Top 3 Japanese PPC Best Practices

Posted By Jim Kersey

When trying to build traction in the Japanese market, PPC is probably the most effective tool you have at your disposal — especially if you’re new here.

Whether you’re trying to drive immediate sales in a competitive product segment through Google or build brand credibility among niche demographics, as part of your localized social media sales funnel, getting your approach to Japanese PPC marketing is something all brands must get right.

In this post, we outline three of our most important tips for PPC success!

Table of Contents

Work with Up-to-Date Japanese Customer Personas

Woman drinking tea Japanese PPC customer persona example

It was once assumed (and hoped) by Western brands that the middle class was largely homogeneous, responding well to the advertising that promoted quality and luxury. However, while there is still a strong appetite for premium Western products, we’ve seen the attitudes and behaviors of Japanese consumers change significantly in recent years.

The reality today is that even amidst groups with high disposable income, shoppers are much more price-conscious, and overall, the Japanese consumer market is incredibly complex and diverse.

It’s true that commonalities and trends exist here, which will make adapting your branding and marketing easier, but making too many assumptions is dangerous.

All of this is to say that when engaging in Japanese PPC, you need an accurate understanding of your customer personas, gathered from recent data and research. From here, everything from your Japanese keyword strategy for Google to your Facebook Ads targeting parameters will be more effective.

To achieve this, we recommend that everything from your market analysis to keyword research should be performed with the support of native Japanese speakers. Otherwise there are so many opportunities you could miss.

For instance, colloquialisms or slang terminology for products or services used by specific demographic groups may yield incredibly high click-throughs, while simply relying on top-level Japanese keyword translations of your keywords in saturated markets may give you very little reward.

For Japanese consumer insights, take a look at our post: Marketing in Japan? 10 Important things You Need to Know About Japanese Consumers

Get in Touch for Japanese PPC Support

Build Fully Conversion-Optimized Landing Pages for Individual Audiences

Old and young Japanese PPC customer personas

With your Japanese customer persona in place, we recommend that you also build fully conversion-optimized landing pages for your individual campaigns. Below are a few reasons why.

Japanese shoppers have been known to prefer high levels of product information compared to consumers in other countries. This includes details about product materials and how products work. The key here is accuracy rather than aspirational lifestyle content alone. By building unique landing pages that are rich in informational content, you’ll get much higher conversion rates than simply sending all your traffic to your homepage.

Western brands in Japan are often battling against an inherent preference for domestic brands over foreign ones. Overcoming this distrust requires you to prove your products and brands are entirely geared towards Japanese shoppers. A strong localized landing page is one of the best ways to do this.

Demographic groups may respond better when information is presented differently on websites and landing pages. For instance, certain older users in Japan will not enjoy the kind of minimal and stripped back approach to landing pages you’re used to. Instead, they might prefer a higher number of CTAs on one page, less white space overall and an abundance of product images.

HB Pro Tip: Landing pages should be highly relevant to the ad copy or visual imagery that triggered them to the page in the first place. If expectations are not immediately met your bounce rate and CPC will quickly rise. While this applies everywhere, there’s a higher risk of this happening if your page is not fully localized for Japan.

Learn How to Cater to Japanese Audiences with Effective Web Design

Warm-Up Cold Audiences with Video Content

Shooting video content for Japanese PPC advertisements

Investing in Japanese video content pays off if you do it properly. And we would recommend you at least match the focus you put into video marketing in your home market when building your Japanese PPC strategy.

For brands who are desperate to build brand awareness here, engaging video content distributed through Facebook/Instagram Ads is a vital part of developing a functioning sales funnel, warming up your audience before you retarget them with more conversion-focused content.

Websites, landing pages, ecommerce product pages and social content (both organic and paid) will all benefit from video content too. For instance, showing a Japanese model wearing or using your products through short clips may give customers the confidence they need to shop from a foreign brand, rather than one they’re more familiar with.

A few tips for Japanese video marketing are:

  • Make sure content is adapted for both the platform and audience
  • Include sufficient product details and facts to satisfy the appetite for information in Japan
  • Choose your audio component carefully
  • Consider subtle text overlays that can guide the reader through video content
  • Avoid content that is overly corporate or generic — there’s much more scope in Japan for content to be fun and silly
  • Finish with tangible actions, goals, or CTAs

Selling Online in Japan? Take a Look at Our 5 Golden Rules

Final Tips for Japanese PPC

There’s a good amount of preparation to be done before any successful Japanese PPC campaign is launched. And even once you’re up and running, it’s important that you allow your campaigns to evolve based on what you learn about your audience (through the data you gather but also through broader market research efforts).

Trends and tastes can change quickly in Japan and updating and refreshing your approach (including your understanding of your core customer personas) allows you to remove the guesswork.

Constantly split-testing, reviewing data, and looking for new opportunities might sound exhausting, but being too rigid, or expecting something you’ve implemented 6 months ago to still give you the same results, is a quick road to failure in Japan’s incredibly fast-moving consumer market.

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