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Buana Joglo Digitizes Indonesia’s Traditional Architecture with Google Ads

Ronny, an art enthusiast and entrepreneur from Cepu, Central Java, found a home for his niche architecture business on the web.

From a coffee shop to selling joglo online

Joglo is a traditional architectural structure from Java, an art that has persisted throughout the years due to its beauty and iconic roof design. A joglo-themed coffee shop was a long-time dream for Ronny Tangguh, an art enthusiast and businessman from Cepu, Central Java. But to his dismay, all of Ronny’s web searches for these products came up empty: joglos available online were expensive and poorly made. Determined to find his ideal joglo, Ronny visited villages in rural Java.

During his travels, Ronny discovered that the craft’s tradition is still held strong by many local villagers who struggle to find buyers for their creations. Inspired to showcase this work to the world, Ronny turned his father’s old teak-wood furniture store into a workshop for joglo restoration: Buana Joglo was born.

Starting out, Ronny relied only on word-of-mouth to sell his joglo. While this got his niche business off the ground, it was clear that sales were constrained by the limited demand in Cepu. He needed a way to reach beyond his hometown.

Buana Joglo saw tripled sales in 2016 after using Google Ads

Ronny recalled how he had used Google Search to look for joglo vendors while building his cafe. Convinced that many similarly interested buyers would use the same method to find this rare item, he decided to bring his business online. With the help of a friend, Ronny built Buana Joglo’s first website and experimented with digital marketing. Remembering his personal experience, Ronny chose Google Ads in order to place ads specifically on Google Search. He found that he could choose only to pay when interested buyers clicked on his ads.

Unsure of online advertising’s profitability, Ronny’s early Google Ads campaigns utilized a minimal daily budget of IDR 60,000 (equivalent to USD 4.50). To his surprise, his online ads was positively received by viewers all over Indonesia, resulting in 70,000 impressions and more than 1,500 clicks from potential customers every month.

With his digital marketing campaign, sales increased by more than 50% within the first 6 months. In 2016, turnover tripled and Ronny saw purchases coming from Bintan, Bali, Jakarta, and many other cities. Customer research revealed that several large Indonesian resorts were even inspired to start using joglos after seeing Ronny’s online ads!

According to Ronny, the secret to his online marketing success lies in the high visibility of his ads. When Buana Joglo’s ads appear, they are usually at the top of the page. Only ads that are relevant and useful can occupy this position, and it encourages users to find out more. Ronny now focuses on tweaking and improving his ads settings to maintain this sought-after position.

Make a faster, better website to attract more customers

All in all, Ronny believes that digital marketing was key to paving the way for Buana Joglo to become a national brand. Today, Buana Joglo has grown into a team of 25 people. The company has plans to expand its product offerings to include furniture and other traditional architectures, all of which use recycled wood as a core material. Ronny hopes that Buana Joglo will make a small contribution to the preservation of the traditional Javanese design.

There is still much to learn in order to maximize Buana Joglo’s online presence. Ronny’s next step is to improve its website: research has shown that 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Yet improving website performance, especially page loading speed, is often overlooked by business owners. Ronny plans to make a user-friendly mobile site, expand his product gallery, and develop an English webpage for his potential international clients in the future.

“After reaching new customers only by word-of-mouth, our small customer base started to expand rapidly six months after we started to use Google Ads.”

Ronny Tangguh - Founder, Buana Joglo

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