Korea’s top 3 search engines, which occupy 95% of the total market share, released their most searched keywords in 2014. This report offers insights on search trends, since it compares the most popular keywords that emerge from the searches within each of the 3 search engines (between 2013 and 2014).


keywords comparison between Korean search engines Naver, Daum and Google in 2014


What is remarkable from the chart above is that the search term ‘YouTube’ ranks high in both Naver and Daum. According to Koreanclick, YouTube is a service that has proven itself more popular among Korean users than the equivalent services offered by Daum (tvPot) and Naver (tvcast), dominating a total of 56% of the Korean market share.


Nevertheless, Naver’s service (tvcast) manifested an increase in the number of unique visitors over the past year, brandishing an impressive rise in 52.4% (in its number of unique visitors) compared with its 2013 numbers. Furthermore, in December 2014, major broadcasting companies have stopped providing clips to YouTube. For this reason, the number of visitors to tvPot and tvcast is likely to increase in the near future.


Another point of interest is the fact that there seems to have been a strong trend towards online-buying intent, as demonstrated by the commonest keywords searched on Google. Indeed, 6 out of the top 10 most popular keywords involve shopping sites, including Auction, Gmarket, Coupang, 11st, Bobaedream (a shopping site for second-hand cars), and Ppomppu (a product review site). As noted above, however, this is only evinced in the top search terms used on Google. This may be because Google makes it much more user-friendly for its online-shoppers and category-browsers; for instance, Google has introduced its rich snippets features and sitelinks search boxes for certain results. This makes it more intuitive for e-commerce type consumers, as opposed to focusing primarily on news and blogs, as Naver does.


The differing results, depending on whether users are opting for Naver PC or Naver mobile is also interesting. Although major banks have certainly revealed a strong desire to increase their mobile search visibility by making a push towards mobile banking, it seems that their efforts are yet to pay off: all bank-related keywords on Naver are only included within the top keywords searched on Naver PC. Users seem to have a tendency to search for entertainment-related keywords when utilising mobile search: on Naver mobile, terms like ‘Webtoon’, ‘Facebook’, ‘Lotto’ and ‘movie’ rank considerably higher.


comparison of Daum and Naver keyword trends in 2014


The search trend changes relating to the keyword ‘YouTube’ have been quite significant between 2014 and 2013 on both Naver and Daum. The popularity of terms like ‘Facebook’ and ‘Gmarket’, however, has decreased, as has the terms ‘Coupang’ and ‘Tmon’, both of which are social commerce sites that were hot in 2013.


Google Korea keyword trends comparison 2013 and 2014


The Google top keywords in 2014 differ from those in 2013, in that the latter was slightly more oriented around searching with the intent to retrieve information, particularly within the entertainment sector (whereas, in 2014, users tend to search on Google for more shopping-related reasons).