China Marketing: Baiduʻs Black List

Before you decide to advertise on Baidu - China’s No. 1 search engine, it’s better to have a comprehensive guide on what Baidu won’t allow advertising. 

If you are planning to run ads on Baidu, you do require professionals and specialists to make the most out of your budget and marketing campaigns. With that being said, if you plan to run Baidu advertisements and would like to get started with a paid marketing approach, then this article will walk you through the products and services that aren’t allowed to be advertised on Baidu, including helpful tips on writing ad copies.

Baiduʻs Black List: Avoid political content and sensitive issues

Any political content and sensitive issues related to the government, policies, and regulations, including history and heroes or public figures that can damage China’s national interests, are highly prohibited. It’s better for your company to engage with a consultancy agency for business, economics, laws, and foreign trades. In that case, you are able to ensure that the content is also reviewed by a native professional who ensures that the content is safe for publishing and promotion.

No tobacco, narcotic drugs, and radioactive drugs 

If your company sells products and services in these sectors, you cannot advertise them on Baidu. These are strictly prohibited. Thus any content of any form is banned.

Watch out for highly regulated industries like pharmaceutical, healthcare, and food supplements

If you are in these industries, the content and ads you publish are highly regulated. These are not banned, but you must make sure that when you promote the products and services, they don’t promote the following concepts:

  • Guarantees that it is safe and effective to use

  • Suggests preventive measures and treatment for a disease

  • Claims that the products and services are suitable for consumers’ health 

  • Uses endorsements or certifications to promote the efficacy

  • Keep in mind, if you’re going to promote a product or service, make sure you add a disclaimer that it can’t replace a drug or treatment.

The same rules apply to highly regulated industries like real estate and financial investments

The real estate industry is highly lucrative in the Chinese market. Thus, marketers are highly restricted in advertising on the sector’s growth. That said, the ad copy must not contain guarantees of return of investment. The same rule applies to financial assets. There should never be a guarantee of safe investment or guarantee a high yield of return of investment.

Avoid superlative words like best, most, and #1

While the words “best” and “most” are often used in promotional campaigns in English, these are not allowed according to China internet laws. For example, the superlative character ‘最’ in Chinese equivalent to the English suffix ‘est’ is banned not just on Baidu but also on WeChat and other channels. 

If you use this, Baidu will automatically disapprove it, so it’s best to work with Chinese copywriters who know their way on the right keywords to use on ads. Your company must know the exact words and phrases that are not allowed in the advertising space.