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How To Use LINE Ads For Businesses Targeting Mobile Users In Japan

How to use LINE Ads for businesses targeting mobile users in Japan

LINE is the WhatsApp and WeChat of Japan, with an attractive user base of over 84 million in Japan1. Having a mobile internet user penetration of 90%2, LINE Ads is a great way to target Japanese smartphone users. As a super app, LINE has some great features including a barcode payment system, ecommerce platform, and a COVID-19 support menu. 

LINE user demographics

Overview of the LINE Ads platform

Official Account

On LINE, businesses can have an account where they can engage with LINE users one on one, just like with their friends and family. Brands can share offers with their audience and even provide customer service. 

List of Official Accounts in LINE app

Types of LINE Accounts

  1. Unofficial Account
    Anyone can open this type of account.
  2. Official Account
    These are verified accounts, usually of brands, products and services. Allows businesses to run LINE Ads and other business services.
  3. Premium Account
    Only select accounts approved by LINE will qualify.

Basic functions include:

  • Messaging users, one on one or by segment
  • A/B testing of messages
  • Manage the number of messages sent out
  • Posting on the timeline 
  • Sharing coupons
  • Chat with customers (smart chat available)
  • Customer service surveys

Once you have an Official Account, you’re ready to start your online ad campaigns with LINE Ads.

Ad Formats

The following ad formats are available in both image and video.

LINE-Ads-sample_card
Card (1200 x 628)
LINE-Ads-sample_square
Square (1080 x 1080)
LINE-Ads-sample_verticle
Vertical (9:16)

The ad formats below are only available in image formats.

LINE-Ads-sample_carousel
Carousel (600 x 600)

Creative image and text (smart channel)

Ad Placement

There are several different areas within the app where your ads could appear.

  1. Smart Channel
    Ads appear at the top of the chat page that lists the user’s existing chats with friends.
  2. LINE News
    Ads appear within the news feed and can also appear in one of 324 partner media account’s news feeds.
  3. Timeline
    This is a user’s feed of updates from friends and accounts they are following. Ads appear within this feed.
  4. LINE Manga
    This is Japan’s largest online comic service. Ads appear within the LINE Manga app.
  5. LINE Blog
    Japanese celebrities use this to communicate with their fans. Blog posts integrate with LINE Official Account and posts to LINE’s timeline. Ads appear within the LINE Blog app.
  6. LINE Points
    A service that allows users to collect points from completing certain tasks and missions on LINE. Ads appear within the LINE Points page.
  7. LINE Shopping
    An ecommerce platform within the LINE app with over 250 merchants and 100 million products. Ads appear within the LINE Shopping page.
  8. LINE Ads Network
    Allows advertisers to deliver their ads to LINE and LINE-related services. It boasts Japan’s largest ad inventory with 54 million MAU.

Ad Targeting

Ad targeting possible by:

  • User demographics (age, gender, location, interest, religion, OS, etc.)
  • Audience targeting (display only to specific audiences, i.e. first-time buyers)
  • Look-alike audience targeting (finds similar users based on web traffic, in-app events, and friends of users on LINE)
  • Re-engagement (target LINE users who have downloaded your app but are no longer active users)

Ad Types

Aside from regular LINE ads, there are other types of ads being offered.

Cost Per Friends

Businesses can gain “friends” with these ads. Official Accounts can offer special promotions and discounts to LINE users during this process.

First View

Limited to one ad by one Official Account per day, this allows the display of an ad for 24 hours at the top of all LINE users’ timeline.

LINE Dynamic Ads

Based on what types of products a user has viewed in the past, LINE will deliver ads to users that may find interest in your product. Each ad is personalised for each user and the URLs can be unique to each product, helping to increase conversion rates.

Carousel (1:1)
LINE-Ads-sample_carousel
Carousel (600 x 600)
Carousel (16:9)

Restrictions

The following are some of the industries that are not allowed to advertise in LINE.

  • Adult
  • Religion
  • Beauty salons
  • Dating
  • Gambling
  • Weapons
  • Cigarettes 
  • Sanitary products
  • Political party
  • Medical and cosmetic surgery
  • Drugs

Here is a full list of unapproved industries in Japanese.

What you need to start advertising on LINE

  1. Open a LINE Official Account
  2. Define the target audience
  3. Have all campaign creative and landing pages localised in Japanese
  4. Choose ad placement locations for ad delivery
  5. Set targeting measures and ad spend budget
  6. Embed tags for tracking conversions

Although the LINE Official Account ad management platform is available in English, almost all documents and support for LINE Official Account and LINE Ads are in Japanese. Furthermore, LINE only accepts Japanese credit card payments which is a huge hurdle for most overseas advertisers. At DMFA, we can open the LINE account on your behalf. Plus, our team of bilingual Japanese digital marketing experts offer full support and management of both services as well as website localisation. To get started with LINE Ads, please get in touch.

1 Line Corp (April 2020)
2 Calculated using data from Line Corp and Digital 2020: Japan

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