How Business Insider attracted 230,000 Line followers in two weeks

Business Insider landed on Japanese messaging app Line two weeks ago. Since then, it has grown its following to nearly 230,000, amassing 35,000 followers in the first 24 hours.

According to BI, Line said this was the most successful publisher launch on the platform: Earlier this summer, The Financial Times got to 26,000 in its first day; for Time, it was 25,000 in 24 hours.

Business Insider has been posting around 10 pieces of content each day. Much of it falls into BI’s core verticals of technology and finance rather than aggregated stories or listicles that sit so well on Facebook.

“Our daily foreign exchange story really shines here,” said Meena Thiruvengadam, head of audience development for the publisher, explaining that the publisher’s daily coverage of the state of foreign currency and global stocks garners more engagement on Line than anywhere else. “This is the hardest content to make sing on Facebook or other social platforms.”

Forex report, helpfully translated in emoji.

“The Line audience is interested in finance news,” she added, citing the Wall Street Journal’s quick growth on the platform. It’s no coincidence that the Economist and CNN are among the few publishers on Line. “It’s a different pace of news consumption for the markets they are in.”

In the U.S. and the U.K., Line adoption among messaging-app users is low at 12 percent and 3 percent, respectively, according to Global Web Index data. In Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, this is over 85 percent, presenting a tempting untapped audience to drive back to the BI site.

Of course, it’s not all stats and foreign exchange graphs. Business Insider also uses emojis to tell the news, particularly to brighten up more staid content.

The appeal of Line, according to Thiruvengadam, was its fast growth: It now has 220 million monthly users. “It started to get to a critical mass, and it seemed like the right time to be on there. We can use it for global user growth and driving people back to our site, it’s not like Snapchat where messages disappear, this helps us bring people back to our platform.”

Engagement so far is promising, and there are early signs of readers going from Line to the site itself, although BI said it was too soon to give out figures.

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