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Japanese fashion industry – how to effectively advertise online

The fashion industry is known for its fierce competition and ever-changing trends. Just like with any other industry, apparel brands use web advertising to attract customers. The relatively easy set-up and lower costs make online advertising a great option.

In this article, we compare the traditional and digital advertising methods used in the fashion industry in Japan, and provide tips on how to create successful online marketing campaigns.

Promoting products the old-school way

Over the years, promotional materials such as postcards, paper newsletters, printed catalogues or leaflets have been used to advertise new apparel lines and products. A personalised letter sent directly from the store can make customers feel special and help build trust with the brand. This method allows companies to announce limited-time promotions, express gratitude for a recent purchase, or showcase a new line of products. Printed leaflets can be distributed together with newspapers, or handed out on nearby streets, in hopes of attracting new customers.

For companies that have a physical store, approaching the target audience locally is also a good way to further promote their business. This strategy, however, would not work very well for brands running e-commerce stores, or businesses trying to expand internationally. Distributing large quantities of advertising materials also requires allocation of an additional budget to cover printing and shipment costs.

Why is digital advertising a good choice for apparel brands?

We’ve mentioned some of the conventional methods that have been used to attract apparel customers’ attention. However, given the fast-developing digital world, and the omnipresence of technology, traditional advertising campaigns may not bring desired results any longer. Instead, online advertising is a must for apparel brands who want to expand their business in Japan.

1. Lower advertising costs & budget control

When running online campaigns, advertisers are charged only when the ad is either displayed and seen by a user (cost per impression), or when the user clicks through the ad (cost per click). Marketers have the ability to freely adjust their web advertising budgets at any time, and can further control it by setting a spending limit that will automatically stop ads from showing if exceeded. 

You can read more about how to set up your online advertising budget and maximise results.

2. The ability to reach a wider audience

Online ads can be displayed anywhere, regardless of location, so it is a great way to promote a business when entering a new market or starting an e-commerce store cross-border. Compared to printed leaflets that are distributed in a limited area, digital ads can reach people living across the whole country. Read our article on everything you need to know about the online advertising landscape in Japan.

3. Precise targeting of in-market and affinity audiences

Online tools allow companies to precisely define their target audience and reach users who are most compatible with their brand. They are far more efficient than conventional advertising methods. Online algorithms analyze and match ads with users’ browsing history and attributes like age, gender, interests, etc. In the fashion industry, the target audience varies greatly depending on the brand, so making sure to reach customers by affinity and purchase intent is crucial.

4. Sophisticated reporting tools

It might be difficult to understand and analyze the results of traditional campaigns. Online advertising, on the other hand, offers a wide selection of analysis tools and reporting systems, making it easy to analyze ad performance and set clear improvement strategies.

Which online ads are most suitable for attracting apparel customers?

There is a wide range of online marketing options to choose from. We introduce the main ones below. 

PPC (pay-per-click) Ads

Listing (search) Ads

These ads appear automatically at the top of the search results of search engines and relate to the keywords searched by the user. If a user is already looking for particular products or is aware of a particular brand, search ads can help bring them straight to the appropriate e-commerce store.

Display Ads

Display advertisements are a combination of images, videos, text, etc, and are suitable for potential customers who might not yet be aware of a certain brand or product. Display ads are shown on websites and apps, based on the user’s attributes like age or gender. Eye-catching creatives have a high chance of attracting new customers.

Yahoo! Japan is Japan’s largest online platform with 80 million monthly users. Running digital marketing campaigns on Yahoo! Japan allows brands to reach a wide Japanese audience across all demographics. Read more about how we can help with search & display ads in our Beginners Guide to the Japanese PPC Market.

Social Media Ads

Social media is an effective way to advertise fashion brands. Most popular social media platforms are based on visuals and use photos and videos. High-quality creatives that make advertised products look attractive and desirable are the key to success.

In Japan, LINE is the most popular social media platform, with over 90 million monthly active users. Brands can use it to open an Official Account and run LINE-exclusive promotions, or set up a LINE Ads account and create online campaigns within the app. Learn more about LINE, or read our case study where we cover 8 LINE success stories.

How to maximize your online ad performance in Japan

Below are our tips on how to optimize your Japanese digital marketing campaigns. 

1. Optimise the keyword list

In online marketing, a great keyword list is truly the key to success. If the keyword selection is poor, the ads won’t reach the target audience. When selecting keywords, it is important to understand the user’s way of thinking, identify main and related keywords, word combinations, and so on.

In Japanese, keyword selection is even more tricky. A list that works well in another country may not perform as well in Japan due to language and cultural differences. Learn more about how we can help you localize digital campaigns.

2. Create a strong brand image

Good design is very important when it comes to display or social media ads. Make sure to use a consistent colour scheme and that the images and messages you use are in line with your brand’s values. Creating a strong brand image that leaves a lasting impression on users will make you more recognisable and can help attract new customers.

Well-selected images and videos can truly impress an audience, but using the same photos repeatedly may cause your brand to lose its spark. Make sure to refresh ad creatives and include seasonal trends.

Read our article on everything you need to know about creating a perfect LINE ads creatives.

3. Understand your target audience

Make sure the language and visuals you use match the needs and expectations of your target audience. Choose what you want to appeal to: user’s worries, needs, or interests, and create the ad content around those points. In order to do so, it is always helpful to create a persona. Here is our guide on how to create one for online ads in Japan.

4. Make it pop

If you are running a sales campaign, make sure to design a creative which will showcase the reduced price in a clear, prominent way. One trick you can use is to show the difference between the old and new prices or showcase the advantages of your product in comparison to that of a competitor. One thing to be mindful of, however, is that continuously promoting lowered prices and discount campaigns may cause your brand image to decline and lose its reputation.

5. Use different advertising channels

You should not limit your digital marketing activities to one platform. Create a strong online presence by running multiple social media accounts or opening an e-commerce store. A good digital marketing strategy uses different channels to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions. 

Advertising online in Japan

Apparel brands in Japan are taking full advantage of digital advertising. Platforms such as Yahoo! Japan and LINE allow companies to reach a large audience across all demographics. A well-localized campaign with carefully-curated content can lead to great success and increase your e-commerce and in-store sales.

We provide support for Yahoo! Japan and LINE advertising, including full LINE Ads account management. Please feel free to reach out to learn more.

“This is a translation of an article published on the Yahoo! Japan website. The original Japanese article can be found here.” 

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