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Social Networks in Russia and Their Development in 2018



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Social networks are very popular among Russians. The most attractive resources for communication and learning news of both global and private nature are Odnoklassniki and VK. A plentitude of Russians also use Facebook, as well as Instagram and My World for communication.

Social networks are constantly developing. The necessity of development is caused by the aim to keep already registered users and involve new ones, to offer them more attractive ways of communication and gaining interesting information. How will social networks be developing in 2018? What innovations are to be awaited? Read the RMAA Group blog to learn about 2018 SMM important trends.

Social Network Ratings at Year-End 2017

In 2017, Russians were actively using social networks. Many of them preferred to access them from mobile devices: smartphones and tablets. The number of registered users from Russia grew, which shows that Russians are not yet going to stay off social networks as the source of various interesting information and the communication tool.

VKontakte (VK)

According to information on VK users for the last month of 2017, 41.1 million Russians were using this social network for communication, video viewing, and reading of interesting posts. 51.7% of them are females. As for age rates, VK is most popular among Russians from 25 to 34 years old. However, VK is also actively used by the underage, which is encouraged by user-friendly interface, as well as a lot of information targeted at youth.


The rates in December 2017 indicating the Russians’ activeness in Odnoklassniki are more moderate, compared to the data on VK hits. However, 27 million Russian users preferred to communicate and get interesting information there. Again, female audience was prevailing, equal to 55.6%. Like VK, Odnoklassniki turned out to be most interesting for Russians from 25 to 34 years old, but there is also a pretty big percentage of users younger than 25 years old.

As the statistics shows, Odnoklassniki is used by a bigger number of people older than 40 years old than VK. OK.RU development managers believe that this user segment is more responsive. Most 40+ users positively treat ads and news related to appearance of new goods and services, whereas there are also pretty many young people (younger than 25) interested, which is caused by Odnoklassniki well-elaborated entertainment platform: here one can watch new movies, play games and invite their friends there etc.


This is a social network that, in the experts’ estimation, became most attractive for those who take senior positions. It is safe to say that in Russia, Facebook has long informally become a business network; therefore, many B2B decisions are advertised here. As for number rates, in December 2017 the Russian Facebook audience constituted 21.7 million people. Women, compared to men, navigated Facebook more often, equaling to 58.9%. Age rates show that Facebook is most popular among Russian at the age of 25-34.


As of the beginning of 2018, Instagram is still significantly behind the above social networks. However, analyzing the growth of its visits by Russian, it is safe to say about the constant increase in the level of interest to Instagram. In December last year, Instagram was visited by 16 million Russian users. Here female audience mostly predominates, equaling to 76.9%. Communication in Instagram, as it is known, is based on upload of numerous pictures. While it is women, including Russian ones, who like taking pictures and discussing what they have seen much more often, it is clear why Instagram mostly attracts the fair sex.

My World

During the first years of its existence this social network was more popular. As time went by, Russian audience of My World has tremendously thinned off. As of December 2017, 9.1 million Russians used this social network for communication and entertainment. Women visited My World more often. As for age, My World turned out to be most popular for Russian aged 35-44.

2018 Social Network Development Trends

According to experts’ estimates, 2018 will be marked by even greater feminization, compared to 2017, where, if to analyze the information above, social networks were most popular with women. Many companies already used this peculiarity and began the process of content and advertising adaptation specifically for female audience. As for technical directions, the following is going to be developed:

  • Mobile
  • VR and AR technologies;
  • Video advertising;
  • Content quality;
  • Messengers.

Mobile and Its Development in 2018

The number of mobile users is keeping steadily growing. By experts’ estimates, only in July to September last year the statistics data showed 9% growth. In October, already 57% percent of inhabitants of large Russian cities were using mobile devices for access to social networks more often. Some advertising analysts are sure that the mobile segment will finally prevail very soon. Russians will be using desktop computers for communication in social networks less often. The reason for that is convenience of mobile use. Any social network can be accessed in any conditions, regardless of the user’s location. It is also encouraged by decrease in Internet cost rates by mobile operators.

VR and AR Technologies in 2018

As we wrote in our previous article about the development of the Russian advertising market in 2018, the future year trend should be active introduction of VR and AR technologies. In particular, Facebook is actively implementing an image search system in a similar way to Yandex and Google search systems, as well as developing Facebook Spaces platform, which lets its users communicate in 3D format.

As is known, popularity of virtual reality keeps on growing, so the urge of social networks to adapt to this situation is quite understandable. Developing respective technologies and implementing them on their platforms, social networks will manage not only to attract new users, but also to reliably hold attention of those who already use their opportunities.

SMM Video Advertising: Development Trends

In 2018, social networks will pay more attention to quality of video advertising. Today, Facebook is developing mid-rolls (ads similar to TV ones). At that, thorough targeting is applied, which enables to provoke interest of a particular user in what is interesting exactly for him or her.

Modern social network users are more and more often blocking usual ads. As experts say, this trend will survive in 2018, too. In their turn, mid-rolls managed to mitigate Russians’ negative attitude to advertisements. As a user watching a mid-roll sees what he or she is interested in, he or she is generally not trying to interrupt the viewing. Consequently, the popularity of mid-rolls among advertisers will significantly grow.

Budgets for creation and publication of video ads in social networks are expanding. So, according to the experts’ opinions, even today more than 25% VK investments are made in advertising campaigns in video format. This is encouraged by such technical tools as automatic video start, several variations of promo formats, flexible targeting. Odnoklassniki are trying to keep up with VK, having video advertising with automatic start as well, there is an opportunity for advertisers to choose audience for their advertising campaign by means of myTarget platform.

Content Quality Increase in 2018

Every year sees a growth in demand of Russian social network users for content quality. This is reflected in the fact that they are more interested in information that is beautifully ‘packed’ and contains details that are important for a certain user at the same time. Today, visibility of posts in social networks already depends on the content quality, their uniqueness and interest of the audience. This trend will also survive in 2018.

A modern Russian social network user is no longer an Internet discoverer, and great efforts should be made to attract his attention. More creativity will be demanded from advertisers. In addition to that, foreign companies should also have an idea of spheres that are of interest exactly for Russians. Only if advertising is really interesting and original, you can be sure in promotion of one or another type of goods and services in the platforms of social networks visited by Russian users.

Brand Content Ranking Drop in Facebook

Apart from that, it is worth telling about a statement of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder. In 2018 there will be a decrease in ranking of brands content. According to Mark’s statement made in January 2018, efforts of developers of the worldwide-known resource will be aimed at the idea that Facebook users should time on Facebook with greater use and communicate more. This was caused by the fact that the content of companies, brands, and mass media began squeezing out personal stuff that made users talk to each other.

As a result, Facebook examined the aforesaid tendency, learned various researches, and made its own analysis with involvement of leading experts. The analytics shows that a social network is attractive exactly because there people get pleasure from talking to each other, not feeling lonely, while reading different articles and watching video, even if they are interesting and informative, should be treated as advantages of Facebook visitation.

Eventually, a decision was taken to make serious changes to Facebook functionality. Users will see less public content, including ads of brands, companies, and mass media. All posts related to business or social activities should contribute to meaningful interaction between people. Percentage of involvement number of comments, as well as posts’ thrill will affect content ranking. Brands and companies will have to remodel their actions on Facebook. If they do not gather a community of interested users, their content will be in last ranking positions.

Development of Social Network Messengers as 2018 Trend

Messengers, as is known, provide exchange of instant messages. It is information transmission speed that contributes to growth of interest in them. Social network developers took this tendency into account. Whereas an application for exchange of instant messages used to be part of social networks, now there is their separation into an independent resource. Facebook had already divided his basic application from its messenger; Instagram decided to do the same way. In 2017, his developers started testing a new messenger Direct, which will exercise a function of private messages exchange.

By the way, it is worth noting that Russian authorities have already reacted on the growth of popularity of messengers among Russians. On January 1, 2018 a new law came into force that prohibits anonymous use of mobile messengers. From now on, mobile instant messaging services will only be rendered to those who went through an identification process on grounds of a customer number, as well as of a respective contract.

Telegram as a New Promotion Tool

Development of Telegram messenger should be noted separately. Telegram channels, sources of diverse useful information, are gaining great popularity. According to the experts’ estimates, this trend will survive in 2018, too. Creation of Telegram channels already attracted owners of business and mass media and numerous inventors. And those who started using these channels for promotion already achieved good results in spreading information on their activities. In general, it is worth to be noted that promotion in messengers is still in its infancy. In this case, Telegram is a pioneer in this field, that is why it is quite reasonable to expect it to outrun its competitors and become an effective platform for promotion of various goods and services.

SMM Trends: Results

To conclude, on grounds of the aforesaid data, it is possible to come to a pretty obvious conclusion. Social networks aim for renovation, modernization, introduction of new technologies, and increase in quality of already used tools. All this is done in order to keep Russian users in social networks. However, a lot will depend on the very advertiser who will be using social networks for promotion of its goods and services. 


RMAA Group experts are ready to render professional services when there is a goal to use social networks for advertisements. With their help, it will be possible to achieve efficiency of an SMM advertising campaign, spark interest in Russian users, and attract their attention. If you wish to get more detailed information on visitation analytics of popular Russian social networks, download our free version of the book Digital Marketing in Russia 2018. The information there will help to learn about activity criteria of various categories of Russian users who prefer to communicate and get interesting information in social networks.

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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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