SEO and SEM for Russian search engines

Breaking: Yandex launch custom audiences and lookalike targeting across search and display

Today at the annual conference for digital marketers Yac/m Yandex introduced a new fantastic type of targeting that is based on advertisers’ first party data. The new service – Yandex.Audience – is similar to Facebooks’s Custom Audiences and Google’s Customer Match solutions, and works for both search and display campaigns in Yandex.Direct.

To be more exact, Yandex.Audience is a solution that allows advertisers to upload their own customer information (phone numbers, emails, and device IDs) and segment these audiences for hyper-targeted advertising, upselling, cross-selling and retention campaigns.

Yandex.Audience also allows creating lookalikes for the uploaded customer segments.


How to create and use audience lists in Yandex

To start using Yandex.Audience advertisers need to sign into their Yandex.Direct account and upload a .txt or .csv file with minimum of 1000 rows of user information. Yandex will return a list of anonymised IDs identifying their customers among visitors on Yandex’s pages and the YAN websites. The IDs returned by Yandex.Audience cannot identify any individual user, but can be used for delivering personally targeted ads.

Yandex state that it only takes 30 minutes to match the data to actual users, which is faster than Google or Facebook!

It is also worth mentioning that Yandex email matching is not limited to and emails. The customers using other email services (, Gmail etc.) will be also included into the audience.


The lists created in Yandex.Audience will work for both search and display campaigns, and can be used in various ways. For instance, an advertiser could :

  • Set higher bids in search and/or display for their top customers and/or their lookalikes to ensure higher conversion rate and/or order value.
  • Exclude existing customers when running onboarding offers or lead generation campaigns.
  • Bid lower or completely exclude users, who do not qualify for being a customer (e.g. if you work for a bank and you have a list of clients who applied for loan and got a rejection, you can identify them and make a bid lower to decrease the opportunity for these particular audience to click your ad).


In addition to unique targeting opportunities, Yandex.Audience will soon be providing tools for marketing analysis.

Some of the capacities of Yandex’s behaviour analytics technology Crypta, which can identify web users’ interests, age, gender, family status, and even if they have a car or a pet, based on their behaviour online, will soon be added to the service. With this technology advertisers will be able to use social and demographic data from their audiences to plan and improve their marketing strategies.

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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