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Contextual Advertising: Results of 2015 and Forecasts For 2016.



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Passing year 2015 was marked by several important events for contextual advertising "Yandex. Direct" changed the auction scheme and canceled discounts to advertisers, and Google stopped Flash-banners supporting and fully made a transition to HTML5. How these changes affected the development of content? What awaits it in the future? Read in the blog of RMAA Group.


Having changed the auction and cancelled discounts for advertisers "Yandex. Direct" has become the main reformer of 2015 in contextual advertising.

We remind that until 1 September, ads were taken in the basic blocks according the ratio of CTR and the bid, and were placed on positions in descending order. Advertisers left satisfied with two-month test of the updated "Yandex.Direct": the cost of clicks returned to the average values, their number in a special placement became higher.

However, according to experts, in reality, cost per click has grown by about 10%, and only a small number of customers, for example, in the segment of telecom/home internet, has CTR which decreased by 70-100% for the same amount of traffic.

Equally long-awaited innovations of "Yandex" became: the possibility of changing the bids for smartphones, creating mobile ads and tracking the search requests from mobile devices. Now the bid adjustment for display on mobile phones can increase the efficiency up to 20-30%. For example, the result may be an increase in calls from smartphones or mobile traffic reduction, as the less conversion one.

"Yandex" has launched the bid adjustment functions for working with the audience on the socio-demographic status and configuration of remarketing scripts according the segments of "Yandex. Metrika 2.0". They make it possible to work more actively with each specific segment. For example, if statistics indicate that the conversion of female visitors between the ages of 25 and 34 is higher 20% compared with other users, it is possible to enhance the display of ads specifically for this group and thus to increase the effectiveness of advertising.

Another innovation - the function of dynamic ads for e-commerce, helping to improve the ads quality and reduce the labor costs for creation of ad campaigns. Now this option is actively being tested by advertisers and becomes more popular.

Description for quick links for navigational queries makes the ad unit minimally different from the organic results, which increases the click through rate of the context. At the same time the importance of ads quality becomes higher with every change of Yandex, including the description for quick links.


Google innovations were not as ambitious. In contrast to "Yandex", who predicted growth in traffic with an unchanged price per clicks, Google reported data on the annual growth of the average cost per clique in contextual advertising on average in all segments.

In contrast to "Yandex", the search engine has long ago allowed you to adjust the bids to display on mobile devices. By the way, Google recently held a large-scale study on the use of different types of devices in the regions of Russia. Statistics show that, for example, in the Primorsky region since the beginning of 2015 the share of smart phones exceeds 60%, while in the Tomsk region this rate has been falling due to unstable mobile Internet and the reluctance of users to wait for the SERP download.

Google is closely following the global trends, for example, according to the widespread rejection to use Flash-technologies, Google stopped supporting video playback on Youtube (in January 2015) and banners (in August 2015) in this format in recent versions of Chrome, and announced the transition on HTML5. This allows the Internet users to open more tabs at once and not wait until banners load on a slow connection.

Contextual advertising was and would continue the following year, to be one of the most effective Internet marketing tools. According to RACA, over the first 9 months of 2015 "context" has increased by 17% amid a general reduction in the advertising market. According to experts of GroupM, the channel will continue to grow in 2016 and will show the dynamics of 6%. At the moment, the "context" takes up 80% of general costs of advertisers for the Internet.

Google regularly works on improving the work efficiency as well as the assessment of results. For example, a video advertising in True-View format can now be run through AdWords, to help manage campaigns and see the statistics in a single interface.

In addition, the search engine is constantly expanding the opportunities for advertisers. For example, in September Native Gmail Ads - Gmail Sponsores Promotions, allowing running ads in the personal mail, became available to all users. This type of advertising can be regarded as an additional area with ample opportunities for the transfer of the marketing message. The ability to remarket using the e-mail addresses and to search the audience with the interests similar to the ones of actual customers has been introduced to Gmail. Unfortunately, this function works only for users of Gmail, which is not very popular in Russia.

Plans for 2016

All of these innovations of 2015 will not disappear in 2016 but will only develop. However, the changes, which is expected in the coming year, deserves special mention.

First thing that was announced by Google is Place Actions. Upon the user’s request, "Knowledge Panel" card will appear in a local issue, where it is possible, for example, to book a hotel, compare the mortgage conditions or car models without going to the page of the site. Advertisers benefit from using this function because micro media view will distract the users from the search results and be highly clickable.

Second – Google auction has begun considering only the CPM (visible ad impressions). Currently, it is difficult to calculate the effectiveness of advertising because most commonly they are placed at the bottom of the page where the user comes rarely. Nevertheless, this advertising is considered to be the show, but in reality very few people see it. The number of actual views will be known after updates as well as it will be possible to assess the real appeal of the ad.

In July 2015 "Yandex" revised tracking the visibility of the ads in the "South" block and now only those cases when the user scroll down the page are considered as views. In addition, it is hoped that the search engine plans to develop in the direction of optimization of mobile advertising: if this year there was a possibility of adjusting the rates for smartphones and tablets, it is quite possible that next year they will simplify its management.

It must be said about the development of call tracking, which is directly connected with contextual advertising and helps increase its effectiveness. During this year, call tracking tools have greatly advanced and developed in terms of intelligence. This corresponds to general market trend in the development of technology analysis and management. After all, the basis of marketing and its result - figures and data. Services and agencies will continue to work on their improvement in the coming 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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