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Overview of Performance Marketing in Russia



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Performance marketing is a digital promotion strategy based on analyzing the real-time performance of an advertising campaign and paying for specific results. These results may include clicks, purchases, registrations, and other targeted actions. In short, this approach allows businesses to optimize their advertising efforts by considering performance metrics. 

However, if you approach performance marketing without sufficient preparation, you will not achieve the best results. If you lack experience in launching such campaigns, it's best to seek advice and assistance from experts. This area has its peculiarities, and the performance market is full of competition. To successfully position your brand, you need to make a quality strategy. Working with analytics and subsequent campaign optimization requires experience. A timely response will save part of the budget or achieve a better result.

Let’s break it down in more detail.

Russian Internet metrics in terms of performance marketing

At the beginning of 2024, there were more than 130.4 million Internet users in Russia. This represented a penetration rate of 90.4% of the population. 83% of the population accessed the Internet daily, spending an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes online per day. More than 106 million Russians today regularly open social networks, representing over 73% of the total number of citizens. This presents various opportunities for performance marketing, as all its tools are directly related to digital.

Russian’s performance marketing: tools and goals to win

The largest platforms in Russia are WhatsApp (81.5 million users), Yandex (68.8 million users), Google (64.6 million users), Telegram (56.6 million users) and VKontakte (54.6 million users). On average, these resources attracted 7-10 million new users each year, except for Telegram, which saw a 31.6 million increase. This has resulted in the messenger becoming one of the top five platforms in Russia, despite previously ranking ninth.

Russian’s performance marketing: tools and goals to win

In parallel with the growth of user bases, online promotion platforms are also expanding. In 2023, the Russian interactive advertising market grew by 55% to reach a total of 807 billion rubles. The traditional segments (banners, video, search, paid ads, paid social, and other performance advertising) increased by 32% (427.7 billion rubles).

Last year, 80% of advertisers in Russia identified performance marketing as their primary business objective. E-commerce demonstrated the most significant growth in this area, with experts forecasting that by 2024, it will account for a quarter of all performance-advertising revenues. In 2023, the market share was 25%, with search engines accounting for another 34%.

Key performance marketing tools in Russia

At first glance, it's clear that performance marketing involves different channels, so there's no one universal tool for it. This is, in fact, the case. Such advertising campaigns have too many parameters and platforms to be combined on one platform. 

Russian’s performance marketing: tools and goals to win

Russian advertisers were prepared to dedicate the majority of their advertising budgets to VK Ads (76-100%). Yandex.Direct and CPI networks received approximately 27% each. At the same time, a staggering 46% of advertisers invested in programmatic buying.

However, there are a number of the most popular services for placing ads and tracking their effectiveness.

Platforms for launching paid advertising

Yandex.Direct is the most popular advertising system in Russia. It allows businesses to promote products and services through several channels simultaneously, including the search network, their own and partner websites and applications, and the Yandex advertising network (over 50,000 resources). Last year, the company successfully tested the launch of advertising in public Telegram channels, and this function is now also available to Yandex.Direct users.

This tool is popular due to its flexibility. With Direct, you can run product and media advertising, as well as retargeting. For each of these areas, you can customize the display locations and ad appearance. For more information on product promotion strategies, including lead generation approaches, please refer to our article.

In the early days of performance ads, advertisers actively used the myTarget service, which is now owned by VK. However, it was replaced by VK Ads, which quickly gained popularity and allows users to deploy a full-fledged campaign on the largest platforms of the VK Group (VKontakte, Odnoklassniki,, Skillbox, etc.) and its partners (Avito, Yula, etc.).

The platform enables users to plan and run advertising campaigns and monitor data, budget, and results. VK Advertising offers the most convenient solution for promoting websites, mobile applications, and VK mini-apps, as well as lead forms, communities, product catalogs, music, videos, and broadcasts.

This tool offers several advantages, including the ability to use universal ads that automatically adapt to different formats and display locations. Furthermore, VK Ads is equipped with the capability to independently optimize the campaign budget, reallocating it to those ads that yield the highest conversions. 

Telegram Ads offers the opportunity to place advertisements in channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. The ads will be visible to users who do not have a Premium subscription.

Advertisers may utilize only one ad format: short text and a button. Additionally, you have the option of including a link to your channel in Messenger and an external website. Although the tool may appear somewhat limited at first, its lack of variability in the design of ads can be easily offset by the sheer number of users on the messenger platform itself.

Core Analytics Tools

Yandex Metrica is a web analytics system that enables you to monitor user behavior on the site, analyze conversions, and assess the efficacy of content. The algorithms collect a vast amount of data on attendance and advertising campaigns, which enables you to identify areas for improvement on the site. Currently, Yandex Metrica is the leading analytics system in the Russian market. 

Google Analytics is another comprehensive platform for analyzing Internet traffic. In the current market, it is a less relevant service for Russian advertisers. However, it offers many advantages over Yandex Metrics, including the ability to produce real-time reports and access competitor statistics.

Roistat is a full-fledged marketing platform that allows you not only to track key indicators but also to adjust campaigns with the help of built-in tools: end-to-end and multichannel analytics, call tracking, SEO-auditor, and others.

Furthermore, Calltouch, CoMagic, and Roistat are leading the market in Russia with their sophisticated analytics solutions. Next platforms differ significantly from Yandex Metrica and Google Analytics, which focus primarily on identifying sources of bids. Advanced analytics systems provide a comprehensive view of the customer journey, tracking it through to the point of purchase. These platforms enable businesses to assess the financial implications of clicks and other user actions (such as calls) in terms of their impact on sales, thereby providing a more comprehensive analysis of marketing effectiveness.

Calltouch is an end-to-end analytics, call tracking, and advertising management service. It tracks marketing activities, combines data from other advertising systems and CRMs, records the sources of calls and requests, and helps optimize contextual advertising on third-party services.

CoMagic is regarded as an efficient platform for comprehensive control of advertising efficiency. The service offers a range of pre-built solutions for businesses across various sectors, including medicine, real estate, agencies, and others.

Calltracking is another end-to-end analytics and call tracking service. It provides a detailed analysis of costs and profits, allows you to estimate the cost of each lead and monitor the effectiveness of advertising. In addition, it integrates free of charge into more than 27 services, including Yandex.Metrica.

Traffic Verification Tools

There are three main methods for ensuring traffic authenticity and protecting a brand's advertising environment: analytics systems, embedded Brand Safety systems, fraud protection in programmatic platforms (DSP), and specialized services for traffic verification. These approaches provide comprehensive tools for monitoring, verifying, and protecting digital advertising, ensuring that brands can safely and effectively engage with their target audiences. Furthermore, each service offers additional functionality. 

For instance: 

  1. is a service that independently audits traffic and identifies potential website vulnerabilities. It’s a valuable tool for enhancing transparency in traffic, tracking user journeys, and filtering out low-quality metrics.

  2. MyTracker is a multi-platform analytics system that collects and offers users detailed statistics on resource usage. This is a convenient service to evaluate traffic efficiency and analyze their audience.

  3. Weborama is a platform that provides data solutions to enhance campaign marketing performance and optimize its costs. Weborama fuses semantic analysis with in-depth audience insights, offering ready-to-activate segments. The service offers a range of solutions, including tracking and verification of advertising, as well as programmatic placement. 

  4. Adriver is a comprehensive system designed for the management and auditing of digital advertising (including video advertising), as well as the evaluation of campaigns and the strategic use of data. The service offers a range of tools, including reports, traffic verification, and the ability to purchase ad impressions in an open auction (Soloway DSP). 

Programmatic Platforms

It is estimated that 45% of companies in Russia, including international companies, have increased their budgets for independent programmatic platforms. This is largely because Western advertising platforms have ceased operations in Russia. While major market players such as Yandex.Direct, VK Ads, etc. cannot fully meet the needs of advertisers, AdTech companies offer their unique solutions as an alternative. It is important to note that programmatic platforms are primarily designed for awareness campaigns, rather than performance-based advertising. Programmatic platforms are typically employed for performance marketing when the capacity of the primary advertising channels, such as Yandex and VK, has been fully utilized. In certain instances, programmatic platforms may be employed for performance tasks, facilitating the promotion of niche, specific markets, for instance, the downloading and installation of mobile applications.

These tools form the foundation for the development of effective performance marketing strategies. Furthermore, the list is not exhaustive. The selection of a tool is contingent upon the specific needs and objectives of the promotion. These tools enable companies to achieve superior results through comprehensive analysis, control of fraud traffic, and precise audience segmentation.

In the next article, we will discuss the components of a campaign, the additional resources required at launch, and the current trends in performance marketing.

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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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