Yahoo! Ads Japan – Top 3 FAQs

Posted By Jim Kersey

Search ads are an important way to reach potential customers and make sales in Japan. For many foreign brands first launching their products here, it’s a vital first step to generating revenue that will sustain future activities.

However, Yahoo! Ads is also an important platform to consider, given its significant user numbers, naturally lower competition (compared to Google), and, importantly, the fact that many older Japanese individuals with higher disposable income choose Yahoo! as their search engine of choice.

We explore some top questions and answers relating to the use of Yahoo! as a viable platform for launching search ads in Japan as a Western brand.


Should I Approach Yahoo Ads Differently?

Mobile phone screen showing Yahoo Ads Japan app

Google and Yahoo! use a similar algorithm to review and summarize web content into ranked search results, making a logical calculation about the meaning of a user’s search and delivering results and content it thinks are the most appropriate.

Both platforms also index and let you search the exact same Japanese websites, and in this sense, these platforms shouldn’t be treated differently. However, results in most common searches for the same keyword, question or phrase in these search engines often lead to different results.

This is significant when you’re engaged in SEO advertising to drive organic traffic to your site just as much as when you’re creating a PPC campaign.

The most important thing to remember is that although slight differences in the algorithms of these platforms affect what search results look like (with certain features or promotions given priority over others), the biggest determining factor is the differing user intentions and actions of people on each site.

Yahoo’s search results are created based on the search history and online activities of people who use it. And as the interests and behavior of this group can be significantly different to people searching on Google for the same keyword or term.

A Smaller Audience

Yahoo’s total audience size in Japan is considerably smaller than Google’s. This makes it important to check whether your target demographics are big enough on this platform before launching a campaign. If your ideal audience does indeed use Yahoo as their preferred search platform, it would no doubt warrant greater interest and budget.

Google 77.13%
Yahoo! 17.72%
bing 4.7%
Baidu 0.16%
DuckDuckGo 0.16%

Source: Statcounter

Lower CPC and Higher ROI

A smaller audience combined with few advertisers using Yahoo as a platform for PPC marketing (especially foreign brands), means that competition is lower. This naturally translates to lower advertising costs and a greater return on investment if you’re able to connect with the right customers using Yahoo!

A Localized Approach for Yahoo! Ads

All search campaigns and SEO marketing activities must be heavily localized in Japan, which means adapting content and targeting options based on what you know about people’s preferences and intentions rather than simply borrowing the strategy you used for your home market.

You may have localized your approach for Google, but it’s also worth revisiting this process when you launch Yahoo! Ads in Japan. It’s possible that audiences on Google will be using completely different Japanese terms and phrases than those on Yahoo!

Which Keywords Should I Target?

Older and younger demographics using Yahoo! Ads in Japan

Yahoo! Was once installed on the computers of most office workers in Japan. And combined with the fact that Japanese individuals are known for being incredibly loyal to brands and services, it’s no surprise that older Japanese users are often more likely to prefer using this platform over Google.

As older consumers tend to have much greater purchasing power, this makes it a great place to focus your efforts if you’re selling more high-end, luxury products to this demographic.

Just make sure that you are building your strategy based on the way older users actually behave on the platform, rather than making too many assumptions. For instance, the keywords people use when searching for stuff online will vary depending on their age.

Younger Japanese people might incorporate more English terms into their searches due to their greater exposure to global trends, or they might use slang or colloquial terms that older generations are not aware of.

A narrow approach to keywords can cause you to miss many opportunities when using Yahoo! Ads in Japan. You’ll need to work with native Japanese speakers to build your keyword targeting strategy and draw from their understanding of culture as well as carry out new research to implement the right approach — based on what Yahoo! users are likely to type when searching for certain products or services.

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Is Success On Yahoo Ads Difficult to Achieve?

Marketer measuring performance of Yahoo! Ads Japan

We wouldn’t say Yahoo! Ads is significantly harder to use, however, you do need to build a unique approach for this advertising platform, which can require extra work and research. Whether you’re using Google or Yahoo! Ads in Japan, success relies on understanding the mindset of your audience and identifying important micro-moments that influence customer behaviours.

If you’re able to create ads and content that tap into these moments, and people’s natural journeys online when searching for various things, you have a good chance of directing the right kind of traffic to your brand and products.

Admittedly, we find Google’s targeting options and suite of advertising tools to be more sophisticated than what Yahoo! offers, which will often lead to higher CTRs and conversion rates. However, with lower competition and the chance to connect with individuals with higher disposable income on Yahoo! We always consider it when building a new PPC strategy.

Why Not Use Both?

Many brands entering the Japanese market will choose Google as their search ads platform of choice, but there’s no reason you can’t run both Google and Yahoo! Ads in Japan simultaneously. Together, they make up almost the entire Japanese population, giving you access to the customer groups you need.

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