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An Intro to the Webtoon Marketing Industry

Content Marketing

Smartphones have become one of the most accessible sources of entertainment for most people these days. In fact, Zippia shares that smartphones make up 70% of digital media time in the US, with 83% of that time going to entertainment. 

Since many users tend to consume content quickly, there’s been a rising trend to cater to this phenomenon called “snack culture.” The term originated in South Korea, referring to the behavior of going through short-form content rather than deeper reading material. These types of content take on the form of videos that are up to a minute long, including stills such as infographics and webtoons.

Webtoons, specifically, are seeing increased demand from all over the world, with the industry expected to reach $56 billion by 2023. Because of this, many companies are jumping into the webtoon business to use as marketing and boost sales.

Here’s a guide on webtoon marketing and what you need to know.

What is a Webtoon?

Webtoons are South Korean comic books published online and optimized for smartphone viewing, with pages that let the user scroll vertically instead of horizontally like a regular book. These comics have short chapters, making them perfect for snack culture.

Korean Webtoon
Source: The Korea Times

Medium reports that one of the first webtoon hosting sites was Chollian, a now-defunct internet service engine. They established Chollian Webtoon in 2000 with the vertical scrolling format that set the standard for webtoons today.

One of the leading entities is Webtoon, established by Naver, South Korea’s leading search engine, to boost traffic to its website. Currently, the service has over 82 million global users. The popularity of webtoons has led to several live-action adaptations on streaming platforms, such as “Sweet Home” and “All of Us Are Dead.”

Webtoon Statistics: A Closer Look into the Webtoon Industry

Webtoons have become so popular that the craze has spread across the world. Not only have the South Korean platforms expanded to have English translations of their comics, but more providers and platforms have also popped up over the years.

For instance, Graphics India Group launched Toonsutra in April 2021, becoming one of the popular comic platforms for mobile devices. Around the globe, other leaders in the industry aside from Naver include Kakao Corp., Tappytoon, Lezhin Entertainment, and Toomics Global.

As previously mentioned, the market is predicted to reach great heights in the coming years, with Allied Market Research reporting that the subscription-based model is outgrowing ad-based services. The top genres are comedy and romance, with the latter responsible for attracting new users, as 64% of significant customers who read webtoons are women.

Why Should Businesses Look Into Webtoons for Their Marketing Strategies?

If you’re looking into expanding your marketing strategies, here are some of the reasons you should consider using these short comics to drive sales:

1. It has a growing user base

Webtoons have an expanding audience base that caters to different ages. Naver alone has 82 million users, with 47% of all global internet users reading webtoons in 2021. ResearchDive reports that Asia-Pacific projects the market to grow with a CAGR of 36.7% by 2030, with services generating over 100 billion views annually.

Using a webtoon to promote your product or service allows you to tap into an extensive customer base that you can potentially turn into qualified leads.

2. It reaches international audiences

Webtoon audiences have spread from South Korea to other parts of the world. According to Mirae Assets, market distribution is throughout Thailand (59%), Indonesia (71%), Taiwan (61%), and the US (77%). Japan has also begun to ride the wave, growing by a CAGR of 16.5% since 2016.

Several South Korean-based services now offer English translations of their content, the top three being Naver Webtoon, Tapastic, and Lezhin Comics. Naver, in particular, also provides German, French, Spanish, and Thai translations.

One industry that has taken advantage of webtoons for marketing is K-pop. HYBE stands out here, as they introduced different sets of webtoons as one of their K-pop marketing strategies. These webtoons include “7Fates: Chakho” for BTS, “The Star Seekers” for TOMORROW X TOGETHER, and “Dark Moon” for ENHYPEN, where they feature original storylines starring the group members with chapters released weekly.

3. It’s easily accessible

Webtoons are optimized for mobile viewing, making them ideal for smartphones and tablets. This feature also makes viewing and sharing content more accessible than traditional reading. The vertical scrolling of webtoons makes them more comfortable to read and short chapters mean they’re quick to consume. 

Webtoon platforms also have business models that make comics easily available to their audience. They can view them for free, opt for a regular subscription, or pay a small fee to unlock chapters ahead of their release schedules. Webtoon, for example, allows users to purchase coins to read next week’s chapter immediately but has the week’s chapter and all previous releases available for free.

4. You can communicate services more effectively

Webtoons inherently use storytelling, one of the most effective forms of marketing. Stories make you relatable to your target audience, providing connections that build brand loyalty. That emotional connection can drive new account growth by 40%.

Another vital factor that makes webtoons a great marketing strategy is their visual nature. Images grab a reader’s attention and stick in your mind longer than writing. In addition, readers retain 55% more information than text when presented visually. Therefore, webtoons offer an opportunity to communicate and demonstrate your company’s services more effectively.

The Future of Short-Form Content Marketing

Marketing strategies are constantly evolving. So, it’s essential to study current digital marketing trends to understand customer behavior and where they will likely consume your content.

Though webtoons began in South Korea, their popularity has spread worldwide, with millions of users and a rapidly growing market due to their accessibility and engaging content. If you want to elevate your overall marketing game, incorporating this form into your strategies is one of the many ways to do it!

Looking for a partner to boost your digital marketing performance? Spiralytics is a digital marketing agency that can help you with top-notch services and various strategies to help your customers through every step of the buyer’s journey.

Skip the guesswork and contact us today to learn more!