I found this speech of Ilya Segalovich (CTO of Yandex) at DLD in Munich very interesting and inspirational. For those interested in Yandex as a company, take some time and watch it!
Google has been very aggressive in Russian browser space, first promoting Chrome in all possible ways, including even TV advertizing (Chrome became the most used web browser in Russia in the beginning of the year), then by sealing the deal with Firefox (which had Yandex as a default search engine in Russia until 2012). The unconfirmed rumors say that the Google-Mozilla deal cost Yandex 1.5-2% of the search market share.
Now, apparently, Yandex is about to create their own browser hoping to increase the number of searches and overall usage of their products by integrating them into the browser. Vedomosti reports that the new Yandex browser might be releases as early as October, and it planned to have versions for web as well as iOS and Android.
Will be interesting to test the browser and to see how its appearance will affect the Russian search market. As I noted in one of my earlier posts, in 2011 Google managed to steal 4% of searches from Yandex. What results will 2012 bring?
2 Russian email services Mail.ru and Yandex Mail have become 4th and 5th largest email services in Europe in terms of unique visits, reported ComScore. Focused solely on Russian-speaking audience, Mail.ru and Yandex Mail attracted 42,77 million / 25,14 million unique visitors in June 2012 alone.
Increase in email usage in Russia is not surprising, given the rapid growth of Russian Internet audience overall. Comparing to the average for Europe 14% increase, the amount of visits for Mail.ru and Yandex Mail went up by 22% and 37% correspondingly.
Interestingly, being the largest online audience in Europe, percentage-wise Russia is only 7th, when it comes to email usage. According to the ComScore report, 69,9% of Russian Internet users visited any of web-based email services in June 2012.
I have written a lot of posts about fast-growing Russian Internet and brought up a lot of fascinating numbers and stats about Yandex and other Internet businesses. Here is yet another impressive fact about Runet: in April the daily audience of Yandex (the largest Russian search engine) surpassed the daily audience of Russia’s main TV channel (Channel 1). In April 2012 Yandex was visited by 19.1 million people every day, while Channel 1 was watched by 18.2 million, reports TNS:
* The red line represents the daily audience of Yandex, dark green – of Channel 1, the rest – other nation-wide TV stations.
Of course, this dynamics cannot be ignored by advertisers. Russia’s expenditures on SEO in 2011 increased by 56% comparing to the year before, ending up at 41,8 billion Russian rubles (approx. 1.3 billion US dollars or 1.03 billion Euro). TV however is still accountable for over 50% of advertizing budgets in the country.
TV representatives do not view Yandex as a threat to their advertizing earnings. An average person watches Channel 1 for one hour re day, while average user of Yandex spend there only 10 minutes. Besides, search engines do not have control over the content, like TV does.
In a meantime, Yandex reached 20 billion Russian rubles in profit in 2011, comparing to 28 billion earned by Channel 1. With the expected growth of 40-45% for 2012, Yandex will very likely earn more money than any TV channel in the country by the end of 2012.
Nice piece on Russian top tech companies from France24 (in English): the leading search engine Yandex, one of the larges anti-virus software brands Kaspersky and Russian Silicon Valley to be – Skolkovo. Check it out: only 8 min and a lot of interesting insights!
In 2010 Russia became the fastest growing market in Europe in terms of online advertising revenues, and continued strong growth throughout 2011. According to the Russian Association of Advertising Agencies (AKAR), the market reached 1,4 billion USD, which is a 56% increase comparing to 2010.
According to AdScore (in Russian), Yandex holds the largest share of Russian contextual advertising market, followed by Google Russia and Begun:
Although Yandex has lost some of it’s market share in 2011, it is still by far the largest player of Russian online advertising market. The company reported $622.2 million in revenues by the end of last year.
Yandex Direct is said to have 270 000 active advertisers in 2011. The average spend per advertiser per month is 2500 Russian Rubles (approx. 85 USD). In 2010 the number was higher (3000 Rubles/ 100 USD per month), and decreased due to the fact that more and more small business with low marketing budgets start advertising online.
According to AdScore, vKontakte PPC platform is showing very fast growth in Russia. Advertising budgets of Deal-of-the-Day type of sites (Groupon and alikes) as well as local services providers are quickly shifting towards social networks from search and traditional media.
In one of my previous posts I wrote about Google gaining market share in Russia by aggressively promoting it’s non-search products, such as Android and Chrome, for example.
Browsers with built-in default search engine are generally a popular way to get extra searches. Yandex teamed up with Firefox, while Google runs TV commercials for Chrome.
It seems like Google’s marketing efforts are paying off. According to several independent analyst companies Chrome became the most used browser in Russia in December 2011, surpassing Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera.
Skype will offer everyone who downloads their PC client to install a browser extension Yandex Bar. Yandex Bar, in exchange, will display Skype account balance and provide an easy way to top up Skype account via Yandex Money. This looks like a good way for Yandex to attract more users and possibly regain the market share that they lost to Google last year. In 2011 Skype showed 40% increase in Russian user base ending the year with 22,4 million registered accounts.
So what does Skype get in return? From what I read today it is very unclear: Skype will be promoted on Yandex sites and properties (which is of course a lot of traffic), but it is not specified how.
The latest gossip in Russian Internet circles is that the next step for Yandex after their NASDAQ IPO, successful launch in Turkey and recent partnership with Czech leading search engine Seznam is to launch in Poland. Rumors say that Yandex has already hired a business developer in Poland, with a very impressive track record including companies like Dell and Apple.
Polish Internet audience is estimated to be around 40 million people, where Google holds 97% market share. Entering a market with such strong Google presence might sounds like a strange idea, especially given 2 facts from the recent past:
1. Yandex already made an attempt to enter Polish market back in 2001, but pulled off due to the crisis in .com industry as well as uncertain state of Polish economy.
2. The announcement of international expansion plans Yandex made in summer was very much about entering markets where Google does not have a strong dominant position. The first of these markets was Turkey. Yandex also mentioned Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt.
So why Poland?
The rumors about Yandex planning an acquisition of Onet.pl (one of the biggest portals in Poland) were circulating in the tech press since summer 2011 (see, for example, Bloomberg report from July). Purchasing of the other major portal Wp.pl also gets mentioned here and there.
Both portals have look and feel of Yahoo!, i.e. publish a lot of categorized content and at the same time have search. Onet.pl search box is currently powered by Google; wp.pl has its own search engine.
In case of this purchase, Yandex will actually claim a big chunk of Polish market right away: