Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Online advertising remains untapped by most in Thailand

Google's Thailand representative says there is great potential in efficient online advertisting technology

Bangkok Post
Thursday, September 14, 2006

By Woranuj Maneerungsee

Google is by far the most popular search engine among Thai internet users but it has yet to catch on as a medium for advertising.

Pornthip Kongchun, the first representative of Google in Thailand, said in a seminar on online advertising last week that there was less competition among local operators for advertising on Google's Sponsored Links facility, reflected by lower bidding prices than in other countries.

She explained that firms had to compete to get space on the Sponsored Links list, a prime spot for advertising, by bidding for keywords. Google worldwide has set an initial bidding price of one US cent, or about 40 satang, per click.

"There are two or three competitors [for each keyword] here, compared to more than 100 in America. So the successful bidder [in Thailand] will win with a price only slightly higher than the starting price," said Miss Pornthip.

However, the hotel and jewellery-export industries were exceptional cases, she said, because they mainly targeted the international market, and so were familiar with Google and were willing to compete for prime advertising space.

According to www.truehits.net, operated by Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, Google had a market share of 88.4% out of about eight million internet search users in Thailand as of August, followed by Sanook with 9.75%, Yahoo 0.85% and MSN 0.61%.

Miss Pornthip said her mission in Thailand was to promote brand awareness and educate Thais about the efficiency of online advertising and marketing.

She said the country was ready to embrace new media tools due to its rapidly growing number of Internet users, more advanced facilities such as broadband, and lower Internet access fees.

Advertisers can download a program called Google AdWords to post an ad with the search engine.

"[Google's] business here is getting better and better," she said.

Jatupol Tanaruthai, the CEO of Globlet Co Ltd, an online advertising agency, said Globlet's business outlook was also promising, with three-digit growth last year, in line with bright prospects for online advertising and marketing in Thailand.

The company, which hosted the seminar to promote online business, claims to currently provide services to 300 clients.

Mr Jatupol said the US-based website emarketer.com had reported that American marketers spent US$907 million for online advertising in 1997, then $12.5 billion by the end of 2005.

Popular interactive marketing channels for US marketers include: search engines, e-mail, online auctions, blogs, forums, and online classified advertising.

"We project this kind of trend for Thailand too," he said, adding that the industry in Thailand had lagged four or five years behind that in the US.

Kanokporn Nitheranont, managing director of OgilvyOne Worldwide, also saw huge prospects for online advertising and has been encouraging clients to try it.

Mrs Kanokporn said that clients were amazed with the great potential and cost-efficiency of online advertising technology.

Nielsen Media Research Thailand attempted to collect figures for online advertising spending a few months ago, but failed as website operators were reluctant to co-operate.

A source at the research firm said it planned to resume the survey as agencies were now eager to find out the full potential of online marketing.

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