How mature is the web analytics market in Japan now?

In 2007 Lars published some posts about web analytics around the globe on WebAnalysts.Info, and now it’s time for me to do a follow-up on Japan.

I packed my bags and went to Tokyo, where I met with Sumio Ebisawa from e-Agency as well as Satoshi Kono, Ryouhei Mitsuhashi, Satoshi Saeki and Masaru Yokoyama from Dentsu.
Google Analytics in Japan

Market maturity

When I asked how mature is the market for web analytics in Japan in 2014, Masaru Yokoyama replied, “A lot more mature now than back in 2007, but it still depends on the client.” Sumio Ebisawa told me that some of the companies in Japan don’t want to hire specialists, but rather use partners and consultants.

As a report from Dentsu states, a lot of companies now are spending more money in the digital space and that increases interest in analytics and performance-based marketing. Sumio also said that many clients want to learn more about web analytics, so they now have more courses than they used to have in web analytics.

Satoshi Saeki from Dentsu also told me that the biggest challenges right now are getting all the data in one place and implementing data management platforms. Agencies, publishers and marketers want to access their data quickly and easily, and they want all data in one place to make better decisions about media spend.
Google Analytics in Japan

Web analytics vendors in Japan

Google Analytics still seems to be the most common free solution in Japan. Back when we published the blog post in 2007, there was a solution called Visionalist that was made by Digital Forest, which was the number one vendor for premium customers. Digital Forest was acquired by NTT Communications (one of the world’s biggest telecommunication companies) and has now lost some ground compared to other vendors.

Now Google Analytics Premium is gaining ground, and Adobe holds a good position. For example, back in 2008, Yahoo! Japan implemented Adobe Analytics for its huge Yahoo! Shopping site, which was a major Japanese e-commerce destination.

So the development for Japan now looks a bit more like the rest of the world when it comes to vendors.
GA in Japan gajapan2

What has happened to the web behavior in Japan since 2007?

Yokoyama laughed and told me, “In 2007, there was no iPhone and there was no Facebook.” And that’s true.

Smartphone usage and social media are two of the biggest changes, not just in Japan. But there are some differences. The first one is the social network Line. Not many Swedes know about it, but if you are in Japan, you will see that almost everyone is using it. It’s a bit like Facebook Messenger, but with more smilies and emoticons and over 50 million users in Japan and 400 million worldwide. Because Line is a bit like a closed room where you can chat with your friends, it’s a challenge for marketers to take advantage of the platform.

And then there is mobile. Japan has always been known for its mobile use. Back in 2008 it was estimated that 31% of elementary school students and 58% of middle school students owned a mobile phone (or as they are known there, keitai), and many of them was accessing internet. Now there is a shift in the mobile phone market and smartphones are gaining compared to the old feature phones. In MM Research Institute’s “Trend and forecast of the smart phone market,” it is estimated that 45% of all mobile device subscribers have a smartphone subscription. But one should remember that the feature phone also is used to access internet.

So the land of the rising sun is in some ways different from us, but they are struggling with the same things as we are in Sweden and the rest of the world – making sense of data and taking action on it.

And one last thing, Google is not the most common search engine there: Japanese users loves Yahoo.