SES New York - Search Around the World - Asia and Latin America

Here's a quick write up of Day One, Track One, Session One and Part One of 'Search Around the World'. We had Kevin Ryan as moderator and it was a bloomin' popular session.


Motoko Hunt of AJPR kicked off the first session with an introduction to search marketing in Japan.

The top three internet properties in Japan are:
  • Yahoo with 42.6 million users,
  • Google with 27.1
  • Rakuten with 27.0
Google just edged into second place last year. However, these figures represent all internet traffic and if we look at search then it begins to look very different. Only 6% of Yahoo’s visitors engage in search whereas 74% of Google’s do.

I’m not sure how many people in the audience had heard of Rakuten but there’s a big portal in Japan. In fact, they own Linkshare which is one of the big three affiliate networks in the US. Linkshare also operates in the UK but isn’t yet on many affiliate’s radar yet – although that could suddenly change sometime this year.

Motoko talked about the QR code which has started to appear in banners. The QR code is actually a white squared filled with black dots – and as the description suggests it is beginning to replace the barcode.
  • QR codes can be scanned with a cell/mobile phone and users can then redeem coupons and discounts.
I heard about the QR code some months ago and I still think my first thoughts on it are the most exciting - this could be wonderful news for TV and poster advertisers. The QR code represents a possible mechanism to try attribute some ROI (or ROAS) to broadcast advertising.

Motoko also talked about the inevitable keyword selection headaches that the Japanese language represents. We’ve everything from the lack of spaces, to different ways of saying the same thing and all the way to the same way of saying different things! For example, the letters R and L are written the same as are the letters B and V. Motoko’s example showed how the word “Vote” is the same as “Boat” after being translated to Japanese.


Next up we had T.R. Harrington of Darwin Marketing who talked about China. Harrington used fortune cookies to illustrate typical fallacies about china and noted that he had been in China for four years and hadn’t once seen a fortune cookie.

One of Harrington’s observations was on the differences between western and Chinese media content. There are much less channels in China than in the States, for example, and very little is shown in cinema – it seems only natural that the Chinese are going online to find this content.

Harrington suggested that Google’s marketshare has levelled out in China and that Baidu has about 70% of the audience. Baidu shows the PPC results above the Organic results and there’s only a small note to distinguish the two.
  • Only 3% of Baidu users knew when they were clicking on paid ads or not
User Generated Content is significant in China. In particular bulletin board systems (BBS) are popular, users ask advice and post recommendations in large numbers.
  • Every day Baidu serves over 12 million BBS searches
  • 70m BBS users in China
T.R. talked about some of main differences between Baidu SEM and Google.
  • No impression data from Baidu. You can’t calculate your clickthrough rates
  • Baidu’s API has been in development for over a year – when it launches it will not be as sophisticated as that offered by Google et al
Instant Messaging and online gaming (RPGs and coffee break games rather than gambling) are both very popular in China.
  • IM penetration in China is twice that of the US
  • Multiple profiles are common

Latin America

Alicia Morga the CEO of Consorte Media discussed the Hispanic and Latin American markets. She compared the Latin American market to water... it’s there, growing and building and going unnoticed until it is too late.

The Hispanic market is large and growing in the States.
  • 20m US Hispanics online today
  • 20% growth in the last 6 months
  • Spend to exceed $1 trillion by 2010
Morga talked about the nuances of languages. A Spaniard sometimes uses different terminology from a US Hispanic or someone from Latin America. One approach for marketers is to look at the age demographic as a 20 year old US Hispanic is much more likely to use “Spanglish” than a 60 year old Mexican.
  • Latin American keyword purchases in SEM are currently about 1/10th of the cost of the US English equivalent.
Alicia also made what may have been the most controversial comment on the season – that sometimes the best results can be achieved with Spanish language creatives but with English language landing pages. Now, ‘best results’ in this scenario includes business costs and especially the need to pay for translations.


Anton Konikoff the CEO of Acronym Media gave us a tour of Singapore. He suggested that search marketing in Singapore is about 2 to 4 years behind that in the US. Until 2007 it was only possible to buy inventory on Yahoo on a CPM basis.
  • Four official languages in Singapore: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil
  • 75% of the population are ethnic Chinese
Konikoff noted that a common media mistake is to treat the Chinese demographic in Singapore like mainland Chinese. They and their culture is very different – as an example, Badiu is a very small player in Singapore. English is the popular language, with both business and education being done in English.
  • 91% of residents are internet users
  • 75% broadband penetration
  • 50% users spend more than 20 hours online every month


Erica Schmidt from Isobar talked about Australia and kicked off by discussing the Aussie culture and how important it was for marketers to understand it, share the Oz sense of humour and be able to laugh at themselves.

The top four internet properties in Australia
  • – 7.8%
  • – 3.0
  • – 2.6
  • MySpace – 2.1%
NineMSN and are both Microsoft. Erica didn’t touch on this but it’s worth pointing out that the ‘Nine’ from NineMSN comes from a TV channel partnership.

Erica suggested that Australia was about 2 years behind the US in terms of sophistication. There may be a number of reasons for this.
  • The Australian population is highly concentrated in a small geographic area – this significantly reduces the impact of local advertising
  • Broadband penetration is awful – most internet access is via dial-up
Another issue marketers face in Australia are the privacy concerns there. Only 17% of users had confidence in online privacy and this acts as significant hurdle for online transactions – many Aussies are reluctant to share their credit cards with a site. The knock on effect is that many traditional retailers do not have e-commerce websites and run brochure sites only.


Anonymous said…
Hi Andrew,

Thank you for coming to the session, and wrote about it on your blog! The QR code has so much potential, and I'm surprised that the rest of the world hasn't shown much of an interest.


Popular Posts