Search-Engine-MarketingLooking at current user numbers and their growth by region, 1.97 billion of the world population was already online in late 2010, according to Internet World Stats. This means, nearly thirty percent, or every third person on this planet, is using the Internet – and we are not talking Europe or USA, or even both continents together, that make up for the largest part of it, but the Asian region with nearly 825 million users.

Putting Internet consumer numbers in relation with population numbers, the trend becomes  even more obvious, since only 26.2 percent of the Asian population is currently „connected“, so the end of the story is far from being reached. We are talking about marketplaces with an above-average economic growth, and a still high demand for consumer goods promising above-average profits, thus accelerating the overall connection to industrial nations.

These so-called emerging markets, however, have a supposedly lower purchasing power, and are only of limited sophistication in infrastructure, management, and telecommunications. They demonstrate an economically unstable and in the longer term uncertain global situation (for example, currency risk, high volatility, the risk of nationalization), and are dodgy with a high degree of criminality, corruption and bureaucracy. So-called emerging markets in Asia are currently not only the much-quoted Chinese and Indian markets, but Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand as well.

Google provides additional insightful and surprising facts, reporting that more than 86 percent of the world population lives in these "emerging" markets, and that four out of five countries worldwide fit in this scheme, which in turn makes up nearly 78 percent of the total land mass in the world.

However, for sure not only the sheer size of the large emerging market opportunities is of interest for Google, but certainly the fact that the average age of 25 years corresponds to an age group that can be viewed as one with a high web affinity, whereas the average age in the rest-of-the-world is 37 years.

But to get back to the subject on hand, namely search engine marketing - it’s probably most useful to analyze the above-mentioned risks a bit more in detail: lack of purchasing power, low progressiveness, unstable economic situation and dangerous / unstable political and social situation.

Purchasing Power

The facts Google presented speak for themselves: middle-income households will account for more than ninety percent to the global budgets in 2030 according to Google’s studies. This trend is mainly due to the development of rising quality of life in a broad mass of the population in emerging markets. Google believes further that already in 2017 one third of the worldwide market for luxury goods will be controlled by China, Russia and India.


If we are talking about around thirty million existing technologically advanced smartphones in India today, it should be easily 300 million by the end of the year. By 2030, nine out of ten phones are expected to be sold in emerging markets, thus offering great potential for search engine advertising and smart shopping via augmented reality. Not to mention the curiosity and willingness to accept new ventures of the people in these countries that drive trends rapidly. Online trends, new technologies and all types of advertising are welcome and search engine marketing and online advertising methods are familiar with benefits already discovered.

According to Google, 690 million Internet users in developed countries face over one billion users in emerging markets. Brazil and India together account for more Internet users than Germany, Egypt has more Internet users than Austria and Switzerland have residents, and a third of all posted YouTube videos and forty percent of all global searches are already from countries outside the well-known industrial nations. Thus, it is quite apparent that the union has taken place long ago and the target group is open for information and products, so rest assured that they know where to get information.


Countries such as China and Russia are already showing far more opportunities than risks and their state-owned search engines Baidu and Yandex certainly take advantage of that fact. Both communist-led regimes have recognized that an open economic policy has enormous potential and that the rule is actually simple: providing an own strong and independent expandable industry while simultaneously allowing competition. Thus, especially in the emerging markets, SEO seems to be on the rise, but despite its great potential, it is important to keep a clear perspective and to respect regional distinctions - particularly against the following background: both internationalization and the internet, as well as the global increase of search queries, give the world the image of a unified, so-called flat world. People are not only connected economically but above all via Internet. It could almost create the impression that there is a homogenization of mankind, if you ignore the fact that there are great differences linguistically and culturally, since belonging to a particular national culture influences a person‘s identity. So, there is a certain homogenization, but there is no global person.

For agencies that want to serve their customers, it means working not only internationally, but cross-culturally against this background. The mere translation of an original text is insufficient for successful SEO and PPC campaigns, if linguistic and cultural characteristics of the respective countries and regions are ignored. For instance, display banners in the Google content network can lead to rejection rather than joyful acceptance, just depending on colors and content related to cultural or religious topics. Therefore, assessment and making use of both local professionals and native speakers is essential for successful and sustainable economic expansion.

By taking all this into account, the globalization of media action in search engine marketing doesn’t stop for emerging markets, but is just beginning.

By Daniela La Marca