SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Yandex Direct Geotargeting Options Explained

One of my readers asked to explain how Yandex Direct works with geotargeting. Yandex’s PPC solution is not at all as straightforward and user-friendly as Google’s AdWords and can be pretty confusing in the beginning. Once you get used to it though, it is actually quite a good product.

AdWords provides many more options when it comes to campaign settings, including geotargeting possibilities. I will, however, try to make some parallels between the two PPC platforms.

1. How Yandex Direct geotargeting works

To understand how Yandex Direct geotargeting works, it is very important to remember what the PPC campaign structure looks like. Yandex does not support ad groups, so a Direct campaign would be typically structured as follows:

In Yandex Direct geotargeting settings are available on both campaign and ad level, while in AdWords – only on campaign level.

Location-wise, you can target almost any place in the world with your Yandex Direct PPC campaigns. Africa can be only targeted as a whole continent. In Europe, Asia, Americas and Oceania geotargeting is possible on a country level, however not all countries can be included. Middle East and Baltic states are also available as regions.

In CIS (former Soviet Union republics, excluding Russia) geotargeting can be done on a country, region and city level. Country-level targeting is available for all CIS countries; in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine it is possible to target districts inside the countries. City-level geotargeting is available only in Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

In Russia geotargeting can be done on a country, region, district and city level.

2. How to configure geotargeting for Yandex PPC campaigns

First of all, geotargeting can be only configured in the web interface. Although Yandex recently released a desktop application for managing Direct campaigns, it is very basic and does not allow modifying campaigns settings.

When creating a campaign or an ad via Yandex Direct web interface, after specifying keywords, negative keywords and Yandex Catalog categories, Yandex will ask to “select display regions”. That is where you will find all the places you can target with your ads. Just tick the boxes with countries/ regions/ cities you are interested in, and with that it’s all done!

If you need to change geotargeting settings for a campaign, go to the campaign management page. Change Settings option will be in the menu on the left-hand side.

To change geotargeting settings for an ad, click “Edit ad” and adjust the targeting in “Select display regions” field.

Geotargeting in Yandex.Direct  vs. Google AdWords

Generally, as shown in the table below, Google offers more precise geotargeting possibilities than Yandex. When it comes to Russia, however, Google only offers to target regions inside the country, while Yandex allows targeting on a city level.

Google also offers something called “search intent targeting”, which essentially means that if I am searching for “designer handbags UK” sitting in Stockholm, I will be shown ads that target UK-based audience. Yandex does not have similar feature as such, but the machine learning technology MatrixNet that powers both organic and paid results does similar job, without us knowing it.


Anna Oshkalo

Anna is a blogger and online marketing consultant specializing in SEO and SEM for Russian search engines. To see more of Anna's posts, follow her on Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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