Yahoo! LINE and YouTube – What marketers need to know about Japanese search behaviours

Yahoo! LINE and YouTube – What marketers need to know about Japanese search behaviours

Alex Sheppard
Alex Sheppard • 04/08/2023

The Japanese Media Landscape

Japan is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. It’s commitment to ‘Society 5.0’ back in 2016 where artificial intelligence, robotics, Big Data and blockchain were outlined as key technological and digital components, demonstrates their longstanding commitment to being global front-runners in all aspect of digital.

Japan also has one of the most advanced advertising markets, especially in terms of ad spend. To reach to their highly digitised consumers, many brands in Japan have pivoted their ad spend away from TV and other ‘offline’ channels and increased their spend across digital channels.

Search in Japan

When looking at search specifically, behaviours in Japan are significantly different to the UK and EU markets. Japanese consumers use a much greater variety of platforms for search, from Google and to YouTube and even Amazon, while UK consumers mainly rely on Google. One of the most obvious differences between the markets is the high usage of Yahoo! in Japan in addition to Google. When searching for information on topics of interest, Google is still the top search platform for 67% of Japanese consumers but almost half (48%) also use Yahoo! while in the UK, only 2% use Yahoo! for search. This high usage in Japan means that its essential for marketers to consider it in their plans.

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LINE vs Facebook

Social media also looks very different in Japan when compared to Western markets. To start, the top social media platform is LINE, which started as a messenger and communication app but now extends to much more than that, including news, medical and pay services. Facebook lacks the same dominant presence as it has elsewhere, and this is reflected in both consumer sentiment and usage. For 40% of Japanese users, LINE is their favourite social platform while Facebook is a favourite for just 2%, a contrast to the UK where it’s the favourite platform for 21% of users. Platform usage mirrors this divergence. Over half of UK users use Facebook daily or more, while just 12% of Japanese users are using the platform as regularly. Not only is LINE the most popular platform in Japan but it has 93 million monthly users and businesses can also use the platform and interface for community management, making it an effective channel for both B2B and B2C marketing.

For brands looking to leverage the platform’s reach in Japan, LINE Ads uses targeting features similar to Meta and can serve ads on other apps within the LINE Ads Network.


The Convergence of Search and Social

Social platforms also have a distinct role when it comes to search.  While 70% of consumers are using search engines like Google and Yahoo! on a daily basis, 41% are also using the search features available on social platforms. Following LINE, YouTube is the second most popular social platform in Japan. While YouTube sits in a unique position, acting as both a video service platform and social media channel, its search function means it’s a prime search channel for Japanese users to access a range of content from a variety of search queries.

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AI Adoption in Japan

Despite Japan’s global position as digital innovators and their commitment to Artificial Intelligence as part of their ‘Society 5.0’ way before AI was at the forefront of conversations as it is now, 60% of Japanese consumers never turn to AI when they’re looking for more information. Similarly, smart devices and smart phone voice search struggle to have a presence in the search landscape with over half of users never using these tools to search.

Understanding Japanese Search Behaviours

AI has different use cases in Japanese society but when it comes to online search, Japanese consumers are firm users of manual search engines and social media for searching for brand or product information. Japanese users rely on a range of platforms for search, opening the opportunity for marketers to reach consumers right across the search landscape and when it comes to social, LINE is at the forefront with much stronger sentiment and usage than Facebook in particular. For success, marketers need to consider the nuances of the Japanese market including the role of LINE, Yahoo! and YouTube in the search landscape.


The ROAST Insights team have access to extensive audience data across 52 markets. If you’d like more information on how ROAST can provide insights which fuel highly effective digital strategies across a range of markets, drop us an email at [email protected].


GWI May 2023 Zeitgeist – Online Search Behaviours

GWI – Social Media Attitudes and Behaviours

Digital Marketing for Asia – Online Advertising in Japan