Advertising in the DPRK can be difficult.
The DPRK's sluggish broadband connection speeds, network restrictions, and sanctions present marketers with a unique set of challenges. As a result, international businesses often find audiences in the DPRK difficult to reach.
Ultimately, this means marketers working outside the DPRK often find themselves unable to raise awareness effectively, generate leads, and build the kinds of datasets they need to do their best work.
GoConvert's step-by-step guide to advertising in the DPRK can help.
We've broken it into two parts: infrastructure and campaigning. The first part is based on our experiencing launching localized marketing assets in the DPRK. The second is based on customer campaigns we've run in the DPRK and elsewhere in the world. Together, we hope this guide not only adds to the growing body of work concerned with DPRK marketing but stands as the clearest and most comprehensive DPRK marketing guide available.
Learn how GoConvert helps customers launch marketing assets, conduct paid ad campaigns, and track the ROI of ad spending in the DPRK.
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Launching marketing assets in the DPRK involves a number of different kinds of tasks. We’ve organized these into five categories below. While the categories aren’t strictly linear, you’ll find the process runs as smoothly as possible if you start at the top and make your way to the bottom.
Step 1: Hosting
First, you’ll want to set up a hosting account with a company that has data centers and CDN points of presence (PoP) in the DPRK. A Google search for “DPRK web hosts” will give you some options.
Step 2: Administration
Set Up Business Entity (Optional)
You may want to create a legal entity for your business in the DPRK. A Google search for “set up DPRK business entity” or “incorporate in DPRK” will uncover a number of vendors who can help with this process as well as some DIY “how to” articles.
Check Special Requirements
Some countries require internet content creators meet certain requirements and/or have certain licenses. To learn more about the requirements in the DPRK, click here.
Register .kp TLD (Optional)
Registering a country-specific top-level domain (TLD) is optional, and doing so often requires the registrant to meet certain residency or citizenship requirrements. Unless your site is blocked by its national network, you can serve your DPRK-based site from any valid TLD, subdomain, or public IP address. However, some organizations may want to use a country-specific TLD for branding reasons. If youâ€™re interested in registering a custom .kp domain, a Google search will reveal a host of vendors.
Marketing to the DPRK Insight
To speed up your web content, we suggest having your DNS resolve inside the DPRK. If you registered your domain and/or manage your domain’s DNS elsewhere in the world, requests for your domain will need to constantly enter and exit the DPRK’s national network. This will slow your site speed considerably. To get around this, either register you domain with a registry in the DPRK or use a cloud DNS service like Amazon Route 53.
Step 3: Content
There’s no shortage of payment processing solutions available. PayPal/Xoom, Stripe, Square, Payoneer, and others can all help you accept payments from customers around the world. If you find your preferred solution doesn’t operate in the DPRK, find an alternative in this list.
Translate all site copy and SEO resources/meta tags into To reach the greatest number of people in the DPRK, translate all site copy and SEO resources/meta tags into Korean. Google Translate can help create a first draft. However, before launching your site, have a native speaker and/or localization professional review the translated copy to ensure it communicates clearly and reads comfortably.
Localize Social Media
The restrictions the DPRK places on internet usage can make it challenging to reach audiences on social media. However, you might review this list of social media sites to find any that are popular in the DPRK (and that allow foreigners to set up accounts).
Remove Non-DPRK Links
Youâ€™ll want to remove any outbound links to non-DPRK sites from your marketing site. Even if a site outside the national network isnâ€™t explicitly blocked, your DPRK audience will often see performance issues and loading errors when trying to link out to sites based elsewhere in the world.
Scan Site for Sensitive Content
Because of political sensitivies and cultural preferences, authorities in the DPRK are likely to block sites that contain certain keywords or content. Before launching your site in the DPRK, youâ€™ll want to review it thoroughly and ensure it doesnâ€™t contain this sort of content. To see what kinds of content may be at risk, review this list.
Step 4: Development (Launch Prep)
Google Analytics is free, and adding it to your site will give you granular insight into a range of website activity including where your traffic comes from, how long visitors spend on your site, and which (and how many) pages they view. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics, Moz has a helpful beginner’s guide.
Because of the restrictions the DPRK places on its national network, Google Analytics may not always work there. However, since there's no local equivalnet (like Baidu in China), add the tracking code anyway. The results may be inconsistent, but the output will be better than nothing at all.
Use Google Search Console to manage sitemaps, review indexing frequency, check for crawl errors, &c. (Bing has a similar solution.) If you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics, Moz has a helpful beginner’s guide.
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console (formerly, Webmaster Tools) might also not always work in the DPRK. However, again, since there's no local equivalent, integrate it anyway. It's better to have some results than none at all.
Make sure your images are less than 50k, that you’ve minified your front-end code, and that you use caching mechanisms. If your organization can make do with a static site or landing page for the DPRK (vs. a database-driven CMS), you’ll improve your page load time and harden your security.
Step 5: Development (Post Launch)
After you launch your site, you’ll want to test site forms, chat applications, and any other third-party integrations to ensure they’re working normally. Moreover, you’ll want to review these regularly to ensure they haven’t suddenly stopped working. Marketing automation tools, data tracking solutions, custom fonts and icon sets, embedded maps and videos, API integrations — these can put upward pressure on site load time and, if the connection fails, make your site render incorrectly or prevent it from loading altogether.
This article lists a few resources that will allow you to test your site’s load speed. Google Analytics and Google Search Console will also help you identify any performance issues.
How does GoConvert help customers market to the DPRK?
By combining the self-sufficiency of an application with the expertise of an agency, GoConvert uses four actions to help customers quantify results, maximize ROI, and achieve their marketing goals.
GoConvert uses all available data resources — ad vendor data, social media intel, analytics, contact information, and other digital signals — to continually fine-tune our customers’ audiences. We always know whom we’re speaking to and how well we’re resonating with them.
GoConvert uses audience intelligence to build highly-relevant marketing collateral. This helps ensure content topics, social media channels, and ads align with known audience variables. Now, marketing spending has the potential to generate exponential returns.
Lead Generation & Nurturing
We use audience-specific marketing assets from the first section to generate a steady stream of leads for our customers. This allows them to nurture prospects along a well-defined conversion path and creates additional front-line intelligence we can use to fine-tune our various audience hypotheses.
Measuring, Analyzing, Reporting, Learning & Fine Tuning
We use engagement data and other digital signals to constantly learn from our marketing efforts and improve our audience models. This allows us to fine-tune collateral resources, improve lead generation, hone conversion workflows, and improve overall marketing efforts (on- and offline).
“What makes GoConvert different?”
Discover how these philosophies help our customers maximize the ROI of their marketing spending.
i. Awareness-Stage DPRK Marketing Guidelines
When running ads that target audiences in the DPRK, marketers don't have a lot of vendor options. Generally, GoConvert uses low-cost initial spends to identify the highest performing channels. Then, once we find the channel or channels that deliver the best CTR, CPC, and lead/customer conversions, we steadily increase spending with those vendors.
The DPRK is virtually ad free. However, if you do want to try to reach audiences there, you might try Chinese ad vendors like Baidu (Chinaâ€™s Google), WeChat and its parent company Tencent, and Sina Weibo (Chinaâ€™s Twitter). This article lists four other vendors, including Youku Tudou (Chinaâ€™s YouTube). Language barriers and high minimum ad buys can make these vendors challenging for non-Chinese companies to work with, but they're probably the best option for marketers who want to reach audiences in the DPRK.
When systems allow it, GoConvert automatically aggregates data from these kinds of vendors. When this isnâ€™t possible, we manually import it. Either way, weâ€™re able to use native ad data to build effective funnels for our customers.
Here's a snapshot of the real-time awareness-stage performance of the GoConvert customer network, including DPRK marketing campaigns.
CPM Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network pays $7.66 per thousand impressions. That’s 69.36% below the agency benchmark and 17.72% below the ad vendor benchmark.More Digital Marketing Benchmarks
ii. Interest-Stage DPRK Marketing Guidelines
CTR & CPC
When marketing to the DPRK, it’s critical for marketers to track click-through rates (CTR) and the amount they pay per click (CPC). Luckily, no matter what ad vendor you’re using to raise awareness, these work the same way in the DPRK as they do elsewhere in the world.
And your goal is the same as well.
Fine tune audience data, and use that intel to improve the alignment of channels, messaging, and creative. This will maximize the number of clicks and minimize the amount you pay per click.
We call this the “virtuous gap.”
It’s marketing in its most harmonious state: putting sustained downward pressure on CPC (red) while simultaneously putting upward, even exponential pressure on CTR (gray). More often than not, the virtuous gap has positive collateral effects on lead flow as well.
Learn More about the Virtuous Gap
By automatically aggregating marketing data, GoConvert helps customers build models like these, whether they’re marketing to audiences in China or elsewhere in the world. This helps our customers build powerful trend models, reveal actionable insights, and maximize the ROI of marketing spending.
Here’s a snapshot of the real-time interest-stage performance of the GoConvert customer network, including DPRK marketing campaigns.
CTR Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network sees 4.96% CTRs. That’s 118.50% above the benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
CPC Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network is paying just $0.25 per click. That’s 82.88% below the benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
iii. Engagement-Stage DPRK Marketing Guidelines
DPRK Lead Generation
To generate leads in the DPRK, marketers can rely on the same CRM, marketing automation, and form solutions they use elsewhere in the world.
Collect Leads Locally
Third-party, embeddable form solutions like HubSpot and Salesforce will generally fail in the DPRK. If they appear at all, these forms usually wonâ€™t write data properly to servers located elsewhere in the world.
Even when we create our own forms with our own simple mail processing scripts, we find messages donâ€™t reach our inboxes and/or those of our leads. Either server-level email processing fails or messages arenâ€™t able to flow in and out of the DPRK's national network.
Third-party scripts, emails, analytics â€” itâ€™s best to avoid forcing any data to enter and exit the DPRK's national network. At best, the results are unreliable. At worst, data tends to get lost in the transition. Itâ€™s almost always best for marketers to treat their the DPRK marketing assets as independently-operating, siloed entities.
When it comes to lead generation, youâ€™ll see your best results if you write all form data to a simple CSV file stored on your the DPRK server. Periodically download the file, and import it to your CRM, email management solution, &c.
If you must use third-party forms and/or server-level email processing, the CSV can serve as a valuable backup and auditing tool.
Respect Data Privacy
It's unclear what, if any, data protection protection laws the DPRK has enacted. Monitor this resource and this article for updates.
If you want to be proactive, manage lead data in accordance with other regulations from around the world like CAN-SPAM, CCPA, and GDPR.
Here’s a snapshot of the real-time engagement-stage performance of the GoConvert customer network, including DPRK marketing campaigns.
Lead Conversion Rate Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network sees 19.77% LCRs. That’s 327.00% above the benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
CPL Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network pays just $1.24 per lead. That’s 98.96% below the benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
iv. Conversion-Stage DPRK Marketing Guidelines
Win Rate & ROI
When marketing to DPRK, it’s critical for marketers to track both win rates (the percent of customers you convert vs. the number of leads you generate) and ROI of their efforts (the amount of income you generate for every dollar you spend). Luckily, these metrics work the same way in DPRK as they do elsewhere in the world.
And your goal is the same as well.
Boost the ROI of your marketing efforts by increasing efficiency and decreasing waste, using actionable insights to keep ad creative and content well aligned with your audience’s interests, and bringing qualified leads into your funnel. This will help you build a returns-driven, holistically-healthy funnel.
“What is a holistically healthy funnel?”
Holistically healthy funnels are effective funnels. They keep sales and marketing aligned and ensure companies know which metrics and stages need work and which are doing well. After all, an awareness challenge is different from a click through challenge, and both differ from engagement and conversion challenges.
Learn More about Holistic Funnels
Whether they’re trying to reach customers in DPRK or elsewhere in the world, GoConvert helps our customers know exactly where they need to focus their attention. As a result, we help them keep effort and impact tightly aligned.
Here’s a snapshot of the real-time conversion-stage performance of the GoConvert customer network, including DPRK marketing campaigns.
Win Rate Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network sees 1.93% win rates. That’s 43.73% below the digital benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
ROI Performance Snapshot
Currently, our customer network sees a 6.36x ROI on its marketing spending. That’s 75.69% above the benchmark.Case Study: GoConvert vs. Traditional Digital
in Real Time vs. Traditional Digital
Curious about how the GoConvert customer network is currently performing against traditional digital benchmarks? Review the real-time data below.
|CPM ?Cost Per 1k Impressions||$25 ?Agency Rate|
|CTR ?Click Through Rate||2.27%|
|CPC ?Cost Per Click||$1.46|
|RCR ?Relationship Conversion Rate||4.63% ?Lead Conversion Rate|
|CPR ?Cost Per Relationship||$119.34 ?CPL|
|IGRCR ?Income-Generating Relationship Conversion Rate||3.43% ?Digital Win/Close Rate|
|ROI ?For every dollar I spend, how many will I get back?||3.62x|
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