Gnip Names Hottolink an Exclusive Sales Agent in Japan

It’s probably not news to most readers of this blog that Japan constitutes one of the largest and most vocal social media user bases.

But what’s less talked about is the growing ecosystem of Japanese companies built to analyze the content these users create. This ecosystem, like in the US, is built to educate businesses on how to use social data to drive important daily decisions. This education includes supporting decisions for marketing campaigns, product feedback, supply chain and inventory levels and many other uses.

Given this fast-growing ecosystem, Gnip wants to ensure that our growing client base in Japan has support on the ground; we want to provide them with the highest level of experience and attention we can – without the constraints of different time zones or different language. We are therefore incredibly proud to announce that Gnip has named Hottolink, Inc. our exclusive sales agent in Japan for complete coverage of social data from leading platforms like Twitter, Foursquare and WordPress.

Hottolink has been a strategic Gnip partner since 2012, and a social analytics and data leader in Japan long before that. Their experience in social analytics, their leadership in developing this ecosystem in Japan, and their dedication to client service were all reasons we wanted to work with them.

While clients will still sign service contracts with Gnip, Hottolink will be our on-ground agent to manage the sales process and provide support for all stages of client use. As a result, clients in Japan get access to Gnip data from Twitter and Tumblr, as well as our exclusive sources like Foursquare, WordPress and Disqus.

In addition, and to better serve this growing Japanese market, Gnip has incorporated Hottolink’s Japanese language processing engine – the leader in the field. This allows us to more accurately filter for Japanese language activities for our clients.

Our history with Hottolink has taught us that they are capable of incredible things, and we look forward to this close partnership and all benefits it will provide to our current and future clients.

For more information, please email

Social Data in Japan

An interview with Koki Uchiyama, CEO from Hottolink, on social data in Japan. 

Social Data in Japan with Koki Uchiyama

Japan Is Social Data Rich

Gnip researchers estimate that 10 to 15 % of the Twitter firehouse is in Japanese characters. In addition, Japan is in the top 5 countries for Foursquare content (excluding the US). More than 32 million Japanese users have written blog articles.


Japanese have been engaging on social channels since early 2000. Early platforms included bulletin boards and question and answer sites similar to Ask Yahoo!. Blogs continue to be a popular Japanese social medium. Twitter & Facebook continue to gain traction with Japanese users, but more exciting is the Japanese social media platform Line. Available in over 20 countries, Line originated as a text messaging application and has grown to include features including voice calls, group messaging and the use of stamp based character communications. Many Japanese users choose to leave text communication behind and share their thoughts, emotions and feelings through images the network calls stamps. In January, Line crossed 100 million users. At only 19 months old, this growth trajectory exceeds that of Facebook. A favored platform beyond Japan, Line is also popular in Taiwan, Thailand, East Asia, the Middle East and Mexico.

Japanese Social Media Adoption

The 2011 earthquake can be attributed for fueling adoption for two reasons. First, the robustness of social media as a communication tool. Following the earthquake phone lines were dead, but access to the internet remained available. It became the primary channel to communicate with family and colleagues. In fact, use as a primary communication tool drove adoption by nontraditional, older users. Second is the power of social media to provide localized information. Regional areas utilized social media to publish their specific needs and demands, rather than rely on myopic media focus.

Social Media Informed Elections

The Japanese election cycle is only 2 weeks. This short term precludes politicians from using social media as a push campaign marketing strategy. Instead, social media has emerged as an invaluable political strategy tool.

In 2009, social media analysis predicted 80% of the lower-house elections correctly. Political teams realized they could use the data as a listening tool to understand the political climate and needs of a region, even influencing the selection of candidates.

Listening Tools Make Mass Media a Dialogue

Using social data in tandem with mass media communications provided further campaign insight. If a party holds a press conference in the morning, the feedback from social data can be interpreted by noon and campaign strategy or topic stance can be altered to reflect citizen opinion by the evening television appearance.

Brand Use of Social Media in Japan

Koki was quick to point out that brand use in Japan is very similar to the US. In early 2000 brands began utilizing social media for risk monitoring. This was followed by promotions on blogs, then Twitter and after that Facebook.

Currently, brands use social platforms to publish company information, perform market research through listening to drive product development and for engagement and support of customers, though this is not as prevalent as the US.

Koki diagrams the focus of business into a 5 category pyramid. Listed from top down the categories are mission, strategy, product development, marketing and customer support. Currently many brands are reporting that efficiency of social campaigns as less than expected, something Koki attributes to a failure to engage all parts of the pyramid.

If brands fail to utilize social platforms for engagement and dialogue, they will never influence to the top layer, and hence influence focus. By listening and engaging in dialogue, social media will drive all components of successful business.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Gnip Announces Partnership with Leader in Japanese Social Media Analytics

With more than 10% of the Twitter firehose in Japanese, the Japanese market for social data is a huge opportunity. This is why Gnip is excited to announce that we’re partnering with Hottolink as part of a strategic alliance to better serve Twitter data in Japan.

Through the alliance, Hottolink will have access to Gnip’s suite of products that serve data from Twitter’s full firehose. This data will power Hottolink’s social media listening platform with ongoing and historical access to Tweets in Japanese and every other language. By partnering with Hottolink, Gnip will have access to Hottolink’s technology and expertise, enabling Gnip to better meet the needs of the Japanese market.

Japan is the third-largest Tweeting population in the world with more than 30 million accounts and has some of the most active users in the world.  In fact, the world record for tweets-per-second was set in December 2011 during the television broadcast of the Japanese anime movie “Castle in the Sky,” with 25,088 tweets.

In Japan, they call a Tweet a “mumble” but the signal from Japanese language Tweets is loud and clear.  If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the press release (also in Japanese!) or email