Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paid Search Marketing: Dormant in Vietnam and Overseas Vietnamese Communities

Google or Yahoo paid search activities aimed at Vietnamese in or outside of Vietnam are like rains in the Sahara desert...rare and in extremely small amount.


  • Very few people in Vietnam own a credit card. Without a credit card it would be nearly impossible to buy anything over the distance. Sometimes a card is only secured when you have deposited an amount that is a few times greater than the amount of credit approved by the bank. The credit industry is still very new. The banks are very cautious and selective with their credit card customers.

  • The main focus is on the traditional marketing mix: radio,television,prints...The bulk of the financial and human resources are allocated to experiment and learn about the traditional channels. Currently the main TV networks in Vietnam are doing their marketing research through Nielsen Media Research, which employees sometimes walk from house to house to collect data for the rating surveys. The network executives are now considering the option of buying and placing tracking devices among samples of the TV audience to get more reliable data. It's going to be a while before the online channel gets some serious considerations.

  • Few qualified paid search professionals who live and operate in Vietnam.

  • Vietnamese abroad dont encounter the credit card or e-payment issues. However, companies in the overseas Vietnamese communities are mostly small family-owned businesses that rely on the Vietnamese-language media or word-of-mouth marketing to reach their customers. They cater to customers who live within the city where the shops are located. The volume is too low to implement a profitable paid search campaign. There are a few non-Vietnamese companies that use paid search to target Vietnamese customers. They are mostly in the entertainment-related industry (tv, cable...) that cover a broad range of customers. One example is DirecTV, which runs Vietnamese-language programs. Here is the DirecTV landing page for the keyword "tivi vietnamese" on Google search engine.

However, there is hope for the future. As the credit card industry matures and the concept becomes more socialized more people in Vietnam will possess a credit or bank card. Recently, there is a resurgence of Vietnamese search engines. Monava has been launched a couple months ago. It has announced the goal of taking away 2 million searchers away from Google within 2 years. There are other search engines with a focus on search for music and news. They are not as strong and fast like Monava but they appeal to the local interests and needs. The rise and fall of the search engines like VinaSeek, PanVietnam, Hoatieu, 7sac, zing, timnhanh, diadiem over the last few years have helped generating alot of attention and resources. It takes time to socialize the concept in Vietnam but I believe it will break through on the long term.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Web Analytics Tools and Major Electronic Vietnamese Newspapers

I have spent some time trying to figure out which analytics tools (Coremetrics, Omniture, Google Analytics, Statcounter,Webtrends...) are popular among local businesses and organizations in Vietnam.
Prior to my "research" I have assumed that the local Vienamese companies can't afford to use web analytics tools that require license fees. The average income per capita in Vietnam is still low, approximately $700 compared to $33,000 in Japan. In addition, e-marketing is a relatively new concept that is being adapted into the strategy of the local companies in Vietnam. Since the learning curve is high it would be wise to use a free or extremely low-cost tool to develop skills and knowledge while still keeping the costs down to the minimum.

There are currently 2 solid web analytics tools that would meet the assumptions: Google Analytics and Statcounter. Google Analytics is free and provides sufficient information necessary for the corporate web analytical needs. Statcounter is just as good but it requires a small amount of fee to increase the number of entries in the log files. The free version of Statcounter provides a limited log file, which has 500 entries in it. You are only able to see the most current entries that do not exceed the 500 limit. To increase the number of entries in the log from 500 to 100,000 to view historical data it costs about $50 a month or $499 a year. It's an affordable amount for local Vietnamese companies to experiment, learn and adapt e-marketing to local conditions.

On top of the no-cost advantage Google Anylytics has another advantage over Statcounter: brand recognition. Google brand is definitely much more popular than Statcounter. Google site is ranked as number 2 in Vietnam in terms of traffic on the Alexa report. The ranking beats all the local websites. (Click here for the report: Top 100 Traffic Rankings in Vietnam)
I have chosen to look at the online version of all the major newspapers in Vietnam. All 15 of these online newspapers are popular newspapers sponsored by the goverment or state agencies. They are among the top 100 websites in the Vietnamese virtual space. 8 of them are listed as top 20 in the Alexa traffic ranking report.

The table on top is the final result of my search. It's remarkable. 11 out of 15 online newspapers are using Google Analytics as their web analytics tool while it is still unknown which tool the remaining 4 are using. Google has completely wiped out the competitors because Google's free-tool strategy and high brand recognition meet with the financial needs and learning demand of the major online newspapers in Vietnam. It's going to be an uphill battle for Statcounter to fight for a piece of the web analytics market in Vietnam.

Some of you may be curious about how I have been able to get the info. It's right in front of you. You can find the info in the source codes of the web pages. The info is usally found at the end of the page of the source codes. Here are the steps:
1. Open a website in your browser
2. While you are still on the homepage go to View on the menu then scroll down and click on Source
3. The HTML, Javascript codes will pop up in a Notepad file.
4. On the Notepad press Ctrl+F and type "urchin" or "google-analytics" or "statcounter" or "sitecatalyst" or "coremetrics" in the pop-up window.
5. If a match is found you will see a snippet of codes that will confirm which web analytics tool is being for a webiste.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Looking for Marketing Jobs in Vietnam on the Internet

Vietnam economy has grown 8%-10% in the last five years. FDI is pouring into the country at an unprecedented rate. Foreign companies open factories and offices in the main cities to break into the potentially lucrative 80+ million market. Despite a population of over 80 million people there is a serious problem that is staring at the companies: the dearth of qualified marketing professionals. It is not only the marketing field that is fighting over a small number of qualified applicants. All other fields are suffering from the same problem. Large multi-national companies with deep pockets and long-term vision are addressing the issue by implementing strategies to train and build up their own middle management ranks among the locals.

There is a great opportunity for expats and overseas Vietnamese to offer their services and get a chance to work in an exciting emerging economy. I know that there are complaints among those who are interested about the access to information of the job market in Vietnam. You can do 2 things.

1. The first option is only for the adventurous believers. You can pack your clothes and fly directly to Vietnam. The headquarter of most of the international companies are in Saigon, Vietnam. You can go directly to some of the companies and ask for the HR manager to set up an interview. Personally, I know some people who have landed their jobs that way. However, the pay usually may not be that great since you may be considered as locals and paid accordingly.

2. The second smarter and safer alternative is to search for the jobs from where you are. It gives you ample time and space to negotiate. Being hired outside of Vietnam will provide you with an expat salary and better conditions on the contract.
I have compiled a list of Vietnamese online job search sites. I hope that these sites will help you speed up your job search or answer some of the questions that you have about the labor market in Vietnam. Online job sites are still relatively new in Vietnam. Most of the people in Vietnam are usually hired through the contacts in their social and professional networks. Dont be surprised or disappointed by the low number of job postings on the sites. Most of the sites have less than 5000 job postings. Be prepared to upload your picture or provide your age as part of the job application process. It's just part of the traditions of the Vietnamese hiring procedures.

Online Job Sites: -- Job aggregator site. Last time I reviewed the site there was more than 30,000 postings. The site aggregates all the postings from various job search sites. -- This site was founded by an American entrepreneur. The number of jobs is still hovering around 5000. This site serves international companies in Vietnam. The job applicants are usually required to provide resume in English. -- Job portal for Southeast Asia. Lots of Asian companies look for English-speaking candidates to promote their business in Vietnam. -- Monster is very strong in the USA but it is still very weak in Vietnam. The number of postings is very low (in the hundreds). -- Mainly for local Vietnamese companies and candidates. -- Mainly for local Vietnamese companies and candidates. -- Mainly for local Vietnamese companies and candidates.

You can also test your opportunities with international executive headhunter agencies. Both are located in Sagon, Vietnam.

Executive Headhunters:

Good luck!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Domination of Japanese Brands in Vietnam on Google

Well...I dont have subscription access to business databases nor can afford to purchase the detailed numbers of revenues and marketshare of the different international brands in the Vietnam marketplace. However, I am really intrigued by how these different brands are pitted against one another.

Google Trends application is the answer to my solution. It's totally free. The results are just as insightful and eye-catching as any expensive market research reports that cost several thousand dollars.

What is Google Trends ? It's an tool created by Google to help (initially) webmasters to observe keyword search volume over time. It allows you to compare up to 5 key search phrases by showing comparative trend lines over time of each search phrase. The trend line is the ratio of the number of search to the total number of search of a specific search phrase, for example, the ratio of the number of search in Vietnam versus the total number of search in the entire world. The key here is to extract the relationships between search phrases to answer a certain business question.

I have chosen 2 main categories: computer and cars. These items are definitely affordable or within the reach of the Vietnamese consumers who are computer-savvy, Internet-friendly and most likely to use search engines.

In the computer category I have entered the following search phrases: sony, toshiba,dell,acer. Sony and Toshiba are Japansese brands. Dell is from the USA. Acer is from Taiwan.

Below is the result that Google Trends has returned. Sony (the blue line in the Search Volume section) has been dominating since the inception of Google but it's a declining trend as other brands from USA and Taiwan have joined the Vietnam marketplace. The combination of 'sony' and 'toshiba' are probably 3-4 times higher than the other search phrases (dell,acer).

It's the same story for the search phrases in the car category. Toyota stands out as the most popular search phrase. The search volume for the other brands (American and German) is non-existing until the middle of the 2007.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Web 2.0 and Online Marketing Blogs for Vietnam Marketplace

It's been a hectic week on the professional and personal fronts. Finally I have found a little time to squeeze a post about some of the most popular and authoritative blogs written by 5 Vietnamese guys who dissect the Web 2.0 and online marketing trends in Vietnam. They have put together enough materials to teach a course in Web 2.0 developments in Vietnam. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and opinions. -- Very informative blog. Unfortunately, it is in Vietnamese only. Owned by Vu Hong Quang. The guy dropped out of college to start his own marketing business. His articles reflect the immerse knowledge and depth in understanding of the trends of Web 2.0 in Vietnam. -- Comprehensive blog that covers a variety of online phenomena and issues in Viet Nam. Most of the materials are in English. There are a few snippets of Vietnamese here and there. It should not stop non-Vietnamese readers from grasping the information. -- A true online marketing practitioner. Chandler Nguyen is working in Singapore as a search engine marketing pro. His writings allow us to peek into the SEM world in Southeast Asia. -- Informative blog about venture capitalist activities and trends of Web 2.0 start-ups in Viet Nam. -- Tan Nguyen works on his blog from Hanoi, Vietnam. His blog is intended for Vietnamese only. Many of his articles are translated versions of international news sources.

If you know of some other great blogs please send them my way.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best Web Analytics Blogs Recommended by Avinash Kaushik

Here is a list of 10 web analytics blogs recommended by Avinash Kaushik. He is the author of Web Analytics An Hour A Day, which is one of the very best web analytics books out there.

I am going to spend some time the next 2 weeks rummaging through each of the blogs. At the end I will add some comments about my experiences with each of them.


You dont have to wait for my comments. Explore them yourself. Enjoy :-))