Japanese PPC campaigns can fail for a number of reasons. In this article we highlight 5 particularly common ones we come across when reviewing accounts.
You already know you that you should only run Japanese language PPC ads in Japan. You may also be aware of some of the unique aspects of written Japanese, which makes Japanese PPC campaigns different from those in English or other languages. But as important as language is to running a successful Japanese PPC campaign, the most common reasons PPC campaigns fail in Japan have little to do with the language.
5 Reasons Your Japanese PPC Campaigns Fail
Your Budget is Too Small
The Japanese market is highly competitive and Japanese PPC is no exception.Japanese businesses invest a lot into their marketing and advertising and if your budget is too small to compete with your rivals here in Japan, you won’t be happy with results.
Now, of course, every industry will have different levels of spend, but the fact remains budgets that are too small will not achieve the same results as budgets that are appropriate for their industry and level of competition. While your organization may have a pre-determined budget for your marketing and digital advertising expenses in Japan, it’s important to keep in mind that this amount needs to be reasonable for the market and not something that can just be arbitrarily decided.
How do you determine your budget?
Unfortunately, an advertisers’ digital media budget is highly dependent on a number of factors, and there is no rule of thumb or formula you can just plug in numbers to. The keywords you select, the types and numbers of campaigns, and the level of competition are all variables which impact your advertising spend.
The best way to approach the topic of budget allocation for the Japanese market is to inquire with someone who has experience in media planning for Japan and knows how to manage Japanese PPC campaigns. Working together you can then determine where your advertising dollars are best spent to help you meet your goals.
Your Account Structure Is Not Ideal
Let’s start by first saying that there is no one right way to structure an account. Certain, commonly-advised and recommended structures—including those considered best practices—might not be the best fit for you, but without experience you may not realize this.
That being said, in order to succeed in Japan you need to have a structure that works best for your business. In other words, your account should be built specifically to achieve your goals and objectives and not based on a cookie cutter template for PPC campaigns.
To begin with you’ll want to consider the types of campaigns you run and ad formats you use, but you can get even more granular with the various settings and options. If you’re dealing with the Google Ads platform, there are a number of pay-per-click options available, which can get overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the platform.
While it can be appealing to just go with a generic strategy, account planning and structure are critical to long-term success when it comes to PPC.
You Haven’t Touched Your Account in Weeks or Months
As much as we would love for this to be true, PPC campaigns are not something you can just set and forget. Even with automated bidding strategies, there is a great deal of manual operation and adjustment that goes on behind the scenes, which is crucial to ensuring your campaigns deliver results.
Additionally, actively monitoring and analyzing the data in the ad platform interface and checking it against your analytics are keys to both general account management and PPC optimization efforts. Especially in the early stages of setting up and managing your Japanese PPC campaigns, you will want to be particularly diligent.
But even after that initial period, as your account grows and you invest more into your Japanese PPC, you will find that there is almost no end to the amount of tests and experiments you can run, which is why it’s often said that PPC is a marathon not a sprint.
At the end of the day, the more attention you can devote to your account the better it will perform.
Your Website Doesn’t Convert
In some cases your Japanese PPC campaigns may be doing exactly what they need to be doing; delivering qualified traffic to your website or ecommerce store at an acceptable cost. It’s everything post-click (i.e. your website and conversion rate) that’s actually the issue.
No matter how much traffic gets sent to your website, if you can’t successfully make the sale, then you’ll have serious problems scaling your business in the Japanese market. Especially with ecommerce, it’s critically important that your Japanese PPC and your website are working together.
While this is an all-too-common problem among non-Japanese businesses, issues concerning websites and ecommerce stores go beyond the realm of purely PPC and into that of web design and conversion rate optimization (CRO). While closely intertwined with one another, they are in fact separate disciplines.
A digital marketing review or audit can help identify whether the issue is with your site or if it’s your account structure that’s derailing your Japanese SEM efforts. For more detailed information on this topic you can contact us directly.
Your Offering Needs Work
No one likes to hear this, however, not every offering or product will be well-received in the Japanese market. This is the reality of doing business in Japan.
Particularly in consumer-facing industries, businesses must fiercely compete with local rivals. What makes B2C difficult in this case is that domestic Japanese businesses have a far better understanding of what Japanese customers want and how to sell to them.
Other issues affecting your ability to sell in Japan could vary, ranging from your messaging to your pricing strategy.
That being said, if your PPC campaigns aren’t performing as you had anticipated, but you think you’re doing your PPC correctly, it is worth consulting with an outside party to investigate the matter and get a less biased opinion. Sometimes, you can be too close to the product to see potential issues for yourself, and it’s always better to find and address these problems sooner rather than later.
Japanese PPC remains one of the most popular ways for businesses to reach potential customers in Japan. Indeed, for D2C (direct-to-consumer) ecommerce brands and those in consumer-facing industries and verticals, PPC is an essential channel to have in your digital marketing mix.
While in this article we’ve highlighted some of the biggest reasons Japanese PPC campaigns fail, many more issues can only be identified through a comprehensive audit of your PPC account combined with a thorough review of your digital marketing efforts in Japan. While getting Japanese PPC campaigns to work for your business takes time and dedication, the results can be well worth it if done correctly.