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An Introduction To Yandex Paid Search Part 1.

The author

Epiphany Search

So hands up, who can tell me the name of the most popular search engine in Russia? Google you say? Wrong I’m afraid – the answer is Yandex.  That answer may surprise many of us, especially those used to seeing Google dominate the search engine market in our own country. It doesn’t however, surprise those in Russia who use Yandex day in, day out, to point that they associate Yandex as being ‘the internet’ itself. So what makes Yandex so special? Here’s a few facts highlighting the rise of this famous Russian search engine:

So hands up, who can tell me the name of the most popular search engine in Russia? Google you say? Wrong I’m afraid – the answer is Yandex.  That answer may surprise many of us, especially those used to seeing Google dominate the search engine market in our own country. It doesn’t however, surprise those in Russia who use Yandex day in, day out, to point that they associate Yandex as being ‘the internet’ itself. So what makes Yandex so special? Here’s a few facts highlighting the rise of this famous Russian search engine:

  • Yandex was launched in 1997 and is now valued at around US$5 Billion.
  • It is estimated to have a market share of 57% in Russia compared to Google’s 23% and a daily audience of over £8m unique visitors. (Yandex.ru)
  • Russian users tend to favour Yandex due to its greater grasp of localised grammar and language when it comes to the relevance of search results in comparison to Google.
  • The popularity of Yandex in Russia is so much so that Firefox switched its default search engine to Yandex from Google at the start of last year due to feedback from Russian users.
  • It’s a market that’s forecast for major growth as broadband begins to reach smaller Russian communities. Google expects the market for search-related ads in Russia to rise from $200 million in 2007 to $1 billion by 2010 with broadband penetration only 10% back in 2007 and expected to triple by 2010.

So that brings me on nicely to discussing paid search opportunities in Russia through Yandex more precisely. As mentioned above, the market for search related ads has been growing over recent years with broadband penetration on the rise in Russia. But where do you even begin to start when it comes to running a paid search campaign through Yandex? There was a point in time when I was faced with that very same question. However, after a little detailed research, and a far greater understanding, I was recently able to begin undertaking my first campaign. I’d like to share my initial thoughts and pass on a brief introductory guide on how the Yandex paid search platform (known as Yandex.direct) works:

  • Similarly to Google, Yandex offer a range of free services such as email, website hosting, maps, games, greeting cards and social networking. Each individual site offers a different niche market to target in the form of display adverts.
  • In terms of search-based targeting, the format and layout of paid search adverts on Yandex again is very similar to Google. There are 2 premium spots above search results and a further 9 ad blocks to the right hand side.

pete1

  • The text adverts themselves have the following format; a 33 character title and a 75 character block text description that can be split over 2 further lines.

pete2

  • Importantly from an overseas advertiser’s perspective, if an advert links through to a website in non-Russian language, the advert needs to specify this.

So how do you get started?

  • Payment works on a pre-pay basis – you decide on a click spend budget and pay this up front before starting.
  • The minimum order is around $12 for a standard Yandex direct account, but if it’s over approximately $700 it qualifies for what is known as a Yandex Direct Carefree account. This provides the advertiser with a dedicated, English speaking account manager who will help create and run your campaign (assistance with keywords selection, composing the ad text and advertising strategy consulting).

The last point here is particularly important, as the Yandex direct interface is currently solely in Russian! No problem of course if you speak the language, but if, like me, you don’t, it would be essential to have a dedicated account manager to help set up and aid your management of the campaign. So outside of Russia, who would advertising through Yandex appeal to? Clearly advertising on Yandex isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you’ve not been scared off by the any of the above processes, and are quite keen to experiment on a search engine in a country that currently sees as much search-related traffic as the UK, if not more; then it’s definitely worth a trial. It could appeal to domestic ecommerce sites looking to take advantage of another lucrative market outside of their own. Delivery charges would obviously be a major factor to consider – ideally a larger sized company with ties already in Russia/mainland Europe at the very least would be better suited than others. However, it is without doubt that companies selling intangible goods such as computer software that could be sent electronically, or consultancy advice, would be best placed to take advantage as long as Russia could present possible market opportunities for their products. Thank you for reading ‘An introduction to Yandex paid search part 1’. In part 2, I’ll focus more on the day to day running of a Yandex paid search campaign, the relationship with Yandex in setting up and maintaining a campaign and the types of results we have seen. Please re-visit this blog for future updates.