Advertising to attract Russian-speaking users with Yandex Direct

Antoni Saurina

Written by Antoni Saurina

Undoubtedly, the Internet opens the door to offer our services and products to the whole world, allowing us to enter new markets that, not too many years ago, we could not even imagine. One of these markets may be the Russian-speaking market, which includes such interesting countries as Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. These countries have potential customers who need certain services, such as health-related services, are looking for a dream trip or even to buy a house in a country with a more benevolent climate than where they currently reside. This is where advertising campaigns come in that can show these potential customers the service or product they are demanding.

Russian-speaking countries can be an interesting market in which to promote our company.

Surely, it comes to mind that we can create specific campaigns in Google AdWords to advertise our products or services in these countries, and indeed it is so. What perhaps escapes us, although it may seem strange, is that the search engine of Google is not the most used in Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, etc. In these countries, just over 40% of the population uses it, if we only use this platform, we are missing out on the display of our ads to around 180 million people..

Yandex and its advertising platform Yandex Direct

Yandex is the most used Russian search engine, with more than 50% of Russian-speaking users. In 2001, the company also called Yandex, which owns the search engine, created a platform equivalent to Google AdWords, called Yandex Direct, which allows advertisers to advertise on the most used search engine in Eastern Europe.

Until recently, Yandex Direct ‘s philosophy was not the same as Google Ads. While Google’s platform has always rewarded companies that deliver relevant ads with usable web pages for users, Yandex has favored advertisers with larger budgets, to the point of creating so-called “premium” placements for these advertisers. This seems to be changing, and the philosophy is becoming more like showing relevant and quality ads to users.

Below you can see an example of how ads appear in the search engine for the search “дома в Испаниии”(Houses in Spain):

Search for a house in Spain on Yandex

As you can see, the ads are very similar to other search ads on platforms such as Google Ads or Bing Ads. The most visual difference is the inclusion of the favicon image of each website in the top left corner, although this is not really something exclusive to advertising, but rather to the search engine, which incorporates it into all the results.

Main differences of Yandex Direct with other platforms

Although the operation is similar to that of other advertising platforms, there are some important differences to take into account:

  • The payment currency is the ruble: it is the official currency of Russia and the one used by the platform for invoicing. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the exchange rate between ruble and euro, or the currency we use, in order to know what the investment amount will be.
  • Accounts are manually verified: this means that it will take some time between the time we register the account and the assigned person verifies and activates it. Therefore, it is necessary to plan the times to start publishing ads, especially if we have a specific action planned for a specific date.
  • Support is in English or Russian: so the person managing the account must know one of these languages or have some support in the company for communication issues.
  • The advertisements and landing pages must be in Russian language: the inhabitants of Russia or Belarus obviously speak Russian and in order for users to understand the advertisements and what we offer, they must be in this language. Likewise, it is recommended that the target web pages also be in this variant of the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • The public is different: We cannot forget that we are advertising in a country different from ours, so the offer, the way of communicating and the way of showing the promotions must be adapted to the users, otherwise it will not connect with them and will not get the best results.

As you can see, Yandex Direct has its differences and similarities with other more well-known ad platforms, but without a doubt, where its uniqueness lies is in the large number of Russian-speaking users who use it and whom we would not be able to reach if it were not for the Russian search engine.. We have to take into account the added difficulty of the platform but, even so, with the large target audience, it is probably worth investing in it if we have something interesting to offer.

What do you think of Yandex Direct? Do you find it interesting to promote products and services? Send us your comments, we will be happy to read them and exchange impressions.


  •  | 
  • Last modified on
Antoni Saurina
Antoni Saurina
Former Head of the Online Advertising Department at Human Level. Graduated in Technical Engineering in Computer Management. Specialist in web development and PPC/SEM with certification in Google AdWords and Bing Ads.


What do you think? Leave a comment

Just in case, your email will not be shown ;)