There is growing interest in the expanding Korean mobile advertising market, but there isn’t much English content out there, so I’ve written an introductory post for all our global readers. In this post, I will provide a brief glimpse at what the Korean mobile advertising market looks like.
First, let’s go over the categories of the Korean mobile advertising market.
1. Korean Mobile Advertising Market by Category
- The mobile advertising market in Korea has grown 8 times in size over the last 3 years and is currently at about $620 million.
- Incentivized advertising now makes up about 13% of the market (over $80 million).
2. Landscape of Korean Mobile Advertising Platform / Media
I created this chart as a quick reference of the landscape of the top advertising platforms and media in Korea. Although it isn’t a full picture of the ad tech ecosystem, it should be enough as a first bite to whet your appetite. I’ll be discussing the entire ecosystem in detail in a later post.
Here are a few things to note for each category:
- Naver, the unparalleled #1 Internet portal in Korea, is a dominant player in the mobile era as well, as they have successfully captured users transitioning to mobile.
- Although LINE is not as popular as KakaoTalk in Korea, the reverse-imported app is continuing to grow gradually, so I’d recommend keeping an eye on this service.
- Naver’s mobile ad network, ADPOST, does not have a strong presence in Korea.
Daum + Kakao
- Daum, the #2 Internet portal in Korea, used to fall extremely far behind Naver when it comes to the battle of owned properties on PCs. This is also happening in the mobile battle field.
- Daum developed Ad@m, their mobile ad network, far earlier than Naver, and Ad@m has been doing a great job in competing with Google’s AdMob. Ad@m is now one of the biggest mobile ad networks in Korea.
- The recent merger of Daum and Kakao is going to be a game changer in the mobile display advertising market. The revenue from Kakao’s advertising accounts is expected to be $133 million this year, which accounts for one-third of the total mobile display advertising revenue in Korea.
- AdMob/AdSense (mobile) is also one of the biggest mobile ad networks in Korea.
- YouTube takes up about 75% of the online video market in Korea, according to Nielsen. Mobile traffic data has not been disclosed at the moment, but we can easily assume that YouTube has no particular disadvantages against other players in the mobile market.
- Cauly is an independent mobile ad network that is doing very well and was recently acquired by Yello Mobile, a mobile-focused startup that is well-known for its extensive acquisitions recently.
- Our own app Honeyscreen offers high-quality full-screen advertising opportunities on smartphone lock screens. Buzzvil is backed by Softbank Ventures Korea.
- Naver accounts for 70% of the total search queries in Korea and is unrivaled in this category. However, if Daum + Kakao encourages its KakaoTalk user base to migrate to Daum, there may be some changes in this figure.
- Google’s mobile search market share is higher than PC, thanks to the rise of Android, which dominates about 90% of the market, but the growth trend seems to be stagnant these days.
- Daum has invested heavily in this category, investing about $10 million in an incentivized ad network, TNK Factory ($8 million in total), and lock screen incentivized media, Cashslide ($2 million).
- Naver has also acquired two incentivized advertising-enabled media. They’re big players in media, but not so much from the perspective of the entire market. However, LINE’s Free Coins provide advertisers with incentivized app install advertising services globally. When users install apps on the list, they get rewarded with LINE Coins, which can be used for purchasing cute and quirky stickers to use in the messaging app. It is a major distribution channel for LINE’s cross-promotions, but it’s also open to regular advertisers on a limited basis.
- NEXON, the #1 game developer, and CJ, a top-15 conglomerate in Korea, also have their own incentivized lock screen advertising app.
- Honeyscreen also has an incentivized advertising product that utilizes users’ smartphone lock screens.
I hope this post has been a helpful introduction to the Korean mobile advertising market. If you’re interested in learning more about this growing market, please don’t hesitate to let me know! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or would like more information.
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