Amongst the many digital platforms available to brand marketers, LINE is one of the most beneficial to advertisers looking to enter the Japanese market.
With 89 million monthly active users (MAU), their vast user base and comprehensive features allow brands to effectively drive awareness and build customer relationships. In this blog, we explore some of LINE’s most notable features and share insight into how to best leverage it for your business needs.
What is LINE and why is it essential for marketing in Japan?
LINE first launched in 2011 as a messaging app, but has evolved into an all-in-one digital platform that offers a wide range of functionalities and services, including LINE messenger, Official Account, News, Shopping and more.
With a vision to ‘become the life infrastructure for users’, LINE has successfully integrated itself into every aspect of daily life for users in Japan. According to a recent report, 85% of LINE MAUs use the platform on a daily basis, with 39.6% of users solely using LINE in the place of other social platforms. In other words, LINE can act as a convenient touchpoint for brands to engage with customers along the purchase cycle – and it isn’t really something that can be replaced by other social media platforms in the market.
Thanks to its high adoption rate within the Japanese market, LINE has access to full demographic coverage of its audience in terms of gender, age and occupation. This means it can provide a promising target audience pool for all kinds of brands and businesses who use its services.
How can brands leverage LINE for marketing?
Over the past few years, LINE has dedicated itself to providing a one-stop-shop solution for businesses through its vast ecosystem, launching many new features and functions for brands and marketers to better serve their customers.
LINE Official Account
LINE Official Accounts allow businesses to grow their presence across the app and engage with their audience in a similar fashion to how users communicate with friends and family on the platform. As of 2022, more than three million Official Accounts are live in Japan – covering brands from a wide range of industries.
On top of standard features such as rich messages, timeline posts, and rich menu and message auto-replies, brands can leverage other strong functions to create loyalty and meaningful bonds with their customers. This includes offering offline store visit reservations, store locator tools, and promotional coupons. For example, the global clothing brand, GAP, was able to leverage their Official Account to offer consumers access to membership registration, service bookings, online store details and more, serving as an omnichannel touchpoint.
LINE promotional stickers
LINE’s countless sticker collections, which can be used in private chats, are one of the platform’s most notable characteristics. While LINE creates stickers available for anyone to use, many businesses also create their own promotional stickers to encourage brand growth and engagement. This has become a quick growth hacking trick used by many brands since users can download a brand’s stickers in exchange for adding their Official Account as a friend. Using this feature, luxury retail brand, Ralph Lauren, successfully acquired more than 9.6M new followers for its LINE Official Account by launching five rounds of sponsored stickers.
Given the platform’s strong organic presence, it’s unsurprising that LINE Ads sits high on the media purchase funnel in Japan. With the expansion of LINE’s ecosystem, advertising placements have been increasingly added across the app, so that brands can maximise their exposure and traffic.
More importantly, LINE’s targeting capabilities also allow brands to specifically target their audience by demographic (i.e. gender, age and location), interests or behaviour history. Lookalike audience targeting and retargeting are also supported for various marketing purposes.
LINE POINTS is a rewards service that allows users to earn and spend points within LINE’s ecosystem. These points can then be used, for example, to purchase various sticker collections and themes available in the LINE app store.
Brands can also leverage this function to support their marketing initiatives by rewarding users who finish their brand online survey, refer new followers, place an order and more. This is a great way for businesses to drive engagement and conversions.
LINE Talk Head View
This latest feature allows businesses to display dynamic video or static banner ads everyday at the top of LINE’s chat list. Thanks to its dominant position, it can reach more than 65 million unique users in one day, and penetration rate into the 15-29 age group can be as high as 90%. If companies want to maximise their brand or product recognition within a short period of time, this is a go-to feature that is definitely worth exploring.
There are many other useful features that LINE has to offer, both to brands and users alike. LINE, as the bellwether of Japanese digital marketing, is also evolving every day, so it’s best to stay up-to-date on all the latest opportunities the platform has to offer.