Kia Boosts Awareness and Drives Clicks With Dual YouTube and Search Campaigns

October 2016

Buying a car requires a lot of time and substantial research. It’s a big decision, and auto shoppers in APAC are looking for brands to be there with information throughout the purchase journey—from the initial research phase all the way to the moment they drive off the lot in their new wheels. Kia wanted to be present for potential customers across channels during this process, so it used sequential YouTube videos and Search ads to boost brand awareness and drive conversions.


Be present for shoppers throughout their purchase journeys

Boost brand and product awareness

Drive leads


Showed potential customers a series of five YouTube ads (in sequential order) highlighting features of newly launched vehicles

Used affinity group targeting to reach the right audiences on YouTube

Served Search ads to potential customers in their moments of intent


10% increase in view-through rates (VTR) in most countries

Decreased cost-per view (CPV) in all countries

13% increase in conversion rates across all countries; in UAE, conversion rate increased 232%

As South Korea’s second-largest automobile manufacturer, Kia is no stranger to just how long the car-buying path to purchase can be and how important it is for brands to be present every step of the way. As potential buyers turn to the web in their which-car-is-best and can-I-afford-it micro-moments, Kia wanted to be there to influence perceptions and ultimately purchase decisions.

With the release of its updated Picanto and Rio models on the horizon, Kia needed a way to increase awareness among those in APAC looking to buy a car—no matter where they were in their decision-making process.

Kia used YouTube and Search ads to be present in car-buying micro-moments

To strengthen its presence throughout potential buyers’ paths to purchase, Kia ran a multi-channel campaign on YouTube and Search. The plan was for the YouTube ads to drum up product and brand awareness while Search ads would then capture qualified leads generated from that increased brand awareness.

Kia produced five short YouTube ads highlighting the two cars’ new features, to reach potential car buyers who were still in the discovery and research phases of their journeys. Once viewers saw the first ad, they were served the rest of the ads in order (using sequential remarketing). Kia also used affinity group targeting to serve the video ads to interested audiences.

To capture leads generated on YouTube further down the conversion funnel, Kia ran a concurrent Search campaign. While Kia’s previous Search campaigns were primarily focused on brand keywords, this campaign tried a mix of different category terms based on market share by country. In countries where it has a low market share, it focused on category and competitive keywords to increase its consideration rates. In countries where it has strong market share, it focused on brand retention keywords. Kia’s combined efforts across YouTube and Search led to an increase in product awareness, as well as an increase in clicks from more qualified users.

Kia’s campaign achieved best-in-class VTRs, lower CPVs, and increased conversion rates

Thanks to compelling ads and sequential remarketing, Kia’s YouTube campaign achieved best-in-class VTRs. In Saudi Arabia, some videos achieved VTRs as high as 40%. VTRs for the remarketed ads were even higher, reaching 53% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). By only serving subsequent videos to people who chose to watch the first video (and were presumably more interested in the brand), Kia could show all five videos more efficiently.

After incorporating Search into the digital media mix, Kia has also seen a massive uplift in conversion rates—as high as 232% in the UAE—in addition to lower CPVs overall.


“We studied online consumer behaviors and how those lined up with our YouTube and Search media strategies. Based on our insights, we plan to further collaborate and leverage Google products to identify and generate qualified potential buyers,” said Sun Hur, assistant manager of the overseas communication team at Kia Motors Company.

By taking a step back and thinking about the different aspects of the purchase journey, Kia was able to run a more efficient and effective campaign. The combination of YouTube and Search allowed Kia to be there for potential customers all along the conversion funnel—while boosting brand awareness and, most importantly, driving clicks at the finish line. Soars to Success in Singapore With YouTube’s TrueView