Baidu’s Brand Zone provides advertisers with a unique opportunity to ‘own’ above the fold brand space on Baidu’s SERPs. Brand Zone allows advertisers to essentially bid on core brand keywords, with both text and graphical advertising units being served, occupying much or all of above the fold real estate. This level of exposure clearly can have huge impact in terms of click through rates and brand awareness.
The only equivalent to this on the other search engines would be returning multiple paid and natural results at the top of Google, along with a graphical ad when a consumer searches for a brand/product.
Brands such as BMW, Hilton, Mercedes, Chanel and Burberry are benefiting from this type of advertising. See how Burberry ‘owns’ brand space on Baidu –
The nature of this type of advertising could presents a real threat to some corners of affiliate marketing, intent on trading off the back of Brand names. The impact will be less felt in China where such activity is less prominent, more for the Western world, if Google takes note of such ad potential and provides this service for Brand owners in the West.
Given the direction of Google’s Panda updates recently, essentially favouring brand-owners, this could dovetail nicely with the overall direction of Google search. Watch this space.