Yandex’s launch of Yandex.Maps in July of 2010 following its acquisition of GIS Technologies is now to be fully exploited through the addition of Geo-targeted ads which will appear in the maps, in Yandex’s business directory and more significantly within the search results themselves giving local businesses the opportunity to obtain greater “Stand Out”.
Business owners can opt for a premium placement product which means that the company’s location is highlighted on the associated maps and access to the contact details for the firm needs a simple click. This is a new market for Yandex and the company says it is aiming to provide the ideal solution for Russian small businesses who don’t actually have any kind of online presence — such as bakeries, hairdressing salons or repair shops.
Head of the Advertising Technologies Group at Yandex, Eugene Lomize, a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, points out that, “Geo-targeted ads have one important feature that they share with the ads served by Yandex.Direct: they are triggered by users’ search queries.” Advertisers can obtain the advertising solution through around 20 companies in Russia — as well of course as from WebCertain.
The following screenshots demonstrate how the service works and its presentation. Of course, this is very similar to Google Maps and critics will say that this is a copy. However, Yandex have achieved a very attractive presentation of the service. The first screenshot shows a search for “Car Services” near “Golovinskoe Shosse” in Moscow with the company “Наука-авто” or “Nauka-Avto” highlighted.
At the top of screen are two search boxes, on the left is the “What” and on the right is the “Where”. The number one listed Nauka-Avto is the organisation paying a premium to have its location on the map highlighted and also its listing to appear at the top of the listings shown on the left hand side.
The next screenshot shows a search for banks in the “What” search box on the left and “Vatutina Street” is showing in the “Where” search box on the right — a street in Novosibirsk. The results are showing “БИНБанк” or “BINBank” as the number one on the map and on the right hand side listing.
The final screenshot shows a search for coffee houses near Nevsky Prospekt in Saint Petersburg (a street of which I have fond memories 🙂 ) and the firm Chainaya Lozhka or “Чайная ложка” is highlighted.
When comparing these with Google Places or Maps, the key differences are in the presentation of the maps and the fact that Google notes that highlighted listings are “Ads” which is not shown on the Yandex versions — something I’d like to see them change! Google also lists and has more reviews to show. In fairness to Yandex, they are not so dependent on listings being provided by partners in Russia.
Just like Google Boost, the ads are charged at a fixed price for a fixed period of time. Advertisers from Moscow would 9,450 Rubles or $317 to list their business for 3 months and in Samara it would cost roughly one third of that for the same package but targeting a smaller population.
For international businesses this new approach offers the opportunity of establishing a small new business in Russia — perhaps in one of the smaller cities — and undertaking some test marketing of a concept before rolling it out to the whole of Russia.