Hitosara Improves Open Rate with Appier’s AI-Powered Customer Engagement Platform

July 05, 2019 - 10:18
Hitosara Improves Open Rate with Appier’s AI-Powered Customer Engagement Platform

Web push view rate reaches 19 times more users with AIQUA, lifting open rate by 36%


TOKYO, JAPAN - MediaOutReach - 4 July 2019 - USEN-NEXTGROUP of USEN Media Co., Ltd. (USEN Media) which operates a popular gourmetsocial media platform (Hitosara) is using Appier's artificial intelligence(AI)-powered customer engagement platform AIQUA to boost its web push openrate. Hitosara has achieved the highest open rate of 36% (8-10% on average). Inaddition, Hitosara has been able to approach 19 times more users.

Hitorsara features posts about chefs, attracting more than100 million page views (PV) and 20 million unique users per month. Approximately80% of the website users are above 30 years of age, have been contributing withbuilding the website contents and are mostly upper middle "foodies". Hitosarais recognized as a media platform with strong influence when it comes to peoplechoosing restaurants. Hitosara differentiates itself from other gourmetwebsites by providing original information about the chefs, including picturesand recommendations from them such as seasonal and local food information.

The market for restaurant search services is highlycompetitive, and Hitosara has been working on measures such as a loyalty pointsystem for members and push notifications via its app to improve engagementwith users, particularly those who are highly aware of food trends.

The Product Manager of USEN Media explained the challengesbefore implementing AIQUA: "Although we have rich content only available onHitosara, and which is written by experienced food writers, there was a lack ofinterest from website visitors and we were not maximizing our uniqueness. Asthe website visitors mainly use the website to make restaurant reservations,one of the challenges was to utilize content within the website that is relatedto the quality of the service. It was important to build continuous customer engagementby sharing our interesting articles with as many people as possible."  While considering several options forimprovement, the person in charge discovered AIQUA, a customer engagementplatform that can help with audience analysis and segmentation using AI.

Appier explained the key main benefits that Hitosara canexpect by implementing AIQUA:

  1. The ability to use a combination of its own audience data, as well as Appier's third party data.
  2. With AI, Hitosara can segment users precisely and develop campaigns promptly for every segment type.
  3. The ability to re-engage with users who are visiting websites outside Hitosara.

In addition to creating marketing content based on data suchas number of website visits and logins, with AIQUA, clients are also able touse other audience information provided by Appier, making it possible toextract information such as user interests and preferences even before theyvisit the website for the first time. Based on this information, marketers candistribute effective messages to the right device at the right time.

Hitosara officially implemented AIQUA in January 2019 anddelivered web pushes approximately three times a week. By May, the PV forarticles in Hitosara Magazine increased by a maximum of 65% and by 25% onaverage. In addition, the web push approach allowed Hitosara to reachnon-registered users 19 times more of registered members.

Mr. Takafumi Nagasaki, manager of Product Marketing fromUSEN Media, commented: "The results achieved through AIQUA's push notificationswere extremely high and we have achieved the same level of performance as SNSadvertising for Hitosara Magazine. The web push is not based on deliveredvolume and cost-benefit is extremely high. I was quite surprised with the highlevel of ROI we managed to achieve"

Appier ensured tight collaboration with the campaignmanagement team and content team of USEN Media and used rich content providedby USEN Media, including images and video which were appropriate for differentseasons. This helped in approaching microsegments and supported Hitosara inrapidly building user engagement. This is an effective solution for targetingusers in their 'consideration phase', when they visit Hitosara's website andmake reservations after viewing the content or before they subscribe to thesite. 

"I was able to see the improvement on PV from the first dayof implementing AIQUA. Through delivering content- our key strength- on hotrestaurants and trending food we attracted foodies who appreciate unique diningexperiences," said Mr. Nagasaki. "The implementation of the system and trainingtook short amount of time, and I think the process for setting up messagedelivery to the appropriate target audience is very simple."

"It is also possible to set the message delivery time to betriggered automatically. We used this feature to send out thank you messages byweb push after receiving a booking, and we saw astonishing results including a36% increase in the open rate. I can see the significance of high precisionaudience segmentation and personalized messages thanks to AIQUA's AI. I aminterested to see if it is possible to develop this same successful experiencein other business area."


AIQUA utilizesAI as well as its individual data to better understand the target audience andto create segmentation. It enables marketers to provide the most appropriatecontents and offers for users who visit the website and keeps opportunity lossto a minimum. The hyper-personalized messages and offers can be deliveredacross multiple devices, improving users' Lifetime Value (LTV).

About USEN Media Co., Ltd.

USEN Media's missionis to connect restaurants and people, and in addition to Hitosara, an gourmetmedia platform where photos of the chef are shared, it has also built onlineplatforms in different areas such as "SAVOR JAPAN",the gourmet website tailored towards foreigners visiting Japan; wedding mediaplatform "Uekore"; Web Magazine "bangs" for finding stylists; and "Oishi Photo", a photography service specifically for restaurants and cafes. USEN Media'soperation is not limited to the web, as it has also been active in developingother forms of media such as books and events.  

About Hitosara

Through highlightinginformation of the delicious "Sara"(dish) provided by "Hito" (chef),Hitosara engages a variety of food lovers as 'Japan's largest gourmet social media platform', providinginformation about more than 11,000 chefs, as well as recommendations from foodconnoisseurs and the chefs themselves including original content about seasonalingredients, recent food trends, "restaurants recommended by chefs"  and introducing new ways to enjoy dining.