Messaging app LINE has hit its stride. What this means for marketers.
Just as social media speculators were starting to count out messaging service LINE, the quirky, do-it-all Japanese app hit its stride in 2015, outperforming Snapchat and Facebook Messanger to become the world’s fastest-growing social media channel. (Line grew 59% in 2014 compared to Facebook’s 53% and Snapchat’s 45%, according to the Gobal Web Index.)
The Wall Street Journal reported amassing 2 million followers in the last 15 months, according to Digiday — growth its executive emerging media director Carla Zanoni called unprecedented. Perhaps even more impressively, the app is starting to generate revenue, signaling to marketers to start paying attention.
So, what is LINE?
Call it the Swiss army knife of apps. This colorful messaging service offers voice and video calls, text messaging, a news feed, store, stickers and even games. These last two services have been a particular boon to the company, accounting for much of its revenue.
The most successful companies on the platform, like the Wall Street Journal, have taken advantage of LINE’s slow start in Western countries (60% of users are still in Asia), using their “first mover” position and relatively low competition among other news services to make a more direct impact. Zanoni points to engagement rates on the channel as a better measure of the Journal’s success on the platform than their overall followers, telling Digiday that 30% of viewers like, comment or share Wall Street Journal posts. Zanoni even brushes off criticism about the platform’s woeful analytics offerings, telling Digiday that stats from Omniture fill in enough blanks to justify its value. Read full Digiday article.
How do brands use it?
Although the benefits for a major news service like the Wall Street Journal are intuitive, content marketers in wide-ranging industries are also benefitting from the platform’s growth and unique marketing options. Luxury fashion brand Burberry partnered with the service last year with a cartoon of two popular LINE characters alongside icons like Anna Wintour and Cara Delevigne in signature Burberry plaid (read more from Entrepreneur), and MixRadio launched its own branded stickers.
The wide-ranging options for personalization leave a lot of room for growth — and speculation — for the platform, but marketers agree that 2016 will bring big things for a channel that seems to have hit its stride.
“It’s the biggest thing in 2016 for people to understand,” co-founder of Holler Agency James Kirkham told Digiday. “The influence of LINE is important.”
Want to learn more about this and other emerging social media platforms? 818 Agency provides creative B2B content marketing and social advertising campaigns to Fortune 500 companies and growth-oriented startups. Purveyors of real-time event content marketing. Based in NYC and LA. Get in touch.