New Yandex.Audience: what is it and how does it work?

Anastasia Kurmakaeva

Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva

The Russian search engine Yandex does not stop growing, and this summer it has done so with the launch of a new service, which consists in the possibility of personalized targeting of our target audience. A service that, undoubtedly, can be really interesting if we have a business oriented to the Russian-speaking market.

Let’s meet Yandex.Audience

Yandex.Audience is a completely new tool, which shares many similarities in its operation and purpose with the existing Google AdWords Customer Match and Facebook Custom Audiences. It allows Yandex.Direct users to use first-party information about their own customers to tailor targeted advertising to a single individual or groups of individuals, and segment them based on different factors, such as their place of residence, age, gender or even the device they use to perform their searches, among others. All this data will help us to carry out a detailed study of our audience, obtaining much more accurate statistics based on real information. Offering personalized recommendations will not only help to increase the sales of our business, but will also have a positive impact on customer loyalty. In this way, we will focus our efforts and our investment in advertising on the market segment that is really part of our sales target, avoiding unnecessary spending on those groups of people who are not interested in our products or services.

Yandex.Audience, tailored advertising for your users

How does it work?

In a very simple way. In order to use this tool you will need to upload a file from your database with the phone numbers, e-mail addresses or device indicators that your customers use; or, if you use Yandex.Metrica, import them conveniently from there. Yandex.Audience will take care of processing the uploaded data, comparing and combining it with the online and offline profiles of the users in its own database, and finally procuring a fully anonymized list of customer identifiers.

From all these data the tool will allow us to:

  1. Create different segments of users who share a similar profile.
  2. Search for users and user segments similar to those we already have in our database to target with our products or services. Yandex.Audience will be in charge of offering us a very precise selection of similar profiles, based on your interests or behavior on the network.
  3. Give access to our segments to other accounts in Yandex. That is, we can use the same user segment in several Yandex.Direct and Yandex.Display accounts.

To make it work, you will need to have a file containing a minimum of 1,000 unique elements in the form of e-mail addresses, phone numbers or identifiers, and follow the step-by-step guide in the next section. It is important to note that e-mail addresses do not have to be only from The tool will provide data regardless of the email service used by your customers, be it,, or any other.

Installing our first segment in Yandex.Audience

To create the first segment, go to Yandex.Audience and log in with your Yandex username and password. A blank screen will appear in front of us, with a button that says“Create segment“. Click and enter the data requested by the tool:

Creation of segments in Yandex.Audience

If we want to protect the privacy of our customers to the maximum, the tool gives us the option of encrypting the data entered. In that case, be sure to convert them to MD5 hashes before uploading. Check the “Hashed data” box at your convenience. On the other hand, Yandex also ensures that the data entered cannot be downloaded from its servers in any way, not even by the person who uploaded it in the first place.

We will select the desired text file from our device, and click again on“Create segment“. Yandex will get to work and in about 30 minutes will provide us with the promised data.

Searching for potential customers with the Look-alike functionality

Once we have everything up and running, one of the most interesting features of this new service is the possibility of searching for potential customers with the user segments we already have. To do this we will create a“Similar users segment” from one that we have already created.

Similar user segments in Yandex.Audience

During the creation of this segment we will be able to adjust the search accuracy for similar users. Obviously, the greater the precision, the fewer users we will find. It’s all about testing it and finding the point that proves to be the most effective in our own advertising campaigns.

Yandex.Audience finds similar users based on their interests, online behavior, geographic location, and age, among many other factors.

It could also be very useful to use this functionality in reverse. That is, we can create a segment of users who are less likely to be interested in our products or services, and create a segment of users similar to them. In this way, we will avoid investing money in advertising in vain.

Yandex.Audience for your advertising campaigns in Russia

Let’s see a practical example of how to use Yandex.Audience: if we have an online store of cell phones, and we segment the database of our customers by those who have bought the latest Samsung cell phone model, when they search for “samsung galaxy 7 edge accessories”, we will show them ads with related products, such as cases or screen protectors for that particular phone, headphones, portable batteries…

As you can see, it is a tool that offers us a wide range of possibilities to promote our business in a much more effective way. Try Yandex.Audience for your online advertising and loyalty campaigns!


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Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Former SEO consultant and translator at Human Level. She is a specialist in translation and SEO, with a special focus on the Yandex search engine. She is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English, being fully bilingual in the first two.

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