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The Role of Social Media Influencers in Russia: Audience Engagement Analysis



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The influencer market in Russia is experiencing rapid growth, attracting the attention of both users and marketers. According to the latest research, the number of active bloggers on social media platforms continues to expand. As of the end of 2023, the number of authors in Russia reached 64.6 million, representing a 3.7% increase from 2022. 

It is noteworthy that partnering with nano- and micro-bloggers can be more effective for small and medium-sized companies than with big bloggers. This is because the budget for such campaigns is usually lower, and the ability to optimize costs increases the effectiveness of advertising. Additionally, with small opinion leaders, it is easier to agree on more flexible terms of cooperation, such as different forms of payment, including CPA or barter. Conversely, bloggers with millions of followers continue to actively cooperate with large brands. It is clear that opinion leaders exert considerable influence over their followers. This article will examine it in greater detail.

Bloggers' influence on purchasing decisions

Recommendations from bloggers play an important role in the purchasing decisions of consumers. A significant proportion of them—more than 80%—consult online reviews and recommendations before making a purchase. Furthermore, approximately 70% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on bloggers' opinions. 

It is crucial to recognize that the impact of influencers on consumers extends beyond product opinions. The quality of content, the authenticity of the blogger, and their interaction with the audience can all affect the decision. It is also important to recognize that native ads seamlessly integrated into the author's primary content consistently elicit a more favorable response from the audience than a traditional promotional narrative.


Pusy brand native advertising by blogger Anna Pankova

Consequently, for a successful marketing strategy, it is vital to comprehend how bloggers influence product perception and to create content that will elicit trust and an emotional response from the audience. 

Further research and analysis can assist in identifying the most effective methods for engaging with influencers and optimizing the outcomes of advertising campaigns. Also, it is important to consider the trends and features of social networks.

Specifics of content in social media

The social media landscape in Russia has undergone significant changes since 2022, when Instagram* was blocked, targeted advertising on YouTube was stopped, and content uploads to TikTok were disabled. 

YouTube, VKontakte, and Telegram are currently the most popular social media platforms in Russia. Despite being blocked, Instagram* is still in the top 10 in Russia, albeit with a much smaller audience than before. Consequently, a significant number of bloggers have transferred their content to Telegram and VKontakte.


The Role of Social Media Influencers in Russia


Each social network has its own specific content, which bloggers consider when developing their content strategy. 

YouTube is a video platform where users can upload and view a diverse range of videos. Popular content on YouTube includes entertainment and educational videos, product reviews, music videos, and more. For further information about YouTube in Russia, please see our dedicated content on this topic.

VKontakte offers a comprehensive range of functionalities. Users can create groups, personal pages, chats, share photos, videos, and audio recordings, as well as read news, communicate in groups, and follow the activities of their friends. The ability to publish a variety of content, coupled with the availability of special programs for VK authors, has led to a significant number of bloggers in Russia using this social network, including for commercial integrations with brands. Please refer to our previous coverage of VK for more information. 

Telegram is a messenger where users can create channels and groups for the purpose of sharing content. Information channels, bloggers' author pages, channels with memes and humor, as well as channels with educational materials and many others are all popular here. This is reflected in the nature of the content. A blogger's optimal integration here is a text post in the native format or text plus image or video. Despite the ability to publish Stories on Telegram, this format has not yet been utilized as extensively as the news feeds of channels. 

As before, Instagram* is primarily a platform for visual content. A current trend is the use of reels, a format actively published by bloggers in their accounts. This format combines the main content with commercial videos. For further information on the leading Russian bloggers on Instagram*, please click here.

Bloggers' influence on the audience in the different market niches

In various market segments, influencers exert a significant impact on consumer behavior. From cosmetics to tourism, their recommendations play a significant role in shaping consumer preferences and influencing purchasing decisions. Let us examine how bloggers affect different industries and their specialties in each market segment.

Beauty Experts

In Russia, as in the United States, consumers rely on beauty bloggers for product recommendations. This is particularly evident among women aged 35 to 44, who represent a significant proportion of Russian cosmetics purchasers.

The Role of Social Media Influencers in Russia

On YouTube, where the largest number of users is in the 25-44 age group and 45.6% of the audience is represented by women, advertising integrations are highly effective. 

For instance, our agency successfully executed a campaign with cosmetics brand Celimax, which was showcased on the Golden Apple online store and featured influential beauty experts and bloggers. This partnership resulted in a notable increase in sales, with the brand's entire inventory sold out in August 2023.


Celimax advertising integration on MZ's YouTube channel, by RMAA

Beauty bloggers in Russia create a variety of content including reviews, testimonials, product demonstrations, and skincare tutorials. Their audience actively interacts with the content by asking questions and giving their feedback. Thanks to their expertise, bloggers become reliable sources of information and a kind of "senior girlfriend" for female cosmetics buyers.


Advertising integration of Divage brand in the VK community of makeup artist Olga Fox Club  

How bloggers promote games and influence audiences

In Russia, game bloggers have a significant impact on their audience. Their reviews, streams, guides, and commentaries foster a unique connection with viewers, who often seek their insights on new games and updates.

There are significant advantages to advertising through gamers. Firstly, due to the trust placed in bloggers by their audience, their recommendations are perceived as independent and objective. Video games are long-running products, so brand advertising also remains on the screen for a long time. Secondly, popular bloggers have millions of subscribers, which allows them to reach a large audience in a relatively short time. Finally, viewers of bloggers actively participate in discussions and comments, which serves to further disseminate information about the product.

For instance, as part of an advertising campaign for GMNG, a brand of gaming peripherals, the New World Marketing Agency celebrated International Women's Day by gifting headphones, keyboards, and mice to prominent female gamers. The bloggers utilized these accessories during their broadcasts on Twitch.TV, which enhanced brand awareness and sales. Subsequently, the female streamers provided positive reviews of GMNG's accessories, accompanied by high ratings. 

The Role of Social Media Influencers in Russia

RMAA has been working with game developers for many years and is well-versed in gamer integrations. For instance, we were able to successfully organize a YouTube and Twitch streamer tournament for Shadow Arena. Also, we spearheaded a blogger campaign for Genshin Impact. Our cases demonstrate the effective use of gamers to promote games. By the way, there are a number of strategies that can be employed in this regard. However, the most common formats are YouTube and Twitch integrations. Further information on the current top gamers can be found here and here.

The Role of Social Media Influencers in Russia

According to recent statistics, the gaming audience in Russia is one of the fastest-growing and most solvent in the world. At the same time, over 30% of users spend between 1,000 and 2,999 rubles per month on games, while another 19% spend 3,000 rubles or more. It is estimated that approximately 45% of players in Russia have made at least one donation to streamers and developers. This further demonstrates the efficacy of integrating with gamers for gaming products.

What do Russians buy and where do they go according to travel bloggers?

Social media and online services have become crucial tools in the growth of domestic tourism. According to Global Digital Traveller Research, 80% of Russians had already begun to prioritize photos on social media when planning trips. This trend has only intensified over time.

In the travel industry, micro-bloggers, or nano-influencers, are considered particularly effective at attracting an audience. Their advertising, especially on the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, is often more impactful than that of celebrities. Social media users are more likely to trust micro-influencers, viewing them as acquaintances they can trust.

A case in point is microblogger Alena_Travelholic. Alena has 104 thousand followers on Instagram*, who follow her life and travels. Additionally, the blogger has established her own travel club, where she disseminates valuable information about various countries, organizes an annual convention, conducts English lessons, and so on.  Her account features native advertising for eco-hotels in the Maldives, as well as 3-in-1 Ray-Ban sunglasses.



Additionally, travel bloggers spread their daily activities through streams and shorts on YouTube, which enables them to exert considerable influence over their audience. Their native integrations are naturally built into the content and are considered the most effective. 


Advertising integration of Alfa Bank in Sitnikova_travel Telegram channel

Despite the importance of travel bloggers for the tourism industry, no research or case studies on advertising integrations with these bloggers have yet been published in Russia over the past six years. However, some services, such as Yandex Travel, have been working with bloggers on an affiliate program for quite some time and are prepared to invest significant sums in this area, which indicates the potential for collaboration with influencers to promote travel services.


Advertising integration of Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel by popular Instagram* blogger Lena Perminova 

For the latest updates on the top travel bloggers in Russia, follow us on VK, YouTube, and Telegram.

Bloggers in the FMCG industry

FMCG influencers have an impact on the formation of consumer preferences and behavior in a variety of areas, including fashion, food, technology, and home goods. Bloggers actively discuss food and delivery, conduct fashion reviews, and test appliances and gadgets, thus influencing the formation of demand and preferences in this category of goods.


Thematic review of products from Magnit, Vkusvill, and Azbuka Vkusa stores on the Kushat Hochu channel

An example of successful interaction with the audience in this sphere is a popular YouTube blogger Vlad A4. In addition to vlogging, Vlad founded his own pizzeria a4pizza, and food brand STM Lava Lava, and earns on A4SHOP merch - sweatshirts, T-shirts, backpacks, and other things with the brand "A4".

In 2021, Vlad Paper successfully ran advertising campaigns for ready-made breakfasts, cornsticks, and lemonade.  The result of it is that sales of carbonated beverages in July 2020. - June 2021 amounted to 150 billion rubles, breakfast cereals - 15 billion rubles, corn sticks - 4 billion rubles. 

Now the blogger continues to work on his product line, adding new "chips" to the promotional tools. For example, he actively communicates with his audience by publishing photos of customers with products of his brand on the VKontakte social network. 



As we can see, the influence of bloggers on consumers in various areas is huge. Their recommendations actively impact purchase decisions. For a successful marketing strategy, it is important to harness the potential of bloggers, which lies in their reach, user engagement, and content that evokes an emotional response from the audience. 

In addition, other nuances of the influencer campaign need to be considered. These include audience analysis, social network peculiarities, development of the main idea of the promotion, formats of integration, etc. You can learn more about how to use influencer marketing for your promotion in Russia and CIS in our special industry report. You can also subscribe to our blog using the form below. 


*Meta Platforms Inc. project, the activities of which are banned in Russia.

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About the Author

A content lead. Natalia runs marketing projects promotion with different digital tools in the Russian-speaking market. 


Author Natalia Gorenkova

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