Yandex Taps Growing Russian Search Marketing Opportunity

I met yesterday with Preston Carey, the head of business development for Russian search engine Yandex. Full disclosure: Carey and Yandex originator John Boynton are both Forrester alumni, but that’s not the only reason I think Yandex is smart.

 Yandex has tapped into two forces that yet elude the larger US-based search engines (ahem, Google and Yahoo!): 

  1. Russia has the eighth-largest Internet population globally, but only 37% of its population is currently online. This means huge growth opportunity as more of Russia’s 142 million consumers come online.
  2. As with some other Asian markets (those with a shorter history of being open to western trade, with non-Roman alphabets, or limited English influence, like China) Russian search requires localization. Simply translating keywords, content, or even search engine layouts doesn’t account for the local consumers' manner of searching, researching, or shopping. My own travels to China confirmed just how different commerce and content work there.

I’m thinking a lot lately about the future of search marketing, and one of the things that I see happening over the next two years is a much more significant push for marketers to take their search programs global. Right now, to most search marketers, this means finding a tool or agency that has a handful of offices outside of the US. But my conversation with Yandex yesterday got me thinking that a “rest of world” strategy can’t mean “translate US search strategy for non-US marketers.” Going global means, at the very least, quantifying the opportunity with regional audiences, “culturizing” your brand and approach to local habits and history, and understanding local linguistics. Of course, we all get this in theory, but I've seen little evidence of globalized search strategies . . . yet. 



More on Russia, please!

Great post, Shar. Will you be writing any Russia-specific (or other market-specific) research?

Good comments

Thanks for the comments so far. I, too am very interested in research in emerging Asian markets. Not only are Russia and China huge population centers, but their history and developing economies make them so interesting (and different from other markets) to study.
At this point, I don't have any planned research for Russia on the calendar; we just don't have enough demand for it from our clients. But I do intend to do some pieces on globalization of search. And my colleague Nate Elliott is beefing up our pan-European research across interactive marketing topics.

Global Search Strategies

Hi Shar,

Glad to see the interest in global search. It category is growing rapidly and there are actually a number of companies that have sophisticated global strategies and teams. Seems to have the most traction in Tech B2B with companies like IBM, Cisco and Dell as well as CPG with P&G and Nestle.

I wrote an article for Search Engine Land at the beginning of the year claiming that 2010 would be the year of global search and it seems to be coming true. I am seeing a large number of companies starting to put resources and budget against overseas markets. There is a lot of activity targeting emerging markets especially BRICK markets.

As you start your research on the globalization of search check out the two main columns on the topic at Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land - both have a number of articles that offer a lens into the challenges and opportunities as well as some of the strategies being used.

More SEM BRIC Please

The BRIC countries specifically would be an interesting topic highlighting differences and similarities. Our company is growing rapidly in these countries as well as other emerging markets (many parts of Africa and the Middle East) but at this point SEM has not been a big part of the strategy. Any light you could shed on these would be welcomed.