SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Rain or shine – what do Russians search online?

Yandex has recently shared its research where it analyzed what places the Russians users are searching for, depending on a season. A pretty good read, I should say.

Some findings are quite predictable: skating-rinks get more popular in winter and bicycle shops in summer and spring. Yet, in a country as big as Russia, with some seasonal trends you might need to get more local knowledge to make sense of it. Let’s check it out!

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Top 15 sites favoured by Russian audience

In response to Facebook’s recent bold statement about (yet again) conquering Russia, one of the largest Russian newspapers Vedomosti created a top list of websites that are most visited by Russian people. Vedomosti also compared average time users spend on the sites.

Not surprisingly, Yandex came out as the leader of the top list with their 31 properties, followed by VK, Mail.ru with their 28 properties, Odnoklassniki, Google.ru and YouTube.

Even though Facebook made it to the list of top 15 sites in Russia, their metrics – daily users and average time spent on site – are far behind the local competitors vKontakte and Odnoklassniki. vKontakte has 24,2 million daily users that spend on average 39 minutes browsing the social network. 16,3 million daily users of Odnoklassniki spend 32 minutes on the site. Facebook only has 3,7 million users in Russia that only devote 5 minutes of their time to the network.

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Yandex.Metrica becomes the leading web analytics platform in Russia

Just a few months ago A Russian web analytics consulting company TopAnalytics studied popularity of web analytics platforms in Russia. Surprisingly, Yandex.Metrica came out second losing with 7% to LiveInternet. Shortly after that research was done, Yandex started encrypting 100% of their search queries, keeping the search query data available in Yandex.Metrica and Yandex.Webmaster. The change seemed to have a positive effect on Yandex.Metrica adoption. The newest research on usage of web analytics platforms in Russia created by Ruward:Track shows that Yandex.Metrica has become the market leader.

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Advertising in Russian social media is on the rise

Staying at my Russian friend’s place, I noticed that the first thing she did in the morning was logging in to vKontakte. Well, I guess I can’t compete with her 300+ friend list, and even less – with her mother when she checks up on her in Odnoklassniki. This behavior becomes quite common as she’s just one of those 45 million VK users and 30 million Odnoklassniki users who are getting social online every day.

By contrast, Facebook in Russia is not doing that well in the race (7.5 million users), so no wonder companies try to catch up and invest more into advertising on national platforms instead: according to Socintel360, in 2013 marketing campaigns in Odnoklassniki and vKontakte had $132.4 million and $83.7 million budgets respectively. And, in the coming years, brands are likely to spend on them even more.

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vKontakte mobile app install ads out of beta

vkontakte-mobile-app-install-adVkontakte (vk.com) announced their mobile app install ad format back in August, and the initial launch was planned for September 15. However, it appeared that the format was launched as a beta and for selected advertisers only. This week the new mobile app install ads have been finally released to all vk.com advertisers.

As we all know, vKontakte is Russia’s largest social network, which happens to have 20 million users accessing the social network through their mobile site m.vk.com and their mobile app. With this kind of mobile inventory the network can repeat Facebook’s phenomenon in the West and quickly become one of the leading mobile ad platforms in Russia and CIS.

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