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Ask a Septeni Expert Series

Creative Consulting: How to make engaging video ads for the Japanese market.

Targeting and optimization are becoming more automated due to the significant evolution of algorithms on media platforms. Following this trend, it has become vital to create ads which express characteristics of products in a way which draws users' attention. Today, we will ask a creative director and solution planner at Septeni Global directly about the techniques for creating successful video ads!


Q1: In Western countries, some ads are designed to express how fun a game is by using assets of the game. Is this the case in Japan?


A: It’s a typical technique to create video ads using only assets from the game. However, users get bored watching the same video ads. We, Septeni Global, are always seeking new ways of expression for video ads which are appropriate for Japanese users. One of our findings was ‘casting’. Compared to video ads using game assets, videos with a cast are expected to yield a more stable effect, and have lower CPI and higher ROAS.

Q2: It is totally surprising to me that ads using a cast is more effective than ads with Anime or Manga which is so pervasive in Japanese culture. Is it similar to casting ordinary people in TV commercials?


A: Casting mentioned here is the technique which utilizes a recorded cast (person) in video ads as the source of content. Videos with a cast fit well especially with app game promotions and they stand out more than other ads when recorded faces of actual people are used effectively. On average, they tend to have higher CTR compared to other creatives. Additionally, I think target users can ‘personalize’ the experience and naturally want to play the game when they see the cast playing the games. Thus, CVR and ROAS tend to be relatively high as well.

Q3: Western culture highlights individualism and people usually do not automatically feel like doing something just because other people do it, but Japanese culture sounds like it is the opposite. So specifically speaking, what kind of casting works best?


A: It depends on the genres of products, but gameplay generally goes well with mobile games. These days, an online streamer such as a YouTuber is ranked between No.1 and No.6 by Japanese elementary school age children for their career aspiration (※). A YouTuber gets so much attention. Also, I think the keyword for success of these video ads is its “unlikeness to ads”. In today’s world overflowing with ads, these video ads with casting aim to reduce target users’ resistances to ads with content-like videos and help to differentiate. Casting gives target users a sense of closeness and showing someone like their real friend having fun playing the game naturally appeals to how fun the products are. Similarly, web commercials created based on products or targets are also effective.


※ 2019 Shougakusei Hakusho “Ranking of Dream Jobs” (Gakken Holdings)


Q4: In general, a digital marketing agency receives assets of still images or videos from their clients, brushes up and edits them to create ads, but can Septeni Global create videos with a cast of its own? Or do you outsource to third party partners?


A: Based on our experience, Septeni Global has casts on annual contracts who have been vetted based on a comprehensive assessment. We can provide comprehensive in-house service from proposals for appropriate casts and stories to actual recording, editing and media operation. From the client’s perspective, lower communication costs and shorter delivery times are the merits of working with us.

Q5: Video ads are a much deeper topic than I thought. Are there any other video formats which are popular in Japan these days when it comes to integrated marketing services or video ads production?


A: I would say video ads using narrations leveraging ‘voice’ is another one of the latest trends. Going back to the earlier question, voice artists are an essential part of Anime and Manga culture in Japan. Famous voice artists are like celebrities, having a wide range of fan groups and strong influence. With the help of such voice artists’ influence, narration is extremely effective for video ads delivered on media where audio can be heard by users such as YouTube and TikTok. At Septeni Global, we are able to cast from a wide range of voice artists from rising stars to artists with over 1 million social media followers and propose appropriate video creatives that have narration too.


Q6: Video ads with narration by voice artists sounds really innovative. Are there any other new initiatives?


It is not new, but let me talk about an initiative which adds a little something extra to a live streaming which has been popular all over the world. For live streaming, typically agencies specializing in influencer marketing are tapped. But Septeni Global actually can provide in-house live streaming to expand brand awareness and improve customer satisfaction, in addition to its regular media operation and UA campaigns services. We have been receiving favorable feedback from our clients that real time ad operations on social media in tandem with live streaming on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Niconico, enables visualization of hard to be heard user voices while maximizing synergies. One of our core strengths is our ability to provide full end to end service for campaigns from the upper funnel including operational targeting and strategy planning, all the way down to the lower funnel including planning, casting and ad operation, which is otherwise difficult for other players to provide by themselves.

Meet Septeni Global Creative Thought Leaders


Kotaro // Creative Director

Joined Septeni Global in 2018. Has previous experience as a TV program director, TV commercial director and designer. As a Creative Director at Septeni Global, Kotaro has been leading creative operations for a variety of campaigns focusing mainly on global gaming clients, leveraging his experience in video creation and graphic design. His area of expertise is creatives that require film production for user acquisition.

Junichi // Solution Planner

Joined Septeni Global in 2020. Has previous experience in sales and planning for the entertainment industry. At Septeni Global, Junichi has been engaged in a large number of projects focusing on global gaming clients. His core strength is in promotion planning from the perspective of branding, user acquisition, and leads strategy, planning, and, execution using the knowledge and network built through his 10+ year experience in the industry.


About Septeni Global

Septeni Global is an award-winning, global integrated marketing agency specializing in supporting cross border clients. With 200+ in-house designers, deep resources and industry know-how, we can best serve our clients regardless of their creative needs or product from app, web, gaming or lifestyle. If you are interested in expanding your business into Japan, fill out the contact form below to book a free strategy call with one of our creating consulting experts.

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