A Thorough Guide to Baidu Analytics (Baidu Tongji) - Updated in 2017
This is meant to be a thorough, informative guide to Baidu Analytics, also known as Baidu Tongji or 百度统计. Google Analytics has been used as the basis of comparison since it is the most used web analytics tool in the English-reading world.
This guide will be updated periodically.
It was last updated on: September 19, 2017.
Reasons to use Baidu Tongji
Before you decide whether or not you’d like to use Baidu Tongji, consider some of the benefits it provides.
- Integration with Baidu Tuiguang (Baidu pay per click marketing). View your creatives, ad impressions, cost data and more right within the Baidu analytics platform.
- Access to Baidu organic search terms users used to find your site.
- Baidu tracks each individual user, allowing you to see all the pages that the last 500 visitors visited.
- Heatmaps. You could get better heatmap tools elsewhere, but it's a nice addition.
- Baidu SEO features. These are also included with Baidu Webmaster Tools.
Major Shortcomings of Baidu Tongji
- The interface is only in Chinese.
- Many Google Analytics features aren't included with Baidu Tongji, such as Google AdWords integration, site search and multi-touch attribution models.
- Some important features are available, but aren't free and require additional setup steps, such as advanced custom reports.
If you already use Google Analytics, and now you're going to do marketing in China as well, I recommend using both Google Analytics and Baidu Tongji. Both are easy to setup. GA will do most of what you need and BT provides some extra value.
You can login to Baidu Tongji via your Baidu Tuiguang (pay per click) account or Baidu Zhanzhang (webmasters) account. If you aren't sure which one to use, I recommend using the Baidu Tuiguang account if you have it. The advertising integration is a key feature, very useful. The Baidu webmasters integration isn't really essential, you can get the same info by creating a separate Baidu Zhanzhang account.
Baidu Zhanzhang account registration is free.
To get started, go to http://tongji.baidu.com
Baidu Tongji offers two install methods:
- A script that can be installed on the site, like Google Analytics.
- A “one click install” that requires FTP access.
Now, you can go ahead and try the FTP access if you like, but I’m way too scared about this to try it out on any sites of mine! Baidu’s help files on the subject don’t explain exactly how it works, but I presume this their one click install tool will install the script for HTML-based websites by editing the HTML code then re-uploading the edited page to the server.
If you’re a Worpress fan, you can also pickup a Baidu Tongji plugin.
Baidu Tongji includes a testing tool that doesn’t only check if the Baidu script is properly installed on the homepage, but will also check all the landing pages that are being used for Baidu ads.
The Baidu Analytics script is also the Baidu chat box script. The chat box tool, called Baidu Shangqiao, can be turned on with one click from within the Baidu Tongji interface.
Filtering & Setup Options
Filter out traffic from certain IP addresses and IP ranges
Filter out traffic from certain domains
Allow tracking of multiple domains
Flexible custom filters
Include/exclude traffic based on sub-directories
Like Google, Baidu allows goal tracking by page, event, number of pages viewed and visit duration.
Goal tracking by page can be done in several ways:
- Once per visit. This is the same as Google Analytics.
- Each page view. In this case, one visitor could trigger the goal multiple times, even during one visit. For example, if a user ended up on a “thank you” page assigned as a goal twice in one session, it would be recorded as the goal being completed twice.
- Order ID. In this case, the same user can trigger a goal twice within the same day, but only if there is a separate ‘order ID’. Examples:
- Visitor uses site on Monday morning, orders 2 items, order IDs are 235 and 236 = goal recorded twice.
- Visitor uses site on Monday morning, orders 2 items, order IDs are both 235 = goal recorded once.
- Visitor uses site on Monday morning, order ID is 235, uses site again Tuesday evening, order ID is 235 again = goal recorded twice.
Google Analytics allows the use of regular expressions for extremely flexible URL patterns. Baidu only allows the use of “*” as a wildcard.
Baidu supports funnels & goal values as well, like Google.
Baidu allows event tracking and variable usage very similar to how Google does.
_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction)
_trackEvent(category, action, opt_label, opt_value)
The only part missing from the Baidu event tracking is the noninteraction variable, which can be used to tell Google Analytics not to consider the event in bounce rate calculations.
As for variable usage, both platforms use the same code and both allow 5 variables.
Baidu not only allows you to add new users, but it provides a very flexible permission system. You can set which reports a user is allowed to see and which setup options they are allowed to use.
Baidu Tongji features a URL parameter generator in the management area. It can track source, campaign, ad group, keyword and ad copy.
Too bad they don't use the exact same grammar as Google Analytics, wouldn't that be convenient?
Baidu's e-commerce feature allows for the tracking of specific sales.
It requires the generation of dynamic script on the checkout pages.
It covers the following order variables:
- Order ID
- Order total
And the following item variables:
- SKU ID
- SKU names
For comparison, Google Analytics also has a few more variables.
Publicly Visible Stats
With Baidu, you can actually choose to show your web stats publicly. There are tools available for Google Analytics that claim to do the same, like SeeTheStats.
By default, Baidu will also place a small visible image on your site. This can be disabled in the settings.
Report Overview Table
Standard reports (demographic, content and source reports)
Customizable columns for standard reports
Integration with ad platforms
Y (Baidu advertising)
Y (But paid - 10K CNY starting price)
Y (More info)
Baidu indexation report
Visitor flow report
SEO suggestions report
N (but this is available in Google Webmaster Tools)
One major drawback of Baidu Tongji is that it doesn’t provide a super flexible way to create custom reports or segments like Google does. As a power user, I think this will become a major issue for my own usage in the future. That being said, some may find Baidu’s customization feature easier to use. Baidu allows users to select which columns are shown for each of their standard reports.
The above image shows the column selection feature. Columns for this report include things like pageviews and bounce rate, as well as an IP option, number of conversions and conversion rate.
Baidu also provides an IP metric. This is a measure of how many unique IPs were used to access the website. A lot of Chinese web publishers still use this outdated method to measure web traffic.
Baidu Real-time Visitor Report
The number 1 complaint I’ve seen with Google Analytics is that it doesn’t allow you to drill down and see the actions of an individual user. There are plenty of other tools that allow this, many of which are paid. It’s great to have it right within Baidu Tongji.
I love using this information for problem-solving. I can read the user trails and try to imagine why they stopped where the stopped. This information is also useful to people on the front-lines of the marketing campaign, such as community managers, bloggers and SEM managers.
In the above image, we can see that the visitor came from Google, we can see each page they viewed and for how long. We know their operating system and browser.
Baidu keeps data for the past 500 visitors.
Baidu SEO Suggestions Report
Baidu will crawl your website and find common SEO problems, such as missing alt tags and completion of meta descriptions. What’s nice about this is that they will show you the number of page views for each page, allowing you to get a sense of which problems are the more important ones.
This report seems rather limited at this time, because it will only crawl a small number of pages.
Baidu Tongji allows for reports to be downloaded in CSV or PDF format.
If you directly open a CSV file exported from Baidu Tongji, you’ll probably see a bunch of garbage characters where the Chinese characters should be. To get around this:
- Open Excel.
- Go to the “Data” tab then click “From Text”.
- Select the exported CSV file and click “Import”.
- Choose the options “Delimited” and “Chinese Simplified”, then click “Next”.
- Choose the “Comma” delimiter, then click “Next”.
- Click “Finish”
Accuracy Comparison (2017)
I tested Google Analytics and Baidu Tongji over a 30 day period. Compared to the test I did in 2013, the overall numbers are more similar.
Baidu records more visitors & visits & a higher bounce rate. But the pageviews are the same.
Results From 30-Day Test Period
When it comes to attributing the source, Baidu still misattributes a lot of search traffic to referrals. For example, it considers traffic from google.co.in to be referral rather than search. In fact, for this test website, all the top 10 "referral" sources are actually search engines.
Baidu and Google also don't agree on country demographics of users. While Baidu reports 4,200 users from China & 2,600 from USA, Google reports 5,300 from China and 2,500 from USA.
Looking through the various stats, I can see that Baidu & Google tend to agree on some and disagree on others.
Accuracy Comparison (2013)
I also left the 2013 numbers here as well.
"I tested the stats for 3 sites over a 1 day period and 5 day period. There’s a lot of variability! This will require some further research. Note that I used Baidu's synchronous script rather than asynchronous script.
Interestingly, Baidu reports a much higher proportion of traffic due to direct visits, while Google reports much more search traffic. Google also shows a longer list of search queries used to reach the websites. Drilling down into the referral report, I saw that Baidu had recorded plenty of referral visits with a Google search URL for the referring URL. Of course, this should have been recorded as search traffic, not referral traffic."
Results From 30-day Period