Earlier this week one of my Twitter friends posted a link to an article about Russian Internet marketing and social media, which, in my opinion, is a great summary of what is happening in online marketing field in that huge country.
This post is more or less a summary with my personal comments.
So here are the 8 things listed:
- Social networks are huge in Russia, however they are not the networks we are used to. Russians prefer their local social networking sites such as Odnoklassniki.ru (very spammy and extremely commercial in my opinion, but still widely used..even my mum has an account) and Vkontakte.ru (which is literally a clone of Facebook). Facebook’s market share is growing since they introduced Russian interface, however is still unbelievably small.
- Yandex is a “Google-killer” as I noted in my first post. One can’t say better!
- The region of Moscow accounts the majority of Russian Internet users. Moscow is definitely the city with the highest Internet usage and the highest number of people who have fast Internet connection. You would be surprised how many households across the country still have dial up modems (for some of my clients it is about 40-50% of all visitors!)!
A conclusion: dealing with regional SERPs on Yandex, be careful to not get assigned to any small region. Otherwise you will be invisible in Moscow SERPs and lose lots of traffic potential.
- There is no Twitter boom in Russia whatsoever. This is very important to keep in mind when developing your Russian Internet marketing strategy! Go for social networks and forget about Twitter for now.
- Mobile marketing is growing more and more popular. Not everyone has a fast internet, but everyone has a mobile phone (sometimes more than one). This marketing channel is developing rather quickly.
Last week Begun (context advertising network of Rambler) launched mobile targeting. Now advertisers can configure the ads for specific mobile operators (MTS, BeeLine, Megafon, Sky link – the most popular ones – and also some smaller regional operators) and the most popular mobile devices (Symbian, iPhone и Windows Mobile).
According to Begun about 15 million ads are shown every day on mobile devices, and the number keeps growing.
- “Russia is more than one market”. The country is huge! People are different. Do not expect the same response to your ads in all regions. People in Moscow are somewhat more “European” and differ a lot from people in Vladivostok by culture, language, habits and ways of thinking. Decide on your target audience, try and analyze!
- Alexandr Medvedev (Russian president) has a video blog (on LiveJounal). Not sure how this can be useful, but it’s funny =)
- Advertising is still growing, developing, becoming more sophisticated. The importance of PR (public relations, not page rank, obviously) is growing as well. And brands matter!
Russia is a very specific market, and any marketing strategy has to be carefully thought through.