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Guide to Naver ads, Korea’s largest search engine (marketing types, Google differences)

Korea is one of the few countries (like China and Russia) where Google is not the largest search engine. Advertising on it can greatly help your organization reach its goals. But why should you do any advertising? There is scientific evidence that advertising will increase your revenue, profit and market capitalization.

The empirical results support the authors’ hypothesis that advertising spending has a positive and long-run impact on firms’ market capitalization. Investors are willing to pay a premium for aggressive advertisers.

So let’s explore all aspects of advertising on Korea’s largest search engine, Naver! This blog post consists of the following parts:

  • About Naver
  • Naver SERP
  • Naver marketing
  • Keyword research
  • Naver vs. Google
  • Types of ads
  • How to start

About Naver

Naver (from “navigate”) was founded in 2009 and a short bio of the founder is below. Both the founders of Naver and KakaoTalk worked together for a while. Other apps owned by Naver are Line, Band and Snow.

Lee Hae-jin was born in Seoul in 1967. He studied computer science at Seoul National University and KAIST before joining Samsung SDS in 1992. He left the company in 1999 to set up Navercom (currently Naver) which was originally an in-house venture at Samsung. The next year he joined hands with Kim Beom-su, who joined Samsung SDS the same year, merging Kim’s game portal Hangame. The two oversaw Naver together, listing the company (2002) and putting it at the top of Web portals (2004), before Kim left to set up Kakao Corp. in 2010.

What is the market share of Naver Korea’s search engine market? Numbers vary greatly, but according to our experience we found the percentages below to be the most representative (depending on the product).

Source: Nielsen Koreaclick

The market share percentages are as follows:

Naver45%
Google30%
Daum25%

But Google’s market share is relatively large for mobile, this is probably because Chrome is the default browser on Android smartphones.

korea search engine market share

Naver SERP

What does the Naver Search Engine Results Page look like? Naver is technically not a search engine, but looks more like a portal (like Yahoo). This is because in the SERP there is a lot of UGC (user generated content) from its own services like Naver Blog (comparable to Medium), Naver Cafe (Facebook Group or subreddit) and Naver Q&A (Quora). The SERP layout can change depending on keyword and platform (desktop or mobile). The Naver SERP can contain the following parts:

Naver SERPEquivalent (if applicable)
BlogMedium
CafeFacebook Group / subreddit
Q&AQuora
ShoppingAmazon
PostMobile blog
VideoYouTube
EncyclopediaWikipedia
Website
Images
Dictionary
News
Realtime
Map
Books
Music
Academic
Audioclip

An example of a Naver SERP (top part) is below.

Naver SERP
Top of Naver SERP (above the fold)

I M P O R T A N T !

As you can see above, there are no websites ranking high organically. This is very often the case if your company is not well known in Korea. There are usually only 3 organic websites listed on the first page on the Naver SERP. If you are new to the Korean market, it is possible that a Naver Blog will outrank your website – even if you use your company name as a search term! This is why, for your Korean digital marketing strategy, it is important to also use Naver Blog, Cafe, Q&A, etc.

Naver marketing

If you want to promote your company on Naver using search engine marketing, there are several things that you can do. Below are the ones that are the most common:

Naver adsBoard ads (display)
Brand Search ads
Keyword ads
Blog ads
Shopping ads
Naver SEOWebsite
Naver Blog / Post
Naver Cafe
Naver Q&A

Naver PPC ads will be explained more in detail below (Types of ads). The Naver SEO part can also be achieved through influencers, in Korea also called “viral marketing”.

If you want to run online search ads in Korea, you need to have certain information about your company on your website. This is required by Korean law. The info to put on your website (usually in the footer) is:

EnglishKorean
Official company name상호
CEO name대표
Business registration number사업자등록번호

An example of a footer with company info is below.

If you want to run online shopping ads or sell things online with a payment gateway on your website in Korea, you also need a Korean e-commerce license.

Keyword research

When doing Naver paid search, (or SEO and even social media for that matter) it is very important to do (long tail and semantic) keyword research. As you may know for English or other languages you can use Google Keyword Planner to find keywords. Naver also has a keyword tool. Compared to Google Keyword Planner, Naver keyword tool usually generates more relevant and related keywords. Below is a screenshot of the interface. (We are aware of and use other keyword tools too, but they will not be covered in this blog post.)

The Naver keyword tool has the following important functions and data:

  • Keyword input
  • Monthly searches (desktop and mobile)
  • Average monthly clicks (desktop and mobile)
  • Average monthly click through rate (desktop and mobile)
  • Competition

Naver vs. Google

Below is a list of the most prominent differences between Naver and Google Ads.

NaverGoogle
Ad typesKeyword, Brand Search, blog, places, video, displayKeyword, video, GMB, display
Match typesExactBroad, BMM, Phrase, Exact
Ad headline(s)One headline,
15 characters
Three headlines,
30 characters each
Ad description(s)One description,
45 characters
Two descriptions,
90 characters each
LocationKorea, international (can only select rest of world as a whole)Korea, international (can select individual countries)
TargetWebsite, online shop, BlogWebsite, app, video
Conversion trackingHTML tag does not work with GTMWith or without GTM
Ad extensionsYesYes
UTM tagsYesYes
EditorAPIYes
RetargetingOnly exclusion possible with banner adsYes
TargetingNoAudiences
Responsive adsNoYes

Types of ads

As mentioned earlier, there are five types of Naver ads. (ClickChoice and V Live ads are not covered in this blog post. ClickChoice is very similar to keywords and V Live ads are similar to YouTube ads.)

  1. Board ads (display)
  2. Brand Search ads
  3. Keyword ads
  4. Blog ads
  5. Shopping ads

1. Board ads are the most eye catching display ads on the front page of Naver. They cost a few thousand USD per hour. Media file type can be video or image. Screenshots of some board ads are below (there are many types).

Time board
Rolling board

2. Naver Brand Search ads are most prominent ad types. A screenshot of a Brand Search ad is below.

Brand Search description:

  • The cost depends on the number of monthly impressions.
  • In our experience, Brand Search ads have higher CTR and generate more clicks than comparable keyword ads.
  • The contract duration is 7, 30 or 90 days.
  • You can only choose keywords that are related to your company name
  • There is no competition for the keywords you choose. Only 1 company can advertise Brand Search ads for the keywords at any given time.
  • Depending on the type, there are many images and sitelinks that you can add to the Brand Search ad.

Some important specifications are:

SpecDescription
CostCPM
PlatformDesktop and Mobile
Media file typesImage, video
PriceMinimum of KRW 500,000 per month excl. VAT
TypeLite, Premium, Premium Video

3. Naver keyword ads are very similar to Google Ads, the most important differences and similarities are described in the paragraph above (Naver vs. Google). A screenshot of a Naver keyword ad on desktop is below.

naver keyword ad

4. Blog ads are to promote your content on Naver Blog, Post or Cafe. You can only select keywords from a spreadsheet provided by Naver. Usually the quality of the traffic from these ads is higher (lower bounce rate, higher CTR and longer time on site) than keyword ads. Also the CPC is lower than that of regular text ads. Perhaps because the Blog ads look like UGC. You cannot be too commercial however: the ads have to be informational and you cannot use the company name above the fold. Blog ads are located right below keywords ads. A screenshot of blog ads is below.

5. There are two types of shopping ads: online store and product catalog. For both types you need a Korean business registration and e-commerce license. You can make your own online store with Naver (StoreFarm) and Naver also has its own Shopping site. Naver Shopping aggregates results from StoreFarm, Coupang, 11st, Gmarket and other websites. A screenshot of a Naver Shopping ad is below.

How to start

To run ads on Naver, you need to make an ad account and send a copy of your business registration. Make sure your website has the company info on it as described above (Naver Marketing)!

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