Recently, Google announced that it will end supporting third-party cookies in 2023, and marketers are faced with the challenge to pivot their marketing efforts to reach their target users. In this upcoming cookie-less era, it is mandatory to have an effective strategy to obtain information and to communicate with users.
Several companies attempt to leverage social media and community applications, and an effective method of doing so in the Japanese market is to utilize LINE. Statista reports that LINE is so popular that it reached a staggering 86 million monthly users in Japan during the third quarter of 2020.
LINE is a messaging application developed by a Japanese company and is the most widely used online communication tool in Japan. It is the Japanese version of WhatsApp. Aside from its call and message capabilities, it also has a timeline function like Twitter, and allows users to create group chats, and to receive official information from companies and the government. In recent years, the functionality of LINE has been greatly expanded beyond messaging. Users can also use LINE to make payments, send money, set delivery dates and times, watch manga, stream music, read news, among its many offerings, making it an indispensable application in the daily lives of the Japanese.
How popular is LINE in Japan?
According to NTT DOCOMO Mobile Research Institute, in 2021, a whopping 77.8% of the Japanese who own a smartphone or cellphone use LINE. By way of comparison, the usage rate of Twitter in the same survey was 39.8%, while Instagram and Facebook run at 32.9% and 26.6%, respectively. This shows that LINE has an overwhelming usage in Japan.
Use LINE in Your Business
LINE, which has a variety of functions,used by almost every Japanese and foreigners living in Japan, can promote your business in so many ways. Let’s take a look at some of the features that are actually available on LINE.
Official LINE Accounts
The most basic way to use LINE for business is to create an official account for your company or service. By having users add your official account as a friend, you will be able to send and receive messages to these user-customers, distribute coupons, and manage reservations.
Below are some examples of its typical uses:
You can send messages in bulk to users who are following your account. Think of it as an alternative to marketing campaigns conducted via e-mail or SMS, such as product sales information, store reservations, and announcements. The free, no-obligation plan allows you to send up to 1,000 messages per month.
This is a timeline feature for video content creators, similar to Instagram and TikTok. It was released in 2021. This feature enables you to share your content to users who do not follow you. Another advantage is the ease with which it can be distributed as many times as you want, free of charge.
・Interactive Conversation (Chats)
Just like interactions between personal accounts, official LINE accounts can conduct Talks in which they receive messages from users and reply to them. Also, a scenario-based AI chat can be used without an operator, which can be useful for responding to questions and managing reservations.
Coupons can be created and distributed to users from official LINE Business Accounts. This method is often used to distribute coupons during promotional campaigns or as a welcome message to users who have added their accounts.
Once you create an advertising account, you can distribute advertisements on LINE. Because LINE is used by a wide range of age groups and most Japanese people, it is more likely to reach your target audience than advertising on Facebook or Google in the Japanese market.
Targets can be identified based on various demographics such as their place of residence, age, gender, hobbies, and various types of advertisements can be selected. It is also possible to select the screen on which the ads will be displayed, such as the Chat list, Voom, or LINE News.
LINE Developers API
LINE offers a number of solutions to help you develop your services, and by creating a LINE Developer account you will have access to these solutions. In addition, LINE Developers has complete documentation in English, so even if you are not comfortable using Japanese, you can use the solutions with confidence.
Typical examples of uses are as follows:
・Login and Authentication
Just as authentication is available through Google and Facebook, LINE also provides an API that can be used for third-party authentication. This allows you to securely authenticate users without having to implement a complicated login system when they use your app. By implementing a flow that requires users to follow your official account during authentication, you can communicate with users who log in to your app via your official account.
The mobile payment function provided by LINE is one of the most popular electronic payment methods in Japan. You can introduce LINE Pay payments for your own services.
You can also develop a Bot that will automatically interact with users through your official LINE account. This allows you to communicate with users through the Bot without having the need of an operator on site.
Boost your business with the most popular messaging application in Japan, LINE, to communicate easily and closely with Japanese users. Create your own official LINE account, an advertising account, or a Developer account, and use LINE to boost your business.
Notes for the readers:
Under no circumstances shall the company or its affiliates, partners, suppliers, or licensors be liable for any indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages arising out of or in connection with your access or use of or inability to access or use the application and any third-party content and services, whether or not the damages are foreseeable and whether or not the company was advised of the possibility of such damages, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, company’s aggregate liability to you (whether under contract, tort, statute, or otherwise). The foregoing limitations will apply even if the above stated remedy fails of its essential purpose. This article was written on 28 March 2022.
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 Statista Research Department, & 21, S. (2021, September 21). Line mau in Japan 2019. Statista. Retrieved April 4, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/560545/number-of-monthly-active-line-app-users-japan/#:~:text=The%20messaging%20app%20LINE%20is,the%20third%20quarter%20of%202020.
 LINE Corporation. LINE for Business. Retrieved 28 March 2022 from https://www.linebiz.com/jp-en/
 LINE Corporation. LINE for Business. Retrieved 28 March 2022 from https://www.linebiz.com/jp/
 LINE Corporation. LINE PAY Developers. Retrieved 28 March 2022 from https://pay.line.me/jp/developers/main/main?locale=en_US
 LINE Corporation. LINE Developers. Retrieved 28 March 2022 from https://developers.line.biz/en/
 NTT Docomo Mobile Society Research Institute.モバイル社会白書2021. (2021) Retrieved 28 March 2022 from https://www.moba-ken.jp/project/others/sns_index.html