If you haven’t heard of it already, let us introduce to you LINE, the most popular app of its kind in Asia (excluding China). What began in the wake of the 2011 Japanese Tsunami as a simple messaging app – developed by internet company Naver as a means for its staff to communicate when all standard channels went down – has since gone on to garner 194 million users globally as of 2019; with Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia combined accounting for 164 million (approx. 77%) of these active users.
Like Facebook and Google (WhatsApp is yet to monetise), 55% of the apps’ revenue comes from LINE advertising; followed by 32% from communication/content/other (e.g., virtual stickers, games and merchandising) and the remaining 13% attributed to “strategic business”.
In some ways the platform is like the various services offered by Facebook Messenger and WeChat, including emojis, stickers, text messaging, newsfeed (Timeline) group chats, video and audio sharing, games, VoIP phone calls and video conferences. In addition to these standard features, it also allows users a way to keep up with news and entertainment (Manga), order taxis, make bill payments (Wallet), find discount vouchers, stream music and so on. In this way, users don’t need to access other social media to get their daily fix of stimulation; this is very much a closed, all-in-one platform.
Now you know what LINE is all about, let’s take a more in-depth look at how companies can leverage the platforms advertising service to reach millions of potential customers.
Line Advertising 101
In 2014, the LINE Ads Platform was launched, offering savvy marketers an easy-to-use advertising tool to reach targeted consumers within the LINE app ecosystem. Since then, the ad platform has grown from strength to strength and shows no signs of slowing down. In the second quarter of 2019, LINE ad revenue came in at $US 285 million, a 12.9% increase year-on-year.
Now let’s look in detail at how advertising on LINE works.
There are three ad formats to choose from:
- App ad – Used to encourage app downloads
- Video ad – Used to enhance brand awareness
- Web ad – Used to promote content on an external site
Potential customers can be shown 3-6 basic ad components. Like other display networks, the size of images and length or text may vary depending on where it’s displayed. For example, Timeline ads have all six components, whereas News and Manga ones only include 3-5:
- Icon/account name
- Action button
As with all good advertising tools, LINE lets its advertisers finely choose their target audiences; there are four segments to choose from:
- Age – <14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50+
- Gender – male/female
- Region – suburb, city, state, country
- Interests – >20 interest categories available, such as games, travel, movies, etc.
Like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, impressions, click-through rates, conversions, clicks, actions, average cost and the total campaign cost can be seen in the management tool. However, detailed data, such as the time and location that the ads are displayed, can only be seen when exporting the data through Excel. Note also that LINE advertising does not promote activities outside of the platform. Therefore, it’s essential to implement external tracking pixels on your final URL to track user behaviour in a third-party tool like Google Analytics.