Using Line for digital marketing in Japan

Why LINE is Important for Digital Marketing in Japan

LINE has evolved into a multifunctional platform, with services such as LINE Pay (a mobile payment system), LINE Music (a music streaming service), and LINE Shopping (an online shopping service) integrated into the app. With 94 million users in Japan, of which 86% use the app every day, it has also expanded into other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, and currently has over 187 million monthly active users worldwide.

Companies are now leveraging the Japanese messaging app LINE by integrating digital advertisements through official accounts to promote their products and brands in Japan. Companies have flocked to the popularity of the LINE platform, abandoning Email marketing campaigns, which are shown to be ineffective in the Japanese market. Using LINE, companies are asking users to follow them before purchases to receive one-time discounts.

What is LINE?

LINE is a popular chat app in Japan that was launched in 2011 by the Japanese subsidiary of South Korean internet search giant Naver Corporation. It allows users to make free voice and video calls, send text messages, create group chats, and share photos and videos with other LINE users.

The LINE app also has a range of features that make it popular in Japan, such as its large collection of stickers, which users can purchase and use to express emotions and communicate with others. The app also offers a variety of games, news, and other content that users can access through its platform.

Promotional coupons for LINE users

Companies or digital marketing agencies in Japan that decide to use the popular chat app LINE start off by creating Official Accounts. By creating an official account and becoming verified, companies are able to:

  • Message users
  • Post on timelines
  • Manage the number of messages sent out
  • Leverage A/B testing of messages
  • Chat with customers through smart chat
  • Provide customer service surveys
  • Share coupons

If your brand needs to grow its network of followers to send promotional messages, LINE also provides a "Cost-per-Friend" service, which allows Official Accounts to send out discounts and special promotions to LINE users to become "friends."

Companies can then message users about the latest product releases, seasonal sales, and other promotional messages directly. Providing one-time discounts to Japanese consumers to follow your account should play an important role in your company's digital marketing strategy.

Japanese consumers are more susceptible to discounts or coupons for products. As of 2022, 55% of internet users in Japan reported that they are most likely to buy a product from a brand if they provide a discount, compared to 39% globally.

How do brands use LINE for ads?

Besides messaging followers, companies who wish to increase their brand awareness to targeted audiences can also use LINE's display ads in their digital marketing strategy. Businesses in Japan can advertise by:

LINE's talking head view digital ad for Japanese Line Users

LINE Talking Head View

Allows advertisers to display ads above LINE users' chat screens. Advertisers can use videos or static images to display their ads for users to interact with.

Banners that are uploaded must be 1280px x 720px (16:9 ratio for videos) but the ad will be reduced to a minimum of 1280px x 246px. There are also further UI requirements that are set by LINE for static images and video content.

LINE's talking head view ad's width and height requirement

LINE Talking Head View's video requirements

LINE Promotional Stickers

Users can use static or animated stickers in their chats with designs created by your brand. Users who download these stickers on LINE can use them while chatting with other LINE users.

Users often use these stickers in place of emojis, and brands that create cute characters or funny animations are often very popular. Companies that use LINE Promotional Stickers often use their most popular characters or place logos right on the characters themselves.

LINE also provides optional effects for promotional stickers, such as animation, large-size stickers, or full-screen effects for animated stickers.

LINE promotional stickers featuring Netflix's Stranger Things

LINE Chat Plus / Call Plus

Users who follow Official Accounts to contact companies through their chat or call function for customer support.

Companies who opt-in to use LINE's Chat Plus can use a hybrid support feature, which uses AI for FAQS, but also allows the user to directly connect to a customer support operator in chat. LINE's Call Plus allows users to call the company's contact center using their free internet call for support.


LINE LIVE allows advertisers to broadcast their advertising products live on their official LINE accounts, the LINE LIVE app, and on the web. This is a great way to gain engagement with the social network of your official LINE account and to gain reach for your events and influencer marketing campaigns. This service requires an Official Account on LINE.

LINE VOOM - LINE VOOM was created as LINE's response to Youtube Shorts or TikTok. Users can create short videos of up to 5 to 600 seconds and share them with their friends and followers. Advertisers can inject video ads.

LINE Ads Platform

LINE Ads allow display ads on the following platforms and LINE-related apps

  • LINE Talk List
  • LINE News
  • LINE Wallet
  • LINE Point Club
  • LINE Shopping
  • LINE Flyers
  • LINE Coupons
  • LINE Monary
  • LINE Family App

LINE's ad service also provides two options for digital advertisers to broaden, or narrow, the scope of their ads. LINE's First View ads allow Official Accounts to display their ad on top of ALL of LINE's users' timelines for 24 hours. However, Official Accounts are limited to only one ad per day.

The other optional service is LINE Dynamic Ad, which allows personalized ads based on the products the users have viewed previously. This allows higher conversions and allows URLs to be dynamic once clicked.

LINE's dynamic ads for digital advertisers in Japan

Hurdles of Advertising on LINE

As of 2023, LINE's Official Account creation form is only in Japanese and only allows Japanese credit card payment even though their Ads Management platform has English support. More information for LINE's Ad service can be found in their 2022-2023 Business Guide.

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