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Affiliate marketing in Japan: All a performance marketer needs to know

If you are in affiliate or performance marketing, you’ll know that there is a lot you are consistently learning about your market. You know your customer inside and out. You know their budget, their priorities, and their lives. You know the market, the ebbs and flows and where you’re best to spend your time, but what about a new market? There is a lot to be said about the emerging market of Japan. The cities are hubs of odes to capitalism where consumerism is rampant. It has a bigger economy than Germany, for example, but its shrinking population makes it a unique market to venture into. But there is opportunity there, you just have to know how to harness it. Take a look at our guide for some insider knowledge.

What is the Japanese market like?

After the US and China, Japan has the third largest economy and the third largest eCommerce market globally. Its revenue is US$128.3 billion as of 2021.

Japanese citizens enjoy a high income and high consumerism backed by their appreciation of its industries of technology. Around 60% of Japanese citizens’ income goes to consumer spending.

So, that makes for a ripe market to tap into. But how do you go about it?

What are the attitudes to data privacy?

Fuelled by EU GDPR regulations and California’s CCPA rules, Japan actually has relatively high respect for users’ data privacy and therefore has launched the Personal Information Protection Law in 2022, which forces companies to similarly ask permission from users before using their cookies on external sites when they visit their websites. In addition, the Japan Joint Industry Committee for Digital Advertising Quality and Qualify was built in 2021 as a means of ensuring healthy digital advertising growth, with an emphasis on brand and customer safety and ad verification for digital marketers.

What are the top social networks, shopping platforms, and apps?

The biggest source of engagement online in Japan, by far, is the LINE app. It is the leading social media platform, somewhat akin to Facebook and Whatsapp in its generality. Where Instagram and Reddit have personalities and niches, LINE appeals to everyone and is used as the most common tool to keep in touch. Behind it is YouTube, which is helpful as a means of marketing as it’s more an entertainment source than a social platform, and then Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. It’s important to note, also, that the Chinese-owned WeChat isn’t used at all in Japan.

When it comes to e-Commerce, you might be interested to know that Amazon doesn’t in fact have a monopoly on the world. In first place is Rakuten, which you might remember was once play.com and was coming up alongside Amazon before it was bought out by Rakuten and subsequently disappeared from the western conversation. It exploded in Japan and other east Asian countries, making it a prime target for online advertising and eCommerce opportunities.

What are the adspend trends?

With this in mind, it’s important to point out that despite Japan’s slower-than-average acceptance of digital channels and platforms, digital adspend has in fact overtaken TV as of 2022. In order, adspend is spent most on digital, TV, newspaper, magazine and then radio. This is fuelled by the popularity of in-app ads amongst Japanese buyers driven by platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

What is unique about Japanese TV culture?

If you’re still looking at the TV channel of marketing, you should be aware that Japanese television culture and advertising culture is vastly different from western television and marketing. This goes all the way down to the basic fundamentals of narrative and depiction. Everything is narrative, so if you’re taking a basic western plot device for an advert, you’ll need to flip it on its head to appeal to Japanese audiences.

And then there is NHK. NHK is Japan’s one national broadcaster, equivalent to the UK’s BBC. And like the UK, there are a lot of additional private or commercial stations where you can run advertisements.

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for the very best advice from industry peers, get your free tickets to gain access to our Amplify Virtual Summit. Coming in January of this year, Amplify aims to bring you the latest affiliate, performance, and partner marketing insights from across the globe. Don’t miss it.

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