South Korea is one of the largest advertising market in the world with over US$10 billion of expenditure on advertising. According to few industry resources, the ad market in Korea is projected to grow in more than 5% by 2020.
Online advertising offers significant market growth potential. In 2017, Korea’s digital advertising reached US$4.1 billion, growing by 19% compared to the previous year. According to Korea Online Ad Association, in 2019, its market share increased by 21% compared to 2018. In addition, the share of online advertising reached to 48%. Thanks to the Korean gaming industry and the strong e-commerce business in Korea, in 2020, it may reach to 52% of the total advertising cost. Mobile advertisements made up the biggest proportion of digital marketing, with a 52% share.
Display ads account for 35%, search ads for 50%, and visual ads for 15% of total on-line advertising. Currently 15 million households, or 98% of Korea's population connected and use the Internet.
In Korea, full service agencies, which handle all the advertising aspects of a business including strategic planning, production, graphic design, copywriting, media purchasing and web marketing, are managing a large budget of advertisements for major conglomerates.
Out of 77 major advertising companies, top 10 agencies in Korea account 87.5% of the total billings. Cheil Worldwide (US$4.76 billion) marked the highest billings in 2017, followed by Innocean Worldwide (US$3.50 billion), HS Ad (US$1.28 billion).
The spending in digital advertising (Desktop & PC) rose from 3.5 trillion won (US$3.28 billion) in 2015 to 3.7 trillion won (US$3.48 billion) in 2016. But, advertising for desktop internet reduced from 2.15 trillion won (US$2.01 billion) to 1.93 trillion won (US$1.81 billion), while Mobile advertising rose 32% from 1.35 trillion won (US$1.26 billion) to 1.78 trillion won (US$1.67 billion) for the same period.