In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the nuances of LINE Digital Marketing, uncovering the strategies and tactics businesses employ to tap into Japan’s highly engaged and tech-savvy consumer base. Get ready to unlock the secrets of leveraging LINE’s powerful platform to reach your target audiences in this unique market.

LINE app in Japan

LINE Digital Marketing

The LINE app is a free messaging and social media application with an integrated payment system. It was developed in 2011 in Japan. Since its launch, it has become the most popular messaging app in Japan. Moreover, it is also widely spread in Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Thus many companies in Japan use LINE for their digital marketing campaigns. 

People know LINE for its free voice and text messaging services. In addition, it has plenty of innovative features, such as emojis, stickers, and games. The user can either download existing stickers or create them themselves. Another reason for LINE’s popularity is its focus on privacy and security. Users can hide their online status, and messages are encrypted to protect user data. Additionally, LINE has become a hub for entertainment, social and day-to-day activities. LINE allows companies to use their platform for digital marketing. This is not the case with many other messaging applications.

LINE has 96 million monthly active users in Japan (as of December 2023). This represents approximately 70 % of its population. LINE’s user demographic is broad, with a diverse user base across all age groups, genders, and occupations. As of July 2022, approximately 53 % of the users are female. Equally important, the LINE app has a significant number of users in each age group. It is evenly distributed across the age groups (as shown in the chart). Most users work in an office (49%), followed by housewives and students.

LINE can be used on mobile phones, tablets, or personal computers. It can be used on all operating systems of electronic devices.

LINE Digital Marketing in Japan

LINE advertising platform

LINE Digital Marketing

Not surprisingly, businesses are tapping into this massive user base to promote their brands. Besides they can also reach potential customers. Companies in Japan use LINE for their digital marketing in different ways. In brief here is a list of potential ways:

  1. Official Accounts

LINE lets companies create Official Accounts no matter the size of the company. These accounts allow businesses to communicate with customers through messaging. Users can follow these accounts to receive updates and promotions, as well as loyalty cards. Official Accounts also offer features like chatbots. They can provide customer service and answer frequently asked questions. In general, to start an advertising campaign a company needs an Official Account. There are currently more than 3 million Official Accounts in Japan. 

    1. Stickers and emoticons

    A unique feature of LINE is its extensive collection of stickers and emoticons. What’s more, companies can create custom stickers featuring their brand, products, or mascots. Afterward, users can buy them or download for free, and use them in their conversations. As a result, this builds brand awareness and appeals to a younger audience. To increase their reach, businesses can opt for sponsored stickers, which will appear in the “new” and “free” categories of the sticker shop.

    1. Advertising

    LINE Ads allows advertisers to access a variety of formats, targeting tools, and ad placement options across the Line family of services. Furthermore, LINE advertising also offers real-time campaign tracking and analysis. This provides companies with measurable results and insights.

    1. E-commerce integration

    In addition to its messaging features, LINE has integrated e-commerce capabilities. In other words, companies can sell products from within the app. Customers can browse and buy products, and track orders. Besides they can receive notifications about product updates and promotions.

      However, LINE excludes the following businesses from advertising and using business services:

      • Religions and Religious Groups
      • Gambling-related, pachinko, etc. (excluding public games, public lotteries, and sports promotion lotteries)
      • Adult related
      • Dating sites, matching sites, etc. 
      • Multi Level marketing transactions
      • Cigarettes, electronic cigarettes 
      • Weapons & poisonous and harmful substances
      • Unapproved drugs/medical devices, etc.
      • information products
      • Illegal resale of tickets

      LINE Digital Marketing strategy

      LINE Digital Marketing

      The LINE app allows companies to target their audience with high precision. For example, several attributes are available to ensure efficient ad delivery, such as the user’s age and gender. Additionally, it is possible to target users who have previously made purchases.

      There are several ad formats available depending on the advertiser’s goal. These objectives may be to increase the

      • traffic to your website
      • conversions on your website
      • number of app installs
      • number of app launches among your app users
      • number of video views
      • number of friends on your official LINE account

      In General, there are web ads, app ads, and video apps. Those ad formats are targeted to individual business goals. An advertiser should use web ads to promote content on an external website. But if the goal is to drive app downloads, an app ad is the right choice. However, a video ad is the correct choice to promote brand awareness.

      LINE App has eleven ad locations where an ad can be placed. It is important to note that a business can’t select the ad location when creating an ad. They are positioned based on user behavior and interaction history. With this in mind, the location determines the size and components of an ad.

      LINE offers the following locations:

      • LINE Chat
      • LINE News
      • Timeline
      • Wallet
      • LINE Manga
      • LINE Blog
      • LINE Point Club
      • LINE Shopping
      • LINE Flyer
      • LINE Coupon
      • LINE Ads Network

      web ad and app ad formats

      Video ad formats

      LINE advertising cost

      First of all, there is no minimum budget amount to advertise on the LINE app. To put it another way, a business can advertise according to its set budget. However, it is not possible to use Line Ads for free. After all, it is mandatory to buy 40 events per month. An event can be a click, a conversion, a view, etc. With this in mind, the monthly Ad budget is the cost per event multiplied by 40. A bidding process is used to determine the cost of an event. To understand the performance of a campaign, it should run for at least three months.

      To run LINE Ads, a company needs an Official Account. LINE charges according to the number of monthly messages included. The free plan includes 1,000 messages per month. It is not possible to exceed this number. The light plan contains 15,000 messages and costs 5,000 Yen, with additional ones costing 5 Yen per message. A company can send up to 45,000 included messages with the standard plan. LINE charges approximately 3 Yen for additional ones.