Posts Tagged ‘groupon’

2011 trends: Social media in Japan comes of age

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

2011 was the year that social media came into its own in Japan. When phones went down on March 11, Japan connected with Twitter, mixi and Facebook in record numbers. Social media went from being a curiosity to a lifeline. Connecting online wasn’t just for the users, either; in 2011, the social media sites started friending each other.

Mixi and Twitter announced a partnership in November, possibly to shore up against a rapidly growing Facebook. With growth spurred by the movie “The Social Network,” Facebook was named the no. 2 “hit product” of 2011 by Nikkei Trendy magazine. While earlier in the year it looked like Facebook was getting left behind by Japan’s own social media sites, a November Nielsen report showed Facebook pulling ahead in the last quarter to surpass Mixi for the first time with some 11 million users. However, Mixi quickly issued a statement saying it actually had about double the 8.4 million active users that Nielsen had reported, since many people access the site from their cellphones, which the Nielsen report didn’t track.

As before, mobile remains a major access mode for online content in Japan. Whether or not Mixi actually feels threatened by Facebook, the tie-up with Twitter suggests it’s watching its back.

In another partnership, Google+ partnered with pop idol juggernaut AKB48 and its regional versions, for a total of almost 90 individual accounts. The performers have swamped the top 100 most popular users list in Japan, leaving only a handful of spots for other idols and Japanese tech gurus.

Two of the largest social networks in Japan are mobile gaming sites. GREE and Mobage Town have over 20 million users each. Mobage Town’s parent company DeNA has been making acquisitions in international markets including China, the U.S. and Chile, again showing the importance of collaboration for social sites.

Continue reading about social media in Japan →

Trends in Japan 2010: Twitter

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Twas the year of Twitter in Japan

Twas the year of Twitter in Japan

While gloomy year-end political and economic round-ups are suggesting that happiness was not abundant in Japan this year, there’s no denying that 2010 turned out pretty good for a certain little blue bird in Japan. Twitter soared in Japan this year, attracting some 1o million users and spawning dozens of new words and ways to use the microblogging service. “Japan is the fastest-growing country in the world,” said Twitter CEO Evan Williams when visiting Tokyo this summer for a Tweetup. And it’s about more than being the country that holds the record for most tweets per second.

English, please

Japanese became the second most-used language on Twitter after English. Japanese Twitter users flocked to books and magazines that promised to show them how to learn colloquial English by following native speakers and practicing the language 140 characters at a time. People appended hashtags like #engtweet and #eigodewa to messages to show that they were practicing their English and to find like-minded students looking for microlessons.

Say what?

Twitter brought new words and compounds into the Japanese language, mostly thanking people for doing the things people do on Twitter: foro-ari (thanks for following), oha-ari (thanks for saying good morning), and otsu-ari (for saying “otsukaresama,” a catch-all commendation for a job well done). Could ari-ari, thanking people for saying thank you, be far behind? One neologism that made the big leap from online niches to mainstream usage in 2010 was nau (なう), which means “now” and is used in tweets to  emphasize what one is doing . . . now. The word is popping up on advertising and posters all over Japan, nau.

Look who’s tweeting

Everyone seemed to be getting in on the Twitter act. From politicians such as ex-Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (who has Japanese and English accounts) to chatty business tycoons like Masayoshi Son, no one seemed to be too important to dash off the occasional tweet, either formal or friendly. It became a way for them to keep in touch with the masses directly. Hundreds of people who didn’t tweet themselves, whether  because they were too busy or not interested (or long dead), had automated Twitter “bots” tapping out pre-coded versions of their famous quotes and catch-phrases.

More tweeters, more discounts

As the number of people on Twitter grew, so did their collective buying power. People swarmed to flash-marketing sites that offer huge price cuts on specific items or services for limited time periods. Homegrown Groupon clones like Q:Pod and Pom Parade made a strong showing with deeply discounted deals on everything from fancy dinners to spa packages.

Let’s play a game
Marketers got innovative with games and “Twitter toys” that explored new social opportunities for interactive marketing. Espresso Blux’s Twitter samurai drama took a storyline that started on TV commercials and subway posters and was continued with a complex and tongue-in-cheek Twitter campaign online. Uniqlo rolled out one interactive Twitter multimedia mash-up after another, and even convinced thousands of people to queue in a virtual “Lucky Line.”

Year of the rabbit, year of the bluebird?

As all signs for 2011 point to the smartphone market continuing to grow in Japan, it remains to be seen what new directions mobile social media will take. Why not keep the Twitter trend going into the new year by tweeting this story nau?

Daily deal sites tap into buying power in numbers

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Q:Pod is Japan's most popular daily deal site

Q:Pod, Japan’s most popular daily deal site

The idea of flash marketing websites, imported from the States in spring this year, has quickly proven to be a big hit with Japanese consumers looking to snag significant discounts on goods and services. Localized discounts are offered for a limited period and often in excess of 50 percent, for things such as meals in restaurants, hotel accommodations, beauty treatments and so forth. The key to the concept’s success is the use-it-or-lose-it approach to campaigns. An offer is withdrawn if the target number of takers isn’t met, thus guaranteeing a positive response to businesses, large and small.

Q:Pod, according to J-Cast, have already taken the lead in sales compared to their competitors, despite the fact they’ve only been operating for several months. According to Asiajin, their success spurred Chicago-based Groupon to buy a majority stake in the company, meaning that the company now dominate the daily deal market in Japan as well as in the United States.

A recent Q:Pod offer shows just how sweet the deals can be: 80 percent off the price of a ¥1,500  iTunes download card. The offer triggered a stampede of consumers applying to get their mitts on one of the ¥300 cards, whose numbers were limited to 10,000.

Other businesses have been jumping on the bandwagon. Recruit, for example, who already run Hot Pepper, a successful free magazine and website that offers discounts on restaurants, launched Pom Parade in July. The site offers daily deals on golf weekends, yoga, spa visits and meals out. In addition to Q:Pod clones, sites that specialize in particular products and services, such as Yaki Niku Pon, for fans of Korean barbecue, or Wotapon, for otaku (fancy a discount on a massage at a Akihabara maid cafe?), have begun to pop up.

Deals are announced to subscribers via e-mail newsletters, Tweets or Facebook updates, making it hard for consumers to keep pace with the vast number of offers available. Those who really want to stay ahead of the game can visit All Coupon, a website that aggregates information on daily deals across the board, saving you time searching out deals yourself.

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