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Digital explosion opens up Russian market

| By iGB Editorial Team
Yandex cites significant opportunities to scale in most populous European country

An explosion of digital media usage in Russia is providing affiliates with a golden opportunity to reach Europe’s largest market of internet users, according to Dominik Johnson, director of key account development at Yandex Europe.

Speaking at the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference today (Thursday) in Amsterdam, Johnson explained how his company had expanded its mobile app portfolio to more than 50 offerings covering all aspects of everyday life – from travel to food.

“Users are going more into the mobile space,” he said. “Russia is the No.5 country in terms of app downloads worldwide and there will be a 55% increase between 2017 and 2022. We’re just at the beginning.”

Johnson explained how, with 110 million people connected to the internet, Russia is experiencing a significant growth in terms of online and mobile usage, with internet advertising set to comfortably surpass television advertising expenditure by 2020.

In 2017, the value of the advertising sector in Russia expanded by 14%, with internet advertising growing by 22%. Yandex gobbles up more than half of the digital advertising market in the country.

Johnson expects smart-TV advertising to accelerate more quickly than mobile in the coming years, although the audience for both platforms is expanding impressively.

In a bid to strengthen its grip on the Russian market, Yandex streamed coverage of every match from the recently-concluded Fifa World Cup in the country.

However, only about a dozen locally-licensed online sports betting websites are available in Russia and the government has taken numerous steps in an attempt to block its citizens from wagering via international operators, with banks in the country having been ordered to block all such transactions from the end of May this year.

In spite of these restrictions, though, opportunities for affiliates remain plentiful, according to Johnson.

“Russia is not very different to other markets in Europe,” he said. “The users are out there and are happy to use any information they can get.

“Gambling advertising is prohibited in Russia, but gaming advertising is not and there are opportunities there.”

When asked what it takes to crack the Russian market through digital channels, Johnson stressed that it is important to follow your gut instinct and offer something different.

“If you are offering a gaming service, you need to think outside the box,” he added. “You can see how others are successful, but you should never copy and paste what they are doing. If you are just replicating what others are doing, how are you going to be better?”

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