When starting pay-per-click (PPC) activity in new markets, many would think to use Google. However, there are a few markets where local platforms have the biggest share. One such country is South Korea.
In this blog, we will explore South Korea’s primary search engine, Naver, and share insights on why marketers should use this platform when looking to expand into the South Korean market.
South Korea’s most popular platform
Naver is the most widely used platform in South Korea, with more than 90% of people using the search engine at least once a week. It also has the biggest market share of over 58% in the country (2019).
However, the rapidly growing rate of Google’s popularity cannot be ignored. In 2017, Naver’s share was over 83% (see graph below), with Google at about 5%. In just two years, Google’s share increased to 34%. The reason behind this growth can be attributed to the increasing search queries on YouTube, Chrome browser, and Google Search, which are all embedded in Android phones.
Considering those recent changes in share, we’d recommend using both search engines – Naver and Google – to cover most of the search queries in South Korea.
Content marketing & SEO
Now, I assume some of you started to wonder where the organic search results are being shown on Naver. Some people may even say that SEO doesn’t exist on this particular platform.
Yes, there is in fact a space for organic, but you need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find it. There are usually only three organic results shown on the page, or you may not see any of them at all. Moreover, it is notoriously difficult to show up in the organic search results section unless the brand is already well-known in South Korea. This means that a company trying to get into the Korean market will find it very hard to gain attention through the organic search section.
So what are some other ways marketers can raise brand awareness apart from paid search?
There are several features you can use on Naver to attract potential customers, and one of them is Naver Blog. This is a widely used part of the platform in South Korea, as many people often look at blogs to find good services. According to a survey conducted by OpenSurvey in 2018, Naver Blog ranked second among the most popular social media platforms in Korea.
Once you set up an official blog on Naver where you can promote your services, you can link it to a type of ad called Power Contents. This type of ad will be shown in the “view” section, just under Power Link ads (keyword search ads) and the price tends to be lower.
Posting events and stories on Naver Blog will help people gain information about your services, and by linking to Power Contents, it increases the visibility of the blog and, ultimately, your brand. However, there is a list of keywords which are available to set up and use Power Contents, so before considering this ad option, you need to check the list of keywords you can use for your company.
Apart from the ones described above, there are a lot more features you can use to establish your appearance in South Korean markets, such as Naver Display and Naver Shopping ads. If you are planning to expand your visibility in South Korea, it is worth considering Naver as your primary platform.
To learn more about Naver and your options when entering the South Korean market, please get in touch with our PPC team.