SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

All about mobile gaming habits and trends in Russia

Russian people love playing games, and, unlike other digital content, don’t mind paying for them. According to the recent research conducted by J’son & Partners Consulting games account for astonishing 91% of the digital content market in Russia.

Smartphone penetration in Russia hit 36% in 2013, and although no official start have been released for 2014, I believe it will reach 40% this year. Mobile games is a relatively new for the Russian market phenomenon, however already heavily adopted one. Out friends from WapStart, Russia’s largest mobile ad network, conducted a research to understand how Russian people play games on their smartphones.

According to WapStart survey, 86% or smartphone users have some games installed on their devices. Interestingly, men install games much more than women (65% vs. 35% of the respondents).  64% of the respondents also pointed out that they prefer playing offline games (possibly due to the face that a lot of smartphones are not connected to 3G networks, and access the Internet only over WiFi, access to which is limited).


WapStart also asked the participants of the research about types of mobile games they usually play, and here are the results:

  • Card games (17%)
  • Table Games (11%)
  • Conundrums (41%)
  • Quests, Puzzles (21%)
  • Strategies (20%)
  • Action (22%)
  • Memory / Attention training (32%)
  • Speed / Reaction training (23%)
  • Other (5%)

Surprisingly, most of the mobile games are played at home (68%), followed by work (!!!).

Russian people do not install too many games on their smartphones – 41% said they had less than 5 games, and 42% had between 5 and 10, although the numbers are higher for Android and iOS than for Windows phone, since the amount of Windows Phone apps is generally lower.


Of course, being mobile ad network, WapStart asked the respondents about their attitude towards mobile advertising in games. Interestingly, the most annoying type of mobile advertising was said to be banners at the top / bottom of an app (52%). Full-screen banners are significantly less annoying for the Russian users (18%) and in-app payments (paying for upgrades, additional tools, new levels etc.) do not annoy almost anyone.

Launching a mobile game in Russia

While looking into Russian mobile gaming market, I got a chance to ask some of the industry experts for tips for foreign companies that want to launch their app in Russia.

How important localization of games is in Russia? Is it necessary to translate the app into Russian, or do people play games that are in English?

Localization itself is very important, as only 17% of Russians speak at least one foreign language. 83% speak only their native language.

Another crucial thing is the quality of visual effects. The text should look nice on icons and elements of interface, it must fit the given sizes, etc. Besides, it is highly important to check typos before publishing.

These are the key moments that users pay attention to. Interestingly, the actual sense of the text and text coherence are not as crucial. On the first stage, at least.

Maxim Kirilenko, Head of Mobile at Innova Systems


What is the best strategy to promote a mobile game to Russian users?

The best way to promote a game for mobile audience is the word of mouth. All new coming players tell everybody how much fun they get from a game. Reality is hard, and mostly you have to use ads to boost your audience.

Incent installs give you a big boost, and gets you to the top of app markets where you might get organic installs, but this type of audience has low ARPU level. Non-incent install audience is interested in your game, ARPU and LTV levels are much higher.

So if you want to have a good mobile campaign you should start with incent installs to get some audience first and gather some information. After that you should start a non-incent campaign based on your performance goals.

Rostislav Chizh, Sales Manager at WapStart

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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2 Responses to “All about mobile gaming habits and trends in Russia”

  1. […] All about mobile gaming habits and trends in Russia, Russian Search Tips […]

  2. […] to Wapstart, Russians play mobile games to be distracted, to relax or to kill time, but it’s also a favorite hobby of many. On the computer, Russians prefer to play MMO’s with […]

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