SES Chicago 2007: Asia, Japan, China, Australia and Eastern Pacific

I am trying to rephrase what David Dalka and Barry Schwartz have wrote down in their respective blogs regarding the talk about Asia, Japan, China, Australia and Eastern Pacific at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago 2007. Three reasons: 1) This blog is more specific to these markets particularly Hong Kong and China (only if I am able to read Chinese characters); and 2) One of the speakers is Erica Schmidt of iProspect, whom I know personally; the other speaker is Motoko Hunt, wife of Bill Hunt, whom I met personally in the office a couple of years back; 3) I’d like to say something as a response to these findings.

SPEAKERS
Japan: Motoko Hunt, Founder, Japanese Search Marketing Strategist, AJPR LLC
China: T.R. Harrington, Director of Strategic Direction & Product Development, Darwin Marketing
Australia: Erica Schmidt, Global Director of Search, iProspect (slides where unreadable)

JAPAN

  1. There are 87.5 million people connected to the Internet (68.9% of total population).
  2. Consumers have easy access to mobile use with preference on video, social networking, gaming and blogs. In fact, more people use mobile than PCs.
  3. About half of them use broadband connection.
  4. The use of word of mouth (WOM) marketing is huge.
  5. There is a great deal of trust among blog posts that companies are very careful in monitoring blog write ups about them.
  6. Yahoo! and Google provide results from a) all web pages and b) Japanese pages only
  7. There is no need for .jp domain when searching from those two sites.
  8. Search Box is getting popular. (Many ads tell consumers to go to a website and enter a keyword)
  9. 4 different sets of letters and characters. Meaning to say, contents have to be a variety of characters to capture audience who use search phrases in different forms.
  10. No spaces segmenting the words. In terms of stemming (variation of plurals, tense forms, etc) it is simpler, but by nature, words are not separated by spaces.
  11. Spelling variation for words. Words can be spelled differently.
  12. Not the best message for culture. There could be many terms that are inappropriate because they have have different meanings and connotations.
  13. Loose keyword density. There is little control to maintain certain keyword density due to heterogeneity of characters, spellings and other language issues (spaces).
  14. Ad copies too long or short. Extreme messaging? In expressing a thought about something, there seems no middle ground as ads are written
    Use less popular words. I am not sure about this. My best guess is that there may be several terms that can be used and each of them is not so popular.
  15. Japanese keyword research is critical. No doubt this is more cumbersome to do than in English. The further problem is that many translators/copy editors have no sufficient knowledge about search engine marketing.
  16. Different words, spelling, characters sets etc..
  17. Select target keywords, create keywords list, translate english keywords, then provide appropriate terms rendered across different set of characters.
  18. There are a variety of payment options credit card, mobile, wire transfer, net banking, cash on delivery, pay at convenience stores, “Osaifu-keitai”, points (not coupons) are prevalent. This means more flexibility in buying power and transactions online becomes much more easier.
  19. Budgets are growing rapidly and companies are bringing more services in-house. The opportunity is good for conferences for in-house search marketers to join and for SEO training firms.

CHINA

  • Baidu corners 68% of search traffic in China; Google only has 23%.
  • The way Baidu displays ads first, you might not see a natural listing on page 1 at all!
  • Ad platform differences between China and elsewhere is tremendous: CPC, budgets, number of clicks, content networks, campaign report, geo-target, keyword insertions
  • Paid Search higher click through rate, faster CPC price increases, relatively few optimization variables.
  • Natural Search keyword selection methodology, traffic estimation tools in China unreliable (Google says not to use Google Analytics there).
  • China still has low penetration of credit cards and most transactions happen offline and therefore aren’t trackable.
  • Baidu just released API but the platforms are much different than those in the West.
  • The China search engine market is very young and their advertisers need a much more simple interface.
  • There are much fewer options with their search engine marketing because of a lack of education on search engine marketing and internet marketing in general. Very true.
  • High click-thru rates (assumed; Baidu provides no CTR%)
  • Faster CPC price increases (largest in the world) (Jan-May showed 70% in select industries)
  • Relatively few optimization variables
  • People in China are willing to open many windows at a time when running searches. Searchers want something that’s very tangible.
  • Advertisers have very little experience with brand marketing so they aren’t ready to bring their SEM in house as opposed to Japan and Australia.
  • People are still primarily buying offline even though online commerce is growing. Limited data at this time on search. Portals in China do not give out impression data so they don’t sell CPM based on portals.

AUSTRALIA

  • 2 years behind the US
  • 2007 estimated 67% of population is online
  • Growth rate of broadband has been slower and less available
  • Google has almost 97% share in Australia
  • Marketers are purely focused on paid search in Australia
  • 72% of the clicks on Google are on the natural search results so SEO is very important in that market.
  • About 40% of spend online is dedicated to search because of such a huge amount of participation.
  • Volume, Leverage video content by using YouTube (Video and Maps very new)
  • Social networking is still new only about 10 to 12% penetration rate
  • Trust (concerns about identity theft build relationship with customer make them feel safe)
  • Respect cultural distinctions between US and Australia (holiday vs vacation, pub vs bar)
  • Don’t leave money on the table in terms of organic search engine optimization.
  • Because of broadband experience the shopping cart is very important because of lower connections speeds.
  • Since trust levels are lower many are using search as an offline mechanism for in store buying.
  • Big opportunity is around travel industry because of the amount of travel that Australians do.