Navigating digital advertising in a new country , and even a new search engine that isn’t Google, requires a bit of homework. Several aspects of campaigns need to be considered, including the use of brand phrases as keywords, a category in which most PPC specialists expect to see considerable success on their campaigns.
When it comes to the use of keyword brand phrases in Russia and in Yandex.Direct campaigns, there are a few important aspects to consider.
Russian law doesn’t stipulate any requirements, restrictions, or bans on keywords. This includes trademarks, either partially or in full. Russia’s competition law also encourages competition and the freedom of economic activity. Therefore, anyone can bid on brand names as keywords.
While creating a list of keywords for your campaign, it is beneficial to include both the English version and a transliterated Russian version. Transliterated brand phrases help to expand lists of brand-keywords while simultaneously increasing target audience coverage.
Most simply explained, transliteration means text conversion and not actual word translation. In this scenario, you would be taking an English word and writing it with Russian letters to sound the same. This means when there is a word in English that can be translated into Russian, the brand name does not change to the Russian translation but instead is spelled out to mimic the English word.
For instance, Apple can be translated into the Russian word яблоко (yabloka) but instead it is spelled out as “эппл” when referring to brand products. When comparing the search results for these two keywords on Yandex, the translated word for apple yields results for the fruit and the transliterated word for the company produces results for products, sites, and services related to the company.
Below is a list of brand-phrases, including misspellings and common typos that users are searching on Yandex. The list is divided into Russian and English spellings to show the variation of users looking for brands using transliteration or the English spelling. The figures represent the number of impressions for the brand-phrase.
In some instances, there are more impressions for the Russian transliterated version and in others, the English version. For the most part, the English spelling is preferred but both spellings prove to add value to campaigns.
As made evident in the graph below, adding Russian transliteration to the brand-phrase keyword is crucial for your success. Aside from George J. Love, L’Autre, Grifoni, transliterated Russian phrases are less than 10%. By only using the English version of brand names, your business is risking a loss of 13% to 68% of the target audience.
If you aren’t already transliterating brand names into Russian, now is the time to start! As you go through your campaigns, be sure to include common typos and misspellings. Phrases with typos will increase your number of impressions by 30%! We suggest to use typos for both English and transliterated forms of the brand phrase.
The data for this post came from the Yandex analytics team, using the Yandex research tools and the statistics tool, wordstat.yandex.ru, on October 8, 2014.