Competitive Analysis for Cetaphil for the Japan and South Korea markets in the search and social media space

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I have recently had the opportunity to work on the regional insights and actions for one of my favorite skin moisturizing brand Cetaphil. Please enjoy the read, and if you would like, leave any comments


  • Insights: In Japan and South Korea, Cetaphil will need to invest additional resources to increase presence both in the search and social media space against its competitors that include Cerave. 
    • Other competitors such as Nivea, Vaseline and Neutrogena are also competitive in the market.
      • Search: Nivea has the strongest presence.  
      • Social Media: Cetaphil has the strongest presence in South Korea but the brands have not yet fully explored the space in Japan. 
  • There is certainly a growing and untapped opportunity for skin moisturizer in the Japan market in both search and social media space.
    • This is seen by the search interest trends and the related tweet volume and their sentiments.
  • Actions: Investment in online media exposure that include media, videos, social media space etc. will not only give Cetaphil the opportunity to improve online exposure and sentiment but also will practically improve organic search rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to gain visibility of the search audience. 




  • Skin moisturizer in Japanese is showing a growing interest in the market especially for the past 10 years indicating significant opportunity.

Data source: Google Trends

  • Cetaphil has stronger interest compared to Cerave.
    • Other competitors such as Vaseline, Nivea and Neutrogena are also actively competing in the market.
      • Japanese search query for Nivea has the strongest search interest which indicates that the brand has a strong local presence. 

Data source: Google Trends

  • SEO competitive analysis: 
    • Nivea followed by Vaseline has the strongest domain authority as well as the volume of backlinks. These may indicate the fact that these two brands have been investing in their resources in being present in high quality online media. 
    • Cetaphil was not found in the top 100 ranking of the query term skin moisturizer in Japanese.  
      • Kanebo which is a niche local brand is also noted in the table and the chart for reference. 
      • Cerave which does not have a Japan market focused site, is included below for reference only. 
BrandURLRegionDomain RatingBacklinksReferring Domains

Data source: Ahrefs

Data source: Ahrefs

Data source: Ahrefs

South Korea

  • As with Japan, Cetaphil has a stronger search interest compared to Cerave
  • Also as with Japan, other competitors such as Nivea Neutrogena Cerave are in the market as well where Nivea seems to have a stronger interest from the audience. 

Data source: Google Trends

  • Skin moisturizer in Korean has a consistent interest in the market. Trends need to be monitored for new opportunities. 

Data source: Google Trends

  • SEO competitive analysis:
    • Nivea has the strongest domain authority as well as the volume of backlinks. This may indicate the fact that the brand has been investing in their resources in being present in high quality media online. 
    • Cetaphil was not found on the top 100 ranking for the keyword skin moisturizer in Korean
      • Cerave which does not have a South Korea market focused site, is included below for reference only. 
BrandURLRegionDomainBacklinksReferring Domains
Cetaphil Korea1967635
Neutrogena Korea91,02880
Nivea Korea211,095143

Data Source: Ahrefs

Social Media


  • Overall, Cetaphil as well as its competitors have not yet fully implemented their social media strategies locally leaving lots of opportunities for Cetaphil to grow its presence locally in the space. 
    • Cerave, Cetaphil’s competitor, is in the table for reference only as the brand does not have a local social media account. 
  • Neutrogena has the largest audience locally in the social media space: Facebook (5,267,550 likes and 5,276,584 follows), Instagram (1,953) and Youtube (282).  However, their last posts on Facebook and Instagram were back in 2018.
  • Nivea has the highest number of followers on Twitter (87,100) followed by Vaseline (267). However, their last tweets were back in 2020 and 2017 respectively.
BrandRegionFacebook (Likes)Facebook (Follow)TwitterInstagramYoutubePinterestLine
  • 52% positive sentiment in the Twitter space for the tweet skin moisturizer shows opportunities for the brands to enter into the space to gain market share. 
  • There were more tweets that included Cetaphil in Japanese than Cerave in Japanese in the past 30 days but the positive sentiment leveled at 75%. 
  • Nivea in Japanese did not do very well in the past 30 days on Twitter in terms of volume and positive sentiment which was 61%. 
    • Kanebo Cream in Japanese had 84% positive sentiment but with a similar volume of tweets as Cetaphil.

Charts from Yahoo Japan Realtime Search below show the tweet volumes and sentiment for the past 30 days 

South Korea

  • As with Japan, Cetaphil as well as its competitors have not yet fully implemented their social media strategies locally leaving lots of opportunities for Cetaphil to grow its presence in the space. 
  • Cetaphil has the largest audience in the social media space and is active: Facebook (65,510 Likes, 64,648 Follows), Instagram (17,000) and Youtube (1,080), and has been actively posting throughout 2020 and 2021 so far. 
BrandRegionFacebook (Likes)Facebook (Follow)TwitterInstagramYoutubePinterest
NeutrogenaSouth Korea18,500
CetaphilSouth Korea65,51064,64817,0001,080
NiveaSouth Korea49,000


  • To work on increasing media exposure, earn quality backlinks, which will lead to higher search presence.  
    • Partnership with influential bloggers, local media, social media influencers etc..
  • To work on social media exposure and engagement through regular tweets, posting listening to the audience. 
    • Cetaphil has an opportunity to grow in Japan and should continue to post as well as expand to Twitter, Youtube, PInterest and Line to grow its social media presence. 
    • In South Korea, Cetaphil has the chance to continue to gain share by regular posting and expansion to other social media platforms.
Data source

Google Trends


Yahoo Japan Real Time Search

Award-Winning Agency, Magnitude Digital, Partners With Taro Kaji Office, LLC Expanding Support In The Japan Market

Asia Digital Markting Taro Kaji Office, LLC Magnitude Digital Partnership
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Taro Kaji Office, LLC has formed an official partnership with an award winning digital marketing agency Magnitude Digital supporting their strategic Japan and Asia expansion as Magnitude Digital Japan.

Magnitude Digital is an award winning digital advertising agency with offices in multiple locations across U.S. and Japan. Wins include The Landy award for Best Overall SEM IMagnitude Digital was founded in 2012 in New York City by digital marketing guru and former WPP executive, Mike Kujanek, its Founder and CEO. Magnitude is an award-winning boutique, fully integrated digital marketing agency specialized in Paid Media, SEO, performance marketing, and creative services. The business is headquartered in New York with additional staff based around the US, UK, and Japan. The agency was initially started with a primary focus on Search Engine Marketing for direct response advertisers. Magnitude’s early success is credited to building effective campaigns for brands, such as, ADT Security, Life Alert, Medical Guardian, and Surf Air, for which it received the first-ever Best SEM Campaign of the Year for the 2015 Landy Awards. 

Magnitude Digital partners with Fortune 1000 brands to maximize their digital marketing efforts by utilizing innovative and scalable marketing solutions that drive value by engaging brands with their consumers in the ever-changing digital landscape. In 2017, Magnitude Digital became an agency partner to CitizenNet, part of the Condé Nast network, to support brands with a focus on paid search, programmatic display, mobile app marketing, and SEO. As part of Paid Media, Magnitude Digital, a Kenshoo partner, Google Premium, Facebook Partner agency, and AppsFlyer partner, supports Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Paid Social, Mobile App Marketing, Programmatic Display, Native, and Online Video. As part of Earned Media, Magnitude Digital is a Searchmetrics partner agency, specializing in the five pillars of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), including on-site optimization, off-site SEO (social, video), content strategies, and link building. In support of client engagements and ad campaigns, Magnitude Digital also offers in-house creative services for design and development.

Most recently, Magnitude Digital has been recognized in the industry by the American Business Awards in 2019 and 2020 with eight (8x) impressive wins for its work with IDT Telecom, a global telecommunications corporation, and Butterfly Network, the world’s first portable ultrasound medical device. Magnitude Digital was named a Top 50 Tech Company in the 2019 Intercon Awards as well. These recent successes have helped drive further growth and expansion for the agency in spite of challenges facing many businesses through the Coronavirus global pandemic.

While providing support as Magnitude Digital Japan, Taro Kaji Office, LLC will continue to serve its clients and partners without any changes and will continue to work on new business opportunities as Taro Kaji Office, LLC covering the Asia Pacific region.

Ban of Chinese Apps In India – What Do We Do Next?

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After the announcement of the ban of use of various Chinese apps in India, what are the next steps the marketers need to take in order to continue with their promotions in India?

Which apps were banned and its impact

Three of the most prominent apps were TikTok, SHAREit and Likee and these users will very likely shift to other apps that provide similar experiences. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, Firework, Moj from ShareChat can potentially take on these users from TikTok and Likee.

Let us look at the types of users that will be migrating to other apps from TikTok to understand the opportunity and their impact.

According to Music Ally, it is estimated that TikTok now has 120 million monthly active users in India, and according to Business of Apps, majority of users in India are male in their 20’s and 30’s. Additionally, according to the same media source, Indian users spend 38 minutes daily, which is lower compared to the global standard of 52 minutes according to Wallaroo Media.

Whatever the share of voice the advertisers had among the audience will be lost and will have to replace that with other medias to minimize its impact, which is also an opportunity to review and make further refinements to the marketing strategy.

What would be the media mix to continue to reach the lost app audience from TikTok?

As noted above, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, SnapChat, Firework, Moj are still available and some of the social media sites such as Facebook are getting hit hard due to controversies surrounding their content guidelines in dealing with hate speech etc. which led to advertisers boycotting advertising on their properties. This could potentially lead to less competition among the advertisers leading to lower CPC, with higher impression share, and potentially more impressions than could have been otherwise due to the shift of users from TikTok and Likee as noted above. This presents a large opportunity for advertisers that would like to increase its share of voice in the India market.

Additionally, we are already seeing Instagram adopt similar features for the India market. Moreover, although this is far from the 15 second videos of TikTok, Youtube is now encouraging monetization of shorter form videos of 8 minutes rather than 10 minutes, which will be launched in late July 2020.

What are the suggested next steps?

For advertisers in TikTok India, although there may be other media opportunities, the initial suggestion would be to shift your marketing budget to the available competing social networking apps in India.

We will continue to monitor trends in India to make additional suggestions.

What are the opportunities seen in the global epidemic?

Asia Digital Marketing India Taro Kaji Office, LLC
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Some of the advertisers seem to be lowering spend or pausing their ad campaigns in this time of global coronavirus epidemic but now is the ideal time to keep the campaigns live  as more audiences continue to stay online, with potentially less ad auction competition, leading to lower CPC, more traffic and exposure given the available budget. Now is the time for advertisers to sow for that time of harvest to come!

However, the current status that I see is the opposite. Most of the advertisers seem to be staying online, and we are seeing even an increase in interest in digital advertising continuing with the trends that were already seen in early 2020. 

Let us look at the search interest trends in multiple markets in Asia such as Japan, South Korea and India regarding digital advertising. 


South Korea


Marketers seem to be making the necessary adjustments to shift their budgets to digital from traditional in this global epidemic. Out of home advertising could get a negative impact due to the fact that the increasing number of audience is expected to stay at home. Digital marketing agencies need to be prepared to take on additional clients, and budgets.  

Are we seeing a spillover effect of Coronavirus on Corona Extra?

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What are the impact of Coronavirus on various brands? Let us take a look at Corona Extra for this post.

Below chart (Table 1) is what we are seeing from Google Keyword Planner regarding the monthly search volume trends for the keyword Corona Beer in Japanese. There was 173.48% month over month increase from December 2019 to January 2020. Month over month search volume increase was seen for the similar keywords such as Corona Extra both in English and in Japanese.

Table 1

Below (Table 2) is what we are seeing from Ubersuggest regarding the organic traffic to in December 2019 and January 2020. We are not seeing a month over month increase here in traffic here. Coronavirus related keywords don’t seem to be driving the traffic to the site either. (Table 3)

Table 2

Table 3

Coronavirus related searchers do not happen to accidentally or intentionally visit but spillover effect to Corona Extra seems to be happening in the searchers’ minds as a result of seeing Coronavirus in various medias. It seems to be acting more as a reminder to those who are already aware of Corona Extra brand than as a way to raise awareness to those who are not aware.

The Impact Of Coronavirus On Digital Marketing In Asia – Twitter Community in Japan

Asia Digital Marketing Japan Taro Kaji Office, LLC
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As we enter into the second month of the coronavirus spread from China, interest seems to be shifting towards how we combat the spread of coronavirus. This seems to be especially the case for Japan.

I would like to look into trends that is taking place in Twitter, analyzing what the market is tweeting about, exploring the opportunities and the recommended actions for advertisers interested in taking advantage of this trend.

Hashtags such as #telework in Japanese is rising in use by approximately 248% in the past 8 weeks according to 1Hashtagifgy (Chart 1). The olympics will be held this coming Summer and the society has already been preparing for mobile work to resolve any potential traffic congestion issues in and around urban Tokyo. This preparation now seems to be accelerated because various organizations including businesses are thinking about protecting their employees from being exposed to the virus.

Chart 1

On the other hand, we can see the fall in the use of hashtag #Tokyo2020 by approximately 60% in the same period (Chart 2) which may show that the Twitter community’s interest and attention is shifting away from one of the highlights in 2020.

Chart 2

We are seeing a similar trend in the volume of keywords used in the tweets such as telework (Chart 3), remote work etc. where there was between 151% and 15,612% increase between January 20th and February 19th, according to 2Yahoo Japan Real Time Search.

Chart 3

But the interesting finding is that the keyword workplace transformation has not yet caught up with this growing trend. (Chart 4) As the government involvement of this movement increases due to the virus spread, this keyword can potentially increase in usage in the Tweets as well. This may show that the organizations are still in the preliminary phase of telework.

Chart 4

It is recommended that the advertisers in the workplace transformation, mobility space began to prepare to capture any opportunity in this growing trend in the Twitter community as the audience engagement is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Apart from this, audience attention and interest regarding the olympics needs to be monitored.


1 Hashtagify

2 Yahoo Japan Real Time Search

Apparel Industry Competitive Landscape in Japan (2)

Asia Digital Marketing Japan Taro Kaji Office, LLC

Before we look into the digital marketing strategy that we can see for each of the brands, I would first like to look into the area of missed opportunity.

As you can see below, コーデ which means coordinating clothes in Japanese, is seeing a strong rise in search interest compared to keywords like fashion, men’s fashion and ladies’ fashion in Japanese. This shows that audience primary interest has become what the fashion leaders are wearing and how they are coordinating the clothes to look stylish. This seems to be one of the primary starting points for the Japanese consumers in their purchase journey.

However, I am currently not seeing any of the brands command the top position of the organic search ranking for the keyword コーデ which means coordinating clothes in Japanese.

In the next post, I would like to look into their presence in Pinterest, one of the largest social medias people go to and check out how their fashion leaders coordinate their clothes.

Apparel Industry Competitive Landscape in Japan (1)

Asia Digital Marketing Japan Taro Kaji Office, LLC

When it comes to apparel industry in Japan, there are a variety of types of brands. Today, I would like to pick up a few that are relatively strong when it comes to targeting a large percentage of the pie in the market.

GU (

Uniqlo (

Ships (

Beams (

Urban Research (

We can see from Table 1 below that Uniqlo is ahead of the lead with GU in terms of the competition which you can see from the level of search demand. Uniqlo and GU are present in a variety of geographical locations targeting the masses which also helps them raise further awareness. However, brands like Beams, Urban Research and Ships are relatively more highly targeted. Their offline stores are not as present as Uniqlo or GU but seem to be located in carefully selected areas that align with their brand image.

Table 1

KeywordKeyword TranslationAvg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)Competition
ユニクロUniqlo1M – 10M0.07
guGU1M – 10M0.08
uniqloUniqlo100K – 1M0.07
ジーユーGU100K – 1M0.08
ビームスBeams100K – 1M0.17
アーバン リサーチUrban Research100K – 1M0.15
beamsBeams10K – 100K0.14
shipShips10K – 100K0.15
シップスShips10K – 100K0.2
urban researchUrban Research10K – 100K0.09

From October 2015, Uniqlo came out of the competition taking a clear lead. There seems to be multiple reasons for this:

Chart 1

I will take a further dive into their marketing strategy especially digital in the next post.