The online ecosystem is different in Russia.
Yandex is the search leader over Google; VK.com(originally VKontakte) and Odnoklassniki.ru are more popular social networks than Facebook. But when it comes to programmatic buying, the country looks similar to the US RTB circa 2011, thanks in part to the participation of Russia’s major internet players.
The Russian online advertising market can seem self-contained (i.e. hard for Westerners to break into), because of language and the dominance of major local companies. But Internet penetration is high — 73.8 million Internet users, or 53.7% of the population in 2013, according to eMarketer — especially in major cities. In a spring 2013 report, Yandex found that cities including Moscow and St. Petersburg had internet penetration of 70% and 71% in 2012. Along with rising incomes and a growing middle socioeconomic class, this means advertisers are keen to get involved.
“More and more Russians are gaining access to the Runet (Russian Internet), and that in turn is accelerating market growth,” said Konstantin Kruglov, deputy CEO of Tinkoff Digital, in an email to AdExchanger. “The emergence of search-related display opportunities is another key factor; we saw search grow by 37% in 2012 and by 46% in 2011.”
Boris Omelnitskiy, president of IAB Russia, added that the language connection that local companies have with consumers is a huge competitive advantage. November 2012 data from online research company Gemius found that both Yandex and Mail.ru had 50.9 million unique visitors for the month, followed by vk.com with 42.2 million. Google had 39.3 million, or 65.8% reach.
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