How does behaviour of Russian internet users change?

Publication date: 13 Feb 2019

Google has conducted a research and analyzed behavior of five generations of users.

In 2018, every third Russian blocked online ads. Users found ads excessive and not always relevant and useful. However, compared with 2017, online ads became less annoying for the consumer (0% against 5%). It is important for marketers to understand the target audience when trying to reach a potential buyer.

Interesting facts about Russian users of different age (2018 vs. 2017):

  • Runet audience grew mostly due to people aged 55+. The number of these users accessing the Internet and the mobile Internet increased by a quarter and twice, respectively.
  • Russians over 60 started using mobile phones by 20% more often.
  • The popularity of video games among users aged between 60 and 64 increased by 12 percent points to 45%.
  • Males aged between 40 and 44 and over 55 are least loyal to most ad formats.
  • Young people aged between 16 and 19 are those who block ads most often: 57% on desktop and 31% on mobile devices. At the same time, they are most loyal to native ads, including those in social networks (+6%) and search results (+3%).
  • Users aged between 30 and 34 choose to leave limited-access pages 11% more often than others.
  • The audience aged between 16 and 19 order food, household chemicals, clothes, medicines, and electronic devices online more often than other people do.
  • Russians aged between 24-29 and 60-64 started listening to the radio by 9% and 14% more often, respectively.

The Internet is the main source of information for all age groups. In 2018, official websites became more popular: over-65s started using them by 16% more often, and so did the users aged between 16 and 19 but by 18%. The popularity of social networks among young people decreased by 13%.

It was 2017 when a research conducted by PBN H+K and Magram MR showed that Russian young people prefer YouTube’s search to the traditional one, and the share of users aged between 25 and 29 is much bigger than that of other age groups. Online video gradually becomes the main source of information for millennials (Y) and centennials (Z). The answers to the question “What kind of videos do you prefer watching on the Internet?” are as the following:

  • “short and funny” videos are more often watched by people aged between 13 and 17;
  • “educational” videos are most popular among people aged 25-29;
  • “goods and brands reviews” are more often searched for by users aged 18-21;
  • “workout” and “food recipe” videos are more popular among respondents aged 22-24.

Though the Internet is comfortable for people of every age, these are generations Y and Z who try always stay in touch. Compared to 2017, messengers and social networking apps were used by 40 and 15% more often, respectively. The share of messaging app users increased: +11% WhatsApp, +5% Viber, and +3% Telegram.

When the audience is known, the next step will be interaction with it. Google has told about three ways to reach users of different ages.

  1. Speak the same language

Generations Y and Z use emojis and stickers. Durex has made use of it and launched a campaign named “Durex will do the talking for you”. It was aimed at helping young people to speak freely about sex. The company introduced packs of emoji condoms, made a commercial, spread it among video bloggers, and launched a chatbot with stickers on VKontakte.

The first part of the sticker pack was available for free; the second one could be downloaded only with a code from a Durex pack. In the first week, users of VKontakte sent more than 22 million stickers to each other. After the campaign was over, digital reach amounted to 18 million, and Durex group on VKontakte saw 1.15 million new users.

  1. Give them what they like

It is a myth that only young generation is interested in games. In autumn 2018, Lenovo held a cybersport match among players aged 55+. A month before annual exhibitions “IgroMir” and Comic-Con 2018, Lenovo invited a Swedish senior CS-team Silver Snipers to Moscow.

Then, Legion published on its Facebook and VKontakte pages an invitation saying “Level up your grandpa and get your ticket to “IgroMir” 2018”. Among a large number of applications, five were chosen to become members of Iron Legion team. When the big day came, the battle was live streamed on The Russian senior team beat the Swedish team 16:5.


  • over 10 million views on TV and web portals;
  • over 1.2 million reach in social networks;
  • over 1500 new subscribers to Legion group on VKontakte for two weeks.

LEGO knows exactly how to surprise customers and how to make them relevant offers. The company launched its LEGO Life app for kids, in which kids accomplish building tasks, communicate, and share their creations.

Adults can try LEGO Ideas, in which users share their design ideas and vote for the best one. The market sees two new designs from fans each six months. The third step was to introduce Facebook Messenger chatbot for direct sales. Results: ROAS is 3.4 times higher than for the website sales, while the purchase price has fallen by 71%.

  1. Invite those whom they like

Millennials follow opinion leaders. Marc Jacobs introduced its Daisy fragrance, created especially for young audience, and invited Kaia Gerber, a model with 4.1 million followers on Instagram, to participate in the fragrance campaign. As a result, official accounts of Marc Jacobs on Instagram and Facebook got 36% more visitors, and popularity of #MJDaisy hashtag surged by 800%.

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