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Overview of Instagram* after blocking in Russia. Key trends, ratings, and promotion formats in 2024



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On 14th March 2022, Instagram* was blocked in Russia upon request by the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation. This made targeted advertising on Instagram from Russia impossible, resulting in significant losses for advertisers. Russian users were also affected, as access to the social network was only possible via VPN. 

With 25 million monthly active users over the age of 12 (22% of the population), Instagram* still holds significant traffic in Russia despite a decrease from over 60 million users.  Nevertheless, the traffic is there and it is quite large. 

The question of whether Instagram can be an effective tool for brand promotion in Russia is both relevant and complex. Let's talk about it in detail.

Instagram* statistics in Russia

According to Mediascope research, approximately 5 million people, or 6% of users over the age of 12, access Instagram* daily. With an average of 22 minutes spent on the platform per day, it presents a highly attractive option for advertisers. Users can view stories and posts from acquaintances, as well as a few advertisements while browsing. 

It is worth noting that the majority of Instagram's* audience is female. Users are aged between 25-34 and 35-44 years old.

Instagram promotion in Russia 2024

In 2023, Livedune, a social media management service, conducted a study on user engagement on Instagram*.  The main findings were as follows: 

  • The study found that Story reach for the first six months of 2023 decreased by approximately 20%. However, bloggers with fewer followers had higher engagement, with those having up to 2,500 subscribers even increasing their reach by up to 10% over time. Bloggers with a few hundred thousand subscribers only received 67% of the coverage in the first month, according to the study. This highlights the global trend of micro-influencers, which has been apparent in many countries for several years.

  • Notably, there has been an even greater decline in the reach of posts in the first six months of 2023. However, stories continue to receive more engagement than posts in the feed, which has been a consistent trend over the years. 

  • Over the last six months, there has been a 14% decrease in the number of active accounts that published at least one post in a month. 

  • Additionally, the Reach Rate, which is the ratio of the average reach of posts to subscribers for the selected period, has decreased from 15% to 9%. 

  • Despite the drop in viewers, engagement was up, with more comments, likes, and saved posts.

The audience's behavior on the social network is likely influenced by the requirement of a VPN to connect to Instagram*. Unfortunately, these services are being blocked more frequently in Russia. As not everyone can afford to download more expensive VPNs, there are fewer active bloggers and Instagram followers. Nevertheless, competition among advertisers for bloggers has significantly decreased compared to other social platforms in Russia. 

Who are the leaders of Russian Instagram* at the moment?

Top Russian Instagram* bloggers 2024

Blogger Oksana Samoylova, mixed martial arts fighter Khabib Nurmagamedov, TV presenter Kseniya Borodina, make-up artist Goar Avetisyan, singer Egor Krid, and others have topped the Instagram ratings.

Oksana Samoylova and Ksenia Borodina mainly post entertaining videos on popular topics and family-related content. 

Oksana Samoylova is a blogger, the wife of the popular rap singer Dzhigan, and a mother of four children. She runs several businesses, including an adult clothing brand, a children's clothing brand, and her own line of cosmetics.



Kseniya Borodina is a TV presenter and blogger who has been involved in business for several years: she has launched a clothing brand, opened beauty salons and a children's club, and sold an online course. 



Goar Avetisyan creates educational and informative beauty-related videos. She began her career in makeup at the young age of 16 and later studied cosmetology and makeup artistry. She opened a studio where she provided makeup lessons and services for women. She developed her Instagram blog and now earns millions by teaching make-up. 



Egor Creed began his music career over a decade ago by releasing a song on VKontakte that was listened to by millions of people. The song's success prompted him to create a music video, which also gained significant views. As a result, the renowned music label Black Star offered him a contract. Creed is currently pursuing a solo career in producing and streaming. 



Khabib Nurmagomedov is a famous mixed martial arts fighter who won 15 consecutive fights and made it to the UFC. Despite his retirement from professional fighting, Khabib continues to remain active in the media, sharing photos and videos of his daily life, events, and family on Instagram*.



The top 20 bloggers on Instagram* are a diverse group, including influencers, musical performers, and show hosts. They share a variety of content, from entertaining posts to personal stories, and promote a range of values, including family, personal development, and travel. 

These bloggers are highly sought after by brands for collaborations, either directly or through advertising agencies, as targeted advertising on Instagram is no longer effective in Russia. 

RMAA managers have a proven track record of working with bloggers on Russia's leading social platforms and are ready to offer comprehensive, responsive solutions for launching influencer campaigns in Russia and the CIS.

Key Instagram* promo trends

In the current digital landscape, bloggers must devise innovative methods to promote themselves and capture attention. Let's explore the most common options.

Popular Reels

Reels are now one of the most effective ways to promote your page. They're also free. Many bloggers have few posts on their accounts, and almost all their content consists of vertical videos. These videos are usually educational and entertaining. Some bloggers even make entire series of reels to motivate their viewers to subscribe. The more views a reel has, the more likely it is to maximize the organic reach of its content and find new audiences.



In the example given, the blogger discusses his life, promotes his channel and brand goods through his text, and interacts with followers through the comments section. Thus, a single publication employs several methods to attract an audience. 

Reels not only aim to attract new followers. Many bloggers utilize them to market their services, sell products, or redirect users to other social media platforms where they are more active. Additionally, reels are used to promote brands.



The example above is a promotional integration with blogger Nikki See in the Reels format. This was done as part of our promotion of the Nutrino Lab brand. This format was chosen for two main reasons: Firstly, Reels is very user-friendly and secondly, due to its high number of views, it scores well in organic search results. In this instance, Reels was effective because the brand's products are in the FMCG category, meaning that any subscriber could purchase a Neutrino Lab product after viewing the content. 

No Instagram* Stories

As the reach of stories drops and they only last for 24 hours, many users are less likely to post them. Instead, they prefer timeless content that can be published once and will remain visible in their account until they delete the post. This means that the emphasis is now on reels and posts in their feed. 

For example, Kreizerrr, who posts beautiful photos and videos, advertises her clothing brand and rarely appears in stories. Instead, she transfers traffic from stories to Telegram.


Instagram promotion in Russia 2024


Another example of this is Ksenia Sobchak. She is a journalist, presenter, blogger, and politician. She shares content on her blog, including posts with photos and Reels. She also writes content almost every day, discussing her life and news from Russia. Sobchak has a significant number of advertising posts for Russian brands (beauty, accessories, furniture, etc.). For example, she promotes bags from a company that produces leather goods in her latest post.



Direct communications  

Bloggers interact with users directly. The most popular and straightforward option is online broadcasting, where a blogger can talk about their topic and answer questions from viewers. The broadcast can then be posted in the feed, creating another option for eternal content. The example below is a recording of a live broadcast by blogger Daria Zakharova (note-engaged in personal sales), dedicated to the topic of a person's psychological state.



Bloggers also respond to comments left under their posts and videos. This builds loyalty towards themselves. 


Instagram promotion in Russia 2024


In the post above, the blogger Sasha Red chats with a follower who has been with them for a long time, saying that the style of their dress suits them well. The blogger jokily responds to the comment.

Long-term cooperation

There are brands that work with bloggers on a long-term basis, for example, if the blogger has the right audience. An example of this is a dessert company that constantly buys ad integrations from a food blogger. In the summer of 2023, the company promoted a post about homemade ice cream...



 ... and tartlets in the winter.  



Despite the limitations, there are quite a few formats for integrating with bloggers and media in Russian Instagram. Plus, one of the most promising tools is cooperation with micro-influencers who have learned to create high-quality content that is not inferior to millionaire bloggers for several years. However, there's one nuance. 

Ad labeling and foreign agents in Instagram*

New provisions on labeling internet ads have been introduced into advertising legislation in Russia since 2022, including for bloggers. We created a detailed guide with examples on this topic. 

In a nutshell, this has had an impact on advertising integrations between bloggers and brands on Instagram*. 

Despite Instagram* being a banned social network in Russia, labeling advertising here has also become necessary. In the past year, there has been much debate regarding the tagging of internet advertisements shown to Russian residents. However, both FAS and RKN (legislative bodies in Russia) have unequivocally decided that such ads must be labeled. 

Any concerns expressed by bloggers that distributing advertising posts on Instagram* could be viewed as sponsoring an extremist organization are unfounded. The government has made it clear that advertising content for brands does not amount to sponsorship of the social network itself, as the influencer is paid for placing the ads. 

A new law was introduced in early 2024 that affects media personalities who openly oppose the current Russian political system. Russian companies are required to completely cease cooperation with foreign agents. The list of them includes popular journalist Yuri Dud, singer Boris Grebenshchikov, Morgenstern, humourist Maxim Galkin, and others. 

However, this law does not limit cooperation with foreign brands, as they may be interested in promoting Russian-speaking audiences not only in Russia but also outside of it. It is important to note that the percentage of the audience of Russian bloggers outside the Russian Federation is significant. Having less competition for integration with foreign bloggers is a significant advantage. However, it is important to note that many of the personalities on this list still have a high reach and are promising for cooperation. 

In short, there are many aspects to working with influencers in Russia. 

Brand promotion on Russian Instagram* is a tempting, promising, and effective strategy. But there are certain difficulties both on the legal and on the marketing sides. First, you need to find a suitable blogger (note - we know from our experience that one blogger is not enough, you need a selection of influencers), analyze him, make an agreement with him, calculate the effectiveness of advertising, and account for the advertising to the state. For foreign companies, this process can be challenging, and mistakes can result in fines or poor advertising results. 

To achieve the best results in promoting your brand on Instagram in Russia and the CIS, it is essential to entrust the task to experts with deep expertise in this matter. Contact the RMAA team by filling out the application form below. Our prompt feedback and optimal solutions will guarantee the success of your brand promotion.



*Meta Platforms Inc. project, the activities of which are 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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