Thought Leadership
Mail.Ru Group on the Magnitude of the Russian Mobile Advertising Market


Irina Tripapina
Head of International Development
MyTarget (Mail.Ru Group)



myTarget is the mobile advertising platform for Mail.Ru Group, one of the largest internet companies with almost 90% of the market share of users in Russia. Can you share more about the capabilities of myTarget and what your role as Head of International Development entails?

Thanks for such a good intro! That’s right: myTarget offers easy access to 90% of Russian traffic. We can state that since Mail.Ru Group owns the largest social networks in Russia (Vk, OK) and other mobile services. These projects have over 50 million mobile users. Basically myTarget was created to provide easy access to the user base of Mail.Ru Group via one single interface. Advertisers can reach the audience of our social networks, create ads easily through a self-service interface (which is very similar to Facebook ads), check statistics, and optimize campaigns online.

My role includes marketing and sales to the international market. In other words, my mission is to help international publishers/agencies find and pave the way to the Russian market.


Do you have any general numbers you can share about the size of the digital/mobile advertising market in Russia? Do you also have a sense of the mobile app market size in Russia (total In-App Purchase amount, total number of users)?

Let’s start with mobile app market size. Russia is the 5th largest market in the world by combined iOS and Google Play downloads (by AppAnnie).

According to the TNS index, there are over 62 million mobile users here now.

As for growth, the market is expected to reach over 1 billion USD by 2019.

Mobile advertising spend in Russia (2012 – 2019) (forecast) mln USD. eMarketer data, Unilead calculation.


The Russian market is a large one, but due to its unique culture, localization is necessary for any developer entering it. Do you have any tips or best practices for localization?

Localization definitely needs to be considered. However, it is also important to note that the degree to which localization is necessary for an app can vary depending on its category/genre and unique characteristics. While Match-3 games and Casual games do not require serious localization, RPG games usually have much more text and culture-specific elements. Most of the time, a decent translation is enough.

The importance of localization depends on the game’s genre.



What are some average CPI ranges for app genres?

The CPI varies from 30 cents (for utility apps) to $1.50-2.00 (RPG and shooter games). You can see all the genres in the graph below.



What types of apps do Russian users like? What are some of the best performing app categories in Russia? Do they differ between iOS and Android?

Russians love mobile games. Games account for around 50% of downloads in the Russian market and around 75% of the revenue (by AppAnnie). For Google Play alone, Games generate around 90% of revenue. In addition, gaming is the #1 category in Russia as far as retention goes. According to Mail.Ru Group’s analysts, mobile games were the main growth driver (+20% y-o-y in rubles), reaching 10.6 billion rubles ($170 million), or 20% of the market.

That means that those who have mobile games should seriously consider the Russian market. Besides, myTarget ranked #1 in Europe for game apps (IOS AND ANDROID) in terms of retention, higher than Google AdWords, Twitter, and Facebook (AppsFlyer rating).

As for the other top categories, it’s important to mention e-commerce, dating, and utilities. Utilities is definitely a great category for promotion in Russia because of the huge Android user base.


What is the market share of iOS and Android in Russia? Are there certain unique characteristics iOS users have when compared to Android users?

Android is almost 3 times bigger than iOS in Russia (66% vs. 24%). As far as advertising behavior goes, it is not much different from the rest of the world: users are more likely to download your app on Android and the CPI will be cheaper.


What does the In-App Purchasing economy in Russia look like? Do most apps monetize via IAP or mobile ads? 

I am afraid there are no detailed public statistics on this. But I am sure most apps monetize with IAP. At the same time, a good mobile ad monetization strategy can bring you up to 60% revenue. We have our own monetization platform at myTarget which allows our clients to get the most out of their Russian users.


Yandex is the main search engine in Russia, but there have been reports that Google is hot on its trail in terms of search engine market share. How large of a player is Google in Russia, and what services do they offer there? (Search Engine, Gmail, Android, AdMob, etc.)

Russia is a bit similar to China in terms of market players: local search engines, email providers, and social networks have the largest share here. That’s why Vk and OK (myTarget traffic sources) are much bigger than Facebook, and Yandex is more popular than Google.


Is there a lot of competition in the Russian market when it comes to digital advertising? How many total digital and mobile advertising vendors would you say exist there (that a media buyer can work with)?

The market is huge in terms of volumes and opportunities. Your choice of partner depends on your advertising goals: if you are looking for contextual advertising, check out Yandex or Google. But if you need mobile app promotion, non-incent traffic and a social network audience, the answer is simple: myTarget is the right partner to pave your way.

Regarding other categories like gaming: the Russian mobile gaming market is dominated by international players: companies like Elex, Supercell, and Machine Zone are already receiving great revenue here (according to AppAnnie).


Lastly, what is your take on the future of the mobile advertising industry in Russia? 

Trends like the growth of native, video, and interactive ad formats are very relevant for Russia.

Looking at market conditions and third party reports makes me very optimistic about the future of mobile in Russia. As AppAnnie states, “The current market conditions and potential for future development make Russia an excellent opportunity for growth or international expansion.” I am certain that now is the perfect time to start exploring the Russian market, especially if you are looking for global expansion for your apps. The publishers, developers, and agencies who take advantage of this opportunity the soonest will benefit the most from the Russian market.



Mail.Ru Group develops internet communications and entertainment services in Russia and globally. Our strategy is simple: create the best services for communication and entertainment. We call our strategy communitainment (communications + entertainment). Today, the company operates all three of the Russian language social networks, Vkontakte (VK), Odnoklassniki (OK) and Moi Mir (My World), instant messenger services in Russia – Agent Mail.Ru and ICQ, the world’s leading email service, one of the largest portals in Russian-speaking countries, and the largest portfolio of online games. In Fall of 2013, we launched a subsidiary, which launched with mobile applications myMail, myChat and myGames. To make communitainment strategy a reality – we need highly skilled technical professionals. Mail.Ru Group is active in developing professional education, collaborates with leading departments of universities and offers a variety of programs designed to share and inspire the IT community. Examples include – Technology forum, an international championship for programmers Russian Code Cup, the championship for artificial intelligence programming Russian AI Cup, a design competition Russian Design Cup, and Technopark Mail.Ru – a unique educational project created by Mail.Ru Group and Bauman university for the preparation of highly qualified specialists in the field of web development.

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