Naver Advertising in 2017 – Your Options for SEM in Korea

Search engine marketing in South Korea – the country with the fastest internet speed in the world – can be painful for global companies. Resources and data on the local search engines are meager, let alone information about advertising options on these channels.

So should companies forgo the painstaking effort and simply ignore the South Korean market?

Only if you want to miss out on 42 million prospects – South Korean users rely heavily on the internet and are ready to turn into your customers at the opportunity of a better solution for their needs!

The first step to planning to is be informed of what is out there. So to get you started with SEM in South Korea, we introduce you to some of the main paid search ads available in 2017 on Naver, South Korea’s most popular local search engine.

A Quick Word About Naver Ads – The Notable Updates

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Naver Search Ad Platform Homepage

Image: Naver Search Ad Platform Homepage

Before jumping into the types of ads on Naver, there are 3 things we should mention about Naver advertising:

    1. The Naver Search Ad system underwent a major overhaul in mid-2016. The previously simplistic and outdated system now allows for more automation and is even offered in English (as of 2017)
    2. Not all ads can be run on the new system yet – as of May 2017, the new system and the legacy system co-exist for different ads:
      • New system*:
        • Website search ads
        • Shopping search ads
        • Content search ads
      • Legacy system*:
        • Brand search ads
        • Product ads
        • Mobile optimized ads
    3. Text ads now follow a structure akin to Google Adwords:
      • Campaigns
      • Ad groups
      • Keywords
      • Ad copy

*The new and legacy system ads are covered in this article.


Types of Naver Search Ads for 2017


1. Website Search Ads

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Website Search Ad Example

Ad Type

This is a Standard CPC text ad, which includes title, description, display URL – and more options depending on ad placement.

Standard CPC text ads appear on Naver search results, within Naver’s own service pages (Naver Blog, Café, etc.), and on Naver search partner sites.

To make it slightly more confusing, Naver classifies these ads into two sections, calling the top section Powerlinks (파워링크) and the second section BizSites (비즈사이트).

Ad position depends on the keywords selected, keyword bids, and quality score earned during the ad campaign.

A Closer Look at the Ad

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Website Search Ad Example Annotated

Naver’s character limits treat both single-byte characters (alphabets) and double-byte characters (Asian characters, such as Korean) the same. So, for example, the words “Naver 검색광고” (i.e., “Naver search ads”) has five single-byte characters (“Naver”), one space, and four double-byte characters (“검색광고””) for a total of ten characters according to Naver’s count.

The description cannot contain the keyword more than twice.

The display URL must be the root domain.

Ad Cost

While the cost really depends on the keywords and the number of keywords targeted for the ads, the minimum keyword bid starts at 70 Won (US$0.06) with the maximum bid at 100,000 Won (US$88.30).

The cost-per-click (CPC) of competitive keywords can go up to 20,000 Won (US$16.70).

Why It’s Great

Ads can get significant exposure on Naver. This particular ad allows you to target the exact users you want according to search terms.

Opportunities may also be substantial for keywords that have few or sometimes even no competing ads.


2. Brand Search Ads (브랜드검색)

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Brand Search Ad Example

Ad Type

The Brand Search Ad is triggered by searches on a brand keyword or keywords highly associated with the brand.

Up to 30 keywords can be selected to trigger the ad.

It is positioned on the Naver universal search results as the first search result for the keywords chosen, effectively guaranteeing maximum visibility on the SERP by appearing above the fold.

A Closer Look at the Ad

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Brand Search Ad Example Annotated

There are four image components, all of which can be linked to unique URLs.

Parts of the text components (highlighted in green) can also be linked.

There are some nitty gritty specifications for this ad type, so if you choose to go with this ad, make sure your agency or anyone else running the ad for you tells you all the details on image size, logo dimensions within the image, etc.

Ad Cost

Unlike the Website Search Ad, the Brand Search Ad requires a fixed fee to be paid upfront.

The minimum fee starts at around US$440 (500,000 Won) and goes up according to the combined search volumes of selected keywords for the last 30 days. The table below shows the latest charges from Naver:

Total Search Volume Price in US Dollars (excluding 10% VAT)
0 – 8,000 440
8,001 – 15,700 880
15,701 – 22,100 1,320
22,101 – 29,100 1,760
29,101 – 36,800 2,200

Why It’s Great

There can only be one Brand Search Ad for the chosen keywords, which means no competition!

What’s more, all other types of ads will be below the Brand Search Ad, ensuring maximum visibility of your ad.

One more thing, the ad space is sizable with the opportunity to include plenty of links on both images and text to direct searchers to multiple pages on your site.


3. Power Content Ads (파워컨텐츠)

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Power Content Ad Example

Ad Type

Power Content Ads promote original content (blogs, Naver Post, Naver Café) for your chosen search terms.

One caveat is that the keyword selection is limited to the keywords from a list provided by Naver.

Up to 3 Power Content Ads can be displayed for each keyword, placed below the Website Search Ads, if there are any.

A Closer Look at the Ad

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Power Content Ad Example Annotated

Ad Cost

Like the Website Search Ad costs, the minimum keyword bid starts at 70 Won (US$0.06) with the maximum bid at 100,000 Won (US$88.30) and cost-per-click (CPC) of competitive keywords can go up to 20,000 Won (US$16.70).

The total charges will of course depend on the keywords themselves and the number of keywords.

Why It’s Great

Even though the ad is also charged on a CPC basis, like the Website Search Ad, the advantage that Power Content Ads offer is greater visibility. With the thumbnail image and the longer description space for this ad type, it is a better choice for promoting content.


4. Other Search Ad Options

Click Choice Plus Ads (클릭초이스플러스)

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Click Choice Ad Example

This is a mobile-only ad with unique UI optimized for specific business categories.

Right now, Naver offers this for only seven B2C business sectors.

Click Choice Product Ads (클릭초이스상품광고)

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Click Choice Product Ad Example

A product-featured ad for both PC and mobile focusing on product images as the core ad component.

This ad is even more limited in its offerings as only businesses in the fashion industry can use it.

Moreover, advertisers cannot choose the keywords to target the ads and Naver automatically selects them. Advertisers are, however, able to select negative keywords.

Shopping Search Ads

Article: Naver SEM 2017 - Shopping Search Ad Example

This ad takes existing products on the Naver Shopping platform and promotes them on the Naver SERP. This means that ads cannot be targeted based on keyword selections but rather they rely on Naver to automatically place the ad depending on the information of your product registered on Naver Shopping and various other factors, such as search intent and purchase patterns.

The ad also requires a number of setups to be eligible for it, such as registering on the Naver Shopping platform.


If you were unsure of your SEM options on Naver before, hopefully by now have a better idea on how to plan your SEM efforts for 2017. We also have an article about Paid Search in Korea: Naver Ads vs Google Ads.

Want an estimate on how much budget you need to break into the South Korean market? Contact us to find out!

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