Want to promote your company in Korea? Worldwide, there are only three countries where the default search engine is not Google. Those are Russia, China and Korea. The search engine (or more appropriately, portal) most used in Korea is called Naver (owned by NHN). Korea’s second largest portal is Daum, which merged with Kakao (known for the mobile messaging application KakaoTalk). Many people use them daily for shopping, to read emails, news, find info about real estate and browse their social networks (Naver or Daum Cafe).
Their search engine results page (SERP) layout is very similar. Even though the SERP of both Naver and Daum change with every keyword, besides ads there often is a lot of User Generated Content (UGC) like (mobile) Blogs, Cafes (similar to Facebook Groups), reviews, Q&A, video, images and shopping results. The mobile SERP is also often different from the SERP on PC.
To start a digital marketing campaign, I will give an overview of advertising in both of them. This article consists of three parts:
- What are the most used websites / apps in Korea
- Background info about Naver and Kakao
- A comparison of Naver and Daum pay per click (PPC) online advertising systems
1. What are the most used search portals / apps in Korea
So, what are the most popular websites in Korea (November / December 2017)? According to three different sources, we get three different results! (Follow the link for an earlier blog post about Korean search portals.)
|Rank||Alexa||Similarweb||Nielsen Koreanclick (PC)||Nielsen Koreanclick (mobile)|
Note: Unlike Alexa, Similarweb does not add statistics from subdomains (like news.naver.com, sports.naver.com, shopping.naver.com etc.) to top-level domain Naver.com. Alexa, Similarweb and Nielsen Koreanclick all make the distinction between google.com and google.co.kr.
Below are the unique visitor numbers from Nielsen Koreaclick, data is from November 2018, in tens of thousands:
|Service||Unique visitors (desktop)||Unique visitors (mobile)|
Unique visitors (total)
Note: “Google” traffic is from both google.com and google.co.kr. In a chart, the data looks like this:
Note: the blue part of the column represents the number of unique visitors on PC, while the red part of the column represents the number of unique visitors on mobile. Why this discrepancy between PC and mobile? This may have to do with the fact that Google is the default search engine on many smartphones (and browser Chrome).
According to Nielsen Koreaclick, the three most popular websites in Korea for searching the web are Naver, Daum and Google. Google may have more unique visitors, people spend more time on Daum and it has more pageviews. (The demographic that uses Daum is older.) Naver users do more queries, though, as Koreans see it as a good way to pass time.
2. About Naver and Kakao
“Advertising accounted for 73% of Naver’s total sales” for Q2 in 2017. It saw a “solid gain” in mobile ad revenue. It takes almost 20% of all e-commerce revenue in Korea, thanks to the diversity of its shopping channels and user friendly online payment system (Naver Pay). In Q3 this year growth in overseas sales (mostly by messaging app Line and mobile ads) increased earnings for Naver.
For Kakao, 36.5% of its sales consists of ad revenue (534 billion won, 2016). Mobile games and music content are its fastest growing business units (702 billion won). Kakao also owns one of Korea’s few Internet only banks (Kakao Bank) and a cryptocurrency exchange (Upbit). (Follow the link for a more detailed profile of Kakao.) Both Naver TV and Kakao TV are making efforts to capture market share from YouTube in Korea. Through YouTube, Google gets a lot of ad revenue while Naver leads in PC and mobile ads.
Source: Korea Herald
3. PPC comparison Naver and Daum
There are already many articles about Naver PPC (official name: Search Ad) and the differences between Google AdWords and Naver Search Ad. Therefore, this blog post is about the differences between Naver and Daum PPC. One clear distinction between Google on the one hand and Naver and Daum on the other hand is that Naver and Daum only have exact match type. There is broad (modifier) or phrase match. So you will have to find all exact match long tail keywords to run a successful PPC campaign.
You can use Content ads to promote your Naver Blog. These blog post ads can generate more clicks, have lower CPC and drive more leads than normal text ads. The Naver Blog posts cannot be too commercial, however. They have to be informative and to rank first page in Naver you would have to publish weekly, or more often depending on the competitiveness of the keyword. The Naver Blog algorithm favors accounts that publish regularly. For more info, check out the media kits.
Follow the link for an introduction of Naver Search Ad in English. The categories that I compare Naver and Daum with are: ads, simple settings, advanced settings, features and ad extensions. Images of the ad extensions and examples of brand search are at the end of this blog post.
|Special ads (brand search)||Yes||Yes|
|DKI (dynamic keyword insertion)||Yes||Yes|
|Headline||Max. 15 characters||Headline + subject max. 60 characters|
|Subject||Max. 45 characters||Headline + subject max. 60 characters|
|Region||Inside Korea, city, province, outside Korea||N/A|
|Ad schedule by day and hour||Yes||Yes|
|Search network / partners, affiliate websites||Yes||Yes|
|Desktop weighted value||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile weighted value||Yes||Yes|
|Target||Website, online store, phone number, locations, Naver Booking, Naver Talk Talk, Contents (Blog, Post, Cafe)||Website, Mobile App Tracking (MAT)|
|Tracking (URL parameter)||UTM, auto tracking, referrer tracking, 3rd party, e.g. cid||UTM tags|
|Browser||Internet Explorer||Internet Explorer|
|Language||Korean + English||Korean|
|Submit URL for site review||Yes||Yes|
|Payment||Korean bank transfer||Korean bank transfer, Kakao Pay|
Naver ad extensions
- Phone number
- Naver Booking
- Promotional text
- 14 characters
- 3-4 links
- 6 characters
- Price link
- 1-3 prices
- 11 characters
Daum ad extensions
- Link to KakaoTalk account:
The most eye-catching feature of advertising in both Naver and Daum is “brand search” (브랜드 검색). Instead of just text, it also shows images. While it gives your brand a lot of legitimacy, there are some requirements to be eligible for brand search. The minimum budget for brand search is 500,000 won, roughly U$D 500.
Naver brand search
Daum brand search