Naver Korea announced that it will soon start the beta-testing of a new ad-format called ‘Power Content’, which is a new paid way of promoting blog content. The announcement on October 17, 2014 stated that the new ads will be appearing on both PC and mobile universal search results pages. It is a major step as Naver is getting its feet wet in the field of paid content marketing.In the beginning, only six fields of business will be eligible for the new power content ads: Education, Finance, Law, Oversea Studying, and Weddings. When a user searches for a targeted keyword phrase of one of the companies within the industries above, Naver will show up to three power content ads above or below (depending on user feedback) the ‘power link’ section on top of its universal search results. If the beta testing phase proves to be a success, Naver announced that it will expand the types of businesses at a later stage.
Below are two screenshots for the desktop and mobile versions to get a better understanding of this new ad format. The ads consist of image, headline, description, display URL, blog name, and date.
Companies who want to take part in this beta testing have to apply. They will be chosen by Naver based on the quality and popularity of their blogs; it is probably also based on their relationship with Naver. Originally, Naver set the beta test phase to four weeks between November 20 and December 18, 2014; however, it recently announced a delay with regards to the new starting date of the beta test phase. The beta test phase will now commence on December 11, 2014.
Even though Naver promises to only show high-quality blog posts by manually reviewing the blogs and blog posts which are applying for this new ad format; it is clear that the main goal is to generate another source of revenue. Users are understandably worried that the quality of search results will suffer: after all, it is not quality but the highest bid that will ultimately decide which blog article appears on the top. Even though the blog posts are clearly indicated as ads, it will have a major impact on the presentation of the SERPs moving forward.