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YouTube, a popular video-sharing platform and social media website for uploading, sharing, viewing, and commenting on videos, continues to gain popularity in Russia. By the end of 2022 the service’s audience in the country numbered 50,5 million users a day. This fact obviously makes YouTube a very attractive advertising channel for companies interested in selling their products and services on the Russian market.
In this material, we’ll consider the specifics of Russian YouTube audience, impact of Google’s advertising restrictions on this segment, and figure out the efficient ways to promote products on the platform under these circumstances.
According to Mediascope research, Russians spend up to 88 minutes on an average day. They watch YouTube videos passing the time on their way to work, at dinner or by doing household chores. But with equal willingness Russian users find time in their busy schedules to enjoy their favorite shows on the service.
Marketers can potentially reach 91.5 million users aged 18+. with ads on YouTube in Russia.
YouTube Russian audience overview according to “Digital 2022 Global Overview Report”
Such a large, deeply involved audience segment is surely a “tibdit” for the business. And since YouTube becomes more and more popular every year advertisers are making big bets on this channel even despite the ban for direct advertising for Russian companies on the platform.
In order not to be unfounded, we would like to present some statistical data which clearly illustrates that YouTube is really widespread in Russia:
1. By October 2022 the service ranked 5th among top online resources in the country along with WhatsApp messenger, social platform VK and search engines as presented above Mediascope study says.
The most popular online services in Russia according to Mediascope research
2. 41% of the Russian population opens YouTube everyday.
3. Android users in Russia spend about 27.1 hours per month watching videos on YouTube that puts its app to the 1st position among the social media mobile apps in the country.
4. Russian users usually view the following content themes on YouTube: Music (19%), Entertainment (18%), Kids content (12%), Videogames (11%), series (9%).
Most Russian YouTube users are aged 25-34 years and this segment accounts for 20.7% of all audience. The second place are 35-44 year-old-people (16.7%), followed by users between the ages of 18 and 24 (15%).
Women prevail among Russian YouTube audience, making up 52.8% whereas men account for 47.4%.
Since 91.3% of Russians use the Internet on their mobile devices, it is logical to assume that the majority of users watch YouTube videos in the mobile apps.
An interesting trend: What is also important to note, despite the younger audience in the country prefer YouTube instead of TV, older Russians still spend much time watching content on TV. To cover more segments TV-companies launch their own channels on YouTube for streaming their shows. This is one of the reasons why the platform is so widespread and popular among people of different ages.
In the face of audience aging, the share of views of children and entertainment video has increased, while main consumers of bloggers’ video are still viewers under 18 years old, which share reaches 40%, according to the study by Yoola media network. As for kids, more often it is their mothers who turn them on, or women aged 24-44.
While the audience gets older, its preferences change, too. In the category aged 18-24, bloggers are still in favor, but there are also gaming and entertainment coming. These genres are also popular among YouTube users aged 25-44. Apart from that, there is a category of themed videos. Men start getting interested in business, cars, and gadgets, while women, on the contrary, watch videos about fashion, beauty, health, motherhood, sports, shopping, and lifestyle. However, in the age of 35 women start losing interest to themed content, while male context remains relevant for its audience.
At the age of 44 years and more, audience preferences shift to entertainment and hobby videos. Most popular ones become life hacks, DIY. People watch video about travelling, cooking, gardening, knitting, and other activities. Yoola notes that such themes are most often presented by small thematic channels. Unlike other content categories, in the DIY category bloggers as channel authors are of lesser importance: presenters can change, an author’s face does not need to appear on camera, while viewers will only be interested in usability of the content watched.
What is more, working with various communication channels, we noticed that the YouTube audience is the toughest one: all negative aspects are welcomed in a video. On the other hand, the ‘kindest’ audience of Russian users is on Odnoklassniki.
According to the current information provided by social media analytics website Social Blade, in the top ten of Russian YouTube you can see:
Channels for kids and parents such as GetMovies (48.3 million subs) and Маша и Медведь (44.6 million), where you will find the animated series of Russian studio, and Like Nastya vlog (18.6 million), the channel with roleplay-oriented children's content.
Entertainment channels: HiMan and his challenge videos (19 million followers), vlogs of ILYA BORZOV (17.4 million) and TheBrainMaps (17.3 million) and the channel about live of two charming dachshunds – Chapitovsky (17.4 million).
Educational video blog of popular Russian informational and educational website AdMe. About 16.2 million users are subscribed to its YouTube channel.
The channel of famous letsplayer and streamer Mamrock, who has 18.7 subs on YouTube. By the way, video content for gamers is incredibly popular in Russia, to learn more about this segment read our article dedicated to gaming on YouTube.
Top YouTube channels in Russia (ranking by number of subscribers) from Social Blade
In the spring of 2022 Google imposed a ban for any ads from Russian advertisers on all services of the company. YouTube is no exception – Russian users don’t see any direct advertising on the platform, and bloggers’ content is not monetized officially anymore.
But this circumstance didn’t make YouTube an inefficient platform for business,on the contrary, it encouraged advertisers in Russia to search for alternative ways for promoting their products. Bloggers have easily adapted to the changes and introduced new forms of native advertising such as preroll, midroll and postroll which are similar to direct YouTube ads in terms of videos’ timing. Furthermore, many vloggers increased the number of advertising integrations without facing the significant outflow of subscribers.
It’s not a secret that popular bloggers can make a strong influence, and this concerns not only a fanbase but even a more or less loyal audience. Native promoting of the product in influencer’s video is not so annoying as the official ads, and can be a very strong tool in case of matching of target audience. According to research, users bought goods and services following the recommendation of some blogger. And 46% of people who watch vlogs take into account their favorite blogger’s opinion before buying anything.
On Russian YouTube you may now see such formats of native ads as voiceover videos, humorous sketches, special issues and interviews, mentions, etc.
It seems that marketers even win in the situation where they have to buy advertising directly from YouTube bloggers instead of paying Google. But there is one serious problem you may face placing ads on YouTube in Russia – you must mark it and do it correctly.
On the first of September, 2022, updated advertising law entered into force, which obliges marketers to mark any ad and send appropriate data to the United Register of Internet Advertisements. The snag is that advertisers can’t submit such information to the Register directly, there are operators of advertising data acting as mediators between companies and government. The marketers have to send their ads with an indication of advertiser, advertisement platform, mediator, etc. to these operators. The disruption of the chain can cause large fines of up to 500 000 roubles for one unmarked ad.
The example of advertising marking
As you see, it is quite easy to get confused with legal features of marking ads, among which YouTube native promoting, in Russia. To avoid the troubles with ads marking and minimize the risk of being fined we strongly recommend you delegate advertising to the competent and reliable agency.
Following the results of the aforesaid, we can come to a conclusion that YouTube will continue to gain popularity and be attractive for Russians. And despite restrictions on direct advertising for marketers in Russia there are still efficient and powerful tools for promoting on the platform. Careful study of your target audience and competent choice of vloggers may bring really high results.
If you have a goal to use this video service for ads placement, RMAA Group experts are always ready to provide you with knowledgeable assistance. If you want to get more detailed information on analytics of visitation of Russian popular Internet portals and, in particular, YouTube, please download a free version of our White Paper ‘Russian Digital Market Overview 2023’. The information contained therein will help to learn the activeness indicators of various categories of Russian users who prefer the Internet, including YouTube that is famous in Russia for its informational value and entertaining component.
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About the Author
A Marketing specialist. Content engineer at RMMA. Olga worked with meanings, developed content strategy and created expert materials for businesses for more than 10 years.