If you’re considering running an influencer Marketing Campaign in Japan, you should know that many brands are already carrying out this form of advertising to boost their sales. Brands are collaborating with Social Media Influencers, adding their own unique creative touch to their influencer advertising campaigns. To give you an idea of what’s possible, we’ll explain about the different types of influencer campaigns, and we’ve also gathered some of the best influencer marketing campaigns in Japan for inspiration.
Table of contents
- What is a Japanese Influencer Marketing Campaign?
- What Are the Different Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan?
- 10 Examples of the Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan
What is a Japanese Influencer Marketing Campaign?
Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan are a powerful form of advertising where brands collaborate with popular individuals, known as influencers or content creators, who have a large following on social media. The goal is to increase brand awareness and encourage people to purchase their products or services. By leveraging the popularity and social media presence of influencers, both large and small, brands can effectively target Japanese customers.
Smaller influencers, called micro-influencers and nano-influencers, focus on niche audiences and assist marketers in reaching specific demographics. On the other hand, larger influencers, known as mega-influencers and macro-influencers, are used by marketers to generate broad attention and awareness. Influencer partnerships often differ from celebrity endorsements. Influencers tend to have stronger connections with their audience, establish trust, and produce genuine content.
The annual spend of businesses on Influencer Marketing in Japan was estimated to amount to 74.1 billion Japanese yen in 2023, which represents an increase of 17% compared to the previous year. This is a very positive signal about the effectiveness of Japanese Influencer marketing campaigns.
Popular social media platforms for influencer campaigns in Japan include YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Influencer campaigns are very popular in verticals such as fashion, beauty, fitness, travel, food, home decor, tech, parenting, and gaming.
What Are the Different Types of Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan?
- Sponsored content
- Giveaways and Contests
- Brand Ambassadors
- Influencer Takeovers
- Collaboration Partnership
- Unboxings and reviews
- Affiliate marketing
- Event Activations
1. Sponsored content
Sponsored posts are paid social media content created and shared by influencers on behalf of brands. In Japan, it’s a requirement for influencers to clearly disclose that the content is part of a paid partnership. Depending on the platform this can be done using the hashtag #PR for Instagram and through labels such as the “Includes paid promotion” notice that appears on sponsored YouTube videos in the top left corner. These disclosure practices ensure the audience knows when the content is promotional.
Pre-release content in influencer marketing showcases products or services that are not yet available to the public. Brands provide influencers with early access to generate anticipation and buzz before the official release. Influencers create posts featuring these exclusive offerings to generate excitement among their followers.
3. Giveaways and Contests
Influencer collaborations like contests and giveaways help brands boost social media engagement. Brands provide influencers with free products or services to gift to their followers. Influencers create sponsored posts outlining how followers can win, such as by commenting or sharing. This promotes the brand to the influencer’s audience and can also increase the number of followers the influencer has.
4. Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadorships go beyond one-off influencer posts, involving long-term campaigns. Companies select influencers as brand ambassadors, making them spokespersons featured in ad content across various social media platforms. While brand ambassadors increase brand awareness, this type of partnership demands a higher commitment. It’s crucial to ensure the chosen influencer aligns well with the brand and can effectively reach the target audience.
5. Influencer Takeovers
Social media takeovers allow influencers to post content directly on brand accounts, essentially becoming guest stars for a designated period, typically a day to a week. Influencers lend their voice, image, and style to the brand’s social media channels. This win-win partnership enables brands to have a temporary but cost-effective refresh of their social media presence, informing future campaigns and strategies. Simultaneously, influencers gain exposure to a new and potentially larger audience, gaining new followers in the process.
6. Collaboration Partnership
Collaborations allow influencers to showcase their creativity and synergy with your brand. These marketing partnerships can take various forms, often involving influencers designing or creating content featuring your products or even special editions of those products. A popular example is when apparel brands invite influencers to design limited-edition clothing or shoes. This type of collaboration adds an exclusive touch and leverages the influencer’s creativity to enhance brand offerings.
7. Unboxings and reviews
Brands often send Japanese influencers free products to feature in content, particularly on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Unboxing videos capture influencers’ authentic initial reactions as they open brand packages. Reviews involve influencers using the product or service and sharing their experiences. Unboxing and review content provides in-depth insights, making them ideal for long-form videos and blog posts.
8. Affiliate marketing
Including affiliate campaigns in your influencer marketing strategy is an effective method to drive e-commerce sales. Influencers provide their followers with exclusive discount codes for a brand’s products or services, encouraging consumers to make a purchase. For each successful conversion, influencers earn a commission. The impact of this influencer marketing approach can be accurately measured through the associated sales data.
9. Event Activations
Brands can also organise events for influencers to share their experiences and create content. This type of campaign usually takes place on location and can provide highly shareable and engaging content both for the influencer and the brand.
10 Examples of the Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan
Topic: Food and beverage
BayashiTV is a Japanese YouTuber and social media influencer who gained popularity for his entertaining food-related content. Known for his energetic personality and humorous style, BayashiTV creates various videos, including vlogs, challenges, pranks, and skits. Asahi Super Dry is a popular beer brand produced by Asahi Breweries, one of Japan’s largest beer manufacturers. Asahi Super Dry is known for its crisp, neutral and refreshing taste and is often considered a flagship beer of the Asahi brand.
In this video, which is an effective influencer campaign in Japan, the Youtuber Bayashi cooks Yangnyeom chicken with cheese sauce. The scene is mouth-watering, partnered with Asahi Super Dry beer. ASAHI partnered with many Japanese Youtubers known for cooking or food to promote their rebranding.
This campaign helped Japanese people remember Asahi, and also introduced the beer to many non-Japanese viewers as a beer to be consumed with food. The video was very popular and had a 3.99% engagement rate.
Influencer: Nagano President
Topic: Food and Travel
Viewers: 2.70M Views
Nagano Shachō is a top Japanese influencer known for his positive and uplifting videos, aiming to spread happiness and inspire viewers. It’s also run by a construction company, Lincronova, as a method to promote its services. Uminchi Seaside Park in Okinawa is renowned for its Sea Grape, an edible seaweed found in the tropical waters of Japan.
In this Youtube short, Nagano has a surprise gift of Seaweed. As he eats, he explains the product and its history. In Japan, YouTube shorts have become very popular.
The video was loved by Japanese gourmet and travel lovers online, with many wishing to try the product. It gained a 2.62% engagement and was a successful social media campaign. Tasting and reviewing on YouTube is one the best way to promote food, especially when you include the story behind the product.
Topic: Food and Beverage
Sorotani is a Japanese YouTube channel specialising in creating short and humorous animations. The channel is known for its unique and quirky animation style, often featuring comedic scenarios and entertaining storylines. Nissin is a well-known Japanese food company specialising in instant noodles and other convenience products. For this campaign, Nission promoted YakiSoba Nissin UFO, instant noodles that can be cooked in a frying pan.
In the video, the animation tells a funny and insightful story about how women sometimes pretend not to be interested in men, even when they actually are. While telling this story through animation, he introduces the UFO brand.
It gained 2 million views within two months despite being an animation video. Animation can be a great way to attract a Japanese audience.
Topic: Fitness, Wellness and Beauty
Tsujichan is a Japanese YouTuber who creates videos featuring her family, including her husband and children. This family-oriented approach adds a cosy and relatable feel to her content, making it enjoyable for viewers. FUJIMI is a personalised beauty brand that makes skin care, supplement, face mask and protein.
In this campaign video, the couple takes viewers on a house tour, showing their daily routine. They incorporate FUJIMI double cacao flavour protein into their content, seamlessly fitting into their lifestyle.
The video gained 1.4 million views and good engagement, capturing viewers’ attention. Promoting FUJIMI double cacao in their vlog shows how fitness and protein brands can work together to create engaging content.
Yusuke Kajisa mainly uploads a variety of content and talk videos. His Small Room series stands out as he discusses various subjects in a setting that resembles his own personal space. Originally from Yokohama, Kirin Brewery is one of the major beer producers in Japan, offering a wide range of beer products, including lagers, ales, and speciality brews. For this campaign, they promoted a Sugar-free lemon flavour Chuhai cocktail called Kirin HYOKETSU.
Yusuke and his friends have a deep conversation with his guests around a bonfire. As they chat, they enjoy Chuhai and its effects. In the video description, he uses campaign hashtags and links to the product. He also introduces a promotion where one lucky viewer can win some of the product.
This video gained 1.42 million views online, with many viewers enjoying the video. Working with a YouTuber to create a talk show in Japan is a great way to leverage influencer marketing to promote both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. This influencer marketing method can effectively reach and engage with a wide audience.
6. Jill Stuart
Topic: Beauty, MakeUp and Lifestyle
Views: 1.25M Views
Nanako is a well-known Tokyo based Japanese beauty and fashion YouTube influencer. Her channel is all about makeup tutorials, reviews of beauty products, sharing fashion hauls, beauty brands and providing styling tips. She recently collaborated with Jill Stuart, a popular cosmetics brand famous for its feminine and sophisticated products. Jill Stuart offers various cosmetics, including makeup, skincare, and fragrances. Their products are loved for their luxurious packaging and high-quality formulas.
Nanako appears in the video, demonstrating the cosmetic products as she prepares for an event focusing on a video style known as “Get Ready With Me” or GRWM. This marketing technique is popular in Japan and features an attractive model using cosmetics as part of their daily routine. The goal is to highlight how the product contributes to the model’s daily routine, helping them achieve a consistently attractive and flawless appearance. In this instance, Nanakochan is attending a Cosplay event and a date, and applying makeup will be the final step to perfect her look and enhance her appearance.
The Nanako x Jill Stuart campaign has been a success, accumulating 1.25 million views. It has very popular among girls in Japan who have an interest in cosmetics and cosplay. The campaign effectively reached the target audience, showcasing the appeal and relevance of the collaboration.
Influencer: Cooking researcher Ryuji’s “Buzz Recipe”
Topic: Food and Cooking
Ryuji is a popular Japanese cooking and recipe YouTuber. He recently teamed up with Ajinomoto, a Japanese company known for making tasty food ingredients since 1909. One of their special products is Ajinomoto Ajishio Salt, which enhances the flavour of food and adds a delicious umami taste. It’s used in various types of cooking worldwide. Ajinomoto also offers other items like seasonings, sauces, frozen foods, and beverages.
In this campaign video, Ryuji uses Ajinomoto Ajishio Salt, to make a mouthwatering dish made from eggs. The food becomes even more delicious when adding the unami salt to the recipe.
Many people in Japan enjoy cooking shows, and this campaign was a hit with an engagement rate of 1.18% and over 1.04 million views. 99 users commented in a mostly positive way. Showing the product on-screen during vlogs is a clever way to promote it.
Influencer: PKA Channel
Topic: Fashion and Style
PKA is a popular fashion YouTube Influencer group consisting of three childhood friends, one boy and two girls, They gained fame through their performances on Mix channel and are known among junior high and high school students. Their twin dance routines became famous, and many young people imitated them. PKA’s YouTube channel features not only dance videos but also surprise videos, food, makeup tutorials, fashion and room tours. Shein is an online fashion retailer known for its affordable and trendy clothing and accessories. It offers a wide range of women, men, and children’s products and operates primarily through its e-commerce platform.
In this video, the PKA team presents a lookbook featuring Shein styles for boys and girls who have shared a close friendship since childhood. The lookbook showcases a collection of spring clothes specifically curated for individuals with diverse body types and preferences.
The campaign was very well received, with users commenting on their favourite looks. Users were aslo impressed by the body positivity message.
Influencer: Watanabe Kazumasa
Topic: Gadgets and Tech
Watanabe is a Japanese content creator with a passion for tech gadgets. He produces videos covering various topics, including gadgets, games, cameras, and more. In addition to his interest in technology, Watanabe also enjoys professional wrestling, movies, and animation. Conversely, LG is a well-known South Korean multinational conglomerate famous for its electronic devices and home appliances.
In the video, Watanabe showcases the LG Gram, a line of lightweight and portable laptops created by the LG Corporation. These laptops are known for their long-lasting battery life, high-resolution displays, and powerful processors. Watanabe provides a detailed and comprehensive review of the product, highlighting its features and benefits.
The LG Gram laptop collaboration gained extremely positive feedback, with users praising its performance and comparing it favourably to the Apple MacBook. Many people expressed their satisfaction with the laptop’s features and capabilities. The video showcasing the LG Gram received 70K views and over 500 likes, indicating a high level of interest from viewers who are considering purchasing the product.
10. Epic Games
Influencer: Hajime Syacho
Hajime Syacho, popularly known as Hajime or Hajime Shacho, is a renowned Japanese YouTuber celebrated for his wide range of skills, including comedy, reviews, pranks, and vlogs. On his Hajime Shacho 2 channel, he exclusively focuses on gaming content. It’s suitable for all ages, making it an ideal choice for family-friendly viewing. Epic Games is an American video game company known for creating popular games like Fortnite and developing the Unreal Engine.
In the video, Hajime plays Fortnite with pro gamer and YouTuber WildHawk, who has 270K subscribers. The commentary is funny and very engaging.
The collaboration gained much attention because many people were surprised that the collab happened. Epic Games reached the audience from both popular YouTube channels by organising this team-up.
To start a Japanese Influencer Campaign as part of your social media marketing strategy, first define your campaign goals and identify your target audience vertical. We suggest working with a trusted influencer marketing agency, such as JapanBuzz, to research and find suitable influencers who align with your brand and have an engaged following. Your influencer agency will be able to reach out to them, establish relationships, and collaborate on content creation that aligns with your brand and campaign objectives. Working with a specialist Japanese influencer agency is essential, as local influencers are in high demand and often ignore enquiries from unknown companies communicating in English or poor Japanese. Track and measure the campaign’s performance using relevant metrics and adjust your strategy as needed. Consider building long-term relationships with high-converting influencers for future collaborations. Lastly, ensure compliance with advertising and disclosure regulations to maintain authenticity and transparency throughout the campaign.
The cost of Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Japan can vary depending on factors such as the influencer’s reach, level of engagement, campaign scope, content requirements, and negotiation between the brand and the influencer marketing agencies. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars for micro-influencers with smaller audiences to several thousand or even millions of dollars for macro-influencers or celebrities with massive followings. Some micro-influencers may also consider product exchanges or affiliate partnerships as alternatives to monetary compensation. However, you should also factor in an Influencer Agency fee. Setting a budget, clearly defining expectations, and negotiating with influencers is crucial in determining the cost of an influencer campaign and KPI.
JapanBuzz is a Japanese Influencer Marketing Agency, so if you need help in the future, please let us know. We’ve worked with brands such as Vimeo, UN, NIKE, Intel, HelloFresh and more. Please feel free to get in touch.