Most B2B marketers are familiar with web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics. For much of the world, it’s a must-have (free!) tool to discover insights into how your website is performing.
In China, however, it’s a different story. A site will become very slow when there is Google Analytics code inserted on the page.
The challenge is, if the code is removed, how can marketers gain the insight they need on site traffic? For B2B companies heading into China, the answer is Baidu Tongji (also called Baidu Analytics).
Baidu Analytics is a free tool for tracking and reporting traffic data of users visiting your site. Launched in 2009, there are dozens of analytics reports that you can create and view on Baidu Analytics.
Similar to Google Analytics, the data gives you great insight into your site performance. It allows you to understand how people come to your site and interact with it, and then use this information to develop strategies to optimize the site, improve user experience, and generate more traffic and conversions.
How to Set Up a Baidu Analytics Account
As a free tool, it is very easy to get registered. There are three types of Analytics accounts: one is for webmasters, one is for PPC advertisers, and one is for mobile application developers. The PPC version integrates Baidu advertising data, which requires a PPC account for access.
If you want to register for a regular account, the process is simple. You can register the free account with an email and your web address, and create your own username and password.
Baidu Analytics does not work until you link it to your website. When you finish setting up a new account and sign in for the first time, go to the management center to get a tracking code and add it to every page of your website.
If you build a website with HTML files, you can edit the HTML and paste the code before the “</head>” tags. Then you are all set – you’re ready to see the traffic data from users visiting your website.
How to Set Up Conversions in Baidu Analytics
Conversions are the core pieces of data for tracking website performance. Besides website traffic, you also want to know how people interact with your site and if their activities reach your expectations.
There are four types of conversions that you can set up with Baidu Analytics: pages of actions, events, visit duration, and the number of page views. By setting up different conversions, you can evaluate how these activities fulfill your goals.
For example, if you are seeking to gain new users, you can set action goals like new sign-up, whitepaper download, and new account creation. If you want to interact with your visitors, you can set event goals like click to call, online chatting, and social sharing.
For e-commerce sites, setting goals like clicking the shopping cart button or viewing successful transaction pages are essential.
Basic Baidu Analytics Reports
There are many different types of reports available through Baidu Analytics. Here are a few I’ve found most useful for B2B marketing:
From the Acquisition Report, you can see metrics including page views, visits, unique visitors, average visit duration, and conversions. Baidu has a well-designed interface so you can get a clear picture of the overall traffic, including channel, source and medium, percentage, changes in a particular period, and site performance on different devices.
Audience Insight Report
The Audience Insight Report provides user data, including demographic overview, education and vocation, interest, geographic, device usage, new and returning visitors, and loyalty (as determined by visit frequency, recency, and engagement).
Baidu Analytics provides a comparison insight chart that compares your site visitor data and overall Internet user data. It puts your site in a broader context and it’s something that Google Analytics doesn’t offer.
Generally speaking, the Audience Insight Report is not only valuable to understand your online visitors, but also helps you develop an integrated online marketing strategy to deliver a targeted and relevant message to your audience through multiple channels.
Other Helpful Reports
Baidu Analytics can generate other relevant reports like page analysis of all pages, landing pages and exit pages, Baidu Advertising data, real-time reporting, and site speed test.
Also, it gives SEO Suggestion reports covering the length of URL, meta data, alt tags, Baidu indexation report, etc., which help you identify common SEO problems.
Challenges with Baidu Analytics
There are a few shortcomings of Baidu Analytics that you should understand. The interface is only in Chinese, so you need help from a native speaker to assist in managing the account.
In addition, there is no custom report or e-commerce tracking function like there is in Google Analytics, which may raise challenges if you want to generate an elaborate customized report or get a comprehensive e-commerce report.
Recent Updates to Baidu Analytics
Baidu Analytics is continually updating and becoming more user-friendly; in fact, a new version published at the end of October. 2016. The version 4.0 upgraded the security attributes from http to https while maintaining its asynchronous feature, improved the API to allow the integration of third-party data, updated conversion reporting allowing for more details, added the administration choice to allow multiple users to manage the account with various levels of authority. Moreover, the interface is cleaner, more stable, and more beautiful.
Baidu Analytics is an essential tool for B2B marketers in the China market. It provides valuable insights into your current visitors and shows where improvements need to be made on your website.
With this beginner guide to Baidu Analytics, I hope B2B marketers can get started using this tool to develop better online marketing strategies for their China sites. We will cover a more comprehensive and thorough guide of Baidu Analytics in another post in the near future. Please stay tuned!