Knowing Vietnam – the land of the ‘Ascending Dragon’

Vietnam, officially a Socialist Republic, is a developed country stretching along the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. It borders China in the north, and Laos and Cambodia in the west. It lies near the South China Sea in the east and the Gulf of Tonkin with the island of Hainan Dao (China) in the north-east. The country shares maritime borders with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It has a relatively young population with a majority of its people below the age of 34. Vietnam has different ethnic groups: Vietnamese, which contributes 85.7% of the population, Tho, Thai, Muong, Khmer, Miao, Hoa, and other groups.1 Apart from Vietnam, the country has origins from China, France, and Tibet. The country does not follow any specific religion, but Buddhists, Roman Catholic, and Hoa Hao are some of the major religions. About 35% of Vietnam is urbanised while approximately 65% is still rural. Yet, there is an abundance of digital marketing practices and penetration in the country1 with the rural areas being more digitally occupied than the urban areas.

Digital Penetration through occupation and trade

Agriculture, forestry, and fishery were the primary and major means of trade and occupation in the past. But this primary means of agriculture is fading gradually with the emergence of online digital work/job occupancy. This phenomenon is not only present in Vietnam, it is also happening in China (28.6% approx), US (18.4% approx), South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other countries.1 Display ads and campaigns on these portals yield good reach and spread of brand awareness. Online campaigns not only result in awareness in their own country, but also extends reach to foreign B2B business parties.

Social Media Behaviour and Promotions

Online advertising in Vietnam has seen an automated growth and increase in internet and social media users which has helped to better understand consumers’ needs. Currently, Vietnam has a 96.9 million population, where 65 million are active social media users.2 Among the five types of digital advertising namely banner, video, search, social media, online classifieds and others, social media has a majority of the market share (67%) due to the higher usage of social media for messaging, calls, online payments, and other activities.2  Indeed, Facebook, YouTube, Facebook messenger, and Zalo accounted for majority of the user penetration, followed by Instagram and Skype. Facebook is used by 99% of the active users in the country and takes first place in terms of social media popularity.2 Video advertising ranks second in terms of market share for online advertising due to the 89% consumption rate prevailing in the country.2 Meanwhile, Zalo and Facebook Messenger take third place with 74% and Instagram is used by 46% of the nation, occupying the fourth position.2 Facebook is mainly used for branding, to run campaigns and increase likes or followers. In addition, Facebook and YouTube are used as effective video marketing platforms in the country.

Equipping digital marketing practices on e-commerce portals

By 2022, it is estimated that nearly 62% of the total population will use the internet and 59% of the country will use smartphones and is occupied online.3 Currently, the nation uses online mediums for shopping day-to-day products as well as goods and services for self-satisfaction and containment. Nearly 46% of the fashion wares, 36% of IT or mobile phones (electronic goods), 35% of kitchen and home appliances are bought on e-commerce portals.4 E-commerce is one of the aspects that holds the highest penetration especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh regions in the country. The age group of 18 to 25 year-olds attribute 34% of shopping on e-commerce portals while 26 to 30 year-olds attribute 30%. Amongst them, 36% are working professionals who compare choices online. In addition, 71% and 36% of the total e-commerce users hunt on search engines and on brand websites, respectively.4 Therefore, it is recommended to target these age groups and sectors on e-commerce platforms.

Reaching potential consumers through mobile marketing

Due to the rise of internet and smartphone users, mobile marketing has become one of the prominent digital marketing platforms that open doors to huge penetration in the nation. Nearly 78% of users utilise mobile phones to visit social networks, 77% watch online videos, 69% explore things on search engines, and 53% listen to music. Other online activities include playing games, looking for product information, checking emails, searching for directions on maps, and more.4 Amongst these, the three daily activities engaged by most Vietnemese are social networking, web searches, and messaging or communications. There is 95% daily mobile penetration in the country, where 57% of the 18 to 29 age group go online with their smartphones.4 Vietnamese also, on average, install 33 apps, amongst which 65% have made payments for apps, 20% pay for media or entertainment content, 80% use apps to book transport, air tickets, and more.4 Hence, these are the best online platforms to showcase display, banner and pop-up ads for mobile marketing. 

Other key facts and trends of digital marketing in Vietnam include:

  • the purchase of smartphones, motorbikes, smart television and more for self-fulfillment and to satisfy the ‘confidence’ factor;
  • the prevalent usage of smartphones that combines access to the internet, videos, social media and much more;
  • mobile and social apps are key platforms for information compared to TV and newspapers;
  • tourism brings more than 900 million every year;
  • some parts of the rural country faces poverty and observes traditional marketing practices (banner, display, print); and
  • online and offline sales of skincare and beauty products have good revenue

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display ads, banner ads, Quora forums, guest blogging, and content marketing on the above platforms and websites spread brand awareness, giving tremendous reach for products or services.

Influencing digital marketing practices on banking apps

Apart from e-commerce, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and other digital practices, finance and banking apps and platforms are some of the most used channels for online purchases and transfers. 37% of the e-commerce purchases is done via credit cards, 30% by bank transfers and 11% through e-wallets.2 This provides insight to the online banking penetration in the Vietnam market. Hence, pop-up ads and app banner ads are effective means of advertising to spread brand awareness and also generate potential leads on banking apps.

Last Words

Improvements in the internet infrastructure, changes in the law and regulations regarding cybersecurity, and the improved scalability and measurability of ads will contribute to the growth of the Vietnamese online advertising market in the coming years. There is no doubt that entering the Vietnam market and initiating digital marketing practices can lead to success in business operations, because 84% are using e-commerce searches, and 75% make an online purchase on e-commerce portals. In addition, 78% of the total population use banking apps  to shop online.2 Therefore, there is a massive digital penetration to promote, advertise, and sell products or services online through social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, display ads, paid campaigns, affiliate marketing, and other digital practices. The number of brands expanding their advertising budget is increasing year by year and there is a shift from traditional methods to digital channels of advertising. US$306 million was the total digital ad spent in 2019, representing a 9.2% year-by-year increase.2


  1. Gerald C. Hickey, Neil L. Jamieson, William J. Duiker, Milton Edgeworth Osborne, William S. Turley, Joseph Buttinger (2020). Vietnam. Retrieved from
  2. Simon Kemp (18 February 2020).Digital 2020: Vietnam. Retrieved from
  3. Chandler Nguyen (6 April 2019). 8 key facts about Vietnam digital marketing landscape. Retrieved from
  4. MMA (2017/18). Mobile Ecosystem Report Vietnam. Retrieved from