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3 tips for digital marketing in Japan

This blog post was updated on 31 January 2023.

The Japanese market is wealthy and digitally mature, making it very attractive to businesses wanting to expand internationally.

However, the digital landscape of Japan is as unique as it is advanced, with its own local platforms and a distinct set of online (and offline) behaviours.

Unique countries require unique strategies, which can make Japan a challenging market for brands to successfully enter.

Never fear, I have put together an in-depth guide that explains the key things to consider for a successful digital marketing strategy in Japan.

Let’s look at three tips for digital marketing in Japan!

1. Include both Google and Yahoo Japan in your search engine marketing efforts

Unlike most other countries in the world, where Google reigns supreme, in Japan, there is another big player in the market: Yahoo Japan. Most Japanese internet users use both search engines frequently, so it is important to include both Google and Yahoo Japan in your search engine marketing efforts. Although your SEO strategy will not need to differ (since Yahoo Japan’s searches are powered by Google), you will need to learn how to run advertising campaigns on both search engines.

2. Be on LINE, the number one social platform in Japan

LINE is the most popular social media platform in Japan, being used by 80% of Japanese internet users every month. It started off as a messaging app similar to WhatsApp, but has since diversified its offerings to include a mobile payments system, news and weather information, music streaming and manga. It is the main communication tool for many families, as it is popular across generations and genders. LINE allows businesses to open an official account to advertise on the platform, with several different types of ads being available to advertisers. It is well worth considering doing this when targeting the Japanese market.

3. Consider selling your products on Amazon and Rakuten

When you think of e-commerce in the West, your mind probably goes straight to Amazon and may not even consider any alternatives. But in Japan, whilst Amazon is the most popular e-commerce platform, local player Rakuten also has significant popularity. You may want to consider selling on both platforms, since that would enable you to reach a wider percentage of your audience.

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to digital marketing in Japan. For more in-depth information, read the full-length guide here. The guide covers:

  • the current digital landscape in the country, including internet penetration rates
  • the typical Japanese internet user, including their gender, age and online activities
  • device usage breakdowns and internet speeds in Japan
  • search engine marketing in Japan
  • how to localise your website for Japan
  • social media marketing in Japan
  • the local culture and language in Japan
  • e-commerce in Japan
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César Gonçalves

Business Solutions Team Leader at Webcertain
Experienced in working with clients from across the globe, César’s goal is to provide holistic multi-channel digital strategies, tailored to each client and each target market. With a strong and multidisciplinary background, he holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in Marketing. He is always keen to learn more about new trends in international digital marketing and how they might impact the industries his clients operate in, so he can help them stay ahead of the curve. Originally from Portugal, César now lives in the UK.

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