Qihoo 360 is China’s leading internet browser and security software suite. It is the mainland's fastest-growing online search service and undisputed number one internet security provider.
In the space of two years, Qihoo has grown its search engine from nothing to 25% market share, claiming second spot in the market.
Monthly active users of its PC-based products and services have clocked in at a huge 479 million people. It has a 5% larger audience than it had a year earlier. Netizens using its PC browsers rose by 2% compared to last year.
Qihoo 360 is now accounting for a quarter of all internet queries in China. It has a captive audience for its portal, browser, and security software. This captive audience has helped drive users to its search engine, so.com.
In the first three months of 2014 Baidu generated US$1.53 billion in revenue. During this same period Qihoo 360 rang up just US$265.1 million, a 141.3% increase from Q1 2013. Still, these numbers don’t suggest that 360 Search now holds 25% of the paid search market.
What it does show is that there is plenty of room for both Baidu and Qihoo 360 to co-exist in China’s paid search marketing space. Users don’t have to choose one platform over the other.
What will emerge in the near future is a clearer understanding of which platform has a better conversion rate for certain industries. Also, it will be easier to compare cost per clicks statistics for both search engines once 360 Search is more widely used for paid search marketing.
It is Qihoo 360’s move into paid search marketing, to compete primarily with Baidu. Qihoo currently is third behind Baidu and Sogou in terms of revenue generated from its search engine.
Qihoo 360 say that the Marketing Platform can combine business needs with search marketing to help with advertising and other forms of custom marketing.
The platform has precise targeting. Campaigns can target specific time periods, geographic location and specific user groups to promote a business and show accurate information.
The location targeting is able to support two geographical locations, municipal and provincial level.
One of the main benefits is the easy use of the platform. Simply open an account and get started. The user-friendly design and a quick delivery process allows for simple and flexible operating of the platform.
There is a variety of reporting available on the platform meaning that campaigns can be accurately tracked and recorded.
Three different promotional results will appear at the top left of the SERPs. On the right of the search results page there will be eight different promotional results.
Priority results will be displayed in the top left of the search results page, followed by the rest of the results, which will show on the right side of the page.
The ads will have a title, description and web link (URL). However, unlike Baidu there will be no paid search results on the bottom left of the SERPs.
360 Search’s display network is called Jingcai Tuiguang (睛彩推广). Different banner ads will be displayed on the right hand side of the page.
This service is very similar to Baidu’s network alliance. The biggest difference is that the ads on 360 Search will only appear on its own websites.
360’s Marketing Platform is a relatively new product to the Chinese market. It has begun to interest marketers because of the high usage rate of Qihoo 360’s search engine, which currently stands at 26%.
The cost per click on 360 Search is said to be significantly lower than Baidu in many industries. Conversion rates may be lower, but this may well change as more industries are attracted to 360’s Marketing Platform.
Qihoo 360's huge user base of 479 million monthly active users of its PC-based products is a source of numerous potential clients.
Monthly active users of its PC browsers were 339 million in March 2014. The fact that 360 Search comes as standard on its browser has created a captive audience of users of 360 products.
Its anti-virus software is so popular and trusted that it seems that the next step is building a marketing platform to rival Baidu.
Have you used 360 Search for paid search marketing? If so, leave a comment below.