Sony Mobile Boosts Brand Love With Holistic Xperia Smartphone Launch in HK

December 2017

To make the most of its Xperia XZ Premium and XZs smartphone launches in 2017, Sony Mobile needed to reach Hong Kongers before they purchased new devices online. The key? Showing up with relevant, targeted ads online while they’re still researching their options. The brand decided to serve a variety of ads across search, display, and YouTube, leading to best-in-class brand metric lifts across the board.


Boost awareness, consideration, and sales for XZ Premium and XZs mobile devices

Maximize cost-efficiency


Served relevant search and display ads to increase website traffic and awareness

Used TrueView and bumper ads to engage target audiences with targeted ad creative

Used Brand Lift to measure recall and consideration uplift from campaigns for each device


+290% lift in website traffic from search ad campaigns

+3.4X higher click-through rates after remarketing with display ads

Xperia XZ Premium YouTube campaign:

+48.4% lift in ad recall

+47.7% lift in consideration

Xperia XZs YouTube campaign:

+38.7% lift in ad recall from “skippers”

+87.4% lift in ad recall from paid viewers

+20.5% increase in brand search interest

+35.8% increase in product search interest

At the start of 2017, Sony Mobile—one of Hong Kong’s largest smartphone manufacturers—was set to launch two new flagship devices: the Xperia XZ Premium and Xperia XZs. Confronted with a flurry of competing brands in one of Hong Kong’s most competitive industries, Sony Mobile’s marketing team was facing quite the challenge.

Retailers in Hong Kong offer convenient and accessible mobile device purchases, but it’s difficult for retailers to track which channels are driving customers to purchase the phones. This makes it especially challenging for manufacturers and retailers to run their campaigns together, so it’s difficult to gauge digital marketing’s impact on overall sales. As one of Hong Kong’s most recognizable brands, Sony Mobile knew that boosting awareness and consideration from undecided shoppers would be key to driving sales.

Understanding that Hong Kongers typically research products online before visiting a retailer to make a purchase, the brand saw an opportunity to reach potential customers early, while they’re considering their options. So, between May and July of 2017, Sony Mobile partnered with Google’s Tech/Telco team to run a robust, holistic digital campaign that featured highly relevant YouTube creative as the centerpiece and used Brand Lift to measure the ads’ impact in real time.

Rolling out relevant search, display ads to boost awareness

After seeing a major boost in site traffic driven by its search ads in Q1 2017, Sony Mobile realized that search would be a simple and efficient way to reach users in the intent-driven moments during which they start researching new devices online.

Sony Mobile’s search ads highlighted key features for each device—including 4K HDR video and slow-motion cameras—with copy such as, “World’s first super slow-motion video in a smartphone — Xperia XZs is launching now,” and “World’s first smartphone with 4K HDR screen.” The brand also used rich display ads to remarket to users who’d already visited the Xperia XZ Premium and XZs websites:


Tapping YouTube’s targeting to engage three core audiences

While casting a wide net with search and display ads, Sony Mobile simultaneously wanted to sharpen its focus on users most likely to be in the market for its new devices. This time around, the brand wanted a way to not only engage its most valuable audiences with relevant video ads but also measure the ads’ impact in real time and optimize them during the campaign.

Sony Mobile found its solution by connecting with Hong Kongers where they’re highly tuned in and spending more time than ever: YouTube. YouTube’s TrueViewand bumper ad formats allowed the brand to use Google’s aggregated user data to home in on three custom affinity audiences and serve them highly relevant creative according to what they were watching and searching for online:

1. Entertainment-related affinity audiences and “shutterbugs” (casual photographers)
2. Brand-loyal fans of Sony smartphones
3. Viewers who watched Xperia-related video on Sony’s YT channels

Like its search and display ads, Sony Mobile’s YouTube creative shined a spotlight on key features from each device that were most likely to resonate with different users according to their passions and interests.

Sony Mobile’s holistic campaign launch boosts brand metrics

Despite being one of Hong Kong’s leading smartphone brands, Sony Mobile’s campaigns clearly reached a fresh audience and did so 4X more efficiently than on other digital platforms. The brand’s Xperia XZ Premium search campaigns drove a 290% increase in new website visitors, and its display ads currently drive 55% of site traffic among all display channels. Moreover, remarketing with display ads helped the brand achieve click-through rates 3.4X higher than for its prospecting display campaigns.

Most impressive for the brand was that by the end of Q2 2017, Sony Mobile’s YouTube campaign achieved quite a few best-in-class results. The videos had been watched more than any other brand’s, covering 49% of all video views across the competition. Brand Lift surveys revealed that the Xperia XZs TrueView creative boosted ad recall from both the free “skippers” audience (+39%) and the brand’s paid audience (+87%), while the Xperia XZ Premium campaign helped drive a 48% lift in product consideration. Additionally, the XZs campaign helped drive a 21% increase in brand searches and a 26% increase in product searches, all while being very cost-efficient.


Joyce Tang, Sony Mobile Communication's head of marketing (Hong Kong and Macau), explained the campaign’s success: “Ultimately, we needed to reach our audiences with timely, relevant ad creative to grab their attention, and partnering with Google allowed us to do just that. The results we’ve seen from Brand Lift are further proof of impact at every stage of the funnel.”

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