Guide to Yahoo! Japan: 5 reasons why you should use Yahoo! Japan

When you think of paid search platforms, most people automatically think of either AdWords or Bing. However, when you take a look at paid search platforms across the globe, you will quickly realise that in some markets AdWords or Bing are not the preferred options.

At Croud, we’ve found that it’s important to have the local touch so that we are able to deliver the best results, using the most relevant tools to our international clients. Croud has a global network of digital experts (our Croudies) who are able to respond on the ground in real time, so that we never miss an opportunity.

Expanding into Japan

If you’re considering expanding your business to a new market, it’s important to have local insight around consumer behaviour and trends. This cultural knowledge could be the difference between a roaring success or a flop. So if you’re hoping to break into the Japanese market, there’s one search engine you really can’t ignore; Yahoo! Japan.

1. Yahoo! Japan has the biggest share of the online market

Yahoo! Japan has the largest share of search queries in Japan (various data shows from 60% to 70%), followed by Google. If we look at the online advertising market, Google is increasing its share.

However, Yahoo! Japan continues to dominate one-third of the search market share. Failing to use Yahoo! Japan means that you could be missing out on at least one-third of the market opportunities, and considering the overall share, you may be missing out on a lot more than that.

Why is Yahoo! Japan popular in Japan?

It’s a popular misconception that Yahoo! Japan is run by Yahoo! Inc. in the US. However, in actual fact, the two search engines are very different companies.

Yahoo! Japan is owned and operated by Yahoo! Japan Corporation, a Japanese company which was formed as a joint venture between Yahoo! Inc and SoftBank (a giant Japanese mobile phone company).

Yahoo! Japan was the first internet portal site founded in 1996 and since then it has been preferred site amongst the Japanese.

Yahoo! Japan operates very popular services which are bespoke to Japanese customers. One of their most popular sites is Yahuoku, which translates as Yahoo! Japan Auction.

Previously eBay had tried to expand into the Japanese market but quickly withdrew because they were unable to compete with Yahuoku. This is a prime example as to why it’s important to do your research.

Other popular services include Yahoo! Japan News and Yahoo! Japan Shopping

The Yahoo! Japan homepage enables convenient one-stop browsing where consumers are able to search various topics, including the news, weather, travel, and shopping, all from Yahoo! Japan’s homepage.

2. Increase coverage

By using both Yahoo! Japan and AdWords, you can increase your brand’s visibility.

Research shows that women have a preference for Yahoo! Japan, along with the older generation, whereas the younger generations prefer Google.

This information is useful for targeting different age or gender groups. You might also want to change ad copy to target audiences according to platform.

Yahoo! Japan has its own partner network meaning that you can increase coverage quickly and easily, as their network and Google’s network operate differently.

From my experience, the date and time of increased lead volume are different on Yahoo! Japan and AdWords. Usually, I see the expected trends on AdWords, such as low volume of leads during holidays; however, we sometimes see unexpected peaks on weekends on Yahoo! Japan.

3. Less competition

I have been working in digital marketing for Japan for many years and have found that the majority of global companies are still only using AdWords when advertising to a Japanese audience. There could be various reasons behind this, such as budget or a lack of Japanese speaking staff. However, I believe that it’s most likely that they just don’t know about Yahoo! Japan.

As many global companies’ first choice is AdWords, many of them are not advertising on Yahoo! Japan, meaning that there’s less competition in the market.


Yahoo! Japan is the more cost-effective option. For example, when I look at the data of one of our clients, the average cost per click (CPC) of the AdWords account is 615 JPY. Whereas the average CPC of Yahoo! Japan is 520 JPY, which is 15.4% less than AdWords. Both accounts have a very similar structure and keywords.

4. Unique ad options

Yahoo! Japan has three platforms for online advertising; Sponsored Search, YDN (Yahoo! Japan Display Ad Network) and Twitter Ads, which are only available to domestic customers.

Sponsored Search

This is a paid search advertising platform, with most functions being very similar to AdWords. As the basics are similar to AdWords, you can optimise your Yahoo! Japan account in a similar way, although admittedly it takes more work.

You can use this platform to target by location, time and dates. However, as it’s specifically a Japanese service, there aren’t any language or country options.

YDN (Yahoo! Japan Display Ad Network)

YDN is the display network service and it is a separate platform from search ads. If you visit the Yahoo! Japan top page, you will see the HUGE banners on both sides. There are also video ads options.

They offer various ad options, from placement on the Yahoo! Japan top page to their display network, from large to small image sizes.

In-feed ads

There are various banner and video ad options on YDN. One of the unique ad options are in-feed ads. These are shown on the timeline of Yahoo! Japan top page for smartphones and allow longer descriptions, so they look like one of the articles.

We recently introduced in-feed ads to our clients and we have seen positive results, and as the use of smartphones increases in Japan, ads that specifically target mobile users will be in higher demand.

5. Localised services

One of Yahoo! Japan’s core strengths are that it’s run by a local Japanese company. When I think of my online life in Japan, I notice that I am surrounded by Yahoo! Japan services, whether reading news articles, browsing auction sites or shopping online.

They understand Japanese consumer habits and are constantly introducing new and relevant services. As they hold the largest share of the online market, they have access to a bounty of data which is used to inform their advertising strategies.

I have been in the industry for many years and have witnessed first hand the benefits of utilising both search engines, and as previously mentioned, AdWords’ and Yahoo! Japan’s performances are usually different, despite having very similar structures and keywords. This is possibly due to the different audiences and how they are used.

Are you considering expanding into the Japanese market? Are you using AdWords only? Why not try Yahoo! Japan? Otherwise, you might be missing out. Contact us if you’d like to find out more about tapping into the Japanese market.

by Minao Bache
6 November 2017



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