O-Net is an online marriage-matching and bridal information service connecting Japanese singles on the web. Looking to extend its reach and expand the impact of its marketing efforts, O-Net turned to Similar Audiences. With Similar Audiences, the company was able to find new qualified customers with characteristics that current O-Net users have. Leveraging its expanded reach, the company saw an 85% increase in conversions at a 10% lower CPA.


  • Reach new audiences likely to sign up for membership
  • Acquire, convert and retain new customers


  • Devoted more than 90% of marketing budget to online channels
  • Used Google Remarketing Tag to easily segment current audience
  • Used Similar Audiences to find new people who resemble O-Net users


  • Similar Audiences increased conversions 85%
  • Grew business in a cost-effective way
  • Achieved a cost-efficient CPA that was 10% lower than remarketing CPA
March 2014

Rakuten is a major Japanese corporation offering retail, Internet and financial services worldwide. Among its diverse lines of business is O-net, Inc., an online marriage matching and bridal information service that connects Japanese singles looking to meet their future spouse. To reach and convert new customers and complement its offline branding efforts, O-net invests in digital marketing. "We spend more than 90% of our marketing budget online because it is a great way to increase ROI," explains Akira Okano, SEM and display ads specialist on O-net’s web marketing team. For several years, O-net has partnered with Google to execute an effective digital marketing strategy.

Reaching the right audience at scale with Google Display

O-net began with AdWords search advertising and at the end of 2012 invested more heavily in Google Display Network (GDN) advertising. Today, it uses a variety of targeting tools on the GDN to cost-efficiently reach a wide, yet qualified, audience. Topic targeting allows O-net to reach potential customers while they browse pages related to news, sports, online communities, animation and manga, and relationships, while interest category targeting lets O-net connect with people interested in these same subjects.

To reach users and adjust bids based on their age and gender, O-net uses demographics targeting; this allows the company to bid higher for male users, for example, who are harder to attract to the site. Once people visit the site, O-net uses remarketing to reconnect with them as they browse other pages across Google’s Display Network. Remarketing enables O-net to remind potential customers of its services and drive them back to sign up.

"Display ads allow us to communicate to a broad audience, while Google’s targeting technology helps us reach the right audience," says Okano. "Therefore, we are able to use targeted communication to the right people on a large scale, which also helps us use our budget efficiently."

Finding new, qualified customers with Similar Audiences

To complement and extend the reach obtained with these targeting tools, and remarketing in particular, O-net uses the Similar Audiences feature, which enables it to find new potential customers who share characteristics with current O-net users. Similar Audiences works by using O-net’s existing remarketing lists to find new users who share interests with these segments. Over time, Similar Audiences adapts its intelligent technology to find qualified users as O-net’s remarketing lists evolve. All of this means that O-net can easily expand its reach to valuable new potential customers who are likely to be interested in its services.

"Similar Audiences lets us follow up with high-potential users whom we are unable to reach through our remarketing lists and who are similar to those who have already visited our website or converted," says Okano.  O-net uses Similar Audiences to achieve its goal of increasing conversions (online memberships) and retaining qualified customers. With the Google Remarketing Tag placed across its website, O-net can create flexible audience segments with ease. After placing the tag on each page, O-net discovered that customers who visit detailed pages, which have information like pricing and branch locations, have higher conversion rates. It therefore created audience segments based on these high-converting pages, then used these segments as seed lists for Similar Audiences. O-net also created seed lists based on converted users (those who had reached the "thank you" page), then used Similar Audiences to expand on these groups and find new potential customers likely to be interested in its services.

Similar Audiences cost-efficiently boosts conversions, reach

As a result of using Similar Audiences, O-net saw an 85% increase in conversions to its smartphone remarketing campaigns, with a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) within the same range as its remarketing campaigns’ CPA. "Similar Audiences enabled us to reach many new consumers and increase sales, while staying within our target CPA—a key factor for us in defining a successful advertising campaign," explains Okano.

She says Similar Audiences allows O-net to balance the need for deeply targeted marketing with the need for reach on a large scale. "Our key challenge is reaching new potential customers, whom we have never reached before, by using both broad-reaching advertising and remarketing," says Okano. "Similar Audiences lets us overcome these challenges by expanding our targeting beyond what was limited by our current settings."

A strategic match

Because Similar Audiences has been very useful for O-net, Okano says her team will continue to incorporate this feature into future display campaigns. It’s one of many tools that O-net will keep in its portfolio as its Google Display strategy evolves to drive further business growth. "We’re very pleased with the visibility, high data accuracy, cutting-edge technology and service Google offers us," she notes. "It has helped us expand our business cost-efficiently."