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Need a massive new market How about Russia

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It is estimated that there are 66m people online in Russia, more than in any other European country, and the Russian internet market is expected to grow by around 15-20 per cent year-on-year up until 2018. 

Due to this healthy and fast-paced development, Russia is increasingly asserting itself as a major market for online businesses. There are many ways to reach these potential new customers, but a  digital advertising campaign is one of the best and potentially most effective. A report by technology investment bank GP Bullhound published last year, showed that the Russian online advertising sector grew by 56 per cent in 2011 – overtaking the printing press. 

In terms of delivering a successful digital advertising campaign in Russia there are a few key tips to bear in mind. An important thing to remember is that the digital marketing and advertising industry in Russia is well-developed, therefore Russian internet users are pretty sophisticated.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, many Russians became familiar with Western culture and as a result, European and US businesses can adapt many of their existing campaigns for the Russian market.

However, it is still highly important to get any translation from English to Russian spot on. This may sound obvious but it is something which many companies fail to do time and time again. 

Seeking out the best possible translation agency is a must. This will reduce the chance of delivering dry and potentially clumsy sounding copy. 

Using local companies for SEO, contextual advertising and paid search is also something to consider. Unlike in the UK, Google does not dominate the search market with Russians opting for Russian search engine Yandex instead.

Marketing companies used to working with Google may be less familiar and successful with Yandex, so consider working with a local service like SeoPult or Garpun.

Another top tip is to try and keep things fun. Russians generally like their online advertising to have a sense of humour. One of the strongest online trends in Russia is currently gamification.

Many successful online marketing campaigns have incorporated an element of game play. This has helped to drive deeper customer engagement and is likely to continue to be one of the major trends in Russian digital marketing in the coming years.

It is also well worth considering going mobile with your ads. The Russian mobile advertising market is currently attracting funding from both domestic and international investors. 

The recent launch of ad network AdCamp and the million dollar investment secured by mobile platform AdMoment highlight that the mobile boom is not just confined to the West. Similar to the Russian internet as a whole, the mobile market is growing fast, with eMarketer predicting it will reach at least $111m by the end of this year. 

By following a few simple rules Western businesses can implement their own campaigns which will ultimately enable them to take advantage of the huge Russian market. 

By 2015, Russia will be the tenth biggest market for advertising spend, according to a recent report by ZenithOptimedia. Therefore Russia is a must for any business looking to expand abroad in the next few years.

Nick Davidov is investment director at iTech Capital and MD of the Pult Group,

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