One of the tings mostly overlooked by advertisers, especially those not based in China and trying to promote their websites in China through pay per click (Google Adwords) is the fact that the Chinese visitors actually might just not be able to visit their websites!
One example should help. Everyone knows about Homestead.com , the popular all-in-one DIY sitebuilder + hosting platform that was quite hot in the early 2000, maybe not that much now as people become more knowledgeable in web design or for selecting a web hosting solution that better suits their needs. Homestead advertise heavily through Adwords and China is one of the markets where their ads are shown. They appear mostly for their own name and many search terms related to web hosting, wed design etc. However, Homestead.com has been blocked in China for the last two or three years at least! This means that they have been spending tens of dollars (or even more, considering that their industry has rather high CPC values) every day for years now, while those who click on the ad could not access their sites and would shut down the browser in a second. Talking about wasting resources.
Now for Homestead these might be pennies and probably they don’t care of this loss for China in their global advertising budget. However for small businesses targeting China, without the proper analytics software in place to track country of origin for their web visitors, bounce rates etc. that could have made them aware of the problem, this could be a serious hit to their bottom lines. We had a Canadian client coming to us who, after six months of “heavy” advertising in China through Adwords for their Chinese website, didn’t seem to get anything going in terms of sales or leads, and where surprised to find out that their sites couldn’t be accessed here without a proxy! And don’t count on Google to inform you of the situation, you might even be paying more than other advertisers since the high bounce rate will definitely lower your site quality score.
So, if you were to advertise through Google Adwords (or any other PPC network, for what it matters) in China, first make sure that you site can be seen here. There are online tools to check access from Chinese locations, if you know someone in China the best bet would be to ask them to test if they can visit your site. Ultimately, if your site main audience in China, you might consider hosting in China altogether, as you will get faster load times for your visitors which can be a boost for your site friendliness for users and quality score as well…But this will be for another article