How To Use A Japanese Youtuber For Mobile User Acquisition

A look at leveraging a Japanese youtuber for your mobile games user acquisition in Japan including what to expect and some tips and tricks to get the most out of your marketing budget.

The Rise Of The Japanese Youtuber (Versus Other Social Influencers)


The rise of the Japanese Youtuber as a social influencer is somewhat newer in Japan than it is in the west. And while celebrities and their many forms in Japan still are in the spotlight (and have been for quite some time), the internet generation (see millennials and Gen Z) have increasingly shifted their focus to other forms of social influencers.


To be clear, getting an “A-list” celebrity like an actor (TV or movies) is still a strong way of promoting your product. It’s also the most expensive. So before youtubers, most smaller budget PR campaigns relied on “B-list” celebrities and personas (they still do). These include idols, comedians, and other talents (think of personalities on talk shows or variety shows). However, as in the west, the internet changed the rules of the game. Now you have a new group of potential influencers. And with that, the rules of PR have changed. While it took a bit longer to catch on in Japan than in the west, influencer marketing has grown exponentially.


Japanese Social Media Influencers

Japanese Youtubers


Note: there are other media in Japan that rely on influencers. Nico nico douga (like Japan’s youtube), C Channel (like Japan’s version of Vine), Mix Channel (like… well, nothing else.) are some local ones. You also have your usual suspects (Instagram) and also Twitter (which is big in Japan still). In this blog, we’ll look at Youtuber specifically since it has the most options in terms of potential audience.


How To Find And Work With A Japanese Youtuber


So the big question: how to work with a Japanese Youtuber and where to start? Similar to other PR campaigns in Japan, you will typically have to go through to an agency (like Yengage!). It will be extremely hard to go direct to influencers in Japan. Not only will you have the language and cultural barriers, but there are contractual agreements already in place for almost all talents in Japan.


Work with your agency and explain your current strategy and your goals for Japan. Then, work together to align your target segment with potential Youtubers to determine the best fit.


Keep in mind that an influencer campaign does not (typically) replace your paid UA campaign–they work in synergy. A great example of a foreign company that gets this is Pixonic. Their CMO was recently interviewed by Pocket Gamer. He describes their current strategy well and we largely agree with his reasoning and findings.


The Direct and Indirect Effects


Using my great paint skills, I try to illustrate the effect of using Japanese Youtubers with your paid user acquisition campaign.


Japanese Youtuber Campaign


The direct downloads (i.e. users who click on the link under the video) will likely be quite low. Much more likely is a user will see the video and search for the game on their phone in Google Play or the app store, resulting in increased “organic” downloads. But if you look closely, you may see an uplift of paid UA as well. Because Japan is a small country, the chance for overlap of users when running a paid UA campaign is high. So a potential user might see the youtube video but not convert right away. However, after a couple days, he or she may see an ad on Facebook. They may convert on Facebook and show as a paid user but part of the credit should go to the video.


Depending on the Youtuber, you might try using their likeness in your creative. This will help with recall of the video for those who saw it and may create an added halo effect with those who didn’t. While there is often less flexibility in Japan in contract negotiations, if you find the right agency, they can fight on your behalf. Some other things that are more common like reshooting of footage are not as common in Japan. One added benefit using an agency: if you’re not using one already in Japan, you can create some added synergy between your influencer campaign and paid UA. Be creative and flexible to find the mix of tactics that fit your strategy.


One last question about using influencers in the world of performance marketing: how do you measure the effects? While there’s no exact way yet (though I’d expect Google Trueview to change that in the future), you can measure a couple things. Other than ROI which you’d obviously want to be positive, you can measure uplift in terms of organic downloads and improvements in CTR.


So are you ready to try something new? Or have some questions about some specifics? Hit us up at info[at] or the contact form below!


By: Justin Endo. First Published: March 1, 2018.

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