Japan is an attractive, yet challenging market for many international companies to enter, due to various factors such as the language barrier and cultural differences. However, by collaborating with Japanese influencers brands they can quickly reach a large and often hard-to-reach audience. Influencer marketing in Japan has become more important than ever, helping connect brands with consumers. Each year we have seen an evolution in Japanese consumer trends and 2023 is no exception. In this article, we look at some Japanese Influencer marketing trends for 2023.
Japanese Influencer marketing trends for 2023.
- YouTube and Instagram remain the main platforms for Influencer marketing in Japan
- The number of TikTok influencers and users continues to grow in Japan
- Short Videos created by Brands and Influencers to increase in importance
- Japanese consumers focusing more on brand image
- Social commerce on the rise in Japan boosted by Influencers
- Both the community and followers become crucial
YouTube and Instagram remain the main platforms for Influencer marketing in Japan.
The Influencer industry in Japan is expected to reach $560 million this year and is expected to grow for the next five years. YouTube is the most active influencer marketing channel and accounts for 40% of the total Influencer activity. Instagram comes close 2nd most valuable at 30%. Both of these platforms have the widest reach and the most conversions. Meanwhile, TikTok is expected to more than double its user base over the next five years, with a maturing and higher spending audience. Many started to see TikTok as a highly valued business platform in Japan.
The number of TikTok influencers and users continue to grow in Japan.
After a slow start, TikTok has truly expanded to Japan. TikTok used to be a popular platform for younger audiences to enjoy comical jokes, lip-syncing and dance trends. Yet, over the last year, we are finding an increasing number of Japanese TikTokers producing more mature and informative video content. The word “TikTok sales” has been a recent buzzword and more Japanese brands are focusing on TikTok. TikTok has also become an attractive platform for social commerce. TikTok improved its advertising targeting options for businesses last year, so it’s expected that in 2023 we will see more useful business tools created by TikTok.
Short Videos created by Brands and Influencers to increase in importance.
Ever since TikTok’s short video feature was introduced, short videos have become a quick method to communicate with a brand and Influencers’ audience. Short videos can also be found on YouTube Shorts and Reels on Instagram. Short videos can also be used as a tool to attract new customers and followers, as they can often easily reach further than regular content.
Photos applications are also expected to see a return in popularity. Bereal became a trend in Japan in a short period last year, resulting in other platforms such as TikTok introducing the same feature. What’s different from other platforms is that Bereal does not allow users to use filters to colour food or landscape snaps, thereby making them look more ‘real.’
Japanese consumers focusing more on Brand image
Japan has seen a gradual increase in brand value awareness, much like the rest of the world. According to a Google report, 82% of shoppers prefer consumer brands with values that align with their thinking. Alternatively, when the brand value does not align, a decision is made via price. 75% of shoppers have turned away from a brand due to a difference in values. The report by Google also said 39% of shoppers said they would never use their favourite brand again and 24% said they would temporarily hold back purchases if they felt a conflict of values. So it’s safe to say that there is more need for companies to show a strong brand identity and social responsibility. When working with influencers in Japan, brands need to be careful, as it can be easily connected to their brand image. A Japanese-speaking marketing expert should review any influencer collaboration for any potential issues.
Many companies are tackling social issues through ads in Japan, including a controversial Nike commercial addressing racism in Japan and Kao, the pharmaceutical company, addressing the stigma associated with menstruation, which also became controversial.
Social commerce on the rise boosted by Influencers
Social commerce isn’t new in Japan, yet it has become one of the main forms of shopping in recent years. The number of social commerce users is expected to exceed 100 million by 2023, so it’s a good idea to explore this form of commerce. In Japan, there are many small apparel brands and fashion is always a popular topic, so social commerce has quickly become fully integrated. Instagram’s ‘Shop’ feature has made it easier for brands to advertise and sell their products seamlessly via social media. It has also enabled them to engage with customers directly through the app, so many brands use it in Japan. Japanese Influencers have increasingly guided shoppers to social commerce in the last year and we can expect this trend to continue.
Both the community and followers are crucial
As Japanese consumers become increasingly more interested in brand values, it’s a great chance for companies to enhance their brand image by working with influencers who have a similar target audience. When running an influencer campaign companies need to select creators who match their brand image. A recent collaboration between YouTuber Kazu and the Japanese sports brand ‘GLIDER SPORTS’ was very successful, as his audience perfectly matched the target audience of the brand, creating a win-win situation. By partnering with creators who have a similar audience we can expect an increase in conversion rates.
Brands should also keep in mind the key to influencer marketing is choosing influencers who represent a similar community, rather than doing one-off campaigns. By working with a few similar-minded influencers, brands can access already-established communities.
Summarising 2023 influencer marketing in Japan
Due to the evolving nature of the internet, trends and popular services are always changing. As we have shown in this article YouTube and Instagram will continue to be high-value Influencer platforms. TikTok has been gaining more popularity in Japan and has become a great platform for brands to advertise products. Meanwhile, companies should keep in mind consumers’ interest towards the community and brand image when running any campaign.
If you are planning an influencer campaign in Japan and need help, then please reach out and contact us.