If you're considering search advertising in Korea, Naver is not to be ignored. This 12-year-old Korean search engine and portal dominates the pocketbooks of advertisers, having taken in a whopping $679 million in ad sales in 2010, or 72 percent of the total search ad budgets in the country.
What is Naver?
Naver, owned by NHN (Next Human Network), is based just outside of Seoul, Korea. The name "Naver" derives from the word "navigate," which is fitting considering Naver's main objective is to navigate visitors to find what they are looking for.
Nothing is more impressive than Naver's incredible, long-standing market share in one of the most important and wired economies in Asia. One-third of the Korean population visits Naver.com every day, according to Koreanclick. More than 130 million daily queries are conducted daily on the search engine.
Besides being part portal and part search engine (se.naver.com), Naver has some interesting features. For example:
I recently spoke with Naver's Kyle Choi, SEM manager and Ted Kim, marketing manager in their Irvine, California, office to talk search advertising and learn a bit more about what makes them different from other search engines we're used to advertising on.
Ad Types Naver has a few different types of ads.
Outside of the search engine result pages (SERPs), Naver provides advertising through their mobile network, as well as their own content network.
The "Naver Search Advertise Interface" is only offered in Korean. So you can either hire a Korean speaker or hire an agency with Korean resources.
Alternatively, you can use Naver's own agency for a fee.
Although, advertising on Korea's Naver seems difficult, it isn't impossible. You can still get great results if you know the rules:
Targeting the U.S. Korean Market
Naver will launch a U.S. version in July 2011 to reach its 2.5 million Korean Americans residents. The website will remain the same, however the audience will be local and targeted to the U.S. market.
My next column will explore how Naver's results are laid out, opportunities for optimization, and tips to help you rank better.
Michael Bonfils is international managing director, SEM International. This column was originally published May 11, 2011 on SearchEngineWatch.com.
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