5 Tips for Running X (Twitter) Ads in Japan

Posted By Jim Kersey

With over 67 million users in Japan, X (formally Twitter) is more popular than both Facebook and Instagram. And although it may not be the first platform you go to for your digital advertising needs, it can be a great tool for those who know how to use it well.

If you’re considering launching your first X/Twitter Ads campaign for the Japanese market, or even your first Twitter campaign ever, we’ve outlined our top five tips that might help you integrate it into your marketing funnel.

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1. Refine Your Tone for Promoted Tweets

One of the best ways to get a high-quality score and lower your ad costs is by promoting content you already know works well for your brand. The tweets which gain the most exposure organically are likely to also perform the best when you promote them through paid ads.

There is a tendency for some businesses to go more formal in tone when they launch a Twitter campaign, but due to the casual nature of the platform, this is likely to work against you — with content seeming too manufactured and commercial.

We recommend both your organic content and promoted Tweets be crafted by someone familiar with both the platform’s more casual personality, and, more importantly, the way Japanese users interact on it. For instance, while it’s common to find sarcasm and dark humor prevalent on Twitter in many Western countries like the US, this can sometimes be misunderstood in Japan.

Typically, content that’s more descriptive or presents new and intriguing insights is better received here than sarcastic jokes. If people don’t get it and take your comment at face value, there’s also the risk of causing offense.

  • Below are a few best practices for Promoted Tweets:
  • Keep your content short and conversational
  • Include relevant brand terms and specific keywords in your ads
  • Don’t be too pushy with product-focused content
  • Include timely updates and news your audience may be interested in
  • Make posts about your audience, not your brand

2. Tap Into Japanese Seasonality

Cherry blossoms representing seasonal theme for Twitter Ads Japan

Japan is well-known for its four distinct seasons, with the country’s spring cherry blossoms being world-famous. However, what you won’t realize until you visit for the first time is how prevalent seasonal marketing and advertising is. A vast majority of brands will integrate seasonal nuances together with content centered on national holidays to appeal to customers and drive engagement.

Together with Japan being a high-context culture, there is a sense that certain messages are or aren’t suitable for each season, which extends to the world of Twitter. Communion is often indirect and implicit and you’ll want to make sure you’re sending the right signals with your ad content.

To help with this, have a clear understanding of how your marketing calendar matches Japan’s yearly seasonal calendar (with seasonal-themed messages commencing and stopping at exactly the right time). Employing local copywriters is also vital to tap into important themes each season.

Read Our Guide to Social Media Platforms in Japan

3. Track Trending Conversations in Japan

If potential customers see ads that are irrelevant to their current interests, they’re always much more likely to engage. And in Japan where trends changed quickly, it’s important to track ongoing conversations while also tapping into these narratives.

With Twitter’s conversation targeting options, it’s possible to deliver your ads to people Tweeting about or engaging with certain topics. And Twitter itself is a great social listening tool to discover what people are interested in in the first place.

If you can identify what matters to your audience and find ways to be part of the same conversation through your Twitter ad content, you’ll stand a much better chance of your content resonating with people. So if you’re growing your presence in a certain geographic area like Tokyo, find out what’s being talked about here as you plan your ad content.

4. Localize Your Visuals

A Japanese photoshoot for Twitter Ads Japan

As well as ensuring your ad visuals are eye-catching and that the first 2 seconds of any video content is captivating, make sure your content is 100% localized. This is important for all campaign objectives from web traffic ads to conversion-focused ads.

Seeing a Western model or an obviously Western physical setting in ads may in some cases appeal to local customers in that you will be seen as an “exotic” or premium brand (if you are already well-known in the domestic market), but the truth is that Japanese consumers generally prefer Japanese products in many cases.

Having visuals that are adapted for local preferences is incredibly important. It shows people that you’re more likely to be focused on their needs and, in a country where conformity and collectivism are prevalent, it will encourage new audiences to see you as part of the local landscape, rather than something too different or foreign.

A few situations where Western visuals might work well are:

  • You’re a globally recognized brand
    Your brand comes from a country known for producing best in class products e.g. Wine from France or Chocolate from Switzerland

5. Be Active with Customer Replies and Company Updates

It’s to be expected that Japanese shoppers will turn to social channels like Twitter to find out what people really think about brands and products before they buy them. Whereas content on Instagram is naturally more “polished”, Twitter is a source of honest feedback and reviews from real customers — both good and bad.

This presents brands with both a challenge and opportunity. If you’re able to thank people for positive feedback, you can nurture relationships and encourage loyalty, however, apologizing for things like product or delivery issues in a timely manner is equally important. A comment left unresponded too for too long may leave Japanese shoppers (who have incirbedly high expectations for customer service) thinking you don’t care enough.

Either way, as your ads drive more traffic to your page, you must recognize the importance of diligently monitoring how people are interacting with you as well as the conversations people are having about you.

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