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10 points on content marketing (for entering the Japanese market) 

content marketing

Aiming to enter the Japanese market

Launching a new market is never easy, especially in choosing what content to create. Here’s a checklist of “what you need to know” for effective content marketing in the Japanese market.


When doing content marketing in a different country, you need to have a better understanding of the local “market”, “culture” and “language”. Here are 10 points:


Understanding the market

1) Understanding the population of Japan

Japan’s population is about 127 million people, with 65 and over making up the largest percentage of the population, and the country is expected to become a super-aged society ahead of the rest of the world. This gives it its unique character. It is often helpful to design personas.


2) Understanding the size of the advertising market

The total advertising spends in Japan is about 7 trillion yen. Of these, the Internet accounted for about 30%, overtaking TV ad placements for the first time in 2019 (about 27% for TV). Of Internet advertising, desktop is about 30% and mobile is about 70%. In Japan, the growth of mobile has been remarkable.


3) Understanding the needs of Japanese consumers

When entering a new market, the first thing you need to do is figure out what your consumers need. When it comes to SEO, it’s important to plan your strategy based on keywords you found from Google Adwords and Search Console. For social platforms, using social listening tools to analyze consumer’s mentions and posts is also effective.


4) Getting to know your local competitors

As with consumer needs, you need to research how your local competitors are performing with their content marketing. With SEO it is all about comparing search results and target queries. In terms of running social accounts, we recommend that you use social listening tools to monitor the performance of your competitors.


Understanding culture

5) Learning about Internet trends

According to SimilarWeb, Yahoo! Japan is the most viewed news media site in Japan. In travel, the websites Jaran and Rakuten Travel are the most popular. Each industry has its own characteristics that are unique to Japan. In addition to this, blogs are very popular in Japan such as “note” which is equivalent to “Medium”, and “ameba”. Arming yourself with this information will help you with display advertising and media buying.


6) Learning about social media and app trends

In Japan, as with many countries in the West and Asia, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

YouTube is popular. TikTok is also gaining momentum, especially among the younger generation. Unique to Japan is the usage of “LINE”, a communication app similar to WhatsApp, which is used by 80 million people in Japan alone. In addition to messaging, various other services are available on the app. It also supports mobile payments and content delivery, and companies can have accounts. Understanding this and other social channels are necessary for building social strategy and creating content.


7) Learning what Japanese people like about design

Quite frankly, Japanese website design is a mess. There are a lot of characters, which may seem a bit noisy to people from other cultures. This may be due to several factors, but it seems to reflect differences in language systems, which I explain later, as well as ‘a cultural tendency to require detailed explanation’ which also influences the design.


Understanding language

8) Understanding the differences in language systems

There are three notation systems in Japanese (hiragana, katakana, and kanji). It is a much more complex system compared to the alphabet, so native support is always necessary. I highly recommend that you consult an expert in blog writing, copywriting, and UX writing.


9) Knowing keyword characteristics

As I mentioned earlier, Japanese is a much more complex language than alphabetic languages, so when it comes to SEO, for example, there are multiple patterns for keyword extraction and selection. It is advisable to develop a strategy with a team that includes bilingual and native speakers.


10) Identifying copy that Japanese people like

As with design, Japanese people prefer “descriptive copy”. It is advisable to consult with a bilingual and native team on this as well, as there are local rules and regulations.


Please consider the 10 points above when you enter the Japanese market.


TAMLO’s bilingual and native staff support companies targeting the Japanese market through content marketing. Whether its marketing strategy creation, online advertising management or content localization, we’re here to help.

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