360 Search is the second largest search engine in China, with over 35% of the market share. It is a product of Qihoo 360, a Chinese cyber security company whose free anti-virus software is the most popular and trusted in the country. Over the years, the company has launched several products under the ‘360’ trademark:
What is 360 Search and why should it be part of your strategy?
In 2012, Qihoo 360 launched its very own search engine under the domain so.com, where the ‘s’ stands for ‘safe’, and ‘o’ stands for ‘open’. It immediately became the second most popular search engine in the country and grew to become Baidu’s main competitor. 360 Search is the default search engine used on the 360 internet browsers, one of the reasons for its impressive growth.
Aside from being the second most-used search engine in China – reaching millions of users – 360 Search also has access to vast consumer behaviour data gathered from the different products the company owns. Another advantage of this search engine is that it also offers a lower cost-per-click than Baidu as it is less competitive; this makes it an ideal place for advertisers who have a smaller budget or who would just like to test the waters before diving deep into the market.
The search engine offers many advertising opportunities and what’s more, they are also available on other products Qihoo 360 owns. Let us have a look at the options by different channels.
Search engine solutions
Text ads with site links
This is the most basic option on 360 Search. The ad format is made up by the ad text and a couple of sitelinks (maximum 5) on a CPC model. The advertiser can also insert a brand logo to make the ads more recognisable.
The format is more advanced compared to the basic text and sitelinks option, and it allows advertisers to include images to the ad copies on a CPC model as well.
In summary, this is similar to Baidu’s Brand Zone advertising option. Brand-related terms trigger the ads, and the ads are always in the first position of the search results pages, on both the left and right-hand sides. Typically, this kind of ad can reach an overall CTR of 70%, likely to outperform all your campaigns.
This product works on a similar buying model as Brand Express. However, generic industry terms are the triggers in this case. The position of Brand Sunrise ads is also at the top of the search results page, but they are only available on the right-hand side of the page.
Premium Zone is also similar to Brand Express, but it displays on the left-hand side of the search results page only, triggered by brand or product terms, along with the official website or product functions terms.
As mentioned above, the 360 Navigation portal serves millions of users online: it would be a waste not to use this resource! Here are the main three options:
Hot search can be found on the search bar. When users click on the search bar, the drop-down list will automatically expand and display the top searches of the day. Out of the ten most-searched topics suggested, positions 4 to 7 are the only advertising placements.
Wasai ads are located under the category list on the left-hand side of the navigation page, offering immediate exposure within a short period of time. It is ideal for the quick promotion of big brands.
Discover what you like
This is a more affordable product on the navigation page, following a CPC buying model. The ads are short text titles on the navigation page under different categories. For example, the ad can be “buy products for 9.9” under the “group buy” category on the portal page.
China has a staggering mobile penetration of over 90%, therefore advertising on mobile is something all search engines cover. Needless to say, 360 Search also offers mobile-based solutions.
By default, all ads on 360 Search have to cover mobile devices. It is mandatory to bid for the keyword on mobile devices, and the bid on mobile is normally a percentage of the bid on PC. It is recommended to bid 1/3 of the PC price for mobile.
As mentioned earlier, Qihoo 360 owns many mobile apps in the market, which have become good placements for mobile advertising. Depending on the format of the ads, they can be offered in a cost-per-click, cost-per-download or cost-per-time model.
Programmatic advertising is another dimension of the advertising services offered by 360 Search. The network is a combination of 360 brand platforms, apps, premium media publisher websites and ad exchange platforms. On average, a Chinese internet user would encounter the 360 display ads 18 times a day across different channels and devices, which makes 360 display network a great option to expose your brand to the market.
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