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Google Duo Canadian Launch

Google Duo Canadian Launch


Google Canada


When Google Duo was looking to officially re-launch into the Canadian market in 2018, it was the underdog in the already saturated video-calling app category. With less than 5% market share in overall app usage and relatively low brand awareness, it was up against incumbent players such as Whatsapp and Facetime, all with much stronger foothold in Canada at the time.

With only 3 months lead time to prepare before the official launch, and an aggressive target of 100% increase in app downloads, we rallied up our partners, channeled our empathy and creativity to ultimately deliver a successful launch campaign that touched on the emotional aspects of our target consumers that helped to build Google Duo as a unmistakable challenger brand in the video-calling app space.


The following is how we brought it all to life. 







​At the time of the project, the video-calling category was highly competitive and already saturated with popular brand names such as Whatsapp, Facetime and Facebook Messenger.


Whatsapp as the No.1 downloaded app worldwide led the market with over 30% market share. Facetime and Facebook Messenger, thanks to their affiliation with Apple brand and the Facebook social media network, legged slightly behind in market share but still commanded impressive following. The prospects of winning over competitors' customers seemed dim for Google Duo. 


However, our quantitive research discovered that average Canadian video callers have 1.5-2 apps installed on their mobile phones for different usage purposes. Additionally, with the help of a series of qualitative focus groups, we were able to broke our target consumers into 4 categories and discovered what made each of them download or switch when it comes to using video calling apps.


The insights were compelling. With the right methods of communication and the right messages on  benefits, there's a clear path of mass adoption for a challenger brand.


When comparing some of the top painpoints our target consumers were looking to solve in their video calling experience, and the list of benefits Google Duo can offer, we found 3 core areas where they overlapped that became our product's "reasons to believe." They are:

  • Highest video calling quality in the market.

  • The ability to be used across both Android and iOS operating systems. 

  • Provides longer, clearer calls that are suitable for video chats with families and friends.

Further elevating these reasons to an emotional level, we recognized that the intimate sentiments drawn from sharing long, high quality conversations with one's close circle creates a product moat that adds enormous emotional value to the experience of the product. It was from this revelation, that our campaign statement "Celebrate life moments with people you love" was born.

Based off this foundation, over the next two months, we developed a series of advertising creatives and assets and deployed TV, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and UAC acquisition campaigns that directly drove app downloads. 


We also created in-app gamification functions that boosted usage and ensured user retention after their initial downloads. As we continued optimizing the user funnel, the insights we discovered on channel tactics were later shared with and leveraged by Google Duo's other international markets.

"Highest quality video calling app, by Google."


This integrated brand launch and customer acquisition campaign achieved overall 160% growth in app downloads, 21% lift in lower funnel conversion rate, and 11% absolute lift in brand awareness. It was an instant success in the Canadian video calling space.

But beyond that, it also showcased the power of using emotional benefits in brand story-telling for a highly technical product, and created the future basis for a much larger-scale push in the U.S. thanks to the successful Canadian experiment. That learning still resonates today.

Google Duo commercial salt and pepper
CEO 照片

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