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UA Spotlight in Asia: eCommerce Success in Korea

Catchy earworms, hyper-localized content, and instant delivery. These are the trademarks signs of an eCommerce business in Asia!

The rapidly expanding Asian market, which accounts for 70% of all eCommerces sales worldwide, offers immense opportunities for ecommerce businesses seeking growth and success. In Korea, 75% of all eCommerce sales are made on mobile, with live commerce paving the way for eCommerce leaders such as Coupang coming up with dedicated features such as CoupangLIVE for customers.

"Korea is a top-10 economy with a $530 billion commerce market with incredibly tech-savvy customers, it’s also the largest e-commerce opportunity not won by Alibaba or Amazon."
Bom Kim, CEO of Coupang

Just to understand exactly how immense an opportunity this is, for every 1 person accounted for in APAC, a staggering US$8,000 is spent per year, and that number is expected to balloon to US$11,000 by 2026. Accelerated by the Covid-19 outbreak where consumers shifted their buying patterns online, we see a similar pattern occurring amongst eCommerce merchants, where more than ever, a surge of eCommerce players are entering the market. 

To thrive in this competitive landscape, success is an easy word to say but a hard job to accomplish. So strap in, and check out our top 3 user acquisition tips for eCommerce in Asia:

  • Develop a Deep Understanding of Local Markets

At 40+ countries, Asia is a diverse region; with each country boasting its own unique culture, consumer behavior, and market dynamics. eCommerce businesses must hence develop a deep understanding of each local market. This involves researching consumer preferences, purchasing habits, and popular trends in each target market.

Enter, hyperlocalization. Using semantic keyword discovery, eCommerce giants have been able to successfully trendjack and bid towards high interest keywords using cultural and climate appropriate content to capture the Korean’s attention in real time. From brands such as Sephora and Samsonite jumping to collaborate on BTS’ hit single, “Butter”; to the ubiquity of Squid Game merchandises and memes.

With deep understanding and monitoring of each market, strategies and offerings can then be tailored to resonate with the locals.

  • Embrace Personalization and Customized User Experiences

Across 4.56 billion people, every individual has the potential to be a valuable user. Recognizing this, personalization is a natural next step to cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of the audience. 

Taking the first step starts with discovering what users want solved for them. “Crash Landing On You” was a hit television series by CJ ENM, a leading production company in Korea. Post-television success, brands jumped on the bandwagon of Korean viewers obsessing over the lead actress Son Ye Jin’s fashion. 

One brand in particular is Gmarket, a leading eCommerce platform in South Korea. Riding on shoppers' desire to dress like Son Ye-jin, the brand launched a custom campaign page featuring clothes, accessories, and cosmetics inspired by the show. This campaign combined social media data with merchandizing experiences, allowing users to relive the acclaimed k-drama and dress like Son Ye-jin. 

To quantify the power of personalization, Appier helped a leading eCommerce client hyper-personalize 1500+ creatives for a Singles Day campaign using dynamic creative optimization (DCO) in 2022. DCO when created intelligently, coupled with Appier’s AI-powered audience identification prowess, yielded 11.4x ROAS for that campaign.

And if that isn’t yet enough to get you seated up like that double shot espresso you had this morning, we observed a range of 83% difference between the CVR for dynamic and static creatives as well. This means that buyers’ Covid shopping habits have stuck around, and they are more inclined to companies showing them the right product at the right place at the right time, rather than exhibiting platform loyalty. 

Another example is Appier's campaign for a local eCommerce conglomerate. Working alongside our engineering team, we built and continuously optimized an algorithm which focused on user model features and recommendation optimization. What that means is for every user which sees our ad, we match them with dozens of product recommendations with the greatest propensity of conversion, and with scale we are able to create a quasi-complete model of every ad interaction that happened with a statistical calculation of its likeliness to convert, bringing down the CPA and bringing up the AOV per user. 

  • Leverage Advanced Technologies for User Acquisition

User acquisition as a critical aspect of ecommerce success cannot be spoken about in a separate breath from advanced targeting technologies. McKinsey once shared a “360-degree view of the customer, and it takes no less to capture and retain one in 2023. Finding a partner with deep partnership roots across the region is no mean feat, as they unlock opportunities and avenues to expand into steadily. 

Appier’s deep learning AI model taps into the region’s bespoke user behavior learnt across our concrete foundation. We have made it an art to identify and refine the factors which define a high value user, and to acquire them at the most efficient cost. 

Beyond our vast experience in finding users, Appier hosts a suite of creative solutions as well. From attention grabbing 3D creatives to Generative AI solutions, Appier’s products are tailor-made to scale and partner alongside your eCommerce user acquisition needs.


By incorporating advanced technologies, developing a flavor for local nuances, and embracing hyper-personalization, you can optimize your user acquisition strategies, driving growth and success in the Asian market.

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