Blog about successful marketing strategies in russia

Digital Audio Advertising in Russia: A review of Music Services and Podcasts



Share this Post

The audio market experienced a 32% growth in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching a total of 20.2 billion rubles. Radio accounted for 19.5 billion rubles, while podcasts and other online audio formats contributed 700 million rubles.



2023, RUB billion 

Dynamics by 2022, %

Audio Advertising






Digital Audio




Media consumption is changing significantly with the development of digital technologies. Audio content has always been an important component of everyday life. The audio format has evolved, but it has not lost its appeal. It has simply shifted to other formats, such as podcasts, which have capitalized on the advances in the world of technology.

Traditional radio remains popular, with listening on smart speakers increasing by 39% in two years. Meanwhile, the number of users listening to the radio in cars has decreased by 6% over four years, while listening on computers has decreased by 25% over the same period, and on mobile devices by 1%. 

Internet radio and streaming services offering personalized music selections and podcasts are in high demand. Listening to music via streaming services is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. 

Music social networks are keeping up with the times and are constantly improving their music sections, utilizing the power of neural networks to improve the user experience.

In addition, the consumption of podcasts is increasing as their topics and formats are becoming more diverse. 

Let's examine the most popular streaming services and their potential for brand advertising.

Music listening services in Russia

Listening to music is the main function of audio services: 85% of users listen to music, 41% to online radio, 33% to audiobooks and 30% to podcasts. Music content accounts for 21% of all requests on YouTube.

Russian users prefer both specialized streaming services and social networks for listening to music. The most popular are VK Music with 31% of the population using it, Yandex Music (28%), Music in Odnoklassniki (14%), Sound (6%), YouTube Music (14%), and Apple Music used by only 4% of the population in Russia. 

Target Russia's Listeners: Your Guide to Digital Audio Advertising

The infographics show that Russian users are more likely to choose Russian apps, even though both YouTube Music and Apple Music are available in Russia. Apple Music doesn't have traditional advertising like some competitors. It focuses on helping artists and labels promote their music.

YouTube Music is different. Russian users can still use it but with some limitations. For example, it is not possible to directly purchase a YouTube Premium subscription.

Advertisers also faced certain difficulties. Since advertising in YouTube Music is integrated into the general advertising system of YouTube and Google Ads, it is now impossible to buy advertising directly into the service for display in Russia.

Another difference from global standards is the departure of the popular Spotify service from Russia. Russian users do not have access to Premium subscriptions. And advertisers have no advertising opportunities on the service.

Let's still focus on Russian streaming platforms. They are good for advertisers and are popular with Russian users. 

Target Russia's Listeners: Your Guide to Digital Audio Advertising

It is important to note that all audio advertisements in all services operate according to the same launch scheme: pre-roll (before listening) or mid-roll (played in the middle of listening).

VK Music and OK Music

VKontakte and Odnoklassniki are both owned by the same holding company known as VK. In terms of advertising opportunities, they are identical. The only differentiating factor is the architecture of their music applications and the age of their audience. 

VK Music is a streaming service provided by the Vkontakte social network. It is most popular among individuals aged 12 to 34, and among users aged 35 to 54, it ranks second. 

The social network Odnoklassniki offers the service Music, which is preferred by people aged 55 to 64 years, ranking second in demand. In the 35 to 54 age group, the service is in third place. 

Users can download music applications from VKontakte or Odnoklassniki to their mobile devices and log in using their network profile. Furthermore, music can be accessed via the desktop and mobile versions of these social networks. 

The services allow users to create and share playlists, discover new tracks and artists, and synchronize music with other devices. The service offers a comprehensive selection of music from a diverse range of genres and artists, along with personalized recommendations based on user preferences. Additionally, users have the option to download tracks for offline listening if they have a subscription.

Advertising features

Audio ads are played in both social network music applications and on desktop versions. The duration of the clip is typically between 15 and 30 seconds. The format allows for the addition of an image and a link to the site. Users who do not have a subscription will also see banners in VK or OK applications.

Please note that if the user is not subscribed to the paid service, ads will appear every few songs and cannot be skipped.

Audio ads, as well as other formats, can be customized through the VK Ads advertising cabinet, which offers the following tools:

  • The pay-per-view (listening) model. You can set limits on budget and frequency.

  • Targeting audience setup. You have the option of creating separate segments based on customer data.

  • Selecting the days and times when your target audience is most active. Different periods can be tested.

  • Statistics on the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. In particular, there is an opportunity to add additional metrics for analysis.

To enhance the impact of your advertising, it is advisable to produce a high-quality clip with a well-crafted script, suitable music, and an engaging voice-over.


Yandex has developed another streaming platform. The service offers users access to a wide range of music tracks, albums, and selections, along with personalized recommendations. It is accessible via browsers, applications for Windows and MacOS, as well as mobile applications for iOS and Android. 

The service has a large and engaged audience. Some of the most popular artists on the Yandex Music platform have over 2.5 million monthly listeners. For instance, the artist White Gallows, who won the "Spark of the Year" nomination, is a case in point. 

Approximately 28% of Russians utilize this service for music, podcasts, and radio. The majority of users are between the ages of 35 and 64. A slightly smaller proportion of users in the 12-to-34 age group also choose this service. 

One possible reason for its popularity is that users can listen to music and other audio content using a smart speaker from Yandex and a smart TV with Alice. All user settings, including preferences, are synchronized between these devices.

The ecosystem is designed to be convenient for users. To access the full range of services, users simply need to purchase a Yandex Plus subscription. This provides them with the opportunity to listen to music without restrictions and to watch content from streaming platforms, such as the Kinopoisk online movie theater, which is also part of the Yandex ecosystem. Furthermore, this also includes delivery services, cab services, and an online marketplace.

Advertising features

Yandex offers advertisers a range of audio advertising tools. 

  • Targeting by socio-demographic characteristics, geolocation, and other parameters. It ensures that the target audience is accurately covered.

  • The ad integration can include an audio clip, accompanied by a banner and a text headline with a link. The maximum duration of an audio clip is 30 seconds.

  • Cross-channel integration is also available. Integrating audio ads with other advertising channels allows for enhanced communication.

  • Reporting on the results allows you to easily track the number of listens and banner clicks.


Another music service, Zvuk, offers a comprehensive selection of content, including a vast library, podcasts, audiobooks, and sports broadcasts. It ranks fifth in popularity among all age groups.


Target Russia's Listeners: Your Guide to Digital Audio Advertising


Advertising features

Until 2022, the service was owned by Sberbank, after which the company was sold. Nevertheless, all advertising opportunities, including additional ones, remain available through the application. 

These include:

  • Placing ads in stores, restaurants, beauty salons, and other public places where music from Zvuk is broadcast. Customers of the audio service can create playlists for such establishments.

  • The option for advertisers to place advertising banners in the free version of the service on the website or in the mobile application (iOS and Android). Subscribers of the service can listen to music without advertising.

  • Personalization of advertising recommendations based on the users’ preferences marked in the application using the "heart" function. This allows for more precise ad targeting.

Furthermore, audio advertisements can be incorporated into playlists and broadcasts to reach a potential audience of listeners. Businesses can create and promote branded playlists that align with their brand image and theme. Furthermore, they can engage in sponsoring various music events and promotions on the platform, thereby increasing brand awareness and establishing positive associations with listeners.

Audio podcasts: advertising and trends

In 2023, there were 5.6 million conversions to podcasts, representing a 40% increase over the previous year. The most popular listening platforms were Yandex Music, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. The majority of the audience is men and women aged between 25 and 34, as well as over 55 years old. 

It is important to note that the podcast market in Russia is still in its early stages of development, and the popularity of these platforms may change over time. Furthermore, international platforms such as Castbox and Google Podcasts are accessible to Russian users, yet local services retain their leading positions. 

Modern listeners value podcasts for the convenience of learning new information while engaging in activities such as sports, travel, and household chores. The interest in podcasts is growing not only among regular users but also among businesses, which are increasingly launching their own podcasts to strengthen their brand and interact with their audience.

The chart below presents a ranking of the most popular podcasts based on data from Apple and Podtail. Please note that the list is current as of the time of writing.

Top 5 Russian podcasts

  1. «Time and money» (152 498 regular listeners)

A podcast about the influence of business on Russian history, featuring entrepreneurs and business schemes that changed history.

  1. «Blog mother» (44 340 regular listeners)

A podcast for those interested in blogging and promotion in social networks. The host Sasha Mitroshina discusses the blogosphere with her guests.

  1. «Cases» (37 992 regular listeners)

A crime podcast exploring real-life crimes and the stories of the people connected to them.

  1. «Don't tell me how to live my life» (32 881 regular listeners)

Alena Bresson helps listeners create a life they love by providing tools for self-care and personal growth.

  1. «Let's start on Monday» (30 121 regular listeners)

The presenters challenge themselves and try something new each week, sharing results and personal stories. Main topics: personal time management, goal setting, etc.

Advertising features

As with music, podcast platforms can accurately target audiences based on their interests, preferences, and specific demographics. Listeners of this format are typically highly engaged with the content and trust the hosts, making them more receptive to advertising messages. 

Advertisers can collaborate with podcast creators to incorporate native advertising into the content. For instance, the recommendation of a product or service to the hosts during an episode. This is somewhat analogous to influencer marketing in an audio format, where the podcast hosts act as opinion leaders. 

Additionally, sponsorships are available for entire episodes or series of podcasts. These sponsorships often include mentions at the beginning and end of episodes, as well as integrations into the content. Additionally, they frequently collaborate with one another, creating opportunities for advertisers to reach multiple audiences through strategic partnerships (cross-promotion).

Many creators utilize social media platforms to promote their shows, providing additional advertising touchpoints for brands.


Target Russia's Listeners: Your Guide to Digital Audio Advertising

The 'Let's Start on Monday' VK community podcast announcement post


Furthermore, some podcasters film their broadcasts and post them on YouTube, as Alexander Sokolovsky does.


Video of Alexander Sokolovsky podcast on YouTube

Fast conclusions

There is considerable potential for audio advertising in Russia, with a high level of effectiveness. It has long been used in formats beyond radio. However, even radio shows are experiencing high growth rates. We wrote about it earlier.

In addition, targeted audio advertising in music services, whose audience is stable and engaged with the content, and influencer marketing in podcasts, a relatively new format in the Russian market, are also effective promotional tools. 

The choice of strategy, of course, depends on the product being advertised and its key characteristics. Plus, audience analysis, creative development, and other stages of the campaign. We are well-positioned to assist with all of these tasks, given our extensive experience in launching audio advertising in Russia and the CIS. To contact an RMAA manager promptly, please complete the application form in the contacts section

How does the Media Buying Market in Russia Work?

Navigating the Media Buying System in Russia

Download for free

Download for FREE

Ready to partner with the specialists in Russian marketing and advertising?

Contact us

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

We use cookies to improve your personal online experience.

Learn more