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Top 3 digital marketing trends in Japan 2020

2020 has given us a lot of lemons, including but not limited to the coronavirus pandemic. The question is, how will we turn it all into lemonade? The global switch to digital has put an unprecedented emphasis on digital marketing. With even traditional companies in Japan converting to digital signatures, we can expect some dramatic changes and trends that will continue throughout the rest of the year.

Without further ado, here are the top 3 digital marketing trends we’ve been seeing in Japan this year.

1. Digital advertising spend is on the rise

Japan is known to be slightly behind the rest of the world when it comes to digital marketing. According to recent numbers, this seems to be changing. In 2019, digital ad spend surpassed TV for the first time, and the trend is projected to continue. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many traditional companies towards digital transformation, which is helping to increase their digital advertising budgets.

Ad spend in Japan 2017 to 2024 | Digital Marketing For Asia

Source: Statista (June 2020)

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Agile Media Network saw the following results after surveying 159 Japanese companies about the impact of COVID-19 on their marketing activities. 

Changes in marketing activities at Japanese companies due to COVID-19 | Digital Marketing For Asia

2. More influencers

Japan has been seeing an influx of social media influencers in 2019 and continues to see this trend in 2020. Many brands seem to be investing not only in well-known celebrity endorsements but also in micro and nano influencers with less than 50k followers. This allows brands to penetrate smaller communities, increase engagement and provide personalised content.

Instagram influencers in Japan| Digital Marketing For Asia

3. Importance of video content will increase

This is true for most markets, but it seems to be taking off in Japan. The ranking on Alexa shows that video sharing platforms are popular in Japan, with YouTube in 2nd place and Niconico in 11th place. Moreover, Japan has the highest volume of daily Instagram Stories at 7 million per day. It’s also evident that the Japanese are spending more time-consuming video content compared to before the coronavirus pandemic.

This brings us to the emergence of TikTok in Japan. According to We Love Social, in November 2019 TikTok had 1.5 billion downloads in Japan, and just 5 months later in April 2020, the cumulative number of downloads on the App Store and Google Play was 20 billion. TikTok’s rapid user increase in the Japanese market could be attributed to people staying at home and having more free time. If you are targeting Zoomers (from Generation Z) in their teens and 20s, this should be one of your main platforms for online marketing.

TikTok’s user demographic in Japan. 
Source: App Ape Jan 2020

With a rise in these video platforms, marketers, especially those targeting teenagers and younger audiences, will need to keep up with video content to stay visible to today’s internet users.

Knowing the latest digital marketing trends in Japan is key to creating an effective online marketing strategy. At DMFA, we offer consultation for companies interested in entering the Japanese market with services that include content marketing and influencer marketing. Get in touch and our Japanese digital marketing experts will guide you on your market entry journey.

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