Procter and Gamble, Greater China
Fast Moving Consumer Goods
November 11th, known as Double 11 in China, is the single biggest online shopping day of the year.
SKII wanted to outperform the category performance on Double 11, however, search on Baidu was not delivering the performance we needed to capitalise on the biggest online sales opportunity of the year.
CONSUMERS ARE MOVING TO ECOMMERCE AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO SEARCH FOR PRODUCTS, BYPASSING SEARCH ENGINES AND SHORTENING THE PATH TO PURCHASE. HOW COULD WE CAPITALISE ON THIS CONSUMER TREND TO OPTIMISE SALES IN TIME FOR DOUBLE 11, CHINA’S BIGGEST ONLINE SALES DAY OF THE YEAR?
For most, jumping onto a search engine to search for a product or brand has been the usual behaviour for many years. For most of the world, this has been via Google, while in China, it’s been Baidu.
However, search on Baidu was declining.
Based on analytics for our skincare client, SKII, we saw that search demand on Baidu for the brand was falling, resulting in a declining ROI.
We needed to find out why and fast – ahead of China’s biggest online sales day of the year, Double 11 (think Black Friday on steroids!). In fact, Double 11 is the biggest online shopping day in the world, based on sales data.
Our research revealed that consumers were moving away from Baidu as their central search point for product information (-10% YOY).
While Baidu was still being used for generic category searches, consumers were now going direct to eCommerce (+25% increase YOY) and social media (+15% YOY) for product information or influencer recommendations, bypassing search engines completely and shortening the path to purchase.
In China, Alibaba and Tencent’s Jing Dong have been the primary drivers of this change as eCommerce platforms.
We needed to broaden our search strategy beyond Baidu to encompass eCommerce and social platforms.
OUR STRATEGY WAS TO DEVELOP A CROSS-PLATFORM SEARCH APPROACH BASED ON THE NEED STATES OF CONSUMERS WITHIN EACH PLATFORM. WE CALLED THIS NEW PIONEERING METHODOLOGY “SYSTEM SEARCH”.
Realising that consumer search behaviour was now spread across multiple eCommerce and social media platforms, rather than just Baidu, we needed to re-engineer our search approach from a silo search engine strategy to a multi-platform “system” approach.
Our strategy was to look across the multiple entry points of search behaviour and develop an approach that looked horizontally across the entire system of search habits, rather than vertically within just one silo, i.e. Baidu only.
Our goal was to understand the need states of consumers within each platform, and optimise our SEO and SEM content accordingly.
Our pioneering, first-of-its-kind “System Search” approach was born, based on the following three steps:
- Firstly, we set out to understand exactly what consumers searched for, on what platform, identifying the right keywords to own based on the query triggers.
- Secondly, we created “fit-to-serve” tailor-made content by platform, responding to specific consumer search queries across each.
- Thirdly, to optimise search across all platforms, we identified relevant high-related content that drew sizeable search traffic. This would give SKII premium brand visibility based on search ranking algorithms.
Our System Search approach focused specifically on three key platforms: Baidu, Tmall and Weibo.
Each of these platforms serves a critical role in a consumer’s search behaviour and journey: Baidu as a category search engine, Tmall for eCommerce and Weibo for social search.
Our System Search approach optimised SEO/SEM for SKII across all three simultaneously.
OUR “SYSTEM SEARCH” APPROACH OPTIMISED SEO/SEM FOR SKII, BASED ON BESPOKE KEYWORD CONTENT ON EACH PLATFORM.
To execute on our System Search strategy, we deployed our “Where to Play Keyword” tactic to optimise the readiness of our content. We did this by looking at:
Budget allocation across platforms
Relevant content needed to answer consumer queries and need states
How to own the most exposure in the search result page
How to drive consumers to the right destination and convert them to purchase
Based on data-led insights, we activated our strategy across the most relevant SKII products, product keywords, and consumer search terms on each platform:
BAIDU (search engine) – Because it reflects consumers’ broad category search behaviour, we executed search listing bidding ads, rich formats and brand zones, creating content that reflected key search terms including, “Comparison of competitors”, “Product ingredients”, “Where to buy”, “Store locator comparisons”, and “pricing guides”.
WEIBO (social) – We executed Rich Format Ads that connected with our SKII celebrity endorser, in response to search terms featuring key opinion influencer/s or queries such as, “How to apply the product”, “Advice on products”, etc. We also had our SKII celebrity create original news and content to optimise against organic search listings.
TMALL (eCommerce) – We focused our efforts on ensuring SKII ranked high in organic search against direct product queries, pricing and reviews. We worked to build positive WOM reviews on TMall, and also created eCommerce deals to incentivise those searching with promotions and discounts.
Lead Media Agency
Weibo, Baidu, T-mall, JD
Weibo, Baidu (Social touch, creative)
Blue Focus (JD)