Social media in South Korea, as in many other countries, is incredibly prevalent and has a high level of saturation. However, the social media platforms that are popular in South Korea are not the same as in many other countries. The uniqueness of the South Korean online ecosystem requires a specialised understanding–something that, when understood and utilised, has the potential to totally revamp the potential rewards for those seeking to enter the Korean market.
The South Korean social media market is dominated by hyper-localised platforms such as Naver and Kakao. Understanding these platforms and the people who are using them is key to accessing Korean consumers.
When searching for information, Naver has a 91.5% saturation among consumers, followed by YouTube with an 85.4% saturation and KakaoTalk with an 80.8% saturation. Google and Instagram take the fourth and fifth places, with 66.2% and 58.6% saturations respectively. This contrasts with the typical saturation of Google in other markets–internationally, Google has 91.9% of the market share. Naver’s dominance in South Korea is a unique facet of the market.
Short form content has a high level of interest in Korea, with 63.6% of survey respondents in 2023 having watched short form content recently. The rate was much higher among younger consumers than older and the percentage saturation of viewers being at 76.5% among teens and 61.3% among social media users in their 40s.
Korean consumers tend to use platforms like YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok very frequently to consume short-form content. YouTube Shorts in particular has seen an uptick in popularity over the past year, with a 12.3% increase in usage. Adoption rates currently sit at 87.1% for YouTube Shorts, while Instagram Reels are the second most popular short form content platform at 57.9%.
Older Korean consumers in their forties and older have a high adoption rate of Naver Band. The average Naver Band user is signed up for four to five bands, with topics like friends, family, and sports being especially popular. 51.7% of users are affiliated with social bands, while 28.2% are associated with exercise bands and 24.5% are associated with family-oriented bands.
It’s clear that the South Korean social media landscape is unique and many localized platforms are not common outside of the country. Accessing Korean consumers using these platforms requires a deep understanding of why they are using platforms and for what reasons, as well as of the mindset of the average Korean consumer. At Waterbe, our highly specialized understanding of the Korean market can help you enter the Korean marketplace and flourish.
To get more information about the South Korean market and digital marketing strategies, find us at Waterbe Corp.
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