Contextual advertising in Russia – International Search Summit

by oskarokupa on December 19, 2008

One of the most important things about last November International Search Summit , was to be able to learn about the special idiosyncrasy of different cultures when it comes down to surfing the Internet. The success on obtaining European rankings might depend on understanding culturally related differences of the country/market targeted.

This proves to be essential when we are planning to enter the Russian market.

Eugene Lomize from Yandex talked on ISS about the Russian Internet audience and its special characteristics:

  • Don’t speak, don’t read English
  • They don’t trust online communication, prefer direct communication (phone, etc)

He discussed some data about the Russian Internet audience using as source Gallop media:

  • Russian Penetration rate. Close to the 45%
  • Broadband penetration is improving steadily
  • Russian Internet Demographics.  75% of Internet audience is Russia lives in Moscow.

As you should know already, Google is far from being the main search agent in Russia, with Yandex enjoing a comfortable lead. Leading Russian Search engines in 2008 are:

  • Yandex. Share has decreased slightly. Audience growing exponentially
  • yandex search technology). Steady share. Mail hosting is their main service.
  • Rambler. Decreasing as a result of their deal with Google

Russian search advertising market. The Russian Internet advertising market has increased exponentially since 2001when contextual and display advertising started at a similar point but both have evolved very differently:

  • Russian Contextual advertising much higher in terms of spend than display ads
  • The current economic crisis will see contextual advertising to  increase slowly and display to decrease

Russian Paid search platforms:

  • Yandex 60%
  • Google 32%
  • Begun 9%

There are specific peculiarities with Yandex paid platform. Let´s name some:

  • Yandex uses a bid system based in units (unit=30 rub)
  • Begun bid system is also based in rubles
  • Minimum order yandex 300 rub. Above 21000 rub you get a personal manager(also English speaker) that will help you with keywords, bidding, etc, but not landing pages. Begun Minimum order is 140 rub
  • Editorial moderation. (alcohol, tobacco, medicine). Yandex is very strict in its policy about this kind of products; Begun however is much more tolerant.

To sum up, Yandex seems to have been able to lure both Russian marketers and Internet users. My explanation would be their ability to understand Russian language much better than Google, or have shaped their algorithm around the nuances of the slavic languages. Although Google keeps growing in Russia, if any company wants to do online business in Russia, or simply raise brand awareness among the countries or Russian confederation, Yandex Direct, Yandex paid service is the tool to use first in order to maximise reach.

If you have any question contact me on twitter on

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