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Since early 2006 internet advertising in Vietnam experienced super-charged growth and the trend line shows no decline in the near future. Recent report from Cimigo called “Vietnam Online Advertising Revenue Report 2009”, one of Vietnam’s leading market research firms, surveyed internet advertising players and reported a market growth of 71% between 2008 and 2009; and projected more than 80% growth between 2009 and 2010. The detail of the report shows excellent signs of short-term growth pushed by display advertising, but this growth may not lead by display ads forever.

Cimigo reported in first half of 2009, almost 90% of internet marketing budget is spent on display banner ads including rich media, and the rest 10% is split amongst search, mobile, email and others. With the WOW factor easily seen and sold by agency via banner ads showing complex animation, flying texts and colorful rendering of advertiser’s marketing message, it is easier for advertisers to adopt display banner ads. Banner ads are easy to visualize, easy to understand and easy to approve or reject. However, the most overlooked areas of internet advertising in Vietnam is search engine marketing, also known as SEM.

Search engine marketing includes two tactics that capitalize on user search requests to deliver deeply targeted ads to the right people at just the right time. Without the dazzle of beautiful images and colorful words, search engine marketing is heavily neglected by advertisers in Vietnam. Compared to markets elsewhere in the world, budget split for internet marketing in Vietnam show an inverse focus between display and search. 

In other markets, the impact of search on ROI is higher for some key metrics including but not limited to brand visibility, brand credibility and website traffic, in some cases with e-commerce, search engine marketing showed direct correlation to sales. Our blog will seek to share basic insights to how advertisers can use search engine marketing as a tool to build brand, increase sales and possibly help manage risks against negative events.

By Tony Truong

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