Emerging Mobile Markets Part 5: The Growth Story of Russia

Welcome to the final part of our Emerging Mobile Markets Series, where we are focusing on the main trends shaping the app economy in the regions of Brazil, India, Indonesia and Russia. So far, for each region we have elaborated on the main trends in the mobile market as well insights into acquisition costs and growth of app economy. Through this series, we hope our readers will be able to put the trends into perspective to better understand the prospects of growth and challenges, as well as, decode what these trends hold for the future of app advertising both in these regions and globally.

In the last piece in our series on “Emerging Mobile Markets,” we take a look at the market in Russia. Along with the other regions of focus in our series, Russia forms the fourth connecting dot in the future of ad tech space when it comes to emerging app economies.

This post is co-authored by AppLift’s Marina Antonova and Shasha Tursunova.

The beginnings of mobile ad tech market in Russia can be traced back to 2009 — a time when mobile apps market established, albeit a year later than the rest of the developed economies.

It all started with, the biggest social channel in Russia, and a rapid growth of mobile marketing influenced by the big internet player Group. The first advertising platform, MyTarget, was also launched by the Group.

The largest smartphone market in Europe (at 80 million smartphone users), Russia’s ad tech space is still emerging to show its full potential. Affordable connectivity and lower smartphone prices are other factors driving the shape of app economy in the country. While the market is dominated by Android store, local Russian alternative Yandex.Store is the biggest alternative, and is pre-installed on many smartphone devices.

Russia is home to a significant number of talented developers, engineers and IT specialists as well as some of the biggest gaming advertisers in the country. Social networks and gaming apps have been the biggest drivers of app economy growth in Russia. The country, with its almost 70 million gamers are predicted to be biggest spenders, making Russia the 11th largest games market in the world. In Europe, Russia tops the mobile gaming spending in terms of the number of downloads. According to another report released last year, as many as 116 mobile games were released in the country, of them 40% are being offered by foreign publishers.

Today, the fast development of 4G networks and the general shift of consumption and communication habits towards mobile (mobile shopping, mobile banking and wallets, growth of geolocation services) are all shaping up how advertisers approach the Russian app market. One of the biggest drivers of growth is that the costs for user acquisition in Russia are lower than it is in Tier 1 markets, motivating advertisers to expand.

The Russian ad market is forecast to grow 9.6% according to reports. Gaming remains popular, but eCommerce apps are catching up, creating new opportunities for app advertisers. App localization can be key for players wanting to enter into and expand the user base in the Russian market. There are also opportunities for advertisers to expand beyond Android app store and explore the avenues provided by local alternatives. While the opportunities are immense, the key for success lies in understanding the local market.

Check out our infographic below to get deeper insights into the mobile marketing landscape in Indonesia and click on the image for a larger view to download.

Thank you for joining us on this series. In case you missed the previous editions, check out the Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.