Reflecting on the year: Top Trending Yandex Searches 2016

As in year’s past, Russian Search Marketing is glad to share research on the Yandex 2016 top trending searches by category.  The top search categories include events, people, premieres, media, and even memes. The top Yandex searches for 2016 show a mix of both domestic and international topics, many of which you readers likely searched as well.

For events, elections had all of our interests. Yandex users most searched topic was the Russian Parliamentary elections followed by the US Presidential elections. Worldwide the US elections draw significant coverage but as we all know, this was a unique year. The average Russian was just as curious as you about the US elections, swine flu, Zika virus, and even learning more about the doping of their athletes in the Olympics.

Donald Trump and Leonardo Di Caprio drove serious interest from Russians this past year. Historically, Yandex searches and Russian news shows Russians have always been big fans of Leo and were excited to see him finally take home that Oscar. As for Trump, well, it seems that interest emerged this year with the elections. Interestingly, while in Russia twice in the past month, many people in public asked my permission to ask me about the elections when they learned I was an American. When I agreed, they simply wanted to know my opinion on the results and who I got my vote.  If their Yandex searches even slightly reflect the interactions I had in person, average people seem to genuinely be more curious about Trump than anything else.  The remainder of the list is comprised of Russians, such as singer Sergey Lazarev plus David Bowie.

Hillary Clinton still drew significant searches in the category for women, coming in at 6th. However, more Russians and actresses dominated the category. Ksenia Sobchak topped the category. She is a well known socialite that comes from a political family and has made a name for herself on reality TV. In addition to other Russian celebrities like reality TV star, Olga Buzova, Margot Robbie landed on the list following her infamous role everyone loved in Suicide Squad.

When it comes to the top premieres of the year, the iPhone peaked the most interest from Russians searching on Yandex. While the Russian market is still overwhelmed with Android devices, the iPhone is sought after.  Russians were also quite excited about the reopening of its Moscow Central Circle railway line and Brexit.

Looking at Internet related topics, Russians on Yandex were most exciting about the opportunity to vote for symbols on bills followed by the online opportunity to create social change on  Mr.Dundar continues to teach viewers about science on Youtube and Gianluca Vacchi continues to entertain us all with his partying. Russians were just as fascinated and excited to use Face Swap as the rest of us and certainly concerned about their blocked access to LinkedIn. LinkedIn doesn’t have a very strong presence in Russia compared to other locations but users were still searching on Yandex to learn more.

Rio had everyone’s interest this past summer as the leading topic in the Yandex top searches sports category. Yandex prepared a few special projects to keep users informed on the games, as it has done in the past when there is significant user interest in a sporting event. Soccer and hockey covered the rest of the list aside from the Biatholon World Championships and the Emelianenko Maldonado fight.

With the exception of The Flight Crew, foreign movies dominated the Russian search interests in films with Suicide Squad taking first place. Slight variation in the film’s popularity in other places like the US but for the most part these were the big movies of the year. Same goes for the foreign TV shows. Game of Thrones continues to be the number one foreign TV show for the second year according to Yandex research. When comparing the research from the past two years, Russians are still enjoying the majority of the same shows but many and especially the Russian shows have shifted positions on the lists.

The release of new video games has created a whole new surge of interest for Russians when it comes to the gaming category., Pokemon Go, and Dark Souls III generated the most search peaks on Yandex this past year.

Memes was a new category this year, perhaps thanks to the rise of Instagram.  The majority of popular memes relate to Russian humor and jokes. The top meme for Louboutins relates to a music video that took Russia by storm last winter of a woman getting ready for a date and painting her own red bottoms among other beauty hacks. The second meme relates to another music video by the same humorous band Leningrad about drinking in St. Pete.

Throughout 2016,  the average RuNet user was seeking information on current events and the latest trends the same way Google users worldwide were most interested in Pokemon Go, the iPhone 7, and Trump.  Zika, the Olympics, David Bowie, and Brexit were also major topics on Google’s search list for the year reminding all of us that no matter your location or origin, users turn to their preferred search engine for most of the same reasons.