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LINE Ads targeting – explained

Are you looking for an effective way to reach a large audience through digital campaigns in Japan? LINE Ads is a platform on the country’s most popular communication app. With 95 million monthly active users, LINE Ads targeting settings offer a wide range of options to ensure your ads are delivered to the correct audience.

However, to truly maximise the potential of LINE Ads, it’s crucial to understand the delivery and targeting options available. In this article, we walk you through the LINE Ads targeting options, helping you effectively deliver ads to the Japanese audience.

LINE Ads – overview

LINE Ads is a powerful ad distribution platform that leverages the reach and capabilities of Japan’s most popular communication app.

With 95 million monthly active users, representing approximately 80% of the Japanese population, LINE Ads offers many opportunities to reach users across various placements. These include Talk List, at the top of the chat section, or LINE VOOM, a timeline where users can enjoy short videos.

LINE Ads also boasts impressive engagement metrics, meaning that your ads have the potential to reach a massive audience. This includes users of a wide range of age groups, through channels such as LINE NEWS, one of the largest news services in Japan.

One of the key advantages of LINE Ads is the ability to target users based on attributes. These can include age, gender, location, interests, and more, using LINE’s vast behavioural dataset. 

This, combined with the ability to reach users who cannot be reached through other social media platforms, makes LINE Ads a highly effective tool for advertisers looking to maximise their impact in the Japanese market.

Whether you’re looking to reach a specific demographic or want to deliver ads to users with a particular set of interests, LINE Ads offers many targeting options to help you achieve your advertising goals.

LINE Ads leverages the rich audience data of LINE and its family services to enable highly effective targeting.

The results provide advertisers with valuable insights into their target audience, without compromising the privacy of individual users. This information is based on the users’ purchasing experience, and is estimated statistically, meaning that specific individuals cannot be identified.

LINE Ads – main distribution methods

LINE Ads offers three main distribution methods for delivering advertisements: Segment Distribution, Audience Distribution, and Similar Distribution.

To ensure the efficient delivery of ads, selecting the appropriate distribution method and setting appropriate targeting based on the campaign’s goals is crucial.

Segment Distribution

Reach users through specific segments.

This method allows advertisers to distribute ads by specifying segments, based on the audience data available through LINE and its family services.  

Attributes: marital status, children, income, mobile carriers, etc;
Age: from under 14 to over 65 years old;
Gender: male/female;
Behaviour: TV viewing frequency, career change history, conversion history, gaming habits, relocation history;
Interests: Choose from over 31 categories;
Location: prefecture, city, residential area, place of work, or current location;

The Segment Distribution method allows targeted advertisements based on age, gender, location, and interests. Ads can be displayed to the desired target audience by carefully setting appropriate targeting options, leading to a cost-effective delivery.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the level of detail in targeting settings.

If the settings are too specific, the target audience will be limited, reducing the population of users who will receive the ads. To ensure optimal results, we recommend starting with broad targeting and gradually narrowing it down as the campaign progresses.

Please see below for a detailed description of available audience segments.

Audience Distribution

Reach users based on their online behaviour.

Audience distribution is a powerful tool which leverages users’ online behavioural data, such as site visit history and product purchase history, to target users who are more likely to convert. This results in more efficient advertising, with a lower cost per acquisition (CPA).

One of the benefits of this method is that it can be used for retargeting. By targeting users who have previously visited your site, you can remind them of your products or services and encourage them to take further action. This can be especially effective for users who have shown an interest in your products or services but haven’t yet purchased them.

In addition to site visits and product purchase history, audience distribution can use in-app data and LINE friend information from LINE Official Accounts. This helps to expand your reach and even get to users who may not have visited your site before.

You must install a LINE Tag on your site to maximise audience distribution. This will allow you to collect the necessary data and create audiences based on user behaviour. 

For more information on how to use LINE Tags, check out this guide (Japanese only), or contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our LINE experts.

Please see below for more details about available audience types.

Similar Distribution

Find new audiences similar to your customers.

A similar distribution is a method that searches for users similar to the specified source audience from within LINE. It expands the audience size, and distributes advertisements.

For example, by using a similar distribution with users with a history of purchasing products, it is possible to reach new users who are also likely to purchase the product. 

Similar distribution can be set to “Automatic” or “Manual”. If set to “Manual”, you can specify a similar audience size between 1% and 15%.

A lookalike audience size of 1% will have limited distribution but will be more similar to the source audience. The higher the degree of similarity, the higher the probability of conversion. However, the audience size will be smaller.

A lookalike audience size of 15% results in higher distribution and lower similarity to the source audience. The lower the similarity, the less likely the users are to take action on your ad.

Case Studies

When distributing LINE Ads, targeting varies depending on the campaign goals and audience.

Below, we discuss three examples of companies utilising LINE’s delivery settings for better results.

Real estate company

This community-based real estate company wants to announce campaign information to the local audience.

Campaign goal: Reach people living in the neighbourhood, have them visit the website and read information;
Best solution: Segment distribution.


By targeting users in a specific city and the age group with many single-person households, the ad will have a higher chance of reaching users interested in rental properties.

Additionally, targeting users interested in real estate or renting will further increase the ad’s relevance and improve its chances of being seen and acted upon.

Targeting settings:
Location: Set the target area to “xxx city”.
Demographic: Set the target age group to “20s and 30s”.
Interest: Set the target interest to “Real Estate” or “Renting”.

Delivery method:
– Segment distribution

Game developer

This gaming company wants to announce the release of its new title to as many users as possible.

Campaign goal: Spread awareness about the new game release and get as many game downloads as possible right after the release
Best solution: Segment distribution + audience distribution



Targeting both users who are interested in games and users who have previously shown interest in the company by visiting its website can maximise the reach.

The broad distribution to users interested in games through audience segment distribution can help increase visibility and generate initial interest in the new game. Meanwhile, the targeted distribution to users who have visited the company’s site can provide them with more detailed information and a clear call to action, such as pre-ordering the new game or signing up for updates.

Targeting settings:
Interest: Set the target interest to “Games”;
Demographic: Set the target age group to “Teenagers” or “Young Adults”, as these groups tend to have a higher interest in gaming;
Behaviour: target users who have previously visited the company’s website.

Delivery method: 
Segment distribution – for users in “games” interest segment;
Audience distribution (retargeting) – for users who have previously visited the website.

Cram school

This cram school wants to increase the number of new students.

Campaign goal: Increase the number of new students and increase the number of distributed pamphlets;
Best solution: Audience delivery (retargeting) + similar delivery



By combining audience distribution based on user behaviour data and similar distribution, the cram school can effectively reach two groups of users likely to be interested in their services.

Users who have visited the cram school’s site but did not request a pamphlet may still consider the school an option. Targeting them with an ad can help rekindle their interest. Meanwhile, users, like those who have previously requested pamphlets, are likely to be highly interested. And more likely to convert into new students.

It is important to note that the targeting settings should be adjusted based on the specific needs and goals. For example, a similar audience size can be set to a lower percentage for a more similar audience and a higher percentage for a larger audience.

Targeting settings:
Custom Audience: Set the target audience to “Users who have visited the cram school’s website but did not request a pamphlet”;
Similar Distribution: Set the source audience to “Users who have requested a pamphlet from the cram school’s website”.

Delivery method:
Audience delivery (retargeting): to reach users who have previously visited the cram school’s website;
Similar delivery: to reach users similar to those who have previously requested a pamphlet from the cram school’s website.

It is important to note that targeting alone cannot guarantee success in ad campaigns.

It is also necessary to create appealing and informative ads and creatives that can grab the target audience’s attention and effectively communicate the campaign information.

Get started with LINE Ads

As part of the SoftBank Group, DMFA is LINE’s official partner. Our bilingual Japanese digital marketing expert team offers full support and management of LINE Ads and LINE Official Accounts. 

Simply fill in the form, and our team will get back to you as soon as possible →

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