As previously reported by Russian Search Marketing, Runet users spend a whopping 40% of their time online on social networking sites.  As westerners we are all familiar with Facebook but the site actually is much less popular in Russia than you would expect in part due to its lower level of functionality than the more popular local Russian social media sites.

Vkontakte or VK (literally translates to “in contact”), the most popular Russian social networking site, is also the second most visited site on Runet behind Yandex.  VK closely resembles Facebook and offers many similar social media functions but users can also use it to stream all types of entertainment media.  With an average of 50.2 million unique visitors, VK more than doubles the audience of Facebook in Russia.

While VK is more widely used by the younger demographic of 11 to 25 year olds, the second most popular site Odnoklassniki is used by adults age 25 to 50 from all over Russia and not just the major cities of Moscow and St Petersburg.  With 39.3 million unique monthly visitors, Odnoklassniki, a site geared toward connecting with classmates, has a significant place in the Russian social networking scene.

Mail.ru holds the third spot in eMarketer’s social network rankings. Mail.ru is focused mainly on email communication and reaches over 40% of Russian Internet users.

Facebook is slowly gaining more popularity in Russia with 23.2 million unique visitors who spend an average of one hour per visit.  Meanwhile Russian Internet users frequently visit LiveJournal,  which offers users an online blogging service with user interactions that include friend pages and online communities.  Twitter and Instagram are also popular and growing strongly in the Russian social media market.

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Today’s Russian Internet use (in Russian) is heavily geared toward communication and entertainment on social networking far more than its original popular uses for work and education.  Back in 2009, Runet users said that their main use of the Internet was email but today users have changed their focus primarily to social media.