The key online marketing platforms in Russia differ from the rest of the world, and it is vital to conduct appropriate market research in advance of expanding your international presence; specialist knowledge about Russia-specific platforms is a must.
In terms of visibility to consumers, the three most effective and popular methods of improving an online shop’s digital exposure in the Russian Federation are organic search via SEO, PPC and media advertising.
E-retailers looking to improve their digital visibility in the Russian Federation should make use of Yandex’s ‘Yandex Metrica’ and Google’s ‘Google Analytics’ to evaluate their search engine performance.
Yandex additionally has several unique features for SEO specialists that can prove invaluable when building digital strategies in Russia. For example WORDSTAT - a word selector tool - will not only help e-Retailers find the right keywords for their SEO activities, but will also display the number of search requests for that specific word/phrase by region and time period. Search engine trends in Russia are broadly consistent with global ones.
As with many jurisdictions, within the Russian Federation Google AdWords is a well-known and commonly-used marketing tool. Yandex offers a similar PPC marketing option - Yandex Direct.
There are additional solutions on the market that allow for automatic management of a PPC campaign with several search engines; these can often maximize the benefit of such endeavours, but come at an additional cost. Pay-per-action (PPA), retargeting and other digital tools are also available options.
Distribution of contextual advertising dollars in Russia:
Many forms of digital media advertising are to some extent losing their foothold in the Russian market as increasing numbers of advertisers are shifting their marketing budgets to SEO, PPC and social media marketing campaigns. That being said, an e-Retailer broaching the Russian online market can still achieve reasonable conversion rates by advertising on carefully targeted websites and other digital media.
Marketing strategists in the region report that a successful marketing strategy within Russia necessities a presence either on Facebook or VK (originally VKontakte) – a site similar in structure to Facebook that hosts a variety of communities and groups, including business and brand pages where consumers can review and show their support for specific products and/or brands. YouTube is also showing dramatic growth in popularity across Russia.
Russian consumers are typically regarded as young and impulsive shoppers, who, on the whole, were exposed to international brands fewer than 20 years ago. They are largely very brand-oriented, especially when the brand in question is reputable, luxury and international. Despite this prevailing reputation, however, it is important to note that Russian consumer demographics are changing.
When compared with their European neighbours, Russian consumers of various income brackets are inclined to spend a much larger proportion of their disposable income on high-end clothing, travel, and food. This is partly due to the fact that Russian citizens are typically less willing to invest and save than their European counterparts.
Russian consumers are also, on the whole, very hesitant to provide credit/debit card information and other personal details online for fear of being spammed and defrauded. Trust in the Russian infrastructure is severely lacking, and the Russian legal system is not regarded as robust enough to protect the consumer, through actions are being taken to improve this.
The more indication of security and safety a retailer offers on their website, the more success they are likely to have – reassurance of security can be more important than price.