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Introducing search marketing in Portugal

A typical middle-sized company in Portugal has a website on the Internet, 85% of big companies do. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the website has probably never been updated since 1998, it’s in flash, you can’t find any product listings and the contact page (when there is one) lists a CEO that’s already retired to an old folks home.

This is an exaggeration, but only to illustrate that in Portugal, most companies still don’t look at the online channel as seriously as they should. Little or no investment is allocated to a functional, sleek, visible website.

This has a lot to do with broadband not being widely available in Portugal until recently, as data from the regulator of the communications sector in Portugal ANACOM shows. Broadband gives users an added incentive to explore information, in a way that is simultaneously fast and effortless. The European average for broadband use is 6,5 in 100 persons. Now Portugal is on average, and growth is expected to remain strong, because only 35% of homes have internet access (from 23% in 2000). Online advertising in Portugal, according to the Initiative Group, will grow 25% in 2006 (above the European average).

The most visited sites in Portugal, according to NetPanel are:

www.google.pt + www.google.com ( about 3,3 million unique visitors/month)

login.live.com (about 1,6 million unique visitors/month)

www.sapo.pt (a generic entertainment and news portal, similar to Yahoo, that uses Google search techology – about 1,3 million unique visitors/month)

www.hi5.com (about 1,1 million unique visitors/month)

Note: visitors to login.live.com are hotmail and msn messenger users.

Most users go to Google.pt to search for information, so most Portuguese sites should optimize for Google.pt. As Sapo.pt uses Google results, that reinforces Google’s position in the Portuguese market. There is really no other credible alternative right now.

Although a lot of people use Google, you won’t find it gets mentioned a lot in daily life. The Portuguese are still using the Internet mainly to check email or visit a couple of the same sites, news, or football sites are always popular.

So there is a long way to go. But we expect a lot of the future of SEM in Portugal. We are very optimistic it will evolve rapidly, as enterprises follow consumers into the Internet, to sell, to delight and mainly to better promote themselves.

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Nuno Hipolito

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11 Responses to Introducing search marketing in Portugal

  1. Walter Thomas says:

    Hello Nuno,

    I’m working on establishing an electronic computer retail outlet company in Portugal, can you recommend a good marketing and advertising companies?

    Thank you,

    Walter Thomas

  2. Nuno Hipólito says:

    Hi Walter.

    Computer users per household in Portugal. The numbers I have are as follows: Portugal is bellow European average with 49% of homes with computers (EU average is 59,9%).

    In 2010 the expected rate is 66,4% (EU: 74,4%).

    When it comes to businesses: according to a study conducted in 2005 by INE (Statistics Institute of Portugal), 91% of businesses with 10 or more employees used computers, 82% used email and 37% had a website.

  3. Walter Thomas says:

    Hi Nuno, do you have the precentage of computer users per household and businesses in Portugal and what’s the expected growth in the next 3-5 years?


  4. Nuno Hipólito says:

    Hi Michal. According to IDC, Internet penetration in Portugal was 36% in 2006. As for email penetration, 88% of Internet users use email, 70% instant messaging and 19% VoIP,

    Sapo is the third most visited site in Portugal, behind Google.pt and Live.com (hotmail). Unfortunately I don’t have email statistics regarding Sapo Email accounts. But I can tell you that the most used email account is Hotmail (as we can tell by pageviews).

  5. Michal says:

    Thanx Nuno…I appreciate your quick response 🙂

  6. Michal says:

    Hi Nuno,
    Do you have any statistics regarding email penetration in Portugal?
    share of local portals, such as Sapo, vs globals (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail)?

  7. Nuno Hipólito says:

    Hi Marcelo. Thank you.

    The SEM agency I work for is the only one that is 100% focused on SEM. It’s called Search Marketing.

    But some webdesign companies in Portugal also offer SEM services. Some are:

    Elemento Digital


  8. Marcelo Sant'Iago says:

    Hi Nuno, can you name a few portuguese SEM agencies?
    Bem-vindo e um forte abraço do Brasil.

  9. Nuno Hipólito says:

    Thank you both for your warm welcome. I look forward to many more posts, now that the “first post jitters” have passed.

  10. David Temple says:

    I 2nd that welcome Nuno and this was a very good introduction to Portugal and the online community. Looks like things are picking up with online advertising growing 25%.

  11. Welcome Nuno! And a useful first post from our latest correspondent from Portugal. We look forward to many more insights from the Portuguese market.

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