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A Complete Guide How to Promote Mobile Apps in Russia. Organic and Paid tools



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The Russian mobile application market is an attractive segment for developers, including foreign ones. Russia is among the top 20 mobile markets in terms of downloads (6th place), with over 5 million installations. Revenue from mobile products in Runet (Russian-speaking Internet) is growing, and competition is also increasing. Moreover, major publishers have already established a strong presence in the market, leaving little room for newcomers. Those entering the market must be prepared to invest significant resources to gain traction. It is not sufficient to create a high-quality, engaging application. You must also have a budget comparable to the cost of development for promotion.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

A thorough understanding of the nuances of mobile marketing will enable developers to gain a competitive edge. Given that in Russia, due to the blocking of many foreign advertising services, these peculiarities will differ significantly from global ones, it is important to be aware of this. 

Nevertheless, when promoting a mobile application, it is essential to focus on new technological opportunities, figures, and key trends. Let us now discuss this in greater detail.

Overview of the Mobile App Market in Russia

The Russian app market is poised for significant growth over the next few years. Total revenue is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.46% from 2022 to 2027, reaching a projected market size of $3,617.00 million by 2027. In-app purchases (IAP) are expected to play a significant role in this growth.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

In 2023, Russian users downloaded mobile apps approximately 5.6 billion times. The total number of downloads increased by 2.6% (143 million). Furthermore, annual consumer spending on mobile apps and in-app purchases reached $340.8 million.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

The annual revenue growth rate for mobile gaming is also expected to be significant, with revenue expected to reach $0.51 billion in 2024. The country's growing smartphone population and strong gaming culture are driving the surge in mobile game downloads. It is reasonable to assume that by 2027, the number of users in the mobile games market will reach 34.8 million. Please note that we've also created a comprehensive guide on effective marketing strategies for mobile games in Russia available separately.

In addition to the potential for profits, advertising costs are also on the rise. The annual growth rate of 8.15% indicates that spending on advertising in applications will reach $1.6 billion in 2024.

Changes in the AppStore in Russia

Since February 2022, the Russian mobile app market has been affected by sanctions. As a result, the apps of major Russian banks, including Sberbank, Tinkoff, and Uralsib, have been removed. Furthermore, Google Play and App Store have prohibited the update and publication of paid applications in their markets.

The solution to this problem was swiftly identified: the implementation of hybrid IT solutions that combine elements of mobile and web technologies (such as VTB's online bank, which commenced operations at the end of 2023). Furthermore, users have the option of selecting alternative app stores or external payment systems. For instance, users can make payments through the Huawei Wallet app, which is integrated with the Huawei App Gallery. As of February 2024, the Huawei Wallet app no longer accepts Qiwi wallet payments but will continue to accept UnionPay cards issued by three Russian banks.

AppStore in Russia

In October 2023, Apple permitted Russian developers to accept payment via external resources, provided that the developer of the mobile product is registered in Russia and the iPad or iPhone app is available exclusively in Russia. The implementation of this feature requires the integration of a special StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement with a transaction fee of 27%. For instance, customers may now pay for App Store services via Russian mobile operators MTS and Beeline.

Google Play in Russia

Google lifted the ban on third-party payment systems in August 2022. While the main Google Play mechanism is not currently available for payments, external payment systems, such as Plati.Market and Pay Easy, can be embedded for purchases. Alternatively, you can use a foreign bank card to pay for purchases within the market by logging into the store with a VPN. 

Promote Mobile App in Russia

RuStore and other alternative app marketplaces in Russia

As of January 2023, the RuStore app market has been included in the list of programs that must be pre-installed on devices sold in Russia. By the end of 2023, 30,000 applications had been registered in RuStore, with an audience exceeding 24 million monthly.

According to Tele2's data, RuStore was the second most popular app store on the Russian market at the beginning of 2024, with a 10% market share, compared to 85% for Google Play and 5% for Apple.

Other alternative stores on the Runet include NashStore, Huawei App Gallery, and RuMarket.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

Uploading applications to VK Mini Apps

The promotion of applications can be enhanced by their upload to alternative services. One example is VK Mini Apps, which offers mini-apps with quick access to content. Its audience is 45 million monthly users.

Furthermore, since 2024, VK Mini Apps have become available in RuStore. This provides users with an additional convenient option for accessing the application without the need to download it from the market. The RuStore catalog currently includes 4,000 mini-apps and games, which are available in the "Mini" section. 

These services are created on the VK Mini Apps platform, which includes mini-apps from VK and third-party developers. They encompass a range of categories, including games, entertainment apps, and everyday services. Users can add these apps to their smartphone's home screen for quick access and convenience. These apps are lightweight and automatically updated.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

Russian mobile app audience

According to January 2024 data, 130.4 million Internet users in Russia were recorded. This represents an increase of 10.6% compared to the same period last year. At present, 95.1% of Russian citizens utilize the internet via their mobile devices, with 70.99% opting for the Android operating system. According to statistics, the average person spends up to four hours a day on their smartphone, with 34.2% of them engaging in gaming activities.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

Top mobile applications in Russia

In 2024, social media (WhatsApp, YouTube, Telegram, etc.) and marketplaces Wildberries, Ozon, and the Yandex search engine are expected to lead in terms of in-app user activity. It is worth noting that mobile games are a significant area of interest, with Roblox, Minecraft Pocket Edition, and Standoff 2 all featuring in the TOP.



Mobile App

Mobile Game


WhatsApp Messenger




Minecraft Pocket Edition





Chrome Browser

Geometry Dash



Toca Life: World



Brawl Stars



Subway Surfers


Yandex Search

PUBG Mobile



Durak by RS Technologies



Melon Playground


The market lost official services from Apple and Google, and social networks with large audiences, which belonged to Meta*, became inaccessible. Nonetheless, the industry swiftly adjusted to the new tools.

Organic promotion tools for mobile apps

Even now, there are many different ways of promoting a business, with a particular focus on building organic traffic.

Pre Marketing

It is realistic to engage the first users during release testing. 

Premarketing allows you to familiarize users with the product before its initial release, gather feedback, and test hypotheses. It also presents an opportunity to gain insights from potential users.

To implement premarketing, consider using:

  • JTBD-interview technology to invite users who may be interested in the app. They can in turn recommend the product to their acquaintances, potentially leading to further engagement. Furthermore, respondents are likely to identify any flaws in the app.

  • Creating an account on social networks. This can be a VK page, a Telegram channel, etc., where content about the app will be published.

    Promote Mobile App in Russia

  • Using publications in the media press to enhance the credibility of developers. For instance, an interview with a publication covering key events in the mobile industry.


The position of a mobile app in the store search results is directly influenced by ASO (App Store Optimization). This encompasses both textual and visual optimization. The former includes the selection of keywords, an optimal title, a subheading, and a description to meet the audience's needs. It is important to include high-quality screenshots, videos, and logos in order to demonstrate the quality of the design.

A comprehensive optimization will enhance the visibility of your product in the store, making it visible and driving more conversions from display to installation.

It is important to understand that ASO requires ongoing updates. It is not advisable to set up all optimization mechanisms, and prepare text and visuals once, at launch. Keywords on marketplaces are subject to constant change, as are user preferences. All of this information should be reflected on the application page on time.

Rating and feedback handling

Prior to installing an app, over 90% of users conduct a rating check, with 77% reading at least one review. A high rating for a mobile product will result in a greater number of downloads. 

Regularly monitoring the app's position in search engines will enable you to identify any negative feedback and make adjustments to your promotional strategy promptly. Furthermore, downloads, ratings, and positive reviews contribute to an app's overall ranking in the marketplace.

Promote Mobile App in Russia
Working with feedback on the AliExpress app in GooglePlay

Paid tools to promote mobile apps

There is a significant discrepancy between the statistics that marketers rely on and actual user behavior. The user's path to the final action has become more complex and involves multiple devices and points of interaction. Typically, this path culminates in the user downloading an app from a marketplace. However, for users to take these actions, they must be engaged by external sources. This is where paid advertising tools can be utilized.

Paid Search and Paid Social

Mobile apps can be advertised in VK Ads, which is based on an automated optimization process. This eliminates the need for manual bid management. Payments are made for displays or targeted actions within the app or the installation of the app itself. This method of promotion offers several advantages, including convenient retargeting launch, integration with the RuStore, a large number of events for optimization, and numerous connected trackers for analytics (MyTracker, AppMetrica, AppsFlyer, Adjust, Tenjin, Singular).


In Yandex.Direct, targeting is set up by keys or retargeting conditions, including device, operating system type, type of connection, and gender. Only clicks are paid for. As with VK Ads, comprehensive statistics are available.

Telegram Ads

In 2024, Telegram's monthly reach in Russia was 72.7% of internet users. The growth of Telegram's audience, coupled with the blocking of Instagram* and Facebook* in the country, has made the messenger an effective platform for advertising applications through various strategies. 

For instance, it's seeding on thematic and author bloggers' channels. Advertising messages on Telegram can enhance reach, recognition, and lead generation. It is crucial to select a channel that aligns with the target audience and evaluate its performance metrics, including engagement rate, reach, and cost per user.

Such point communication with the target audience by means of seeding in Telegram is better used as an additional format to support the main method of promotion, such as targeting.

Promotional post of the 1WN app in the Mobimes - mobile games Telegram channel

Blogger Advertising

Media personalities are well-positioned to assist in the promotion of mobile applications. Advertising opportunities are available on Instagram*, VKontakte, and on Twitch streams. Promotion by bloggers on YouTube is also an effective strategy, for example, in reviews or live streams, when marketing mobile games. This option will engage the audience, clearly demonstrating the value and functionality of the application. 

Below is an example of the popular YouTube short format used on the Godniy Lifehack channel.

To gain a deeper understanding of the current state of influencer marketing in Russia and the CIS, please download our comprehensive industry report.

Promo campaign

In standard terms, a promotional campaign is an event with the personal presence of a potential customer. This could be the distribution of product samples in a shopping center. It may also take the form of a raffle, a loyalty program, or a gift with a purchase. In contrast to traditional advertising, promotional campaigns are discreet, which is perceived favorably by consumers.

Not all types of promotions are suitable for a mobile app. One simple solution would be to follow the example of the #BSGo app and introduce a loyalty program. For instance, participants in a healthy game can earn points for exercising and drinking water. Going forward, record-breakers can win an Apple smartphone or smartwatch in a drawing.

It is also important to consider offline campaigns. A good example is our case study for the Genshin Impact #ENDLESSJOURNEY global game project. The objective was to maintain the interest of the game's existing players and attract a new offline audience with DOOH. In just five days, digital outdoor advertising in the Evropeyskiy shopping center in Moscow reached 564,079 people.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

Additionally, a further marketing initiative was deployed in the campaign, directing users from the offline to the app environment via the utilization of QR codes on digital screens.

Forums and review sites publishing

A paid review on popular thematic platforms is a non-standard, but often effective way to promote a mobile product that can attract an audience and induce them to take a targeted action. When selecting an online platform, it is essential to consider the target market's geographical location, budget, and theme. The resource should be dedicated either to a specific type of application (games, diet, fitness) or to the mobile industry as a whole.

Promote Mobile App in Russia
Interview with student developers from the National Research University Higher School of Economics about the Twinby app for

Mobile app ambassadors

There is a notable absence of ambassadors for apps and games in Runet. Among the notable examples is the mobile game "PokerOK," which in the winter of 2024 introduced three new ambassadors who are well-known players and prominent bloggers in their field. These brand representatives not only attract the audience by their mere presence but also actively participate in the mobile game's promotions. For instance, players may receive favorable bonuses or rewards for eliminating the ambassadors from the tournament.  

Additionally, the MTS Ambassador is now Dmitry Nagiyev, a showman and actor. Until December 2023, Anastasia Ivleeva, a blogger and TV presenter, was the brand's representative. The team has now been expanded to include popular actress Aglaya Tarasova. As part of the anniversary campaign, the operator's customers had the opportunity to win a meeting with the brand representatives. Additionally, Ivleeva and Nagiyev were featured in commercials for the services.


Advertising of MTS Premium 2024 subscription

Ultimately, an application ambassador may be an individual who was directly involved in its creation. As a result, the renowned TV presenter Irena Ponaroshku is representing Prosto.Meditation on her social media accounts and featured in all news about the application.

Promote Mobile App in Russia

The unconventional use of ambassadors to promote mobile apps can be an effective strategy for attracting a large number of users, as you will be one of the first to benefit from this initiative. It is crucial to select an appropriate representative who aligns with your target audience, instills trust, has a stable image, and engages with the public. The ambassador can be a celebrity, an influencer, or an expert.

In conclusion

The Russian mobile application market presents a promising and profitable niche with its own specific characteristics and mentality. It will be challenging to fully grasp all the nuances and establish a robust competitive edge through effective marketing strategies from scratch on one's own in 2024. It requires a deep understanding of the market, which RMAA specialists possess. 

Please, contact our manager to request a consultation regarding your request for promotion in Russia and the CIS. We will contact you as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, we invite you to subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date with the latest information about marketing and related topics. 


*Meta Platforms Inc. activities 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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