Facebook vs Mixi in Japan for Social Media Marketing

| March 4, 2011 | Comments (2)

With the speed with which the internet continues to evolve, it is impossible to neglect its influence, particularly that of Social Media, which has been one of the hottest topics around the globe thanks to the rapid rise and power of “Facebook”. Many companies promote their businesses in social network websites and by doing this; solve the “one click away” strategy for users to see what the newest promotion is or what the latest products are.

In Japan, Mixi.jp is still the leading social network website with more than 21 million users, compared to around 2 million users in Japan for Facebook. However, Facebook is catching up and I believe, with its fan page functionalities, is more suitable for corporate social media marketing.

For Digital Marketers in Japan it is, as everywhere else, important to focus on social media to get the message out to potential customers and to engage with them and existing customers. The following is a comparison for Facebook and Mixi in Japan.

Social Network
Founded 2008* (Japanese ver) 2004
Users 2 Million 20 Million
Difference Real Name Nick Name
Tracking Nothing Official Integrated with a tracking system

Japan has traditionally had a unique online culture where people tend to keep their privacy and feel insecure disclosing their personal information online. That is one reason why Facebook first struggled in the market as their rule is to have your real name posted. Mixi however allows users to use their nick name instead. Mixi also has a functionality whereby people can check who has visited their profile as people tend to like to know who has visited their page.

However, the whole model is experiencing a gradual shift. Facebook users in Japan are growing rapidly – there has been an approximately 21% increase in users from January to February this year already.

Especially from a corporate point of view, many Japanese companies are starting to make fan pages on Facebook realizing that they can brand their company and reach out to millions of potential customers. At the end of the day, users want emgagement with companies in a friendly manner and companies want reviews and likes from customers to further improve.

Facebook’s growing presence in Japan is also a good search engine optimization opportunity for companies in Japan and international companies wishing to expand their presence in Japan as search engines are beginning to or will eventually incorporate Facebook “likes” into ranking algorithms. Facebook is still growing in Japan, with the recent movie “Social Network” attracting even more users.

Although Mixi is still the dominant social media platform in Japan, Facebook, with features such as fan pages and other unique features it provides, is definitely becoming more important for many corporate marketers in Japan and I do believe with the user growth trends being experienced, it may be just a matter of time before Facebook makes further inroads into Mixi’s dominance.

Facebook is free anyway, so if you want to target Japan, it is important to customize a fan page in Japanese on the Facebook Japan site.

Stats Source from: Neilson and SocialBakers.

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Category: Social, Social Media Japan

About Hiroshi Oyo: Hiroshi is our SEO specialist for the Japanese market. He is a native Japanese speaker and has been educated in both Japan and the US, having graduated from Michigan State University. Hiroshi has lived in 5 different countries and has a good knowledge of the unique Japanese search and social media environment. .

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  1. [...] SearchBlog.Asia says this about Mixi vs Facebook: Japan has traditionally had a unique online culture where people tend to keep their privacy and feel insecure disclosing their personal information online. That is one reason why Facebook first struggled in the market as their rule is to have your real name posted. Mixi however allows users to use their nick name instead. Mixi also has a functionality whereby people can check who has visited their profile as people tend to like to know who has visited their page. [...]

  2. [...] high as well. This could be because of Facebook’s emphasis on using real names, suggests SearchBlog.Asia. “Japan has traditionally had a unique online culture where people tend to keep their privacy [...]

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