Spikes Asia

The One Google Project: Exporters' Anchor in Times of Uncertainty

GROUPM CHINA, Shanghai / GOOGLE / 2021

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Overview

Background

Google is in a highly competitive category with other large international and domestic brands fighting for a share of China’s lucrative exporter market.

Since it is not an ecommerce platform itself, and its products, Google Search and YouTube, are not accessible to Chinese consumers, there is significant barrier to educate and convert business owners in China to the potential of advertising on the services.

COVID-19 dramatically affected the Chinese export market with domestic production slowed down by closed factories and foreign consumption depressed due to the uncertainty brought on by the epidemic. The world’s largest export market was also the first to experience the unique hardships of COVID-19.

In response, Google wanted to support Chinese exporters survive the pandemic while simultaneously:

1. Establish Google’s position as the key B2B partner for exporters

2. Increase customer affinity and brand popularity

3. Invite more engagement with Google products.

Idea

Google is in a highly competitive category with other large international and domestic brands fighting for a share of China’s lucrative exporter market. While well-known outside China, Google’s products are foreign to many Chinese internet users and business owners. Since it isn’t an ecommerce platform itself, and its products, Google Search and YouTube, are not accessible to Chinese consumers, there is significant barrier to educate and convert business owners in China to the potential of advertising on the services.

COVID-19 dramatically affected the export market with domestic production affected by closed factories and foreign consumption depressed due to the uncertainty brought on by the epidemic. The world’s largest export market was also the first to experience the unique hardships of COVID-19.

Chinese business owners were facing unprecedented challenges, and they were asking questions about how to operate in this new commercial environment.

Google had the answers.

Strategy

As our audience of exporters asked questions, Google wanted to be there with the answers. To achieve this, our strategy was to partner with China’s top knowledge app, Zhihu.

While competitors introduced specific content for COVID-19, our approach was to bring together an array of Google B2B and B2C content to educate and entertain exporters. Through a catch, connect, close and care model Google developed a range of content to guide users to become customers – and customers to achieve their ambitions with Google.

Zhihu was the perfect partner in China, a platform known for answering both personal and professional questions. As users were in an active, knowledge-seeking mindset, users were more willing to explore additional topics from across the Google product suite. Importantly, content was tied to specific Google products and benefits. This developed a strong understanding from the audience across products of how Google would help their business.

Execution

Working with Zhihu we developed a one-stop content hub and developed both original and existing content into key verticals, we were able to develop a comprehensive curriculum that included articles, training, webinars and livestreams – all accessible natively within the Zhihu app.

To appeal to more users, Google collaborated with some of Zhihu’s ‘Professional Users’ as influencers to share Google’s content, driving the traffic to the content hub. A range of on-platform assets and ads also drove users towards the content hub including high-impact open screen ads, in-feed ads, appearances on the hot list, and an interactive Q&A editorial format, native to Zhihu. To target specific user groups, Google created targeted audience tags within Zhihu, guiding them to the relevant content under similar tags.

Furthermore, Google ran extensive A/B tests across creative assets to understand how imagery and copy affected campaign performance.

Outcome

Stronger affinity drives hub visitors and engagement

More than 1.6 million Chinese visited the Google content hub.

By developing a highly engaging library of content, Google achieved significant reduction in CPE.

Course participants become Google’s champions

The educational resources proved to be far more popular than anticipated too; over 11,000 Chinese exporters participated in Google’s B2B training courses.

Google is the Chinese Exporters’ key partner

With no other Google marketing campaign running in China during the campaign period, this campaign contributed to top-of-mind awareness across the key exporter target markets.

The platform strategy delivered results beyond the immediate scope of the brief. By driving traffic to the relevant content hub tabs rather than a single specific piece of content, we encouraged users to explore content options and select their own. This kickstarted a browsing behavior which had a positive impact on cross-category content consumption.

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