The Oban Blog

The global digital marketing weekly: Thursday 14 August 2014

Welcome to our global digital marketing weekly. In this week’s edition; Russia’s second largest social network rebrands into; reports suggest Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce market is set to reach $13bn by 2015; Google commence construction on an internet cable from US to Japan and Coke take marketing cues from South Korea’s popular culture. rebrands into OK is Russia’s second largest social network, with taking the top spot. This popular social network recently launched an English language version, making it the tenth language available to users. Iyla Shirokov, CEO, states ‘about 3 million users from non – CIS states visit the website every day, which accounts for 7.6% of the social network’s total traffic’.

This week Odnoklassniki rebranded into OK which includes changes to the design of their website, reflecting a more modern image. Group purchased the domain in 2010, a year after competitor vKontakte purchased The move from a long brand name,, to the much shorter and punchier,, is a tactical move made by the brand.

Mobile internet usage in Russia is growing by over 50% each year, a rate which cannot be ignored by social networks. In particular, the mobile audience of is said to be 15 million daily users, with 60% preferring to use the mobile site rather than the app. The shorter brand name of will make it much easier for mobile users to access the mobile site and also improves the user experience for new users. It was also suggested that the shorter name and new image may attract younger users to the social network. Currently Odnoklassniki attracts an older audience with 29% of its users in the 25-34 age category. Teenagers and youth are the largest consumers of social apps and games and see the massive potential in entering this market.

Saudi Arabian e-commerce to reach $13bn by 2015

The e-commerce market in Saudi Arabia is expected to rise to $13.3 billion in 2015, according to research published by Dubai based web design and development company, PixHeart. An online market is considered to be developed if at least 8.5 per cent of a country’s total retail is carried out online. Examples of such include Germany where online retail accounts for 11.7 per cent of its total trade and Australia with 8.9 per cent. By 2015, Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce market is expected to reach 8.5 per cent. PixHeart expects that Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce share will surprisingly leave behind the US (7.1 per cent), Japan (6.8 per cent) and France (6.7 per cent).

The research also highlights that in spite of initiatives to increase the use of credit cards, 75 per cent of online consumers still prefer cash on delivery as the preferred payment method. The study also adds that Arabic is the dominant language in the e-commerce space, with the Riyadh province making up 55 per cent of online consumers and the Makkah province making up 40 per cent.

Google to lay £179m ‘Faster’ internet cable from US to Japan

Google has announced plans to connect Japan and the US with a trans-pacific internet cable known as ‘Faster’. In order to address intense traffic demands, Google is partnering with five Asian telecom companies to invest in the cable.

When complete, the cable will deliver speeds of 60 terabytes per second, from Chikura and Shima in Japan to the major cities on the US west coast including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Submarine cables are vital in providing sustainable worldwide web services. If damaged the consequences can see whole countries denied access to the internet. Chairman of the telecom consortium’s executive committee, Woohyong Choi, states “Faster is one of a few hundred submarine telecommunications cables connecting various parts of the world and these cables collectively form an important infrastructure that helps run global internet and communications”.

“The Faster cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world.” Construction has commenced and Faster is projected to be operational in 2016.

Coke takes marketing cues from South Korea’s popular culture

In order to build Coca-Cola’s online consumer engagement in China, senior marketing manager, Joanna Lu, looks for inspiration in neighbouring South Korea, a market that has huge influence over Chinese pop culture. Joanna Lu spent two years in South Korea before returning to China to work on the world famous sparkling beverages brand.

By spending time in the capital Seoul, Ms. Lu gained valuable knowledge and experience into trends thatshape SouthKorea’s youth culture ‘K-Pop’. She has now returned to China taking this knowledge with her and adding localisation techniques to global ideas. One example of her localisation influence is the ‘Share a Coke’ international campaign, which sees the Coke brand logo replaced by common local first names which failed to work in China. Instead this led to Coke using popular social media nicknames like ‘’cool dude’’ rather than real names. Lu says, “There are too many Chinese names to make the original idea work, but also, this approach importantly allowed us to have the social dialog at the heart of the campaign”.