2011 has been a big year for Russian search engine Yandex. In May it launched an IPO which saw it achieve over $1bn in investment and it has seen its share of the 2nd largest search market in Europe grow to 65% - more, in fact, if you consider its recent partnership with rival search engine Rambler.
I spoke to Preston Carey of Yandex, ahead of his participation in the International Search Summit New York on September 12th to ask him what we should expect next from Russia’s biggest search engine and how it can help international advertisers succeed in Russia.
Earlier this year Yandex had a very successful IPO, raising over $1 bn in investment. What should we expect to see from the search engine as a result of this?
The proceeds from the IPO will mainly be focused on investing in technology infrastructure that will help to support our dynamic growth. The Russian internet market and audience are growing quite quickly and Yandex’s investments in our infrastructure will continue to keep us as the leader in the market.
Yandex has recently agreed a deal with local rival search engine Rambler to power its search results. How will the deal benefit advertisers and users?
The recent partnership with Rambler will allow Rambler’s customer to easily expand their reach and efficiency in the market by making it simple and convenient to also place their ads on Yandex. This partnership makes it simple for Rambler’s existing customers to expand their reach without needing to manage two separate sets of campaigns on each advertising source. Users will benefit from the increased number of advertisers in the market which will bring more relevant and targeted ads to the users.
The agreement seems to confirm Yandex’s claims that it is focused on growing in its domestic market, rather than expanding into new ones. Should we expect to see much of Yandex outside of Russia in the coming months/years?
The domestic Russian market is obviously an incredible strength for Yandex and Russia is growing and expanding in exciting ways right now. We spend a lot of our time and energy ensuring that we offer our users and our advertisers the best possible services in the Russian market. That being said, we always are looking for additional growth opportunities and think that there may be other markets beyond Russia that align well with Yandex’s strengths. We will also continue to improve our ability to support and build our relationships with large international brands and advertising agencies outside of Russia.
Yandex has also recently released an English language version of its webmaster tools, Yandex.webmaster. How should advertisers take advantage of this?
Yandex strongly recommends as a first step in thinking about SEO for Yandex that advertisers register and start using the Yandex webmaster tools. These tools will tell you a wealth of important information not just about how Yandex is crawling your site but also about how search users are interacting with your site. It will provide details on the top search queries that reach your site (both by impressions and clicks) and it will also tell you about how well your pages are doing in terms of click share, position, CTR, etc. The tools have been warmly received by many of our top marketers who are using the feedback coming out of the tools to further improve their Russian sites.
What are the characteristics of the Russian market that make it appealing to international businesses?
The most appealing thing that I hear from our international customers is the current and future growth of the online advertising market. This growth is being driven by the expansion of broadband throughout the country and is really bringing online the mass audience for the first time in Russia. This expansion coupled with strong trends in consumers ecommerce and online shopping behavior make for very exciting times. Looking out three to five years, Russia is going to be a major online market and the smart advertisers are getting in now to learn about what can be a complicated and challenging market for westerners.
If you could give just one tip to marketers targeting a Russian audience, what would it be?
The advice would be very similar to approaching any new foreign market – don’t assume that what works at home is going to work in Russia. Find someone who knows the market who can help you learn and adopt your domestic practices. That partner can be Yandex’s international account team who can help with translation and optimization or it can be an agency partner who has strong experience in Russia.
Finally, why attend the International Search Summit?
The International Search Summit brings together a unique group of experts in international search marketing whose combined perspective makes for an invaluable day of presentations and networking.
Preston will be speaking at the International Search Summit at SMX East on September 12th. Other speakers include Korean search engine Naver, social search engine Topsy and international search specialists Bill Hunt and Andy Atkins-Krüger.
Early Bird Rates are available until August 20th and passes for the Summit can be bought independently or in combination with SMX East passes.