How LINE ads can unlock business growth in Japan



8th February 2023

~ 5 min read


Selling in Japan is a no-brainer. It’s a wealthy, advanced, industrialised nation, with a third of the population of the USA despite only having about four percent of the land area. 

But the unfamiliar language, culture, and overall daunting nature of breaking into such a successful market can put Western business owners off even attempting the task.

Here’s the good news. As we explained in our previous blog post on why LINE is essential when marketing in Japan, social media - and in particular, Japan’s premium platform LINE - can level the playing field when it comes to grabbing consumer attention in this lucrative market. 

In this blog post, we look at some of the specific techniques and formats at your disposal on the social network. We also cover the simplest way to overcome both the real and imagined barriers to entry when it comes to the Japanese market.

Why advertise on LINE?

What is it about LINE that makes it the obvious choice for businesses to start their marketing adventure in Japan? Here are the top five reasons...

1. Access to the largest online audience in Japan

LINE has 92 million monthly active users, an incredible figure for a nation of 125 million. Unsurprisingly, it’s the network with the largest daily use in Japan. That opens the door for businesses to promote campaigns in image and video format, which are popular ways to advertise, just like in much of the world.

LINE is split into a number of services targeting different customers at different times, with a single user typically taking advantage of multiple services. The fragmentation into distinct sections like LINE timeline (VOOM), LINE News, LINE Wallet, LINE Manga, LINE Blog, LINE Shopping and others, provides a wide range of placements for advertisers to show their ads where their target audience is active and appropriate.

Simply targeting a service can work for relatively generic products and services, and it’s possible to simply do that without spending too much effort on micro-targeting. But for maximum efficiency or specificity, that might be the next logical step.

2. Micro-target your exact audiences

LINE Ads provide various targeting methods which help your business gain efficient brand reach. Essentially, you’re harnessing more of the information you’re allowed to about individuals from various online signals they leave behind, which lets you show them ads that have a higher likelihood of being of interest to them.

Currently, the available audiences for targeting are:

  • Website visitors: People who come to your site and reach a page, reach one page but not another, or take another custom action.
  • Lookalike: People who seem to have similar traits to those in an existing audience.
  • In-market: People who have demonstrated that they’re actively looking for the product/service you offer.
  • Affinity: General interest groupings based on sites visited and searches completed.
  • Location: Prefecture, province or city level, as well as granular targeting methods such as currently living or working, or previously having lived in the location. 
  • Gender
  • Age group

3. Incremental reach to non-Meta users

Tapping into LINE advertising also helps brands reach incremental audiences in Japan who are not using Facebook and/or Instagram. According to Croud’s research, there’s a large luxury/fashion audience in Japan who aren’t using Facebook or Instagram, and that presents a huge opportunity for some great conversion rates. 

4. Further reach than with just organic social media

Organic social is basically where you start an account, gather followers and communicate directly with them through posts consisting of text, images, video and so on. Trying to start or grow a business using organic social media alone is almost impossible, especially in a foreign country. While there are techniques for actively growing your following, your main opportunities for appearing in front of new customers are having your posts shared or for people to latch onto hashtags you use. Otherwise, it’s quite passive. Targeting, on the other hand, puts you in control of who sees your content, allowing you to guide the conversation.

5. Elevate your brand using various visual spaces

There are various ad formats on LINE that allow your brand to tell its story and to showcase your product or service. Some work better than others for certain sectors, but with full analytics at your fingertips, you can discover which formats perform best for your audience.



How the static ads are shown

  • Static
    • Card
    • Square
    • Carousel
    • Small image (animation)
  • Video
    • Card
    • Vertical
    • Square
Find out more here (PDF)

Start advertising on LINE Ads

Advertising on the LINE app in Japan can seem like a daunting task, but with our expertise, it's a breeze. As a full-service agency, we'll guide you through the process from start to finish. To get started, simply provide us with your brand's business licence, a Japanese website that is fully localised, and your company information page. We'll take care of the rest, from applying for the advertiser account to launching your campaigns. So don't hesitate to reach out to us today if you're ready to take your advertising on the LINE app in Japan to the next level!

Tap into this thriving network with Croud

Croud has a great deal of experience working closely with LINE. We have Japanese native staff who can help you get up and running with both technical and creative tasks. So much so that if you’re used to working with digital marketing agencies, you probably won’t notice much difference between the Japanese digital landscape and your current target territories. We look forward to easing you into this lucrative market.

Feel free to contact our APAC team if you need to ask us anything.


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