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Overview of Performance Marketing in Russia. Part 2



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In the last article, we defined performance marketing, discussed its economic implications, and presented tools that facilitate effective advertising campaigns. In this article, we will build on these foundations by providing further insights and guidance.

Steps in working with the strategy

A campaign must have a solid plan to succeed. It should consider all the nuances, use real statistics, and set relevant goals. This is where you need to start.

The purpose of performance promotion

We shall first determine our goals before we begin strategizing. It is crucial to think realistically and have a clear understanding of what the brand can achieve at this stage. 

The advertiser's two main goals are to attract new customers or retain existing ones. The choice between these two options will determine the approaches, content, distribution channels, and other campaign parameters. Such functionality is often already provided by platforms. For example, Yandex.Direct is designed to generate leads, while VK Advertising offers a wide range of tools to increase reach.

Working with analytics

You must conduct research to determine your goal. Study the market, assess your weaknesses and strengths, and look at your competitors.  For instance, in Yandex.Direct, you can conduct a brand elevator (a study of perceived effectiveness) before and after launching a campaign.

When it comes to analyzing competitors, it's crucial to understand that the effectiveness of your campaign will depend on how much it outperforms their advertising. 

Use support services to understand how your industry peers are doing. For example:

  • Semrush can analyze the SEO level of a competitor's website, advertising campaigns (including social media), and company mentions in the media and other resources.

  • SpyWords will give you the information you need to gain an even deeper understanding of your competitors' advertising. The service provides a comprehensive analysis of your competitors' keywords, headlines, texts, budgets, strategies, launch times, and reactions to market changes, as well as other options.

  • SimilarWeb is another comprehensive platform that will help you evaluate traffic on a competitor's website, its popular pages and keywords, sources, and advertising campaigns.

Once you've completed these activities, you can set your goal to achieve the maximum results while staying within your capabilities. For instance, if you want to expand your client base, determine the number of leads that will be sufficient for the goal to be met.

Use the SMART method to set your goals. It's a great way to ensure you're on track. A goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Selection of channels and sites for advertising

The next stage is to choose the channels and sites where advertising will be most effective. To do this, it is better to analyze your target audience in advance and find out what resources they visit and what they are interested in.

  • Contextual advertising in Yandex works with hot demand. The user is looking for something, and advertising offers him a solution.

  • Paid ads, run through VK Ads, anticipate clients' desires and offer them goods and services before competitors.

  • Advertising on marketplaces is the fastest way to sell goods in high demand, often with special promotions and discounts. The choice of marketplace is key to working with these platforms. Promotions on Yandex.Market can be launched through Yandex.Direct. OZON or Wildberries will require authorization as a partner and seller. Furthermore, you can offer your products on VK and run ads for them via VK Ads. 

  • Email marketing as a tool is an invaluable resource for engaging with your existing customer base, announcing promotions, and implementing retargeting strategies. It also serves as a powerful reminder of products previously viewed and items left in carts. This will require significant work with analytics and a personalized approach to advertising texts for different users. 

  • Embedding native advertising in the content of sites is the best way to avoid ‘banner blindness’. This method has excellent reach at a low cost. It also includes advertising from bloggers who operate on a percentage of sales per conversion from user ads. 

  • Mobile marketing includes the introduction of the application and the development of a mobile version of the site. The bounce rate often increases due to the inconvenience of the experience. You can run ads for a mobile app on almost all advertising platforms available in Russia, from VK Ads with various tactics to programmatic solutions.

  • Remarketing depending on the type of advertising. If you launch a paid ads campaign, it'll be Yandex.Direct. When running a paid social campaign, it will be VK Ads. Remarketing is the perfect way to reach those who have not yet made a purchase. These buyers have already formed a demand. All that's left is to motivate them with favorable conditions or simply remind them about your product.

  • Programmatic. This powerful tool works on the principle of auction. The ad with the highest bid will be shown on the site of the advertising network and to the user for whom it is relevant. The choice of site depends on the goals of the campaign. This also includes VK Ads and Yandex.Direct, as their systems are based on learning algorithms.  

Video advertising. This format is becoming more and more popular because it’s profitable for advertisers. Videos grab users' attention, and advertisers only pay if the user watches the ad to the end. You can run video ads on many services, most often on Yandex.Direct.

Working with advertising creatives

You must now consider the advertising itself—the content that will be shown to consumers on different platforms—and the budget for each of the advertising formats. Some platforms in Russia adapt creatives to the locations themselves. VK Advertising has a universal format. Upload text and photos, and the system will offer options for displaying ads.

It is crucial to understand that working with creatives is not a one-time process. It is a continuous process of testing hypotheses. This will make your advertising much more effective.

Defining promotion metrics

Before launching a campaign, you must decide on the metrics you will use to judge the success of your ads. You must also choose tools to track and analyze these metrics. Russian advertisers use Yandex.Metrica and analytics within advertising platforms. However, you can easily expand these by connecting additional analytical services.

Campaign launch

The launch of the campaign is a solemn moment. It is also the time to work with the first results and adjust ads in real time. This is possible in performance marketing. In this case, the best approach is to divide the entire advertising period into short ones, analyze the performance at the end of each of them, and then adjust the strategy accordingly. The duration can be a week, two weeks, or more—it depends on the product or service being advertised. If the data shows growth potential, change the creatives and their placement parameters.

Analyzing the results

The final step is to analyze the results, draw conclusions, and plan the next campaign. Yandex.Metrica, Google Analytics, and various call-tracking systems will help you here. We discussed these in detail in our last article. At this point, the campaign is adjusted to the selected indicators.

Performance Metrics

It is important to note that metrics often align with ad-buying models. That is, the advertiser pays for clicks, leads, sales, etc. Let’s break down the main ones.

  • CPA (Cost Per Action). Payment is only made for completed target actions: purchase, registration, subscription, etc. This is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective models.

  • CPM (Cost Per Mille). Payment for each thousand impressions. This is the best way to increase brand awareness. The cost will vary depending on the site and audience.

  • CPV (Cost Per View). Payment per view. Video advertising often uses this format.

  • CPS (Cost Per Sale). This model is ideal for achieving specific financial results because it involves payment for each sale made.

And so on. You can approach it creatively and define your personal model. The action for which payment occurs can be anything that a particular advertiser needs (provided that it can be calculated).

Furthermore, advertisers frequently attract influencers and place publications with a button, UTM link, or other parameters. He will also receive a percentage from new clients who come via links on the blogger's page.


Advertisement of FitStars service on the Mistika YouTube channel with the blogger's personal link in the description

Performance Marketing Trends

  • Automation and artificial intelligence are the future. Advertising is one of the most advanced industries leading the way in this trend. After all, only a machine can truly understand digital algorithms. Even advertising platforms are implementing AI to analyze data and adjust their users' campaigns. For example, Yandex. Direct and VK Advertising select advertising algorithms based on specified campaign parameters, and MTS Marketer uses a recommendation system that shows users creatives based on their interests.

  • Personalized offers and content tailored to the interests and needs of each user are becoming a standard not only in performance marketing but also in marketing in general. After all, the surest way to win a customer is to demonstrate a real understanding of their interests and a willingness to offer a product that closes exactly their unique pains.



Russian’s Performance Marketing: Launch Strategy and Trends
An advertising email to a LaModa user with a shopping cart abandoned



Russian’s Performance Marketing: Launch Strategy and Trends
Advertising offer on the request "Real estate in Cyprus" in the Yandex search bar


  • An omnichannel strategy is the only way to cover the maximum number of sources from which consumers can get information about your brand. You simply cannot achieve great results using only 2-3 advertising channels. You need to increase your presence in all the places where your audience goes. There are many places to be because modern people are accustomed to quickly switching attention. Combine advertising in messengers, social networks, news aggregators, streaming services, etc. You must study your customer’s behavior to identify the exact site they use.

  • The transition to mobile platforms has become a natural step in the development of the digital environment. It is now much more convenient to access the news feed from a smartphone than a personal computer. So advertising should also be oriented toward the mobile format.


Russian’s Performance Marketing: Launch Strategy and Trends
Media banner and product catalog of Yandex Market mobile version


  • Video content and gamification are here to stay. Users are consuming more and more content, so to make your ads stand out, you need to make them special. Add interactivity or "enliven" them. Use short promotional games to help the first objective and a beautifully filmed video to achieve the second. Also, use video with a short timing. The main idea should be within 30 seconds.


Russian’s Performance Marketing: Launch Strategy and Trends
In-stream advertising of VK WorkSpace service inside VK video


To properly evaluate the effectiveness of an advertising campaign, you must keep an eye on it from all sides. This means monitoring what creatives are sent to users, what kind of response they gather, what the display statistics are, what automated algorithms say, and what competitors do in such cases. You must pay attention to each stage to determine why users drop out (or grow) and how to improve conversion. It is important to understand that the real result will not be seen immediately after the campaign is launched. With the right parameters and creative elements in place, it's only a matter of time before the metrics show significant growth.

Remember this: the more expensive the advertised product, the more time and resources are required for its promotion. You need to take a specific approach, allocate a higher budget, and run an extended advertising campaign. Take the real estate promotion, for example. But advertising cosmetics can show results in a couple of weeks, even with a small budget.

Performance marketing is a dynamic and rapidly evolving approach. It requires constant analysis and optimization. If you prepare your strategy properly, select appropriate purchasing models, and consider modern trends, you will achieve significant results and increase the effectiveness of your promotion. It's not enough to simply desire a goal and have an advertising budget. You need to experiment, draw practical conclusions, and gain experience. If you don't have the resources to develop a digital campaign in-house, the best option is to work with an expert who can design, create, and allocate a budget to achieve your goals.

The RMAA team can help. We'll create a performance campaign with long-term results in mind. Get in touch today using the form on our contact page, and an RMAA manager will be in touch within 24 hours. 

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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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