Insight into Marketing in Turkey

Posted on June 02th,2015 by IDG Direct

Insight into Marketing in Turkey

Jim O’Neill’s high profile predictions about Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (the “MINTs”) as future economic giants have caused quite a stir in the media.  Kathryn Cave, Editor at IDG Connect, catches up with Aysenur Guven, Founder and CEO, Daphne Digital, to learn more about marketing in Turkey.

What are the unique opportunities in targeting customers in Turkey?

1)   Young population:  According to 2012 figures, Turkey has a total population of 76 million, with half of that under 30 years of age. This is a unique opportunity both for investors and businesses.

2)   Mobile & internet penetration: Although the figures change according to different sources, according to Turk Telekom Group, there were 68.9 million mobile subscribers at the end of Q3 2013. The number of users with 3G service obtaining mobile internet services is about 25.5 million. The internet penetration in Turkey is about 46% with 36M internet users. (

3)   Social media: With 30 million Facebook users, Turkey ranks as the 7th country in the world.

In my experience, targeting customers in Turkey can easily be done via social media and mobile. The conversion rate on tablets is two or three times higher than website conversions, and the early technology adopters are actually spreading the word.

What are the unique challenges of targeting customers in Turkey?

Evaluating Turkish customers with the above statistics only, and not diving deeper into what is really going on, is often a mistake. The challenge is that although the population is online and they are heavily using social and mobile, only 0.7% of all retail revenues are generated online.  A big portion of the young population online is actually kids and teenagers. This is obviously an opportunity for the future but a great challenge for the current state.

There are 10M ecommerce buyers in Turkey but that number also includes one-time buyers, which might make the number look more promising than it really is. If a company has aggressive growth and revenue targets, this market limitation should be considered as well.

Secondly, the Turkish consumer is very price and discount sensitive. The ecommerce market has been and still is dominated by Flash Sale websites. Trendyol and Markafoni are the two big players in the market and I believe their presence and efforts to bring the full priced models will pay off. At the moment however, the challenge is the limited number of online buyers and the low frequency and low online spend per buyer.

Last but not the least, as a commodity producing country, the margins in retail are lower in Turkey than many other countries. This means companies will require more careful spending on the marketing side of the business.

How do global campaigns differ from local campaigns?

The Turkish market and consumers have their own dynamics. For instance, unlike many other countries, credit card installments are a big deal in Turkey. High price items especially are purchased with installments and almost all ecommerce companies in Turkey have deals with the banks offering interest free installments.

Also, global companies might assume that a channel that is highly efficient in other countries might be as efficient in Turkey, but this is not necessarily correct. For instance, affiliate marketing might be highly efficient for US and Europe but the networks in Turkey are far less mature. This means one-on-one comparison will not normally be correct.

How does the use of technology affect your marketing efforts?

The biggest component of the buying behavior is the motivation of the user and that is a factor that we as marketers have less control over. I have seen videos of consumers getting multiple errors during the check-out process and still not bouncing as expected. There are also always other factors affecting behavior like incentive, the value proposition of the website and so on.

Marketing would be nothing but pure assumption – a very subjective one – if technology was not in the picture. With the right measurement, the right attribution models are available. This helps determine optimization and budgeting in line with business targets. I can not think of doing performance based marketing without the help of technology.

Which marketing tools have you found to be most effective in Turkey?

Although the marketing tools, their mix and efficiencies do, and should, change for each client depending on their unique needs and targets, I am confident to say search marketing (paid + organic) is pretty efficient. Google dominates search marketing in Turkey.

Google Analytics and Yandex Metrica with its Webvisor (records the user actions on the site and allows you to watch videos) is very efficient for tracking and for basic landing page optimization. Of course there are much more advanced and paid tracking tools like Adobe’s Omniture or IBM’s Coremetrics to name a few but most of the time, the companies do not pay enough attention to continuous implementation and they do not have the necessary team to evaluate the data gathered from those tools.

Facebook and remarketing tools should also be mentioned as efficient - especially the Ocpm model and click to download ads for apps on Facebook.

All in all, the efficiency for any tool in any country is dependent on the team and management rather than the tools.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I believe Turkey is still a very interesting market and one that is full of opportunity for the investors but before entering an emerging market like Turkey, it is important to talk to local people to get a better understanding of the market before finalizing business plans and targets. With changing technology and user behavior, it is now more crucial than ever to start measuring all behavior to its full extent.

Article originally published on

Image credit: Harold Litwiler via Flickr 


By IDG Direct, IDG Direct