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Naver vs. Google AdWords

Understanding the ad formats and top 7 differences between the two platforms

Among major search engines and paid search platforms across the globe, Naver, a South Korean search engine, provides quite a different experience when compared to others, especially Google AdWords. Below are some of the different ad formats that you can use to advertise on Naver:

1. Click Choice Ads:

This ad format is similar to PPC ads on Google and generally takes up the top of the SERP with a light yellow background. Its straightforward headline, text, and link format will be familiar to anybody who has used AdWords.

Click Choice Ads on Korean Search Engine Naver

2. Brand Search Ads:

This format is specific for brands who want to advertise on this platform with their brand-specific keywords. It generally takes over most of the space on the page with images and links to different pages of the website, which is extremely beneficial. More real estate, higher CTR, and relevant traffic are some of the advantages of this format. Here’s an example of what a Brand Search Ad would look like:

Brand Search Ads on Naver

There is, however, a minimum cost for running these ads, which is based on the number of impressions served in the last 30 days for the brand terms. Also, there are specific requirements to enroll for this format, which are specified in the document that Naver would provide when you opt in for this. The few requirements include brand keywords only, maximum of 30 keywords within 25 characters, no spaces in keywords, and accurate file sizes for images/formats. It does go through a thorough screening process before these ads are approved. The chart below highlights the information that you need to provide in order to start running these ads:

Another example of Naver's Brand Search

3. Display Ads:

Display Ads on Naver are operated from a separate platform than the PPC ads and have two versions — Time Board and Rolling Board:

  • Time Board: Advertisers can display ads on Naver’s home page for one hour within a given day (image/rich media ads). The hour of the day can be specified to get maximum coverage of when you see the most conversions for your business.

Time board on Naver

  • Rolling Board: Advertisers can display ads on the Naver network based on different targeting options. This is similar to Google’s Display Network, and lets you target sites that your audience is more likely to use, either manually or by keyword.

Rolling board on Naver

4. Shopping Box:

Similar to Google Shopping, these ads are displayed on the top right of the SERP with a product image and text directing to a specific landing page. They are especially useful for retailers who have a varied inventory, short sales cycle, and want to drive conversions on specific items rather than the general brand.

The shopping box on Naver

Switching gears from different ad formats, here are some of the key differences that you will find while advertising/running PPC ads within the Click Choice Ad format on this platform:

  1. No Campaigns – only Ad Groups: Yes, that’s right – Naver doesn't have any campaigns, so the structure is a little different from a standard PPC structure that has Campaign -> Ad Group -> Keyword. Naver only has 2 levels – Ad Group -> Keyword.
  2. UI completely in Korean: This is probably the biggest challenge while working on this platform if you are not a native speaker or don't speak Korean. Also, a good portion of the text on the page are images, which means that use of translation software like Google Translate won’t work.  Below is a partial view of the UI:
    Naver's user interface is entirely in Korean
  3. No editor tool/API available: There isn’t an editor tool available for Naver, which makes it difficult to make bulk changes. No API either, so some manual process might be involved.
  4. Each keyword requires its own ad copy: Unlike Google where you can use the same ad copy across an Ad Group for a group of keywords, Naver only allows ad copy to be applied on the keyword level. Also, if you wish to use Keyword Insertion on your ad copy, then use <키워드> Keyword on the headline.
  5. Exact Match keywords only: There is only one match type available on this platform, i.e., Exact Match, so you have to be precise in terms of what you want to bid on. There isn’t a Broad or Phrase match available, which means no negatives either. This can create a challenge for search teams, but it also creates an opportunity – if you can think of long keywords that your competitors miss, the Broad/Phase search feature will not be their to bail them out.
  6. No spaces in keywords: Another requirement is that all keywords can only be one word since spaces are not accepted. It is likely that most of your existing keyword lists contain keywords of two or more words. The easiest way to adapt it is to use excel and remove all spaces before submitting the keywords.
  7. Maximum of 1000 keywords per Ad Group: Each Ad Group has a limit of 1000 keywords that can be added – if you have more keywords, then you will have to create more Ad Groups.

Overall, even though the language of the UI is Korean, which could be a roadblock for you if you don't speak it, the search marketing principles still remain the same despite these language/usability differences. Depending on your target audience and the product/services that you are offering, your strategy may differ in comparison to the strategy used in your home country.