Posted by: Shalabh | February 11, 2008

The Search Market in Asia Pacific

Comscore says, there are more than 60 billion searches conducted worldwide in any given month. (OK- they said this for Aug 2007, but the numbers can only go up right?)

An interesting and self sufficient study in itself- there are interesting takes on the growing influence of APAC users in search. I did a quick analysis on the various regions:

Region Unique Searchers (% of total) Searches (% of total) Searches
Per Searcher
Asia-Pacific 34% 33% 78.7
Europe 28% 29% 85.1
North America  27% 26% 77.4
Latin America 7% 8% 95.7
Middle East – Africa  4% 3% 69.8
Worldwide  754 million 61 billion 80.9

APAC therefore, accounts for more than 1/3 of both total number of searchers and total searches worldwide! What makes it interesting is that though the overall numbers are high, the number of searches conducted per unique searcher are much higher in Europe- and Latin Americans love to search it seems (around a 100 per month!). The overall numbers are not very surprising I guess. Inspite of the limited online penetration in Asia- the absolute numbers of people online are very high. 

Talking of absolute numbers, here’s the table for the absolute numbers of region wise search consumption:

Region Unique Searchers Searches Searches
Per Searcher
Asia-Pacific 258 million 20.3 billion 78.7
Europe 210 million 17.8 billion 85.1
North America  206 million 16 billion 77.4
Latin America 50 million 4.8 billion 95.7
Middle East – Africa  31 million 2.1 billion 69.8
Worldwide  754 million 61 billion 80.9

Now I thought this could make one do some basic extrapolations on what could be the search market size in Asia- there are various resources available – but mostly to do with US and European markets. It must be something to do with my bad keyword search skills,  but I haven’t really come across some good numbers for the APAC Search market. There is some stuff on the China market- expounding the market size that Baidu corners, or even some India centric numbers (and then some for Australia and usage in Japan and Korea) but consolidated numbers are rare to find. This leaves the smaller markets like South East Asia and parts of North Asia rather in the lurch. Not surprisingly, because online marketing is rather in infancy and the size perhaps too small to even merit an extensive research.

But basis these tables and using other surveys + making some (convenient) assumptions, one should come close to judging the market size.

There are some surprising results though if we combine another research and our own campaign management experience: emarketer claims in the US, search marketing accounted for 8.6 billion USD:


Now, if you do some calculations basis assumptions like 100% of all searches in US run paid sponsored links, the dollar numbers somehow don’t match. If you take an average of say 0.2% CTR on all searches and a CPC of $2, the total market size North + lat Am comes to just about a billion USD ( I know assumptions are not completely right in that all search cannot be monetized etc but again, help in putting a perspective- I have kept differentiated CTRs and CPCs across though). Does that mean emarketer includes contextual and SEO in Search Marketing revenues? AND if so, are contextual ads (ad sense mostly) and SEO worth apprx 7 billion USD?

Here’s the ‘table of assumptions’ and deribation of dollar numbers:

CTR Searches
(in Aug 07) Billion
CPC Per month
($ B)
Per year
($ B)
Asia-Pacific 0.30% 20.3 1.00 0.0609      0.731
Europe 0.20% 17.8 2.00 0.0712      0.854
North America  0.20% 16 2.00 0.0640      0.768
Latin America 0.30% 4.8 2.00 0.0288      0.346
Middle East – Africa  0.30% 2.1 0.30 0.0019      0.023
Worldwide    61 0.09 0 0

Which means keyword-search marketing should be about 12%-13% of overall marcom dollars spent on search. Something wrong here- on the same basis, APAC, with a 0.3% CTR and 1 USD CPC comes to around 700 mill USD. But just Australia should be around 480 mill and China should be around 500 mill USD.

I might have been conservative in some numbers- but even doubling the CPC will not help us match the surveys. Maybe the CPCs for countries like Australia/Japan/Korea are  much higher. Another thing to be noted is that both in Japan and Korea, Google is not number one, (like China)- so can the total search traffic from APAC even higher than touted by Comscore? (Comscore used top 50 search properties worldwide for their survey- not sure if Naver or Yahoo Japan figures in their top 50 list)

Well, let me figure that out and post in my next blog.



  1. […] search properties in Asia Pacific I had blogged about the search market in APAC almost 8 months back, and had an analysis on the disparity between dollar numbers and search […]

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