KNT-CT Global Travel, a subsidiary of Japan's second largest travel agent, is a specialty company targeting inbound tourists. YOKOSO Japan is their website, offering a huge choice of tours. The company viewed inbound Japanese tourism as a growth area, and wanted to expand YOKOSO Japan, to serve the global market. However, with low awareness and low search volume, the brand was not well established overseas.
KNT-CT Global Travel was confident that YOKOSO Japan was sufficiently differentiated from competitors. They believed, if awareness could be raised and traffic brought to the site, tour sales would follow. So, using both Google query and Japan Tourism Agency's data, they began by finding the most appropriate countries to target.
Data showed that tourists from Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore were most likely to arrive in Japan as independent travelers, making them excellent prospects for local tour sales. Tourists from Hong Kong were also more likely to have visited Japan before, suggesting that an awareness-raising campaign could be effective for longer. Consumer Barometer from Google highlighted that in Hong Kong, 79% of consumers use a smartphone, 46% of Internet users view online video daily, and 27% at least once a week.1
KNT-CT Global Travel decided to target the Hong Kong market first, with video and display advertising campaigns. Video ads designed to raise brand awareness and encourage searches were produced in two formats: Google TrueView in-stream ads and bumper ads. (TrueView ads are only paid for when watched. A bumper ad is a six-second video format for driving brand reach.) Google Display advertising was also deployed using viewable CPM to expand the campaign's reach further and bolster awareness as well as search volume.
On testing the effects, each of the ad formats delivered to the same target using roughly the same budget. Google recommended elements to incorporate for increasing brand lift.
Results were measured using brand lift and search lift as key performance indicators (KPIs) for both video ad formats, and search lift as the KPI for display advertising. Reach rate — showing how widely ads were seen based on the selected settings and targeting — and cost were also compared and analysed.
TrueView in-stream and bumper ads boosted both brand awareness and search volume. However, the rise in brand awareness was stronger with bumper advertising, while search lift was higher with TrueView in-stream ads - well above the industry average. Considered by keyword, searches for YOKOSO Japan attributable to the bumper ads increased over 1,000%.
Based on the success of video advertising to increase brand keyword search volume — and on the fact that brand keyword search volume uplift vanished once the video campaign finished — in April 2017, KNT-CT Global Travel started Video Always-On marketing to the Hong Kong and Taiwan markets.
KNT-CT Global Travel increased video branding budget by 3.7 times compared to 2016, thereby increasing brand keyword search volume +47% YoY in Hong Kong, and +51% YoY in Taiwan, while benchmarking competitors saw negative or little increase in their brand keyword search volume. KNT-CT is now confident in Video Always-On, and plan to utilise this increase in brand search for more website visits.
In the words of Takuya Ohno, Manager of the International FIT Sales Department: "With this campaign, we hoped to learn how video and display advertising could affect brand awareness and search lift in the Hong Kong market. What we found was that Google’s ‘bumper ad’ format is highly effective for raising both brand awareness and search lift. This suggests an orientation for our future branding activities as well."
Google’s ‘bumper ad’ format is highly effective for raising both brand awareness and search lift. Takuya Ohno, Manager, International FIT Sales Department, KNT-CT Global Travel
Google Consumer Barometer 2016 ↩