Mobile has been a hot topic in the Western Internet marketing circles for the last few years, and although it is still in a very immature state, there is a lot of room to play. ComScore reported that in the US 7% of digital traffic comes from mobile devices, and this percentage will only increase.
Mobile Internet in Russia
In Russia the situation is rather different. TNS Gallup Web-Index in their report showed that only 1% of Russian population uses mobile Internet. This is astonishingly low number! According to the same report:
55% of all mobile Internet users in Russia, and 42% in Moscow, surf with old-school feature phones.
Only 3% of Russians (7% of Moscow’s population) use tablets.
25% of mobile Internet users admitted that the only purpose of connecting to the Internet from their phones is reading/ sending emails.
There are also more optimistic assessments, where mobile web users’ figures reach 15-20 million.
Mobile Advertizing in Russia
These low numbers of Russian mobile Internet users probably explain the lack of platforms for Mobile advertizing. Even Yandex, known for their innovative and insightful nature as a company, does not prioritize mobile just yet. I bet, however, they are looking into that direction, as I’ve seen a number of job listings in Yandex Mobile Portal repeatedly appearing online.
One of the largest mobile operator MTS predicts strong growth in mobile ad spendings during the coming years. According to their “realistic” forecast, the value of Russian mobile advertizing market will reach 2,85 billion Russian rubles (6,62 million Euro) by 2013, which is still not much comparing to 687 billion Euro online spend in 2010.
Mobile Search Advertizing in Russia
Generally search in Russia is dominated by Yandex (65% market share). Currently there is no possibility to target mobile devices with any kind of Yandex ads.
Google provides the possibilities to target mobile devices in Russia, just like everywhere else. I am very doubtful about volumes they can deliver at this point though.
However, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Yandex recently released search engine for mobile apps. There is no advertizing program there yet, but the rumors say that it might happen already next year.
SMS/ MMS marketing in Russia
While Western world is buzzing about search and in-app ads, the most common form of Russian mobile advertizing is SMS and MMS. All major mobile operators (e.g. MTS, Beeline, TELE2) offer this possibility, with targeting options. Average cost of one SMS varies between 1,5 – 3 RUR (3-7 Euro cents).
In-app advertizing in Russia
In-app advertizing is pretty much non-existent. There are several pioneering companies working in this direction.
To conclude, at the moment mobile marketing in Russia is limited to SMS / MMS campaigns, and will probably not explode as it has in the West for another 2-3 years. Russian market, however, is very big, and mobile marketing spend increases slowly, but steadily. Ilya Segalovich, Yandex CTO, said in one of his recent interviews that Yandex “will have to join the mobile race”. And if Yandex does, mobile will be big.
I believe in early adoption. The ones who begin to focus on Russian mobile marketing today will be much ahead of the others, when the time comes.