Top 5 LINE Advertising Tips for Japan

Posted By Jim Kersey

LINE is Japan’s top social networking site (SNS), but not that many foreign brands advertise on it! Why? One major reason is many see LINE as simply a messaging service like WhatsApp and are unaware of its various ad features available to brands and businesses.

Another reason is brands just don’t know how to get the most from it or where it should fit into their marketing mix. If you’re intrigued about LINE’s potential, here are our top five tips for foreign brands considering using LINE for PPC advertising.

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1. Understand LINE’s Function In Your Sales Funnel

We find that LINE ads are best used for the top of the sales funnel (brand awareness) and the bottom (retention and encouraging loyalty).
As the app is used primarily as a communication tool, users are further away from a mindset of buying than they are when searching on Google or even other SNS platforms such as Instagram — which has built out its mobile commerce potential in recent years and serves as important social proof for Japanese shoppers hoping to learn more about a foreign brand.

You can try to run conversion-focused campaigns on LINE, however, we tend to find these are less successful than brand awareness campaigns. While the platform does offer wide-reaching access to various demographic groups in the country (given that it’s used by over 70% of the population), honing in on smaller high-value groups who are likely to actually click through and purchase a product can be harder to do.

Read Our Guide to Social Media Platforms in Japan

2. Use LINE for Customer Retention and Upselling


LINE is also perfect as a retention tool and many brands have sophisticated campaigns designed to nurture long-term relationships with customers. For instance, coupon codes or deals can be sent out to your followers, giving them extra value and encouraging repeat purchases.

Coupons will even appear in the promotions section of your profile and can be included in timeline posts and messages throughout the app.

Simply creating a LINE Official Account will also let you facilitate communication with your contacts. Allowing people to message you about product info, deals or anything else can help establish greater trust. However, just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into — Japanese shoppers expect high levels of customer service so you’ll need the resources to handle any comments or questions that come through efficiently.

Another interesting way to leverage your contacts list is to send out feedback surveys to learn what your customers think about your brand and discover areas for improvement. Providing thank you coupons can be an incentive for participants and the act of asking for feedback may send the right signals to your Japanese audience that your brand is focused on local preferences and demands.

Where to Put LINE Ads In Your Marketing Funnel for Japan

An example marketing funnel for LINE advertising in Japan may look like this:

Brand Awareness LINE



Consideration SEO & Content Activities (Blogs, White Papers, Case Studies etc.)

Social (Organic) 

White Papers/Downloadables

Conversions Google Ads



Retention LINE 

Email Marketing

3. Appeal to Customers with Japanese Ad Content

LINE Ads can be delivered to your Talk-List, which is the most common placement choice for brands, but also in other locations like LINE NEWS, LINE Manga, and LINE BLOG.

Regardless of where you’re putting your ads though, you’ll need to make sure your creative content is always 100% localized for the Japanese market. A few ways to do this are:

  • Switch Western models with Japanese ones
  • Make sure all background settings and environmental elements are suitable for Japan
  • Entice audiences with appealing Japanese taglines and captions
  • Use only the most impactful local phrases and colloquial terms in ad content

HB Pro Tip: Ensuring your landing pages and website are localized is also important for conversions. If you are directing users to English pages, they may feel a disconnect and drop off.

Learn More About the Japanese Consumer

4. Inform Strategies with Local Customer Data


As LINE is used by a huge proportion of the Japanese population, however, just as we’d recommend with other social PPC campaigns on Facebook or Instagram, make sure any targeting parameters you set up are fully informed by Japanese market research rather than your global strategy.

There are several factors that should determine the kind of consumer groups you should target in Japan. One of these is purchasing power, with older groups having much higher disposable incomes than younger. If you’re selling premium products with high price tags, you’ll need to think carefully about whether targeting younger age groups with LINE is smart, even if they are a core target group for you in other countries.

Armed with a clear idea of who you want to see your ads, LINE offers demographic targeting based on user’s registered information, stamp purchase history, LINE official account, LINE@ friend registration history, as well as demographic targeting based on age, gender, region, and interests. It also offers a Lookalike audience targeting feature (similar to Facebook/Instagram).

Discover More Social Media Tips for Japan

5. Work with Japanese Project Managers for LINE Advertising in Japan

For a long time, foreign businesses have avoided using LINE due to the perceived complexity of doing so and the comparative ease of using more familiar social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for PPC social marketing.

However, with its incredible popularity in the local market, the recent streamlining of business account processes, and the fact that more information is now available in English, more and more businesses are using LINE Ads. That said, there will always be a chance you’ll encounter a few language and technical hurdles along the way. This is where a good Japanese-speaking PM with experience running ads on LINE comes in handy.

Want to Know More?

If you want to know more about LINE’s place in Japanese social media and whether we would recommend it for your brand, get in touch!

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