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Trends for the Future: Alternative Services for Promotion in Russia



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One of the consequences of the sanctions policy against Russia was the restriction of access to popular resources used by most advertisers. Let's recall that these are such platforms as Instagram* and Facebook* (owned by Meta**), TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, partly Youtube, as well as a complete blocking of access to Google Ads managers.

Of course, many Russian users continue to use these services via VPN. However, this is not enough to conduct a full-fledged advertising campaign, since most of the Russian audience has already stopped using the blocked services. According to Online Market Intelligence (OMi) the percentage of people using Facebook Instagram*, Facebook*, Twitter has significantly decreased, at least, by 50%.

Source: OMI

This new digital reality for Russia requires significant review of work with the community, as well as consideration about other ways to promote and conduct advertising campaigns. Currently, Russian advertisers have begun to actively use Telegram (which entered the TOP downloaded applications at the beginning of 2022), VKontakte, OK and Yandex Direct (if we are talking about contextual advertising). Definitely, these services can be considered as one of the most efficient in terms of promotion to Russian-speaking users. However, the industry does not stand still and today we should pay attention to new digital products. Or think about other platforms that have long existed on the Russian market, but for various reasons are less popular than the currently blocked resources.

RMAA experts are constantly monitoring current marketing trends in order to provide their customers with the best solutions for promotions on the market. Within this research, we want to draw attention to alternative services that may become effective tools for advertising campaigns in Russia in the near future.

Yappy! and Likee Instead of TikTok

In the context of restrictions of Russian content on TikTok, Yappy! video platform (the developer is “Rhythm Media”, 2021) began to rapidly gain an audience. In interview the representatives of the service claimed that the number of bloggers doubled from January to March 2022, and the total number of videos reached 700 thousand. At the same time, in March, the analysts of Yappy! recorded a new maximum - an increase in the average volume of daily activity by 68% compared to similar indicators in February, as well as an increase in published videos on the platform.

The algorithm and design of Yappy! is somewhat similar to TikTok. Users can also create vertical videos with duration up to 60 seconds, but at the same time everyone has the opportunity to collaborate with other bloggers and work in a joint video project with an idol. By the way, you can find the accounts of popular Russian bloggers there: Anna Khilkevich,Gluk’ Oza, Jony,Klava Koka etc. The developers called this function a "collaba" (from “collaboration”): a base video created by one or more participants, plus videos that complement it. For example, in the Yappy! profile of the popular Russian singer Jony, you can see collabas with other users of the platform aimed to support young performers.

In the near future, the developers of the application are planning to launch monetazitation of creativity of bloggers. Thus, the Yappy service! will soon become a full-fledged platform for promotion on the Russian market with a constant monthly increase in active users (as evidenced by statistics), viral content and opportunities for commercial cooperation with opinion leaders.

How can the service be useful for promotion?

  • low brand competition;
  • opportunity to launch a campaign among the first on the platform and attract attention;
  • low cost of advertising from bloggers;
  • creation of challenges on behalf of the brand with promotion by unique tags.

Likee platform, another short video service, was launched by a Singaporean team of developers in 2017. During this time, the application managed to become one of the most downloaded in Russia in 2020, but it was not as popular among advertisers as TikTok. Although Likee has all necessary conditions to promote products and, most importantly, a large percentage of loyal audience all over the world.

In addition, the application is constantly being upgraded in terms of influencer marketing. In 2021, the platform introduced the SuperLike feature, which monetizes the most popular content in the app. And in February 2022, developers began testing the paid subscription function (Super Subscription) in Russia. This will allow bloggers to share exclusive content in a special section, as well as to get another way of stable earnings on the platform. That is, when subscribing, the user supports their favorite blogger directly (the blogger receives all income for exclusive content every month). All these innovations are aimed at attracting bloggers and opinion leaders as creators of unique Likee content (including advertising). And if the above mentioned Yappy! only implements monetization functions in its work, Likee is already able to fully replace Tik-Tok on the Russian market.

How can the service be useful for promotion?

  • an active captive audience of the application, easily latching onto trends and information guides;
  • ability to create hashtag challenges using branded stickers and effects;
  • conducting campaigns with the support of top likers (i.e. bloggers) on the platform;
  • integrated marketplace into the application;
  • function of adding advertising banners to the Likee home page with a link to the brand's landing page.

Tenchat with High-level Expert Content

In October 2021, a new social network TenChat appeared in Russia. Developers position their product as a business application. In other words, TenChat's main mission is to build a Russian business community to strengthen users' business ties, find new business partners or mutually beneficial contracts.

To do this, users were divided into 3 groups: entrepreneurs, employees and freelancers. Depending on the chosen role, profile content and other basic features within the platform, the algorithms for ranking the news feed will be different. Regardless of the status in the application, a user can share cases, share experiences and help other project participants with work issues. In addition to business content, TenChat has useful services for entrepreneurs (Communications, Company Verification, public procurement, bankruptcy auctions, etc.).

At first glance, the application can not be appropriate for product promotion. And the developers themselves are against any direct advertising. In our opinion, TenChat can become a promising platform for a PR campaign and “work” to improve the brand image. In addition, further on lists of bloggers and experts shall be added to the functionality of the platform, which will allow users to rank them depending on the content topic, as well as the publication of products and unique offers from authorized companies (as stated on the official developer page). At that, the latter will allow you to promote financial (including cryptocurrency) and business services for users within the application. Thus, only the right audience will see the content (in the case, again, of cryptocurrency services or the real estate segment, this will be an effective marketing tool).

Now it is little bit about the numbers. According to one of the founders of the project, Semyon Tenyaev, TenChat have reached 160,000 users over 5 months after its launch, and achieved an increase of 80,000 loyal subscribers in early 2022. According to , on March 7, 2022, the application got into the TOP 10 most downloaded social network applications in Russia on the iOS platform, and on March 10 it was already on the second line of the rating.

How can the service be useful for promotion?

  • PR and image improvement within the service;
  • high level of confidence in content among users;
  • prospect of integration with opinion leaders;
  • opportunity to talk about your product and unique offers only to an interested audience.

Yandex Zen is a Resource with Potential

The Russian platform Yandex Zen was founded in 2015. However, this resource did not immediately gain the attention of the audience, therefore in recent years developers have begun to actively upgrade the work of the service. They improved algorithms for broadcasting content to different audiences based on interests of users, implemented monetization of Zen channel authors and various types of publications. The results turned out to be successful.

According to Yandex Zen Media Kit, active Yandex Zen users are mostly women (52%) who live mainly in Moscow or St. Petersburg. At that, a significant part of the platform's traffic comes from smartphones and, on average, about 20 million people open Zen every day in 2022.

From the point of view of marketing tools, Yandex Zen is one of the most convenient and prospective resources nowadays. Various content can be published on the platform: articles (as an option - integration with popular authors), posts and videos (short for the feed, live streams up to 5 hours). Also you can launch campaigns, specifying the parameters of the desired audience beforehand, and introduce surveys, tests and feedback forms for users. Besides, the algorithms of advertising cabinets in Zen will show analytics based on the results of promotion.

In addition, the service attracts content authors with monetization opportunities. Those ones, in turn, attract the audience to view the platform. Thanks to all of the above (including additional tools in Ads Managers), Yandex Zen has turned out to be one of the most prospective social platforms for promotion in Russia so far. At the same time, an additional bonus for advertisers is the fact that a strong competitive environment has not been built yet here, as, for example, on VKontakte (note: a popular service in Russia). Although some market leaders are already present in Yandex Zen.

How can the service be useful for promotion?

  • application of different publication formats;
  • integration with popular Zen channels and opinion leaders as a possible marketing tool;
  • work inside the advertising manager and setting up full-fledged advertising campaigns according to the audience parameters of interest;
  • possibility of selling goods through advertisements;
  • built-in analytics function based on campaign results;
  • lack of intense competition among companies (so far).

Significant Changes

The beginning of 2022 in Russia can be described with this particular phrase. Changes have affected all fields of activity on the market, including the advertising industry. In this connection, advertisers, on the one hand, faced a number of problems. But on the other hand, they began to look at communication with the audience from different angles and look for more effective channels of interaction.

In the conditions of blocking popular foreign social resources in Russia, advertisers have “switched" to promotion channels available in the region (Telegram, VKontakte, OK, etc.). At the same time, new services for working with the audience (Yappy!, TenChat) appear on the market. On the other hand, social platforms that are not so popular until 2022 are beginning to actively increase the audience of Russian users (Yandex Zen, Likee). Thereby, they provide new promising directions in advertising and marketing.

As a result of all of the above, promotion in Russia still requires from advertisers to take a competent approach to this task.

RMAA experts are ready to help you at all stages of a marketing campaign, taking into account all the peculiarities of the Russian market and choosing the most promising and effective promotion channels - whether they are time-proven tools or new popular services.

* Social networking sites are recognized as extremist and banned in Russia.

** The organization is recognized as an ex-extremist and banned in Russia.

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About the Author

A content lead. Natalia runs marketing projects promotion with different digital tools in the Russian-speaking market. 


Author Natalia Gorenkova

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