The LINE mobile platform is ubiquitous in Japan, Korea, and Thailand, with 94% of Thai mobile users for example spending a third of their online time using it (70 minutes per day). LINE is therefore a key part of reaching Asia's digital audience beyond the web and Facebook.
Much like Wechat in China, LINE has grown from a messaging app into a lifestyle ecosystem with features such as service bots, games, payment, group video, hardware digital assistants, taxi and delivery services.
LINE has only recently opened up their platform this year with an official API. We see this as a key opportunity for organisations to become early adopters in integrating their business systems with LINE to reach a wider audience in Asia. If you are interested in exploring this, please fill in the form below to get our introductory guide.
What is LINE?
LINE is a mobile & web application that allows users to message friends & groups and also offers a free Wi-Fi/data phone & video chatting service. Founded in Japan, the app was developed originally as an emergency solution for company employees during the the Tohoku earthquake in Japan (2011). LINE offers many other services such as stickers, games, and tools for businesses. LINE has 35 apps available for download (incl. Core messaging app, games, music and video streaming service, payments service, delivery service, etc.) It is the most popular messaging application in Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan.
- Founded in Japan
- 2,500 staff internationally, 1,000 in Japan
- 220 million daily active users worldwide (2016)
- 2/3rds of users based in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan & Indonesia
- 61% of monthly active users access app daily worldwide
- In four biggest countries - 77% use LINE app daily. 94% in Thailand!
- 90% of Line’s revenue comes from Japan
- Total revenue 2016 - $1.2 billion USD (av. $5/user)
- Ages 13 - 32 males & females
- Interested in cultural icons
- Tech savvy, smartphones are a part of their daily lives
What is a LINE Official Account?
Companies can create their own ‘official’ accounts under their name. They can communicate with followers using LINE Official to mass-send messages to users who have friended their account and post content to their timelines. Company accounts are displayed within the LINE platform, allowing companies to reach a wide range of users on a mass-media scale.
- Send messages to all friends of your official account
- Post content to users’ Timelines
- Send ‘rich message’s with multiple images, links, and include text
- Provide a ‘rich menu’ for your users to easily interact with your official account
- Automatically reply to users with preset messages based on keywords
- Messages can be sent to desktop, tablets, and feature phones but performance is not guaranteed. Timeline & PR page functions are only supported on smartphones.
- LIVE Chat (On-air) messages can be received from users through a LINE Official Account
- Total number of friends is shown on account manager but user information is not public.
- However, using the survey feature in Research pages, you can collect statistical information from respondents to segment your followers
- This does not include personal info (age, gender, and location)
Engagement Features in LINE Official Accounts
- Mass-send messages to all users who have added your company’s official account as a friend.
- Users are notified when the message arrives, so the open rate is quite high
- Messages with promotional benefits for users have had a successful effect.
- Bring photos & text together in one image to appeal to users in a concise way. Use images to grab user’s attention & combine with text to inform them.
- Post information on user timelines (that have registered your account as a friend)
- Users can engage by ‘liking’ and commenting on posts
- PR page is a mini page that users can view on the LINE app. Can be used to send coupons/long texts that cannot fit into a single message.
- Allows business to send any content that generates interactions from users (eg. questionnaires, polls, surveys, etc). This is flexible - multiple functions can be used to suit each purpose.
- Questionnaire results also come with demographic information of respondents, which can be useful for marketing plans.
Keyword Answer Message
- This function replies to messages from users with a preset message as a perfect match.
- Keywords are set in advance & responses are automated according to responses based on keywords.
- Can be used to target customers more effectively - match interests, to respond to common questions, to look for store information & planning marketing activities.
Extending LINE with Your Apps
LINE Official Accounts (OA) give companies access to various features to better engage with users. Using the ‘Business Connect’ feature alongside a LINE OA lets you provide an even more interactive experience for customers through their API’s.
There are broadly two kinds of app available:
- Native or web apps which sit outside LINE and communicate via the APIs (e.g. account and messaging functions)
- Those which sit inside the LINE app’s webview component.
More Engagement With Apps
- Push messages which will show as LINE notifications. This could be used as a way to display alerts for example.
- Mission stickers are stickers that are made available to users only when they accomplish specific “missions”. Missions (such as adding your official account as a friend or buying a specific product) are defined by your application. Your application calls the Mission Sticker API from the server when a user accomplishes the mission.
- Send & receive messages from individual users
- Send rich messages containing images & links (ideal for coupons, promotions, news, announcements, & blog posts)
- Send link messages with a thumbnail and a link. Can be used to redirect users to your website.
- Bots. e.g. a user could ask about order info from within the LINE app
- Use the Channel Web application feature to let users browse your site directly from the line app