According to data from rocID.ru, 82% of the 70 million Internet users in Russia have an account on at least one social network. Moreover, at 9.8 hours a month, Russians spend twice as long as an average global user on social networks.
In addition to staying in touch and sharing, Russians are drawn by file sharing of music and movies and online gaming. Similar to China, people in Russia flock online as a result of disillusionment in the broadcast media.
Yandex remains the most popular search engine in Russian with a market share above 60 percent, more than three times that of Google’s.
The most popular social networks are Odnoklassniki.ru with 73 percent of Internet users’ registrations, vKontakte with 62 percent, MoiMir with 31 percent, followed by Facebook with 18 percent.
VK (previously known as vKontakte) 23.4 million users
Reach and engagement: 23.4 million users (54.2% of the Russian online population), 20 minutes average daily duration (Source: TNS-Aug 2011)
VK is the market leader and an overt rip-off of Facebook, even down to the colour scheme. Among its stickier applications are file sharing of pirated music and movies, and games adapted from other platforms such as “Happy Farmer” (which originated in China). The site was launched in 2007 and continues to introduce new features.
Active users tend to be younger, student types although the company claims that users over age 25 account for more than 60% of their audience (it’s hard to know whether this includes inactive users or not). Lots of users keep VK on in the background during their Internet sessions, listening to streaming music or watching movies.
Facebook 10.7million users
Reach and engagement: 10.7 million users (24.7% of the Russian online population), 3 minutes average daily duration (Source: TNS-Aug 2011).
Since Facebook started offering a Russian interface, it has been rapidly gaining Russian users and traffic, largely at the expense of vKontakte. It attracts a young, globally-minded audience who have international friends already on Facebook with whom they can connect on a common platform. Though this is a rather narrow demographic in Russia – accounting for at most 10% of the population. The user interface and ease of use of Facebook are superior compared to vKontakte, but most users continue to maintain accounts on both platforms. Its status as a laggard is purely due to competitive market conditions.
Odnoklassniki 16.5 million users
Reach and engagement: 16.5 million users (38.1% of the Russian online population), 25 minutes average daily duration (Source: TNS-Aug 2011).
A site which focuses on sharing of photographs with your “odnoklassniki” (schoolmates). Founded in 2006, it predates vKontakte and the Russian version of Facebook and is part of the Mail.ru platform. The user interface reflects its relative age — it’s full of flashing images and lacks the design sophistication of Facebook. Some of its stickier features include the ability to rate other people’s photos, to see who has viewed your profile, online chat, and a real-time listing of who’s on the site (with links to their profiles). The site offers an interesting combination of features which could easily fit with online dating sites. Odnoklassniki has a relatively higher concentration of users in the 25-35 age bracket, which is somewhat older than vKontakte’s core audience. Active users have been trending downwards as people migrate to Facebook and vKontakte, athough they continue to add features popular in other Russian social media sites, like games, streaming media and video hosting.
MoiMir 18.9 million users
Reach and engagement: 18.9 million users (43.8% of the Russian online population), 9 minutes average daily duration (Source: TNS-Aug 2011).
Also part of the Mail.ru platform, MoiMir was launched in 2007 and draws in users through its integration with the platform’s e-mail application, which is the most popular in Russia. MoiMir has the standard features of social networking sites, with not much to distinguish its offerings. It’s hard to see it existing separately in the long term, given the common ownership with Odnoklassniki.
View the top social networks in China, Japan, Russia and India here.