Mazda took an innovative “always on” approach to its digital campaign for two new models, the Mazda3 and Mazda6 Sedans, in Canada, the fifth-largest global market for the automaker. The campaign spanned Google Search, YouTube and the Google Display Network to connect with consumers across their purchase journey. YouTube TrueView ads and mastheads for the Mazda3’s introduction delivered 10x the number of buyers for the same cost as the contextual campaign. Additionally, Lightbox Ads and Affinity Segments helped attract interest for the Mazda6 with a rich, near-full-screen experience.

For us, ‘always on’ really is offline and online working in tandem and being out there with a consistent presence, throughout every single month of every single calendar year.

  • Keep Mazda brand top-of-mind for buyers throughout the year
  • Influence the consideration of a targeted, qualified audience

  • Developed a comprehensive YouTube video strategy, including TrueView and mastheads
  • Adopted an “always on” cross-channel presence, including Google Search, Google Display Network and YouTube
  • Implemented Affinity Segments targeting and Lightbox ad formats

  • Affinity Segments increased reach 10x compared with contextual targeting alone
  • 500,000 YouTube unique viewers in first month
  • 11.1 million YouTube masthead impressions
  • 14% interaction rate with the YouTube masthead

Since the first new Mazdas arrived in Canada from Japan in 1968, Mazda Canada has become the fifth-largest market for Mazda globally and an important part of the overall business. The growing brand is seeking to stay front-of-mind with car buyers every day by creating a strong, favorable brand impression. That’s why it relies on “always on” digital campaigns with Google.

Follow the connected consumer across channels

“To continue to grow our brand and our volume in Canada, we have to continue to compete and win in the digital arena,” explains David Klan, senior director of sales, marketing and regional operations. “So for us, ‘always on’ really is offline and online working in tandem and being out there with a consistent presence, throughout every single month of every single calendar year.”

“We want to make sure that each platform is present along each stage of the customer journey,” adds Michael Tsang, supervisor of interactive marketing. “We know that it’s not very linear, so people may be bouncing between any multitude of digital channels. Digital marketing helps Mazda by providing an always-on channel that our demographic spends a lot of time on, whether it’s Google Search, YouTube or the Google Display Network.” The company started its Mazda3 and Mazda6 digital launches on Google and then rolled out across other channels.

Engage buyers at the decision point

When launching new models, Mazda created digital-first marketing strategies across channels to connect with buyers throughout the customer journey. It used YouTube as the starting point for introducing the Mazda3 “to generate awareness and find that really interested consumer for the vehicle,” Tsang says. “And then by using remarketing lists, we were able to serve more Mazda3 content through the Google Display Network or through Search.”


The Mazda3 YouTube launch reached over 500,000 unique viewers in the first month—delivering ten times the number of buyers for the same cost as a contextual campaign, which presents targeted digital ads based on content. The YouTube masthead generated around 11.1 million impressions. “We were really happy with the interaction rate, which was around 14 %,” Tsang says. In addition to helping start a conversation with customers about the car, the launch video was a great way to reach the people who had watched the video and shown interest. It also moved people to visit the Mazda Canada website.

Mazda Canada also used Lightbox Ads and Affinity Segments when launching the Mazda6. When a user chooses to engage a Lightbox ad by hovering the cursor over it for two seconds, the ad expands into a near full-screen canvas. Affinity Segments can help reach users who are interested in a particular topic.

“The Mazda6 is a very technologically advanced vehicle,” Tsang adds. “We leveraged the technology segment of affinity targeting to serve a very rich Mazda6 experience to tech-savvy consumers. Users were able to view photos and video, locate a dealer, build and price.” For both the Mazda6 and the Mazda3 campaigns, the company incorporated any accolades directly into its Search, Display and YouTube ads.

Align with an exciting, innovative partner

Mazda Canada plans to continue working with Google to reach car buyers during the full customer journey — from research to purchase. “We are constantly trying to find new ways to be at the forefront and push boundaries in this space,” Klan says. “So Google’s a fantastic partner to work with.”

“Digital, to me, is really the only place I want to be,” Tsang adds. “I love how it’s constantly changing, how technology is pushing it, and how we need to adapt and be smarter. To be successful, you need to align yourself with partners who are equally as exciting and innovative.”