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In this guide, we will introduce the most popular social media platforms in Japan and provide the best online marketing practices for each platform.
Social networking services have surpassed 4.6 billion users worldwide. In Japan, social media platforms have reached 82.7 million users, and this number is expected to grow to 83.88 million by the end of 2024. Social media have become an indispensable communication tool for people, and the six major social networking services (LINE, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube) account for a large percentage of the total number of users and continue to grow.
Read our guide to learn about unique features and key points for utilizing LINE, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube in Japan.
According to the 2021 Telecommunications Usage Trends Survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, social media usage rates have increased over the previous year across all age groups. As the number of generations using social media is increasing, companies need to manage their socials well to further expand their business.
While Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have been mainly used for one-way information transmission, many platforms are now being used not only for information transmission but also for exchanging messages using the chat function. Social media messaging is characterized by the ability to exchange messages without knowing a phone number or email address, as long as you have an account name or ID.
Social media also serve as search engines, with many people using social networking platforms to look for information instead of using a traditional web browser. The behaviour of “Tag-ru (tagging)” in which people search using strings of text beginning with hashtags that interest them, has become a well-established practice. The range of other information people search for is also expanding, such as searching for places to go or restaurants to eat at. To spread awareness on social networking sites, it is necessary to not only post useful information but also to use hashtags that people will search for.
Let’s take a look at the leading social media facts and trends in Japan.
LINE is the most popular messaging app in Japan. It was originally developed back in 2011 and remains the most popular messaging app in the country. As of 2023, LINE has over 95 million monthly active users in Japan. This platform has a multitude of features other than messaging, such as a newsfeed, a cashless payment system, a games library, TV streaming, digital comics, and an e-commerce platform. Famous for its animated stickers, LINE even has retail stores that sell official merchandise. Businesses can also take advantage of a large number of users to distribute advertisements to. Companies can post ads in the LINE app and use the LINE Official Account to communicate and send out information to their target audience.
Twitter is a popular social media platform in Japan, with over 58.95 million users as of 2022. One of the reasons for Twitter’s popularity is its unique features and cultural fit. The 280-character limit makes it easy for users to communicate quickly and concisely, which aligns well with the Japanese language’s emphasis on brevity and efficiency. Additionally, Twitter has a strong focus on real-time communication and sharing, which is particularly appealing to the Japanese culture that values the “now.” Twitter’s real-time updates allow users to stay connected and informed about the latest news and trends. Twitter has also become a key platform for businesses in Japan, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises to engage with customers, promote their products and services, and connect with other businesses.
Instagram is rapidly gaining popularity among Japanese users, with over 45.7 million users as of 2022. It is particularly popular among women in their 20s and 30s. Instagram offers many features that are compatible with Generation Z and millennials, including “Stories,” “Live Streaming” and paid subscription “badges” and “Reels.” The platform also offers a shopping function that directs users to e-commerce sites. It has been announced that Japanese users view product details from shopping tags three times more than users in other countries. Instagram is also attracting attention as a place for companies to conduct marketing activities, such as promoting their brand through influencers and branded content ads, where Instagrammers’ posts can be distributed as advertisements for the brand..
Facebook is not a widely used social media platform in Japan, with only 15.55 million users as of early 2022. However, Japanese people mainly use the platform for business networking, which explains why LinkedIn has had a slow uptake in Japan. Most of the Facebook users in Japan are in their 20s and 30s.
TikTok has become increasingly popular in Japan in recent years, particularly among younger users, with over 20.7 million users as of 2021. TikTok’s main users in Japan are in their teens and 20s, making it easy to approach the younger generations. The short videos can be viewed quickly and easily, making it a popular way to fill up one’s spare time.
Youtube is a popular social media platform in Japan, with 78.4 million users of all ages, from teens to those over 50 years old. As a Google-owned service, the ability to distribute video advertisements utilizing big data has become an attractive feature. The platform also offers live-streaming and paid membership subscriptions, attracting individuals and companies to acquire fans and create extra revenue streams. The platform has evolved in recent years with celebrities making their YouTube debuts, and the influencer marketing on YouTube is larger than that of other social networking services. The platform has also introduced vertical video advertisements that appeal to Generation Z and Millennials.
With over 82 million social media users in Japan and a multitude of platforms to choose from, it is important to create the right content for the appropriate platform, depending on your product, service, and target audience.
Hiring social media marketing experts for the Japanese market is a fool-proof and efficient way to reach customers in Japan. Contact us to find out more about our services.
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