Japanese digital marketing by English speaking agency in Japan

Digital Marketing in Japan

Digital Marketing Agency

Mahana Corporation


2-16-8 Sakamoto Bldg 3F

Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku,

1500043 Tokyo, Japan




Digital Marketing in Japan

Most of the things about digital marketing in Japan is no different from other developed countries. However, there some unique points as well. Let's see it from its history.

1. History of digital marketing in Japan

1990-1999: Beginning
In 1994, the major US telephone company AT&T published the world's first banner ad in the online magazine "HotWired.com". This is the moment when digital marketing was born. The following year, in 1995, Amazon started official service, and Windows 95 was released in the world of PCs. The spread of PCs started. In 1996, services such as "Yahoo! Japan" symbolized the full-scale development of Japanese internet services.

2000-2009: Developing
In 2000, Google and Amazon entered the Japanese market one after another, and the era of PC-based EC (Electronic Commerce, or E-commerce) and the internet began. From that time onward, many companies started to launch their own EC systems. These actions led to an "IT bubble" in the internet market. For the next 10 years, PC internet services and digital marketing developed rapidly.
A major turning point in digital marketing was the rapid change in the search market from the previous directory search system to text search via Google. As a result, a new digital marketing method called "SEO" began to attract attention.

2010-2020: Diversification
Digital marketing from 2010 to the present has been, and is, a time of diversification.
The biggest change in the last 10 years is the transition from PCs to smartphones. In 2017, smartphone ownership exceeded PC ownership. Internet usage time has been increasing and methods of contacting have also diversified, which has increased the depth of digital marketing.

2020-2030: Integration

With the spreading of technological developments such as 5G, IoT and AI, we can assume that a "post-digital" world will be upon us soon.

2. Features of digital marketing in Japan

1) Japanese characters

There is one major feature in Japanese digital marketing, which is the uniqueness of the Japanese language. Japanese has 3 different types of characters: kanji, hiragana, and katakana. For many companies, it is important to decide which type of characters will be used when engaging in SEO, SNS marketing, and other kinds of digital marketing. For example, in Japanese, the word for “sea” can have 3 different types of characters:

2) LINE is the king

According to data from ICT (a Japanese research company), the number of SNS users in Japan in 2020 is 77.95 million (a penetration rate of 80.3%). The most used SNS is LINE. Companies use LINE for business. They can deliver messages directly to their users and fans. It is attractive that there are various ways to use it and that it includes the option to insert PR in the timeline, use group talk, and use one-on-one talk. The second most used SNS in Japan is Twitter. Twitter has a strong spreading power because it has a retweet function, and many companies from large to small and medium-sized companies have accounts. In some cases, the buzz of just one tweet can attract attention in a scope of tens of thousands of people. Instagram, Facebook, and other new SNS tools also play an important role in Japan’s digital marketing.

3) All in Japanese

In digital marketing, data collecting is one of the most important components. In Japan, although English is becoming a more commonly used language than before, almost all Japanese companies still advertise in Japanese, and collect and analyze information in Japanese.

3. What happens next?

The digital marketing industry is constantly exposed to various waves of change. What kind of change will occur next?

Here are 4 keywords that will help you understand future trends.

1) Voice advertising

Over the last few years, innovation has progressed in the field of speech recognition, and new technologies have emerged one after another. Additionally, the advertising trend is changing drastically, and the market for voice advertising through smart speakers is expanding.

2) Automatic creation of catch copy and messages by AI

AI is now used in all aspects of marketing. Recently, services that optimize the generation of catch copy with AI have become a hot topic. A new service uses AI to analyze consumer reactions and languages, and then automatically creates "click-inducing" messages and catch copy. It can help improve conversion rates.

3) Video

Video is playing a non-negligible role in digital marketing. Data shows that one-third of online shoppers would like to spend their online time watching videos and after watching them, they are more motivated to buy the products shown in the video. The use of video is expected to continue to expand.

4) ABM (Account-Based Marketing) with AI

ABM is a marketing measure that aims to improve ROI by concentrating resources on well-defined prospective customers. Account-based marketing is a focused approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers. Major retailers such as Amazon has been rolling out account-based marketing with the latest AI technology and it is expected to spread to all other sellers.


The Benefits of Digital Marketing

The following are the 3 main benefits of digital marketing.

1) Stability
For example, imagine publishing a new web page on your website once a week. Then, the number of web pages will increase by 4 pages every month and 52 pages per year. Unless you delete a web page, the web page will remain online, and this will gradually increase the number of visits and inquiries to the website. Thus, it is possible to obtain a stable number of business dealings and inquires.

2) Decreased Costs
Compared with exhibitions, telephone sales, and sales meetings, introducing products through digital marketing channels, like a website or social media, generally costs less. Also, website maintenance costs remain steady, while salesperson labor costs are increasing as time goes by.

3) Non-face-to-face Sales
Recently, more and more people are focusing on online business. And digital marketing channels make it possible to actualize business negotiations and project discussion without face-to-face visiting.

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