Korea’s most popular social media platform KakaoTalk has close to triple the users of Facebook in Korea. Yet, global beauty brands continue to target Korean consumers primarily on Facebook. Seventy-two percent of Beauty brands are active on Facebook in Korea, and less than a third are active on local social media.
Looking at the success of Beauty brands present on Kakao, it’s unclear why. Beauty brands average 413,559 fans on Kakao talk, nearly quadruple the fan base of their Korean Facebook pages. Furthermore, Kakao has made it easy for brands to turn followers into buyers. In 2011, it launched a new feature called “Plus Friend” which connects users to their favorite brands. Photo sharing app KakaoStory was launched in 2012, and Kakao is now experimenting with payment services feature KakaoPay.
Kakao has all the characteristics of a social media/commerce platform about to burgeon. KakaoStory has a usage rate of 55%, higher than Twitter (13%) and Facebook (28%) in Korea, as the highest engagement rate of all platforms in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty | Korea. Global brands L’Occitane, Clinique and The Body Shop have amassed a sizeable number of followers on KakaoTalk, and Nivea, Clean & Clear and Bobbi Brown have done the same on KakaoStory. Others would be smart to follow.