The newest Russian search engine Sputnik was launched in spring 2014 by state-owned telecommunication company Rostelecom. According to the creators of the search engines, Sputnik’s search algorithm is oriented towards providing users with “social rather than commercial services”, like finding medicines in the nearby pharmacy or times available in local movie theatres. Sputnik is Rostelecom’s attempt to keep up with the growing Internet usage in Russia as well as to uncover potential for new revenue streams.
The search engine did not make any sizeable monetization efforts until last week, when Sputnik became a part of Yandex Advertising Network (YAN).
According to Sputnik’s Director of Communications, they are testing PPC ads as a new source of monetization [in Russian]. Before that, Sputnik also tried to provide payment services for utility bills, which did not prove to be very profitable.
At first I got really excited about this – an additional source of keyword-targeted search-based inventory, and a big one (monthly audience of Sputnik currently reaches 3 million, and daily – 100 000 users)! However, after some testing I noticed that Yandex.Direct ads only appear on Sputnik’s content pages, and not on search.
Here is an example of a Yandex.Direct ad on a page about medicine:
And here is another one, on a page about a botanical garden:
All targeting options of Yandex Advertising Network are available on Sputnik – from keyword targeting to retargeting – which basically means that Sputnik is treated just like any other placement in Yandex.Direct display campaigns.
YAN brings together thousands of sites with total audience of more than 73 million people per month. Among the major participants in the network – Mail.ru Group, Rambler & Co, RBC as well as Skype and Livejournal.