Saturday, January 17, 2015

TEN TIPS before trying to generate traffic through sponsored links from search engines and social media in Chinese, Japanese or Korean

The vast majority of educational institutionstourism establishments and destinations in
North America have yet to start using s
ponsored links on social media and browsers' search engines to be found by prospects of ChineseJapanese and Korean origin. 

My question is Why Should TheySuch campaigns are often less effective than when run to engage local American and Canadian audiences in English, Spanish or French

Here are TEN TIPS before deciding on a budget to deploy digital strategies including content marketing, advertising and re-marketing on Weibo, Baidu, Google Japan, Yahoo! Japan, Daum or Naver in Korean and other major platforms in those Northeast Asian languages. 

by Michel Bonin, Digital Marketing Researcher * 
  1. Potential visitors of Northeast Asian origin to North America have needs and come from a different geo-cultural perspective than those living in countries and identified with a traditional Western tradition (mostly European and Latin American).
  2. Students and long-haul travelers originating from Northeast Asia first require to have their Attention raised and their Interest satisfied for many months before they finally even Desire let alone wish to take Action by visiting a website hosted specifically for a particular North American school, tourism establishment or destination. That was determined by applying the analytical framework of the A.I.D.A. formula of events to the buying process of Northeast Asians toward services (like Travel and Education) to be finally delivered once in North America.
  3. Generating leads through a funnel usually happens over a 12-month buying process which can make conversion quite challenging. For approximately 95% of an estimated 10,000 educational institutions, tourism establishments and destinations wishing at some time in the future to attract potential students or travelers of Northeast Asian origin to North America, it can become superfluous particularly to do it through their own website. That is because those are made up of small independent business types.
  4. Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per '000 Impressions come at a higher premium than in English to generate qualified leads in Northeast Asian languages among prospects planning to study or travel to the United States and Canada.
  5. Site-targeted and geo-targeted placements across multiple sites are often unidentified or target profiles are sketchy at best. It is particularly relevant in those countries where the unbound digital world has taken over the real world of law and order. 
  6. There is an exponential growth in the amount and variety of content on popular, foreign sites with higher traffic registered in Northeast Asia including .com and particularly .cn (in Chinese), .jp (in Japanese) and .kr or .net (in Korean). Most tend to focus the surfer on a wide choice of worldwide study and travel choices rather than North American destinations in particular. 
  7. Call-To-Action strategies (traditionally poorly hosted on agent sites for school and travel destinations) have become more popular in the past decade through world booking sites (like eLong in Chinese et al). Now also available through social media such as Weibo and other ubiquitous equivalents like Facebook in Northeast Asian languages, Call-To-Action can be a premature Inbound Digital Marketing strategy. Potential students and travelers who think of coming to North America first look for generic marketing content to satisfy their curiosity. The more cost-efficient alternative for the vast majority of schools, tourism establishments and destinations may well be to secure a presence through third-party platforms such as online directories and Wikipedia-type sites offering choice and comparison all on the same platform on which they land for information.
  8. Malpractices are common particularly in China where groups of low-paid individuals are hired to click on text-based, display image ads and also more recently, on Call-To-Action types of social media ads.
  9. Looking for the right editorial context for text-based ads and display ads must often get around Content Marketing issues raised by running search engine-based campaigns that are unique to Chinese, Japanese or Korean. That is because their individual characters (or group of characters) may convey different meanings unlike most keywords (including long-tail) used in Western languages.
  10. Recurring inbound digital marketing campaigns for North American destinations, specifically Call-To-Action driven in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, generate overall less efficiency (on both ROI and CPA goals) than the same money spent toward a constant year-round presence on well-visited and maintained third-party online directories whose hundreds of pages are search engine optimized (SEO) individually in each of those languages. 
Based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the author, Michel Bonin, publishes on Best Practices to be found online in Chinese, Japanese and KoreanBelow is one of his recent presentations. It can also be accessed with the complete notes through this link: TEN TIPS TO BE FOUND EARLY ONLINE IN JAPANESE, CHINESE AND KOREAN 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Ten Tips for Canadian tourist operators to be found early by travelers of Japanese, Chinese and Korean origin

The following Ten Tips are based on Michael Bonin & Associates association with Japan Advertising, and its (Travel & Leisure) MUST GO™ Directory of Canadian tourist operators and destinations. That is in a competitive environment where metrics are increasingly dominated by the Analytics of the top search engines and social networks serving Northeast Asians and their Diasporas.
TIP #1  Web platforms of Canadian traditional publishers and their directories in Northeast Asian languages are likely to be visited at the early stage of the travel planning process. For example, over half of the 413,000 surfers who accessed the in 2013 (over 34,000 unique monthly visitors) had an IP address located outside North America.
TIP #2  On average, five percent of unique views recorded on a Mini-Web (landing) Page hosted on the MUST GO™ Directory eventually generate leads before conversion occurs. Search on popular engines that first land on the directory pages can play a critical role in driving conversions later down the lead funnel path. This comes as feedback from organizations among the hundreds present on the directory since the creation of its online version in 1999.
TIP #3  Content of Mini-Web (landing) Pages is accessed for organizations either listed in the MUST GO™ Directory or advertising with a display banner on it. Such a page is often where a particular lead originates from before it becomes an inquiry, a registration, a booking, a sale.
TIP #4  The apparent inefficiency of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns to convert in Northeast Asian languages may be explained from the use of existing search engine technologies:
-  At best, their algorithms offer a measure of productivity (metrics) that focus the kpi on an attribution of leads traceable in a funnel through a conversion path (inquiry, free download, booking, registration, etc).
-  At worse, PPC reflect inefficiencies from common fraudulent clicks affecting campaigns in parts of Asia (the well known 'water armies').
More efficient than PPC models, Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM) Impressions models account for lead generation when no click occurs, a common phenomenon at the early stage of the trip planning experience before action is taken, when attention and interest must be raised.
TIP #5  Algorithms used by Google in the West and namely Baidu in Northeast Asia, provide the merest insight into the customer experience and its conversion path. Confined to the metrics of search ad and organic search listing, their attribution models measuring leads from the last action or reporting multi-channel funnels would require to be validated by asking actual visitors (what) had been their search process. With virtual journeys quite complex, the latter sometime last up to a year in the case of oversea/long-haul travel.
Tip #6  Prospects of Northeast Asian origin will first browse to establish a preliminary list often systematically, of country, region, accommodation, attractions, restaurants, events etc more likely to be booked, visited or attended. That is well before they finally act by communicating with travel agents or tour operators. Somewhat less likely, they may contact directly tourist operators and destinations. That is if they can overcome what may appear in general as shyness in the stereotyped Northeast Asian character but is more likely some natural apprehension to be addressed in a foreign language most are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable to practice.
Tip #7  When asked to list or rank the tools used to plan a trip, travelers * of Northeast Asian origin can barely recall accurately (whether aided or unaided) where they may have originally come across a particular mention or even an extensive content profiling a tourist operation or destination they have since reached. That is particularly true if the virtual tools used words in a language foreign to them like English.
* Ranking gets even more evasive among leisure travelers. Digital content now available supersedes legacy sources easier to recall like newspaper ads or brochures from travel agents. The quantity of virtual word-of-mouth through multiple social sharing, such as clicks on 'Weibo like button', 'Google+ Japan button', etc, added to bookmarking, makes for less reliable expressions of personal appreciation through a simple recall of used sources.
Tip #8  Tourism organizations with display banner ads on traditional publisher's web platforms or placing content on listing in directories such as the MUST GO™ should discount as unreliable and incomplete the number of direct inquiries they have received from surfers. The latter need first to FIND preferably in their own language and COMPARE content posted on generic websites, directories as well as social media platforms. That is before they EVALUATE their short list, respond to a Call-to-Action and eventually commit their yen, yuan or won.
Tip #9  When evaluating digital marketing success among middle classes of Northeast Asian origin, a different set of criteria may apply than among those of Western culture. As first or second generation of travelers to the West, they generally go through a more elaborate trip planning process online before considering long-haul travel beyond their East Asian borders.
Tip #10  In terms of macro indicators of the Canadian tourism industry performance, the data should rely more on key-index focusing on the number and quality of actual visitors of Northeast Asian origin attracted over at least a five-year (rolling) period. Outside Western countries from the Northern Hemisphere, any shorter time frames are increasingly subject to unforeseen circumstances like natural and climate-related events, man-made disasters, medical scares, currency fluctuations, short term effect of travel visa policy changes across countries, etc.
For more on THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY and the SOURCE OF TRAFFIC ON MINI-WEB (LANDING) PAGES hosted on the directory published by Japan Advertising in Northeast Asian languages, check my presentation for Rendez-vous Canada 2014 available on Google Doc by following these links:
Understanding  the  customer  journey  beyond  Search  Engine  Analytics
How Canadian tourism organizations can be found early in Japanese, Chinese and Korean

Monday, December 16, 2013


Looking at #Canada as a barometer, year-to-date September 2013, overall arrivals from Canadian Tourism Commission’s Emerging and Transition markets grew 8.4% compared with last year. Among the best performers were China (+24.3%), Taiwan (+18.4%), Hong Kong (+8.1%) and South Korea (+4.9%). Whereas for the first nine months of 2013, arrivals from Western Europe, namely Germany (-2.2%), the UK (-1.2%), Spain (-3.5%) and Italy (-2%), remained below their 2012 levels, while France (+0.3%) came out barely ahead. 
(Source: #StatisticsCanada and #CTC Infographic Tourism Snapshot, September 2013, RT @


Extra flights between Japan and Canada starting in 2014, one of the signs of a changing international scene for North American educators, tourist operators and destinations. Food for thought for their SEOs engaging clients through Google Adwords and partner networks with these non-Western language markets. (China, Japan and South Korea are catching up with the UK, France and Germany)
Japan’s largest airline to start daily flights to YVR

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Google Engage Program makes it easier to reach prospects directly (B2C) worldwide by opening up Google networks and SEO tools to small and medium-size organizations. Now enrolled in Google Engage, Michael Bonin & Associates is in a better position to serve tourist operators and schools as sales agent of Japan Advertising, publisher of Web platforms incl'g directories in Japanese, Chinese & Korean. For more on Integration of CanadaJournal platforms with AdWords campaigns in Northeast Asian languages, see Bonin Digital Marketing Newsletter Spring/Summer 2013