Getting To Know International PPC Markets

We’re all pretty familiar with the well reported search landscape of the US/UK. But, in other parts of the world, the search engine landscape is very different. In this article, I’ll focus on China, Japan and Russia. The goal of this article is to present PPC opportunities in counties that are not Google-centric and provide numbers associated with larger players. At the end of the article, I’ll highlight several general international PPC considerations. For this article, where information is not cited, I’ve pulled information from the Global Search Report 2007.


In China, e-commerce and online payment platforms are well developed and have a large number of users. The numbers will soon surpass US figures and, this year alone, Chinese marketers will continue to grow spend at approximately 8+% GDP. According to Analysys International, the Chinese search engine market is expected to see a compound annual growth of 30+% from 2006 to 2010. Within 10 years, China is expected to be the most important online ad and commerce market in the world.

The numbers:

In China, Baidu is considered the leading search engine. According to China IntelliConsulting Corporation (CIC), the market penetration figures for 2008 are:

  • Baidu – 60.9%
  • Google – 27%
  • Sogou – 3.1%

Interesting facts:

  • Baidu’s early success is attributed to its MP3 search engine.
  • With Baidu, there are various well known controversies regarding corruption. One of the big ones is strong players must have strong governmental relations which may translate to foreign companies (like Google) never having equal footing in the Chinese market.
  • On Baidu, issues related to poor search quality have also been documented.


Japan has one of the highest Internet penetrations worldwide at 67.7% (the US is sitting at approximately 70%). Japan has approximately $5.7 billion in the online advertising market out of a global market estimated at $45 billion. By 2011, Internet advertising is projected to grow to 755.8 billion Yen (approximately 7.5 billion USD) including approximately 128.4 billion Yen (approximately 1.28 billion USD) for mobile ads & 226.5 billion Yen (approximately 2.26 billion USD) for PPC ads.

The numbers:

In Japan, Yahoo! is predominant. The Japanese market share breakdown is as follows:

  • Yahoo! – 76%
  • Google – 5.4%

In July 2008, ComScore showed Yahoo! Japan had ten times as many monthly page views (21.9 billion) than Google (2.2 billion) and almost twice as many monthly unique Japanese visitors (Japan – 46 million & Google – 26 million). In terms of search volume, one can only speculate as Japanese search engines don’t disclose search volume figures.

Interesting facts:

  • In Japan, more than half of the Internet users access the web via mobile devices.
  • Japan is at ranked No. 3 in terms of total web population at 94 million. This is the same as the web populations of Germany and the UK combined.


Internet penetration in Russia is about 25%. According to ComScore: “The Russian Internet market has been experiencing rapid development, with its audience growing 25 percent during the past year”. In Russia, search related ads revenue expected to rise from $200 million in 2007 to approximately $1 billion by 2010.

The numbers:

In Russia, the largest search engine is called the Yandex (contained within a web portal). According to ComScore, the two predominant players in the Russian market are:

  • Yandex – 47.4%
  • Google – 34%

Interesting facts:

  • In 2006, Google had a 5% market share and have since managed to capture one-third of the Russian paid search market.

Marketing considerations for international PPC

Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking of advertising internationally:

If you’d like to target international markets, it’s smart to use a company located in the specific geographic area. A company with “boots in the ground” will have knowledge in language, culture and marketing jargon and will be able to “localize” content and not just translate it from one language to another.

Currently, there a good deals to be had in other countries. For example, clicks costs are cheaper on the Yandex and Baidu than on Google in the US/UK. It may make sense to look abroad for other opportunities (if it makes sense for your business).

In markets like China & Russia, the government is an important consideration. They have been known to interfere in business. Having said this, China’s government seems to be encouraging and supporting Internet and technology related industries.

Good luck with your international PPC initiatives!

Mona Elesseily is director of marketing strategy at Page Zero Media, focusing on paid search campaigns and conversion improvement. She’s also the author of Page Zero’s Mastering Panama: A special report on Yahoo!’s new search marketing platform (August 2007). The Paid Search column appears Mondays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Paid Search Column | Stats: Popularity


About The Author: was recently voted the 2013 Most influential SEM. She is the Vice President of Online Marketing Strategy at Page Zero Media where she focuses on search engine marketing strategy, landing page optimization (LPO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO).

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