Social media has become essential to modern-day communication and information-sharing worldwide, and Japan is no exception. Did you know that by 2023 the number of social media users is expected to reach 102 million? That’s 81.1% of the population! Moreover, 50% of Japanese users own 3 or more social media accounts across different platforms.
Let’s take a look at the top social media platforms in Japan, their popularity among Japanese users, and how they can help you grow your business.
Social Media in Japan
In Japan, social media has its unique history, with local platforms like Mixi, Gree, and Mobage dominating the market in the early 2000s. However, more popular and user-friendly social media platforms such as Line, Twitter, and Instagram replaced these platforms.
Mobile users reign social media in Japan, with around 98% of them accessing the platforms through their smartphones.
The gender distribution of social media users in Japan is relatively equal, with around 46,7% of users being male and 53.3% being female. More than 87.68 million users are 18 years old and above.
Top 6 Social Media Platforms in Japan in 2023
LINE is a messaging app that has become one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 94.17 million monthly active users in Japan. You can find users of all ages, but most are teenagers and young adults. Furthermore, the app is known for its cute stickers and emojis that Japanese people love sending each other.
LINE is an all-in-one digital platform with numerous other features that make it worthy of its super app titles, such as Timeline, LINE Today, LINE Pay, LINE Games, LINE TV, LINE Mango, and LINE shopping. As Japan’s top social media platform, it is a go-to platform for businesses to reach their customers.
Twitter is a social media platform in Japan with over 68.85 million monthly active users. All age groups are active on Twitter, especially young adults. Twitter is used for a wide range of purposes in Japan, including news, entertainment, and business. Interestingly, more than 70% of Japanese Twitter users use pseudonyms because of their high level of reservedness. Through their anonymous Twitter accounts, Japanese people can share their true opinions on news and trends and engage with Japanese celebrities and politicians who interact with their audience through social network.
Often you will find discussions on products on the platform because Japanese consumers find that reviews on websites aren´t truthful often. For that reason, they use Twitter as a search engine to see what real people are saying about specific items. Businesses can learn more about consumers’ preferences from these discussions and advertise products accordingly.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app that has become popular with over 56.43 million monthly active users in Japan. In addition to sharing photos of their daily lives, they use Instagram to share food, travel, and fashion content. There are people of all ages who use it, but the majority are women. They post visually appealing content such as reels, stories, or pictures.
Brands in Japan like to work with Japanese influencers as they have developed a following that actively interacts and engages with them. Moreover, these influencers know how to leverage the platform features to advertise products through their Instagram stories or reels. Besides that, building relationships with consumers and using Instagram ads, reels, and stories benefits businesses in the fashion, beauty, and travel industries and increases their revenue and brand awareness.
YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over 102 million monthly active users. Japanese people use YouTube to watch music videos, comedy shows, dramas, and other content, stay updated on topics they’re interested in, and find new trends. People of all ages use the platform, mainly teenagers and young adults. They can share long-form and short-form videos to gain traction.
In Japan, called VTubers, or virtual YouTubers made with motion-capture technology, are a growing trend. In 2016, Kizuna Ai became one of the first virtual YouTubers to be called “VTuber”. Industries, including music, entertainment, food, fashion, and education, can engage users through anime content, Vtubers or branded characters. As a brand, you can make good use of these trends on YouTube in your content creation or collaboration with Youtubers to nurture and connect with your target audience and turn them into customers.
Facebook is a social networking site that has been around for over a decade. It has over 48.27 million monthly active users in Japan. Japanese people, mostly middle-aged adults, connect privately and professionally on this platform. You can share long messages (posts) and short videos on Facebook.
Facebook is a more successful B2B marketing platform than LinkedIn in Japan. LinkedIn is viewed as an employment search engine, while Facebook is used as a business networking platform. Japanese business owners over 40 make up a larger portion of Facebook’s user base and are highly active there. For that reason, advertisements on Facebook can be a powerful tool for B2B businesses to reach potential customers and increase conversion rates of B2B products and services.
TikTok is a video-sharing platform in Japan with 17 million users and growing. It encourages engagement and viral sensations among users, making it popular among younger audiences who spend up to 45 minutes on the app. While it may be challenging to integrate TikTok into your digital marketing strategy, it offers a potential advertising channel for brands targeting the teen and young adult demographic.
To market your brand on TikTok, you have to create engaging content that resonates with its audience and collaborate with popular influencers. TikTok’s hashtag challenges, UGC (user-generated content), and in-feed ads are excellent formats for increasing brand visibility and connecting with younger audiences.
With a significant number and unique platforms that cater to the needs of Japanese users, social media in Japan presents an opportunity for businesses to reach out to potential customers and build relationships with them. You can create effective social media strategies by understanding how each platform works, who it attracts, and how Japanese people are active on social media. That will increase the impact of your brand on the market. Yet, you have to keep in mind that the localization of your content and strategy in Japanese is key to succeeding in your marketing efforts.
Read more about the importance of content localization in Japan.
Looking to establish a powerful brand presence on social media in Japan?
As your local operating partner, COVUE provides End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services to help you achieve that goal. Our team of experts in marketing, branding, and localization can assist you in creating a robust brand presence on various Japanese social media platforms.