Russia was earmarked as the top emerging market in Europe at the recent a4uexpo Europe performance marketing conference during Dominik Johnson's session titled, 'where next for performance marketing?'. This is likely to be music to the ears of respondents to the A4u European Affiliate Landscape Report 2012, where 43% said that they were looking to expand into other countries.
Russia’s population of 141.8 million is almost split down the middle in terms of gender, with 54% female and 46% male. The high population makes it hardly surprising that Russia is considered both the number one growing market in Europe and the largest country in the world. It constitutes one seventh of the world’s landmass and spans eight time zones.
Minuscule online media segment
Russia’s media split has traditional advertising such as TV, print, outdoor and radio at 90%, whereas online is only 10% according to ZenithOptimedia research. The same statistics predict that online ad spending will rocket from $886 million in 2011 to nearly $1.1 billion in 2012 – an impressive 55% increase.
Google data shows aggregated Google search queries to have risen in by 1908% in Russia between 2005 and June 2010. What’s more surprising, though, is that in Russia, Google isn’t even the largest provider of search. Yandex holds a 56% market share in Russia, nearly twice that of Google’s 31% as of 2011.
Between January 2009 and July 2010 Google noted travel to be the highest growing category with a 153% uplift. Sports took second place with a 103% rise, while food and drink (93%), local (84%) and beauty and personal care (84%) followed fairly closely. In 2012 the landscape of categories changed slightly. Real estate has hustled its way into number the number one spot of rising categories, meaning that there’s a ripe area of expansion for affiliates to concentrate on.
US-based social sites in minority
On the social side, Facebook has some ground to cover if it’s to catch Russia’s own leading websites. In 2011 VK.com recorded 75 million users and Odnoklassniki had 70 million, whereas Facebook only posted 7-9 million. And while American heavyweights such as Facebook and Google are seeing growth, the Russian market is still looking like a tough nut to crack.
Dominik Johnson, a speaker at a4uexpo Europe, believes that language shouldn’t be a problem for companies eyeing Russia as a business opportunity. “Even language is no longer a barrier,” he said. “Russians are addicted to Western products, so you can set up content in English and link to products that are available from Russian local players. Of course it means ranking in Yandex won’t be easy, but it’s a good start.”
The biggest draw for companies looking to expand into Russia has to be its $10billion e-commerce market, which is still achieving staggering growth despite the economic frailty prevalent in most of Europe. Just last year it rose by 45%, which is remarkable considering that only 6% of internet users are currently buying online.