Korea’s Internet Ad Market To Double

Naver, one of the nation’s most popular search engines, has been enjoying an explosive advertising sales growth since the beginning of this year. Its ad sales during the first three months of this year amounted to 500 million won (about US$0.4 million), which represents a four-fold increase from the same period of the previous year.

Yahoo Korea, the Korean operation of Yahoo Inc., also saw its ad sales increased rapidly. The company’s ad sales hit 2 billion won (US$1.6 million) during the first two months of this year. The amount already surpasses its ad sales for the whole year of 1998, according to Youm Jin-Sub, president of Yahoo Korea.

He said that the Korean-language search engine enjoys a daily average of more than 7 million page views. Youm also predicted that Yahoo Korea’s ad sales for this year would increase by more than 300 percent from 1998.

Hanmail.net Online, a free web-based email service run by Daum Communications, enjoyed brisk sales with 1 billion won (US$0.8 million) between January and March this year, which is even greater than its total sales in 1998.

Company officials said that such a brilliant first-quarter performance was due mainly to its up-to-date marketing strategy based on its nearly 1 million registered users.

“This year’s market outlook seems very bright, so our company is going to increase the ratio of advertising revenue compared with other business sectors from the current 30% to more than 50% in terms of sales amount,” said an official at Daum Communications Corp.

Korea’s Internet ad market has been growing rapidly since 1996 when IBM Korea started an advertising campaign through the Internet for the first time in this country.

The domestic Internet advertising market, which stood at a meager 2.5 billion won (US$2 million) in 1996, expanded to 11 billion won (US$9.1 million) last year despite the nation’s economic difficulties. This year, the market is expected to more than double to over 22 billion won (US$18.3 million), according to the nation’s major advertising agencies.

Encouraged by such a rosy market outlook for this year, the Korea’s major ad agencies are further strengthening their advertising business on the Internet.

Industry analysts said that the majority of local Internet users are aged between their 20s and 30s and that their needs can possibly lead to an actual purchasing power.

For this reason, local advertisers has already began to follow such a trend. And that’s why why advertisers show their keen interest in the Internet advertising than they did years ago. So, analysts believed that the local Internet advertising market would grow at even faster clip.

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