Search box in ads

Using the search box in advertising has become very popular in Japan. You see the search box in TV commercials, magazine ads, online ads, etc. etc. It’s every where, but do they really rank for the search term?

Having the search box in ads with suggested keyword phrase has become very popular in Japan in 2007. Many of them using their company name, brand name, or product name as the search phrase, but some come up with creative phrases such as this “DoCoMo” ad below. In this ad for their mobile home control system, you see a search box above company logo with a search phrase “Ano bucho (that director)”.

The search box has been used in ads for a while in Japan, but was really taking off when I was in Japan back in July. I saw it on TV ads, magazine ads, newspaper ads, ads on train/subways, etc. etc. It was every where. I was curious, and tried several search phrases in different ads to see if they were ranking or not. I thought that their page should come up high in the search results along with the paid ad, if the search phrase was their company name, brand name, or product name, but some (like DoCoMo’s “Ano bucho” seemed to be too generic.) What I found was that in most cases, they rank high only for the paid ads in the search result page, and were no where to be found in the organic search results.

Search box in ads in JapanWhen you run a campaign like this, it’s like announcing the world, “If you search for this word, you will find us on the results page right away!”, and you should make sure to be on the 1st page of the search results 24-7. I was surprised and disappointed by the fact that many businesses chose not to optimize the landing page for the phrase. When the campaign money runs out, or the daily budget runs out, if you don’t rank well organically, someone else (maybe your competitors) would benefit from it.