Well.. new or not, but as of today, search at Mail.ru is 100% powered by their own search engine.
Previously Mail.ru search displayed results from Yandex, and since 2010 – from Google. Shortly after signing the contract with Google, Mail.ru started working on their own search technology, and from mid-2012 a part of Mail.ru search results was already delivered by their own algorithm (including such important areas as local searches in Moscow). In the end of 2012 Mail.ru announced the plans to switch to their own search engine in 2013. And here we go, today is the day.
Mail.ru today stands for 8.6% of the Russian search market, which makes it the 3rd largest Russian search engine with monthly audience of 39.5 million users.
In one of my resent posts I wrote about the test Yandex was running with Yandex.Direct layout placing ads to the bottom of the page instead of the right side of the SERP. The test proved to be successful, and the CTR for the ads positioned in the bottom of the page was 2,5 times higher than it used to be for the ads on the right hand side. Given the significant improvement in click through rates, Yandex rolled out the change to all Yandex.Direct ads.
While the new layout results in better performance, there are now fewer ad slots on the page – 3 for “premium” placement ads (on the top of the search results) and 4 for “guaranteed” placement ads (previously the top positions on the right, now – the ad slots under the search results). The so-called dynamic ad slots will be moved to the 2nd, 3rd and later SERPs, and therefore will get fewer impressions.
Yandex keeps tweaking their advertising products and making them better. In the beginning of the year the company introduced 3 new features to make Yandex.Direct ads more effective.
1. Image ads for Yandex Advertising Network (YAN)
Being used to Google AdWords, I was always missing image ad formats in Yandex content network. Images are so much more appealing; they attract attention and give better impression about the product than boring text links.
Russian SEM spend in 2012 was valued at 1.4 billion US dollars, which is a 44% increase comparing to 2011, reported Russian bid management service eLama.
In 2012 Yandex remained the leader of contextual advertising market, followed by Google.ru and lastly Begun.
While the main players are still the same as in 2011, there are some major shifts: Begun lost significant part of the market, while both Yandex and Google gained market share.
One of the major Russian social networks, also known as the Russian Facebook-clone, vKontakte (aka VK) announced upcoming launch of two new advertizing products: their own ad network and retargeting platform.
vKontakte ad network
The ad network is said to be launched in mid-October. It will allow publishers to place blocks of vKontakte ads on their sites. Webmasters will receive 50% of advertising revenue, which is comparable with AdSense and Yandex Advertising Network. At the first stage, the ads will be shown only to logged in to vKontakte users. For those questioning the size of this audience size, VK opened up visitors stats on LiveInternet.ru – please got in and have a look. Nothing is said about targeting options or quality of the publishers in the network.