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Russian Digital Marketing and Advertising Market Trends in 2021



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Everyone has already had a chance to sum up the results of 2020 and is planning marketing activities for 2021, so it is high time to look at marketing trends that will be prevailing this year and will help brands and businesses get the maximum effect from advertising activities.

Artificial Intelligence and Neuromarketing

This will be one of the most futuristic and impressive digital marketing trends in 2021. Neuromarketing proposes learning consumer behavior and methods to effect it. For this, neuromarketing measures and analyzes activeness of human brain and nervous system, which enables to pick those types of content, to which a person responds in the most positive way. Based on the data collected, one can make changes to the already existing marketing strategy or create a new one, which will be triggering a particular audience segment.

An excellent example of neural network application in social marketing is an Instagram account Ilona Neuro TP trending in Russia. The account’s author created a neural network that learns from usual pictures of girls, whose faces are not cursed with intellect, which are daily put on the Web wholesale. Besides, the AI mastered the database of Elon Musk’s portraits and now easily attaches the famous businessman’s face to female bodies.

Source: @neural_tp on Instagram

TikTok Conquers Russian Audience

At the end of 2020, the analytics company App Annie announced TikTok to be a leader by downloads both in Russia and worldwide.

The number of TikTok users in Russia almost doubled in 2020. While 15.7 million Russians used this social network in February 2020, the number of installs exceeded 27 million in November, and this trend will continue in 2021.

Source: Mediascope, November 2020, Russia

Taking into account that TikTok launched an advertising platform for small and medium enterprises in Russia as far back as in the middle of 2020, and now companies can set up and launch advertising campaigns of their own, a failure to use this marketing channel in 2021 will just be a crime against your own business.

By the way, the core audience is all but children even though many business owners have already believed in this stereotype.

Source: Mediascope, November 2020, Russia

Dawn of Content with Purchasing Opportunity, or Shoppable Content

It all started from posts on Instagram offering to get to know a product price at once and to go to a shop, and now this shoppable content is taking over the Internet. This tool immediately creates a connection between inbound content and sales. Such content is often used by clothes brands. The main Instagram account of H&M took it a step further: almost all their posts provide an opportunity to learn prices of the clothes shown at once and to continue buying. In the year of 2020 making people go to online shops, this approach is especially relevant, and this will unlikely change in the nearest time.

More Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is a type of visual content that is available for a limited time (usually 24 hours). If you do not post stories on Instagram, Facebook, or VKontakte, you must join the ranks in 2021. Moreover, such content is related to the need to react promptly and encourages users to make a decision about a purchase faster.

Increase in Live Streams

In 2020, brands realized that live streams are not a prerogative of news media and gamers—everyone can stream! This is not only about integration of advertising campaigns into streams, but also their own live streaming. So, for example, travel brands, which suffered most during the pandemic, saw new opportunities in streaming. Online tours, streams of concerts, festivals, and theater performances, athletic trainings—brands massively incorporated this tool in 2020, and in 2021 this trend will definitely not be on the wane.

Less Entertainment, More Expert Content

Expert materials are growing as never before because how can one study if not online? Therefore, one of the 2021 key trends is development of own brand media for business. Various market majors have been developing their own mass media for several years already, and while it used to be just one of possible marketing tools, now it is a must-have in the arsenal of every brand. Post solely expert materials of high quality on your website, in your blog. This is what will let it become essential for your audience and be in the top of search results.

Growing Role of User Generated Content

While brands used to focus on opinion leaders, the year of 2020 showed that every user’s post matters.

Moreover, this is one of the simplest and cheapest, but quite effective digital marketing methods. UGC (User Generated Content) is an excellent way to bolster brand credibility. How does it work? Users post information about the brand themselves, without any contracts. They do it because they really liked the product.

User generated content posting is a digital marketing trend not only today, but also for years to come.

Voice search optimization

As forecast by analysts, 55% search queries in 2020 are already accounted for by voice search. Consequently, in 2021 it will become even more popular. Such optimization can really boost your brand awareness and encourage promotion.


Customized ads are about an opportunity to show ads exclusively to the target audience that you focus on. Users do not want to see ads for all any more. They want to believe that this ad was created for him or her personally—at least, use of a name or a date of birth in an ad, an ad by the most relevant queries etc.

An ad customization example is an increasing usage of one-to-one video format. These are customized video messages that brands and companies send to their clients instead of outdated cold calls and emails.


Interaction with clients will make all the difference in digital market transformation in 2021. The events of 2020 moved business from offline to online, and there was a significant growth of e-commerce in quite different kinds of business.

Remember: whatever trends are, it is important to adapt them to your business, and RMAA Agency experts are ready to help you. The point is, do not be afraid of experiments, try new advertising tools, test new formats, and you will be a step ahead your competitors.

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About the Author

Head of Digital, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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