2015 Takeaways from Russian Digital Advertising: Growth, Spend, & Clicks

Digital advertising in Russia is a bit unique compared to other international markets. Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine, also leads the Russian market in contextual advertising. Google still maintains a competitive edge in Russia but unlike the rest of the world, it isn’t the go-to. In addition to local Yandex, most also look to local social networks, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, before they create Russian ads on Facebook.

Beyond adjusting to the local scene, this past year advertisers faced a different challenge of the Russian economy.  For most this meant increasing their digital ad spend while decreasing efforts in other marketing channels.  For international marketers, this also meant a bigger overall budget for Russia in USD in comparison to their local Russian competitors.

Here is what the year in Russia has looked like so far in terms of growth, spend, and clicks. The blog covers Russian digital advertising generally and then a breakdown of the top categories in Yandex.Direct.

Russian Digital Ad Growth

As previously discussed on Russian Search Marketing, digital advertising leads the Russian ad market in 2015.  Online advertising in Russia grew while every other marketing channel slowed down in 2015. In a recent article published by Russian digital resource, Roem.ru, data from the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (АКАР) showed that online advertising in Russia grew by 30%.  As seen below, TV and print media had the sharpest decline while radio, outdoor advertising, and other channels remained relatively static with a slight decrease.

Russian advertising channels 2015

In a more specific breakdown of advertising channels, every sector but online and contextual advertising decreased over the course of the year. Online advertising saw a 10% growth, while contextual advertising rose by 15%.

Russian Online Advertising Spend

According to eMarketer, Russia saw a 16% overall increase in digital ad spend this past year.  As of 2015, paid search draws in more spend than display with 62.5% verses 37.5% respectively.  Following digital trends worldwide, this is predicted to shift slightly by about 5% in favor of display over the next four years.

Currently digital ad spend in Russia ranks 5th in Europe behind the UK, Germany, France, and Italy.  While Russia maintains the largest Internet population in Europe at 83 million users, the ad spend per user proves to be much lower than other major European markets. When it comes to ad spend per Internet user in these countries, the average is Russia is $26 while the averages in the UK and Germany are $262 and $107.

Yandex direct top spend

According to Yandex.Direct Q1 2015 data, the above categories dominate digital advertising in Russia by spend. This Yandex.Direct data shows most of the expected major industries spending on their PPC efforts in Russia.

Yandex.Direct Top Categories by Clicks

According to Yandex.Direct data, the following categories dominate digital advertising in Russia by clicks.  Every category in the top ten by spend lands in the top ten by clicks excluding Education and Career (which is the 11th highest spender).  However, the top spend categories don’t correspond to the exact ranking in the top clicks categories.

Yandex Direct top clicks