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Why is LINE the most popular social media app in Japan?

LINE app is Japan’s no.1 messaging app and social media platform, with over 96 million Japanese users.

Its success is due to several factors, including its unique animated stickers and other integrated services.

Unlike WhatsApp, its Western counterpart, LINE is a super app. It offers advertising opportunities for businesses wanting to promote their product or service in Japan. 

Want to advertise on LINE?

Read about our free LINE Ads support services here →

Free LINE Ads support service

Why is LINE so popular?

LINE is widely used in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia, with over 224 million MAU worldwide.


Although it is now considered a super app, did you know it started as a disaster response app during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami?

Owned by Korean search engine giant Naver, it developed a communications system for its Japanese staff during the disaster.


The result was an app that used internet-based connections and not the usual telecommunications infrastructure destroyed by the earthquake. Later that year, LINE was opened to the public and, within 18 months, had more than 100 million users.

2024 Social Media Landscape in Japan

As of March 2024, Japan had 104.4 million Internet users, which makes up 84.9% of the total population. 96 million are LINE users, covering up to 78.1% of the total population.

2024 social media landscape in Japan

LINE app demographic

Here are the demographics of LINE app users in Japan.

As you can see, there is an even distribution of users across all age groups. There are slightly more women than men. People in their 50s use LINE the most; almost half are company employees. 

2024 LINE users in Japan

In addition to the above, according to LINE’s research, the number of smartphone users who only access the internet via their devices is growing.

Source: Marcomill

In addition, when comparing smartphone services, 41.1% of the surveyed smartphone users only use LINE as their social media platform. LINE is also the preferred choice for digital platforms accessed via mobile phones, with 18.5% of users.

LINE usage vs other platforms

Source: Marcomill

The residential locations of LINE users roughly correspond to the national population distribution ratio.

Source: Marcomill

Knowing the above demographics and data on smartphone users in Japan, targeting the Japanese audience via LINE has become a great way to reach users you normally would not be able to reach via Google or Yahoo! JAPAN. 

Basic LINE app features

LINE has many features that make it worthy of its super-app title. Here are just some of the other main features:

Example of LINE app features

Chat, voice & video calls

LINE lets you create online chats with text, stickers, photos, videos, calls, and send/request money, all in one app.

LINE Stickers

What makes LINE different from other messenger apps is its famous stickers.

As you can imagine, the app gained massive popularity in a nation that loves anime and emojis.

Though they have a series of their own LINE character stickers, creators can also share their original stickers for free or sell them at the sticker shop for LINE coins. LINE coins are a currency used in the app for users to purchase stickers and themes. Users believe that LINE stickers make life more fun.

We believe animated and sound stickers of famous characters and celebrities are the reason behind LINE’s popularity. Moreover, it’s a great way for companies to promote their brand by making their brand and character stickers available for free. 

Source: LINE Corp.

Home Tab

The LINE Home Tab brings friends, accounts, services, stickers, and themes together in one central hub.

News Tab

LINE’s News Tab lets you stay up-to-date with headlines from LINE NEWS.


LINE VOOM is a short-form video platform where users can discover and enjoy videos, follow accounts, and engage with content.

Wallet Tab

The LINE Wallet Tab is your hub for LINE Pay and other financial services.

Using LINE for business

LINE presents many opportunities for businesses to target smartphone users in Japan. There are two main ways to use LINE for business.

LINE Official Account

LINE Official Account allows brands and businesses to open special profiles and use them to connect with users, send out promotional information, and run advertising campaigns. Every business can open an Official Account for free.

Why can opening a LINE Official Account be crucial in succeeding in the Japanese market?

Why opening a LINE Official Account can be a crucial step in succeeding in the Japanese market?

App users can view posts and interact with Official Accounts like their friends and family on LINE. By sharing content on LINE’s timeline (96 million MAU), brands can stay on top of users’ minds and provide updates like other social media platforms. Another use for an Official Account is customer support.

Users can contact brands via LINE’s Official Account chat room, where they can receive immediate chatbot responses.

Want to learn more?

Download our FREE LINE Official Account Media Guide →

Download our free LINE Official Account Media Guide.


You have come to the right section if you want to run PPC ads on LINE.

LINE Ads allow businesses to promote campaigns in image and video format to LINE’s 84 million users. These ads can appear on the timeline, LINE News, Wallet, LINE Manga, LINE Blog, LINE Shopping and more. Furthermore, there are targeting capabilities that make it easy for businesses to reach their desired audience.

Overwhelming number of users:
  • Deliver your ads to an extensive network of 96 million domestic users actively engaging with the LINE app.

  • Target users who primarily rely on LINE for their social media needs, a segment not accessible through other platforms. 

Wide range of age groups:
  • Target users of all ages, effectively expanding your brand’s reach.

  • Enhanced Engagement: Connect with a diverse audience, particularly those particularly receptive to advertising in the 35+ age group.

LINE Official Account integration:
  • Leverage OA data to identify and target specific user segments. 

  • Tailor ad content and messaging to align with the preferences and characteristics of targeted user groups.

  • Achieve higher engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversions through personalized ad experiences.

LINE users are active consumers:
  • Engage with a highly active user base receptive to new information and opportunities.

  • Target users with demonstrated ability to make informed purchasing decisions. 

  • Leverage the power of LINE NEWS to reach a valuable audience. 

CPF (Cost-Per-Friend) Campaigns

Cost-per-friend campaign is an advertising solution that enables businesses to acquire verified LINE friends for their Official Accounts through LINE Ads. This unique approach fosters organic growth and attracts genuinely interested users, leading to a valuable and engaged audience. Personal information

Key Features:
  • Verified Friends: Acquire only verified LINE users who have explicitly agreed to connect with your brand.

  • High-Quality Audience: Attract users genuinely interested in your offerings, leading to better engagement and conversions.

  • Organic Growth: Mimic natural user acquisition, building trust and credibility among your audience.

  • Cost-Effective Solution: Pay only for the friends you gain, ensuring a measurable return on investment.

Watch our video about LINE

Source: DMFA YouTube

Start promoting your brand
on the LINE app

As part of the SoftBank family, we act as official overseas media representatives for LINE Yahoo advertising products. We provide complimentary support to clients who manage their own ad accounts.


Contact our LINE experts for further information if you want to promote your business in Japan.

Submit the form, and our team will get back to you as soon as possible →

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