Japan and South Korea Advertising Market Insight in Q1 of 2021: Advertising Analysis of RPG and Book & Reference Apps

Compared with the 2020 Q4, the 2021 Q1 overall advertising in Japan and South Korea market has decreased. The Ad proportions of Casual, Simulation, Action, and Sports games dropped significantly. The proportions of advertisements in Books, Photo and Video, Health and Fitness also showed a downward trend.

On the other hand, the proportion of mobile game advertisers has increased slightly, while Non-gaming advertising is even higher. Role-playing, Puzzle, and Strategy games top the gaming advertising list. As for Non-gaming applications, Top 3 are Books & Reference, Lifestyle, and Shopping categories.

Based on the mobile advertising intelligence tracked from January 1st to March 31st, 2021, App Growing Global released the “Q1 2021 Japan and South Korea Purchase Market Insights”. The statistical area covers 42 countries/regions and the data covers 19 global mobile advertising platforms.


Overall advertising trends in Japan and South Korea

Comparing the data in Q1 of 2021 and Q4 of 2020, we can find that no evident changes can be seen among advertising Apps in the Japanese and Korean markets. The proportion of Gaming apps is more than 57%, witnessing a slight increase.

In terms of the number of Ads, Non-gaming apps, with a small number, have put more Ads than Gaming apps, climbing to 53.06% in Q1 and exceeding Gaming applications.

Data shows that in Q1 of 2021, Role-playing, Puzzle, and Strategy mobile games are the main categories that advertised the most in Japan and South Korea, accounting for 19.42%, 13.86%, and 13.19% respectively. A slight increase can be seen, compared with the previous quarter.

In the list, Strategy games account for the most obvious increase, 2.74% in a single quarter. SLG see the biggest drop of 1.64%.

During the same period, advertising of Non-gaming apps in the regions has changed significantly. Advertising proportions in Books & Reference, Lifestyle, and Shopping that top the list, have seen ups and downs.

Book & Reference apps, though decreasing by 7.1%, still rank first with 18.72%. Lifestyle apps account for an increasing proportion, rising by 5.36% and reaching 13.48% in 2021 Q1. The proportion of Shopping apps increase the most, by 7.04% in Q1, and it also climbs to the third place.


Top-advertising Games & Advertising Strategy in Creatives

2.1 Top-advertising Role-playing Game List

In 2021 Q1, 5 of the top 10 Role-playing games are from China. Among the top are검은강호2: 이터널 소울 under 9splayMythWars & Puzzles under Karma Game and Puzzles & Survival under 37Games. Eyougame’s 크레센트 and YOTTA GAMES’ Girls X Battle 2 ranked 9th and 10th respectively.

In addition, local Japanese and Korean publishers such as MANASTONE and EXNOA are also on the list.

2.2 Top-advertising Gaming Creatives

2.2.1《검은강호2: 이터널 소울》

As an RPG that focuses on the Korean market, 검은강호 2: 이터널 소울 has maintained a stable level of advertising since its launch at the beginning of this year. The creatives are mainly videos and images.

The video creatives mainly show the gameplay and bring users a sense of surprise and immersion with brilliant in-game special effects. The image creatives highlight the exquisite art style and character modeling, which also has a good effect on attracting customers.

Creative 1:

Creative 2:

2.2.2《MythWars & Puzzles》

MythWars & Puzzles is an “RPG+” mobile game under Karma Game. Although it has been released for a long time, it still maintains a high level of advertising in 2021 Q1. The Top-advertising Gaming list is frequented by MythWars & Puzzles.

The creatives of MythWars & Puzzles are also mainly shown as videos and images. In addition to displaying the common gameplay, it also emphasizes the integrated elements such as Card and Tile-matching, as well as its unique game style.

Creative 1:

Creative 2:


Top-advertising Non-Games Apps & Advertising Strategy in Creatives

3.1 Books & Reference Apps Top-advertising List

Due to Japan’s rich animation culture, 7 of the top 10 Book & Reference apps are comic apps launched by Japanese publishers, forming a dominant trend in the list.

However, some non-Japanese and non-South Korean publishers still cling to the list. Russian publisher Imobilco takes the top spot with its extremely high advertising in Аудиокниги от Patephone. Dreame, under the Chinese publisher Cinread Tech ranks 4th.

3.2 Top-advertising Non-gaming Creatives


It is its solid foundation on Japanese animation culture as well as the flexible advertising strategies that enablesマンガBANG!itself, a Comic app that has been released for years, to enjoy such a long life cycle in the Japanese market. There are as many as 6 main advertising channels. Advertising was well allocated and strategies were well designed.

マンガBANG! ’s Ads are mostly In-feeds, focusing on displaying rich comic resources, free reading, and other activities, which are very attractive to target users.


As a non-local novel reading App, Dreame follows a traditional advertising routine in the markets. The traffic is evenly distributed on the 4 platforms under Facebook, and almost all advertisements are shown as In-Feed.

Dreame’s creatives have a very unique style. In addition to the video and image creatives related to the novel content, the accompanying advertising copy is also very interesting. Novel highlights are usually intercepted. The users are gradually given a sense of concentration and immersion when following the plots and thus encouraged to download the app for reading.

Creative 1:

Creative 2:


Suggestions for Advertising in Japanese and Korean Markets

  1. There are cultural similarities between Japan and South Korea, and China. Many Chinese popular elements and themes also enjoy high acceptance in Japan and South Korea. When designing creatives, an advertiser can selectively consider the same type of domestic creative ideas.
  2. Advertisers better give serious attention to the strong ACG(referring to Animation, Comics, and Games) atmosphere in Japan. Exquisite image and video creatives with a two-dimensional style can often achieve good promotion.
  3. The South Korean market favors gameplays with moderate or heavy intensity. When creating creatives, an advertiser can consider recording in-game videos for gameplay displaying while also highlighting the hardcore characteristics.
  4. Although the creatives shown as images and videos are of importance, the accompanying advertising copies also deserve attention, especially for Non-game applications. A surprising advertising copy is able to further improve promotion.

The above is “Japan & South Korea Advertising Market Insight in Q1 of 2021 ”, log in App Growing Global now to get more mobile advertising information.

*The above-related advertising creatives are sourced from App Growing Global, which are only used for research and analysis. All Rights Reserved.

Unbiased Mobile Advertising Intelligence Analysis Platform