marketing strategy. We can help you use WeChat to build highly effective communication with current and potential consumers and, with 9 years of experience, we know the best tactics, tools and design solutions for clients from a variety of industries.
  • We’ll help to verify and customize your official accounts, write articles, set up your menu bar and create a visual feel for the account
  • We have a team of dedicated writers and creatives who will make sure your content pops and delivers results. 
  • We work closely with the WeChat internal team and often know of new functions and updates first
  • We have experienced campaign managers who use the latest campaign formats, know which influencers are most suitable for your brand and know which ad tools are needed to achieve your goals.
  • We’re also experienced at building and managing WeChat private poolsintegrating CRM systems and managing WeChat mini programs
  • When you work with us, we will continue educating you. You’ll not only understand Chinese consumers better, you’ll also learn key functions of WeChat, see how these fit into your marketing strategy and see first-hand how good strategy drives profits. 
  • We’ll assign you an experienced account manager, who will be in touch with you to ensure that we reach our goal together. Transparency and efficiency. Your success is our success. 

As each project is unique, we also organize consultations on how to improve your WeChat marketing performance by auditing your current activity and giving expert advice. Contact us and we’ll help you turn your business goals into real outcomes.


There are lots of different opportunities to advertise online in China. It can be done via search engine platforms, on social media, on e-commerce platforms, using mobile ads and in collaboration with key opinion leaders (KOLs / influencers). For newer brands in China, it may be better to allocate more resources for search and social to gauge consumer insights before investing in other more expensive methods like cooperating with KOLs, media buying, or more expensive social ads. 

Schedule a call with us to learn more about suitable advertising channels for your brand.

The Chinese social media landscape is quite complex and platforms provide a variety of opportunities to advertise to Chinese consumers. In order to advertise on Chinese social media, brands need to have official, verified accounts. It’s also important to know about budget allocations for advertising on Chinese social media.There are often upfront costs that need to be paid first and the prices are higher than many people, who are unfamiliar with the market, realize.  

We strongly recommend that brands identify the age, gender, region and interests of their target audience before setting up any ads. Depending on the industry, product and target audience, our experts can develop the most effective advertising mix including social media buying and cooperation with KOLs/influencers. 

Contact us to learn more.

Advertising costs vary depending on the social media platform. Here’s an example of the ad costs on the most used social media app, WeChat. 

WeChat has the following ad options: Moments ads, mini program ads and accounts ads. Moments ads are a good choice to improve brand awareness. They can be customized for different cities and you can choose the people in each city that you want to see the ads. Mini program ads are very flexible in terms of placement location, which creates more chances to lead the audience to your account. Account ads are best for sales campaigns like coupon distribution. They’re placed in the articles of other WeChat accounts. The minimum budget per day for each is 1,000 RMB for Moments ads and 200 RMB for mini program and account ads. 

Contact our team to find out more about advertising options on other social media platforms and influencer campaigns.



    We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
    Cookies settings
    Privacy & Cookie policy
    Privacy & Cookies policy
    Cookie name Active
    Save settings
    Cookies settings