2022.12.20 Interview

Do you think physical advertising works? ~ Is DOOH/OOH still effective in Japan?

ads on scramble at Shibuya In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis led many companies in Japan to adopt work from home. And crowded trains, which were probably one of Tokyo's most famous landmarks, where emptying out.
As a result of people no longer going out, the number of passengers on trains dropped sharply, the number of advertisements posted in stations and on trains also dropped dramatically; the OOH ad spaces became noticeably empty. At this time, there were fewer opportunities to go out, but opportunities to see ads on the go were also greatly reduced. It would be no exaggeration to say that there are almost no advertisements on trains and in stations.

Source: Video interview
Speaker: Mr. Kataura Kataura, account team, Bigbeat (Provide marketing support for domestic companies expanding into Southeast Asia.)

Digital Shift in Advertising.

digital shift in advertisingCompanies that had previously created touchpoints with physical ads took COVID-19 as an opportunity to shift to digital and increase their placements in online advertising. A report released in February 2022 states that Internet advertising increased 21.4% YoY.

Internet advertising expenditures increased 21.4% year on year to 2,705.2 billion yen, maintaining the high rate of growth recorded since Dentsu began estimating results in 1996 for these expenditures. For the first time, Internet advertising expenditures exceeded Traditional Media expenditures, which amounted to 2,453.8 billion yen (up 8.9%). The market grew thanks to substantially higher demand for video advertising, particularly on video-streaming services, along with the greater use of digital promotions.

Dentsu Inc.

So, has the usefulness of physical advertising now lost its usefulness? As the economy has resumed, the number of passengers at major terminal stations has recovered. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as of October 2022, the number of passengers at major terminal stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area has recovered by about 80%.
We believe this means that the value of reach has returned in physical advertising.

Mr. Kataura talked about physical ads as follows.

I think the Japanese way of doing business is still mainly physical at this point. I think people, especially those in their 40s and older, tend to prefer face-to-face communication. This is not only within their company, but also in communication with their partners and customers.

Mr. Kataura, account team, Bigbeat inc.

As you know, in order to utilize physical advertising more effectively, it is essential to link it with digital. This is the same in Japan.
By using physical advertising in combination with other media, rather than treating it as a stand-alone product, such as by preparing related websites or implementing measures linked to social media, it is possible to increase brand awareness, mindshare, and other objectives.

OOH ,where are best places for B2B business?

location of OOH
You probably would like to know where to place your OOH ad in Tokyo.
One of the most frequent inquiries we receive is about placing ads on the digital signage installed at the Shibuya Crossing. Mr. Kataura talked about the placement of ads on the Shibuya Crossing as follows.

Visitors to Japan will notice that Tokyo, Shinagawa, and Shibuya stations are the main locations for OOH. In my experience, the areas around these three stations are very good places for B2B business people to see OOH.

The scramble crossing in Shibuya is especially famous among visitors, I know. Placing ads around the Shibuya station is a good option. I think. Shibuya is mainly composed of business areas and shopping/cultural areas, so you should not make the mistake of choosing the wrong location for your ads. The Shibuya Crossing, where attracts many tourists and is the entrance to the shopping/cultural area where young people gather, is a good place to target B2C and reach the 10s and 20s.
For B2B, consider the Shibuya South area, where Google and other IT companies have their offices. This area is undergoing redevelopment and interesting signage is increasing. Also, train and cab/taxi advertising are very good options, I think.

Mr. Kataura, account team, Bigbeat inc.


Tokyo and Shinagawa stations are major terminals and business areas. Advertising in this area can be expected to reach business people.

Mr. Kataura, account team, Bigbeat inc.

Advertisements on trains and in stations is viable option for B2B?!

signage ads on concourse and train When candidates about OOH ads, consider not only digital signage in the city, but also in trains and stations.

Digital and poster signage ads on trains and in stations,concourses are also effective. For example, in Shibuya, many business people use the station as transit. Rather than running ads on digital signage outside Shibuya station, you may be able to reach more business people inside the station.

Mr. Kataura, account team, Bigbeat inc.

Train advertising provides multiple contacts to a person commuting to her place of work (40~50 minutes on average in the Tokyo metropolitan area, according to the research firm) and can be repeated over multiple days of the week.
In addition, ads on trains, a public transportation system, is highly public, and is protected and lowers the risk of damage for the brand.
Many people use their smartphones on trains, however in fact, they have a high affinity for them. According to one company, over 50% of passengers are searching for products and services during they ride on trains.

Cab/Taxi ads to consider in reaching C-level mangers

Do you know that cabs/taxis running in Tokyo have monitors installed in locations easily visible to passengers? This digital signage is used to pay cab/taxi fares, but during the ride, several kinds of ads for business people are played. (If you don't want to see them, you can turn them off yourself.)

While trains are one of the most convenient ways to get around Tokyo, cabs/taxis are often used by over the management/direction class and wealthy people. In terms of B2B business, you can expect to reach the decision makers. In fact, cab/taxi ads are so popular that slots for broadcasts are booked up 3 to 6 months in advance.

When choosing a product/service or trying to reach their information, it is necessary to envision how the customer will behave.
In Japan, many proposals for the introduction of products/services are made from the bottom up. Middle class people gather information, make a proposal to the decision maker, and the introduction of the product/service is decided. What difference does it make if the decision-maker has some information or knowledge about the product/service at the proposal stage or not?

As with any advertising, it is important to clarify who and what you want to deliver the information to and to select the appropriate media. In terms of cab/taxi advertising, it would be more focused and suitable for B2B type customers.

Mr. Kataura, account team, Bigbeat inc.

Bigbeat will support your business entering and expansion from abroad to Japan. We suggest for your business success with our experience and knowledge of B2B marketing with Japanese customs and regulations, culture etc.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any plan to do B2B marketing and advertising activities.

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