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Google vs Yahoo! JAPAN Ads – What you should know about PPC advertisement in Japan

Did you know that Japan is one of just a few countries in the world where Google does not have 90% of the search engine market share? If you’ve done some research already, you know that Yahoo! JAPAN is Japan’s most popular web portal. So, they’re both important and you should advertise on both, but what’s different between the two platforms? In this article, discover the differences between the top two search engines in Japan and how to tailor your PPC search and display campaigns for each platform.

Google vs Yahoo! JAPAN – The merits of both?

Google – the search engine King

As we all know, Google is a technology company that is known for its minimalistic search engine platform, as well as offering other  services such as Gmail, Google Drive and Hangouts, etc. It dominates the search engine market globally, with the exception of China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan. According to Statcounter, unlike most western countries, Google only has 77.5% of the market share in Japan, with Yahoo! JAPAN claiming 18.3%. This is quite unusual if you compare it to most other western countries that have Google claiming over 90% of the search engine market share.

Yahoo! JAPAN – Japan’s no.1 web portal

Yahoo! JAPAN Homepage - Japan's no.1 web portal - Digital Marketing For Asia

One thing needs to be clarified before we start this section. This is not the same Yahoo you may be familiar with (see above). Yahoo! JAPAN is a SoftBank subsidiary that successfully localised and integrated its services into the daily lives of the Japanese. In April 2020, it beat Google in monthly active users and became the no.1 digital platform in Japan1.

As we explained in our beginner’s guide to the Japanese PPC market, although Yahoo! JAPAN may not have the greatest search engine market share, through its various apps and services you can reach 88% of all smartphone users and 67% of all PC users in Japan2. With over 100 services, ranging from Yahoo! JAPAN News (no.1 online news website in Japan), Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping (top 3 marketplace in Japan) to Paypay (no.1 smartphone payment system in Japan), most Japanese internet users (there were specifically 79.5 million users in April 20201) interact with a Yahoo! JAPAN service every day2

How to tailor your PPC campaigns in Japan

As both platforms control the market, we recommend that you advertise on BOTH PLATFORMS. However Japanese people use and interact with the two differently. Therefore advertisers should know these differences and tailor their Google and Yahoo! JAPAN ads as a result.

PPC advertising on Google

Google’s Features:

  • Japan’s no.1 search engine
  • SERP focused on Maps and more detailed knowledge panel
  • Clean, minimalistic design

How to advertise on Google Japan

  • Place search and display ads
  • Increase search ads budget where CV is highest

PPC advertising on Yahoo! JAPAN

Yahoo! JAPAN Features:

  • Japan’s no.1 web platform
  • Ranked 1st place for PC user volume and 2nd (just behind Google) for smartphone user volume
  • Best for targeting PC users and promoting B2B services
  • Information-rich web portal design with weather, news, etc. 

How to advertise on Yahoo! JAPAN

  • Place search and display ads as well
  • Brand panel ads are best for gaining the most impressions and increasing brand awareness in Japan (and surprisingly cost effective) see image below
  • Increase display ads budget where you can get the most conversions (CTR is high on smartphones)

PC Brand Panel Ad on Yahoo! JAPAN

In summary, running PPC campaigns on both Google and Yahoo! JAPAN is a must for any brand advertising in the Japanese market. It helps to have expert knowledge on market trends, Japanese internet user behaviour and experience running campaigns in Japan. Our team of Japanese bilingual PPC account managers have the expertise you need to succeed in Japan. We offer ad management for both platforms and our support for Yahoo! JAPAN is completely free. As long as you advertise on the platform, your dedicated account manager will train you on how to run ad campaigns, send you product updates and make optimisation suggestions to improve your PPC performance. Contact us for your free consultation call

1Source: Nielson Monthly Digital Content Report (April 2020)
2Source: Yahoo! JAPAN Media Sheet (March 2020)

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