China Marketing Blog

What is Shenma Search? China’s Lesser-known Mobile Chinese Search Engine

Tait Lawton — Tue, 01/23/2018 - 16:28

It seems like most search marketers outside of China have heard that Baidu is “the Google of China”. And sometimes they’ve heard of 360 Search and Sogou too.

But I haven’t met many that have heard of Shenma Search.                                                                                                                               

It’s actually a fairly popular search engine. Statcounter states Shenma had 15% of the Chinese search market share at the end of 2017. The number seems a bit too high to me, but I still believe that Shenma search is worth looking into.

Shenma comes with UC Browser, a mobile browser with an estimated 20% share of China’s browser market and over 30% of China’s mobile browser marketshare.

Shenma does mobile search and mobile search only. Even on their own homepage, there’s no option to search via the PC.

 

Why Should Chinese Consumers Use Shenma?

 

Shenma portrays themselves as being the mobile search engine for shopping, apps & novels.

They say “I’m not Taobao and I’m not Baidu either, but I have data on products from the whole Internet, along with authentic buyer reviews. I’m the most trustworthy.”

They say something similar for app search as well. In China, Chinese Android apps are spread amongst many app stores. Shenma positions itself as something different – a hybrid search engine & app store.

 

 

Shenma Search Results & Search Advertising

 

I’ll walk you through Shenma’s search page formats, while pointing out opportunities for advertising.

The top of Shenma search results pages are often dominated by mobile search ads. The ads come in various formats. Here’s one showing results for “women’s shoes”. All the images link to individual Taobao pages.

Below that, on the same search for “women’s shoes” are apparently organic results for Taobao, and then a link to a Baidu page.

      

Many search queries turn up ads for app downloads. Such as this search for “European hotels”.

 

Searches that aren’t related to products or apps tend to turn up mostly organic search results.

Some search queries reveal a list of app downloads. For example, here’s a search for “fun games”.

 

Shenma also features larger ad spots for brands. Here’s an example of one for vip.com. This is common on Chinese search engines. All the other major ones have special advertising options available for brands, to help them make a splash.

 

Should You Use Shenma Search for Marketing Purposes?

 

I’d say Shenma advertising is suitable for the following situations:

  • Major brands that want to be present on all search engines. I mean, there’s no reason to not be on Shenma. The search volumes may be lower, but it’s worth the effort to try.
  • Mobile-enabled online retail brands. If you have a physical product to sell online, and the experience is smooth on mobile devices, Shenma is a channel to look into.
  • Driving mobile app downloads, including games.

 

Shenma Advertising Account Setup & Management

 

Shenma advertising accounts can be setup via agencies. Such as us!

Account setup requires a business license and domain. Extra paperwork may be required for some advertisers.

The management platform is broken down into the familiar search marketing format. There are campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads. It also supports negative keywords. The interface is in Chinese only.

Need help advertising on Chinese search engines? Learn more here.


 

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