Baidu officially retired the old PPC auction system, Classic Edition, as of 1 December 2009. All PPC keyword bidding are to run through the new system, Phoenix Nest.
The integration of the Classic Edition and Phoenix Nest happened on 30 November. During this system upgrade, Baidu shut down advertisers’ access to both the new system and the old system. Today, Baidu resumed the access to Phoenix Nest system.
Baidu has been allowing advertisers to concurrently run both systems (Classic Edition and Phoenix Nest) ever since the launch of Baidu’s Phoenix Nest. However, this Baidu PPC ad auction arrangement was not the ideal way for advertisers to manage their accounts that may have hundreds of thousands of keywords in each system. After the upgrade, you will have to only manage the campaigns in your Phoenix Nest account.
Regarding the display of PPC ads and organic search results, you will not find any significant difference on Baidu’s search results pages. However, based on search queries you will see 3 major different combinations of PPC sponsored ads and organic search results showing up on Baidu’s search engine result pages:
- Search queries on high traffic keywords: 10 PPC ads followed by 10 organic search results on the left side and 8 PPC ads on the right side
- Search queries on long tail keywords: 3 PPC ads followed by 10 organic search results on the left side and 8 PPC ads on the right side
- Search queries on keywords that are below the quality threshold: 10 organic search results and 8 PPC ads on the right side
Classic Edition’s old account data is still available through the report section after this upgrade.
I believe this integration will bring new opportunities to marketers who are focusing on search engine marketing through Baidu. Phoenix Nest is an auction system that you are required to consider your Baidu PPC account’s quality which mainly consists of keyword quality. You should optimize by improving your Baidu PPC’s keywords quality. The old way of keyword bidding by focusing mainly on keyword CPC will be forced to change.