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25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

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In the United States, we have Google.

In China, they have Baidu.

If you’re wondering, “what does this have to do with me?” I get it. What does China’s biggest tech company have to do with you?

A lot, if you’re involved with marketing and SEO.

Take a look, for instance, at this stunning fact: 90% of online search queries done in China are done through Baidu.

This amounts to billions of searches per month!

There are tons of other fascinating facts about Baidu you might not know.

Let’s look at some of them.

What Is Baidu?

As mentioned above, Baidu is a huge Chinese tech company specializing in internet services and AI (artificial intelligence).

It is the largest internet company in China and one of the biggest in the world. Since Google is banned in mainland China, most Chinese people use Baidu as their chosen search engine.

25 Fascinating Facts About Baidu You Need to Know

Baidu has a long history of ups and downs, acquisitions, growth, and intrigue.

Here is a list of some of the facts that make Baidu what it is today.

1. What’s Behind the Name?

The name Baidu was taken from a beautiful poem called The Green Jade Table in the Lantern Festival. Written by Xin Qiji (1140-1207), this haunting poem portrays the search for one’s dreams amidst chaotic distractions.

Here are the lines that inspired the name Baidu.

“…Hundreds and thousands of times, for her I searched in chaos / Suddenly, I turned by chance, to where the lights were waning, and there she stood.” – Xin Qiji (translated)

See the connection?

Baidu allows you to achieve a constant search for the ideal.

2. How Is Baidu Pronounced?

The word Baidu is made up of two Chinese characters. Here’s what they look like.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

The first character is pronounced “bai.” The second one can be pronounced “do” or “to.”

Actually, it’s a blend of “d” and “t.”

Baidu means hundreds or thousands of times.

3. Who Founded Baidu?

Although Baidu would grow to stunning heights, its creator actually started small. Born as the only son of two factory workers in Yang Quan, Robin Li didn’t have the capital to start a huge business.

Instead, he studied computer science at Beijing University. After the campus was shut down due to pro-democracy protests, Li moved to Buffalo and earned his master’s degree at the State University of New York.

After his studies, Li got his first job at a company called IDD (a Dow Jones subsidiary). It was during this time that Li created RankDex, a site-scoring algorithm.

In 1999, Li was invited back to China to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the communist regime. It was then that he met his biochemist friend Eric Wu. Together, they decided to capitalize on China’s growing internet industry by starting Baidu.

4. Baidu Started Off with Silicon Valley Funding

When Baidu came to life in 2000, it caught the attention of major venture capital firms.

With a $1.2 million funding from Integrity Partners and Peninsula Capital, Li and Wu returned to Beijing to launch their project.

It didn’t take long for other venture capital firms to notice them. A few months later, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and IDG Technology Venture invested $10 million in Baidu.

5. Baidu.com Wasn’t Always a Search Engine

Li and Wu originally intended Baidu to be a search service to other Chinese portals. However, things weren’t looking up towards the end of the year.

“The portals didn’t want to pay for (the service),” Lee told Forbes in 2009.

Luckily, they got the idea to launch Baidu as an independent site.

6. Baidu Beat Google to Making Money on Ads

Just like Google, Baidu sported a simple, no-nonsense homepage. However, there was a difference.

Unlike Google back then, Baidu allowed companies to bid on space for ads. By 2004, Li and Wu started making a profit.

7. Robin Li Is the 35th Wealthiest Person in China

With a net worth of $8.4 billion, Li surpasses wealthy Chinese businesspeople like Dang Yanbao (Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group) and Kei Hoi Pang (Logan Property Holdings).

8. The All-Time High of a Baidu Stock Share Is $284

When Baidu went public in 2005, it opened at $27 a share and closed at $112. Since then, things have gone up and down for Baidu shares.

In May 2019, Baidu’s share price reached a staggering closing price of $284. However, this declined with the onset of the trade war and the decline of the Chinese economy.

Today, a share can be bought at $117.

Here’s a look at Baidu stock share prices from 2005 to 2019 f rom Macrotrends.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

9. Baidu Launched AI-Powered Cameras That Can Spot Ocular Fundus

Baidu isn’t all about giving internet users the best way to find what they’re looking for. In fact, the company is concerned about the general health and welfare of the Chinese people as well.

In 2018, Baidu revealed high-tech AI-powered cameras that did the work of ophthalmologists in spotting eye conditions that lead to blindness. These include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

In 2019, hospitals began using Baidu’s cameras to run eye screenings on patients.

10. Before the AI-Powered Cameras, Baidu Launched a Chatbot for Doctors and Patients

Baidu is a huge player in China’s health market. In fact, two years before it launched the AI cameras for spotting ocular fundus, it introduced Melody to hospitals.

Melody is a chatbot that allows patients to give their health information to doctors. With it, doctors and patients can communicate in a faster, simpler way.

11. Baidu’s Total Revenues Reached $3.93 Billion in the Third Quarter of 2019

Baidu’s revenues rise 7% quarter over quarter, and 3% year over year.

12. Baidu Has Over a Billion Active Mobile Users

By March 2019, Baidu had 1.1 billion mobile users. Its DuerOS voice assistant generated 2.37 billion voice queries per month!

13. You Need a Mandarin Website to Rank on Baidu

This is not only because most of Baidu’s users are Chinese. It’s also because English words won’t rank on the search engine at all.

14. Baidu Ranks Sites Based on Their Home Page

If you want better rankings on Baidu, put all your energy into your site’s home page.

15. Baidu Is the 4th Most Popular Website in the World

Baidu currently ranks at #4 on Alexa.

This puts Baidu above both Facebook and Wikipedia!

16. Ads Are Given Priority on Baidu

While Google prioritizes organic results, Baidu’s first search pages are packed with ads.

This resonates with the fact that Chinese users believe that if a company can pay for ads, it must be reliable.

17. 90% of Internet Users in China Use Baidu

That’s over 700 million people!

18. Baidu Analytics Is Used by More Than 7 Million Websites

Here are some sites using Baidu Analytics today according to BuiltWith.

25 Things You Didn’t Know About Baidu

19. Baidu is the First Chinese Company to Join the Partnership on AI (PAI)

Joining companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google, Baidu is on a mission towards exploring the benefits of AI for society.

20. The Most Popular Keywords on Baidu

Baidu’s top keywords reflect the interests of the Chinese people. As of December 2018, the most popular keywords were: “World Cup,” “trade war,” and “Yanxi Palace.”

21. Baidu Gives Priority to Websites Hosted in China

Chinese websites end with .cn. If you’re thinking of getting a 100% Chinese website, you first need to register your company in the country.

22. Robert Li Warned Google of Stiff Competition if Ever It Returned to China

Google is mulling on returning to China with modifications that fit the country’s strict censorship laws.

Baidu’s response? Google should expect stiff, all-out competition.

23. Baidu Is More Than a Search Engine

Baidu users can access news, maps, government searches, internet TV, anti-virus products, and more!

24. Baidu Is Part of the Biggest Autonomous Driving Program in the World

It partners with huge companies like Ford, Intel, Grab, and Honda to provide AI technology for driverless cars.

25. Baidu’s Reach Is Expanding Beyond China

Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (called BAT) are three of China’s biggest companies.

As of today, BAT is extending its influence far beyond China. It’s hiring US talent and investing in US AI startups.

Baidu: The Search Engine of the Future?

Baidu is huge, and it is determined to grow even more.

As a marketer, this could affect your overall goals.

Should you be content with Google or seek an audience in China as well with Baidu?


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, November 2019

Searchenginejournal.com

MARKETING

3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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