Influencer marketing trend in South Korea #1 — Market

Sep 22, 2018 · 3 min read

Global influencer marketing industry is expected to reach a 5–10 billion dollar market by 2020. KOBACO, a Korean government agency related with broadcasting and advertising, counted Korean influencer marketing spend as mobile advertising in their annual report, not revealing as an independent market number. But, it is roughly estimated to be tens or hundreds of millions of dollars considering Korea’s market share in the global digital market or revenue of domestic major Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs).

Influencer marketing is also increasingly becoming ubiquitous in Korea. Not only big brands but also small business like online retail shops or restaurants are seeking opportunities in the rising channels. Famous Korean Youtuber Dottie or Great Library who has over 1 million subscribers is reported to make over one million dollars a year.

Youtube is the no.1 video platform in Korea with the user base of 25 million. 10’s are reported to watch Youtube almost 2 hours a day. According to Google Korea, youtubers with over 100K subscribers reached 1,275, and youtubers with 1M subscribers reached about 100 channels in 2017.

Analysing top 200 youtube channels in Korea based on Social Blade statistics, entertainment and music have the largest categories among channels, running by usually big music labels or broadcasting companies. Next is the people category, which deals with many themes such as kids, mukbang and pets based on Youtuber’s personal interest or charm.

(*Analyzed categories based on Social Blade 9.12 data. Social blade defines the channel category derived from the users 10 most recent public video)

Instagram reached 10 million users last year in Korea and now is the second most used social network service next to Facebook. It’s especially popular among 20–30 females and many Youtubers are also starting to make their instagram accounts.

Instagram influencers with more than 1K followers is estimated to be 10,000–20,000 and around 200–300 people in case of macro influencers with more than 100K followers. It’s based on the data from domestic Instagram influencer marketing platforms, which rarely have exclusive relationships with Instagram influencers.

Top influencers with a few million followers reportedly earn 20K-30K dollars per posing in Korea, while world-famous instagram star Kylie Jenner makes 1 million dollars per paid posting. Of course, influencers with around 1K followers start with a few 10 dollars.

Facebook is the most used social network service in Korea having more than 20 million users. But, unlike with Youtube or Instagram, influencer marketing on facebook is usually done through branded contents rather than individual influencers. Facebook also recently launched Watch, which shares revenue with creators and publishers to take on Youtube.

(* Restructured based on Nasmedia Netizen Profile Research, March 2018)

Overall, influencers who are active on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook in Korea are estimated to reach 100K-300K people. This is a very small number comparing with 52 million total population or considering that English-speaking influencers reach millions of people.

But, Korean influencer marketing market is growing around MCNs as a majority of youtubers belong to MCNs and they support contents creation and monetization for Influencers. Instagram is a rising channel and there are newcomers who don’t belong to exclusive agencies but also instagramers coming from Youtube. And, recently influencer marketing platforms are emerging matching influencers with advertisers and we have to watch how and how much influencer marketing increase its market share in the marketing space.

In the next blog, I’ll talk more about major players in the Korean influencer marketing industry — MCNs, branded contents and influencer marketing platforms. Stay tuned with the upcoming blog!

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