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 does mobile search and mobile search only. Even on their own homepage, there’s no option to search via the PC.
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.
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.
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.
I’d say Shenma advertising is suitable for the following situations:
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.