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Trend and forecasts – Digital And Media Advertising in Russia

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2015 was a difficult year for the advertising market in Russia. The fall of Rouble’s rate in late 2014 led to shrinking advertising income in almost all segments. However, by the end of the year, when the situation had stabilized, the volume started to increase again. The segments that felt confident in that situation were contextual and mobile advertising. The major trends in digital space became advertising in the Russian social networks, attention to the native ways of promoting, and establishment of the Periscope network. Read about the most notable trends of 2015 and forecasts for 2016 - in the material of RMAA Group.

2015 proved to be challenging for the advertising market in Russia. The growing of economic crisis in the country has led to a reduction in advertising budgets and the search of the most appropriate marketing strategies. A kind of indicator of the situation in general is the advertising on TV channels. Following the results of Q1 2015, TV channels’ earnings from advertising fell by 21%, but in the second half of the year the market showed positive dynamics, making somewhat compensation for the decline at the beginning of the year. Experts say that against all the odds in 2016 TV will continue to be №1 media and will be the main mean of communication with the brands.

The situation at the cable and satellite TV market was much more difficult. In early 2015, a law banning advertising on the channels the viewer pays for, came into force. However, the ban was later softened. According to RACA, in 2015 the amount of advertising on the cable channels decreased almost in half: 46%.

Radio advertising in 2015 followed the trends of the entire advertising market: the decline in the first quarter by 25%, and a gradual recovery in the course of the year. At the federal and regional radio stations the situation has evolved in a similar way, the difference was in the dynamics of product categories: for example, the share of advertising of financial and insurance services grew at the federal level, and declined at the regional one. Regarding the outlook for 2016, the experts agree that the segment will remain stable.

The situation in the segment of the printing press is even worse. Following the results of Q1 2015 the segment lost 34%, and even if it seized its position by the end of the year, the rise was extremely small. According to experts, the fall rates of the segment may be reduced, but the crisis expectations will drive the advertisers to choose leading publications and publishing houses. At the same time, the press will continue to be one of the main channels of communication for luxury advertisers.

The outdoor advertising segment has also decreased. However, not only economic reasons played a role here. In September, Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, signed a national standard for outdoor advertising, which should enter into force on March 1, 2016. If it happens, according to some estimates up to 90% of the existing structures in Moscow and St. Petersburg will come under threat.

The situation in the Internet advertising seems to be more positive. To date, the main driver of the segment is contextual advertising, which takes up 80% of the total online advertising. In 2015, contextual advertising has undergone a number of changes, which can be found in the material RMAA Group here.

Also, further growth is expected in the mobile segment. According to forecasts of the various agencies, at the end of the year the mobile advertising market will reach RUR 23-25 bln.. In 2016, experts predict the emergence of cross-screen (TV-desktop-mobile) campaigns with common dimensions.

Among the most notable trends of the past year, it is worth mentioning the active intervention of the state in the advertising market. Besides the State All-Union standards for outdoor advertising and a ban on advertising on the cable networks that we have already mentioned, it is a law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media organizations, which came into force at the beginning of this year. Now foreign organizations cannot acquire more than 20% ownership in the share capital of the company, being a shareholder of the founder, editorial, or broadcaster. In addition, there has been an ongoing attempt to legally restrict advertising of some product groups, such as fast food and pharmaceuticals, and Roskomnadzor (Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) plans to begin regulation of contextual advertising market.

With regard to the digital segment, as experts note, one of the most notable trend here was an increase in the number of customers using online advertising blockers. According to the report of Adobe and Pagefair, the number of ad blocker users reached 198 million people in the world and in 2015 the number of users using these programs increased by 41%. In addition, such programs are spreading not only into desktop computers but also into mobile browsers. It should be also mentioned that the blockers were first introduced in Apple devices in the new mobile OS version - iOS 9 API. All indications are that the ad blockers’ popularity will keep on growing.

In this respect, one of the main trends, not only in 2016 but also later will be an Internet search for advertising opportunities that will not be blocked by such programs. In particular, in 2015, many sites in Russia spoke about the development of the "native advertising." This term usually refers to advertising, which is at the same time useful to a reader, and fits well into the content of the website where it is placed. It is obvious that such advertising has several advantages over the banners:

• it is less irritating to the reader

• it has a greater chance to be read

• theme material is a priori interesting to a reader who visited the website and started reading the material

• it is read from both computer screens and mobile devices

However, experts note that the success of such advertising is highly dependent on the correctly selected website and on how "natural" this kind of advertising will look in the context of other content on the site.

There are three main types of native advertising:

1) Sponsor's content - paid material on the site, channel, or in the media.

2) Recommended content: recommended materials on the websites, recommended video on YouTube, recommended mobile applications.

3) Advertising in the news feed of the social networks. We should separately consider this.

In 2015, advertisement showed the user in the news feed appeared in several social networks in Russia. In April, they announced the appearance of promotional publications in the social network "Vkontakte". These posts are targeted. A distinctive feature of such advertising in "Vkontakte" is that the post can remain in the news feed quite a long time, until the user will not go to "offline" for a long time. It should also be mentioned that the social network allows you to attach a variety of applications to the post, such as video, photography, survey, etc.

Similar advertising opportunities appeared in the social networks "Odnoklassniki" and Instagram in the autumn. We have already wrote about these tools in our blog: here and here.

It is also worth saying about the appearance of the service LableUp, which allows searching for bloggers who could advertise a product or service on Instagram in an automated manner.

Another important event in 2015 discussed by many experts is the emergence of the Periscope service. Periscope, as a means of communication, can become a great way to get closer to your target audience. Today, the most popular Periscope channels in Russia belong to popular bloggers and show business stars. Politicians also actively took up a new channel of promotion: for example, the United Russia plans to broadcast their primaries in the app.

There are several ways to use this service in the marketing: holding webinars, live broadcasts of the events of the company, video blog of the CEO, video of the manufacturing process or the ways of doing business. Live allows you to gain the trust of the audience, which is more difficult to achieve in other ways.

Thus, 2015 was a test for the advertising market. In 2016, TV and radio will remain the most stable avenues of promotion. The volumes and scope of the content and mobile advertising will also increase. 2015 gave us a number of notable innovations to advance in the digital space. There is no doubt that in 2016 there will be the new promotion tools. The information about them you can get from our blog, and our experts will help you choose the best tool for your advertising and promotion this year.

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About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

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