Russia & Runet

Russia & Runet

All you need to know about advertising on Vkontakte

29 Jan 2014



Pavel Durov launched Vkontakte in 2006. And as it always happens, the success of the Russian social network led to the development of the Vkontakte advertising market.

The biggest social network in the Runet counts today about 80 million total users (among which over 45M are in Russia), and represents a huge opportunity for marketing. In order to succeed in communicating with fans on VK it’s important to set up the right tone of voice, and the right posting strategy – keeping in mind that Russia counts 9 different Time Zones.

And also, knowing what are the opportunities offered by the advertising system is crucial.


The history of Vkontakte Advertising

As Rusbase reports, Vkontakte’s total revenue in 2012 was $172 million – plus 44.1% compared to 2011 (39.99% of VK is owned by Russian Internet giant

Until a year ago, the advertising processes on VK represented chaos, as everything was happening spontaneously. There was no common base communities, open statistics, and advertisers and communities had to negotiate privately.

Also there was no guarantee that all the conditions would meet. Basically, Paid Post Marketplace were carried out by re-posts of a particular community, which was allowing to change the contents of advertising after its publication.

Established situation was a prerequisite for the start of systematising the whole VK advertising system. Some has been able to catch the trend, so such advertising agencies as VK Sociate and Trendio appeared. Since February 2013, the buzz about the development of the Exchange Adverts from Vkontakte started .




At this time scammers began their activities. Such bug in the system was an opportunity to change the content of the post after it was actually posted, leading to series of scammers attacs and  temporary blocks of even very large communities.

After placement of the advertising content of the post was changed to a prohibited content and thieves extort money in exchange for silence, not contacting technical support VK.

Thus communities like MDK (2.8 million followers), Я в шоке! (2.4 million), ПЗДЦ (1.7 million) has been blocked. All in all, around 8 communities with a total fan base of 14 million (more can be read on this VK thread). Huge communities with more than 2 million followers were blocked for more or less for two months.

On November 5th 2013 VK announced the release of Exchange Board of advertising. This allowed to systematise processes, as well as transferring some part of the responsibility to VK Exchange for the material of the posts. However VK does not work for free: payment through advertising includes the price set by the community plus a commission, which goes to VK.

As of today, the Vkontakte Advertising Marketplace offers two types of advertising:

  1. Targeted ads, appearing on the private newsfeed.
  2. Paid post marketplace, to advertise on communities.

Let’s see the two options in details.


1) Targeted Ads

Vkontakte targeted ads offer 4 types of products: community, apps on VK, videos or external websites.

As stated on the VK Ads section, targeted ads consist of a header, a small image and a short text (25 characters for the title, 60 for the description:


Vkontakte Ads


Targeted ads on VK are displayed to users on the left side of pages. Here’s what targeted ads look on the VK personal timeline:


Advertising on Vkontakte


Using the multitude of targeting settings, you can select the target audience that you would like to show you ad to. Please note the counter at the top, it shows the number of users who will be able to view your ad according to particular targeting settings.

The payment is based on:

  • Geography (city, country)
  • Demography (age, sex, relationship status)
  • Personal Interests
  • Education and Work
  • Additional parameters (devices, operational systems, browsers…).


2) Paid post marketplace

This is the type of advertisement to promote pages through posts that community-owners can post on their timeline. Advertisers directly pay Vkontakte, which gives the money to the community-owners, after keeping a 20-to-40% fee.

In this case, ads are not marked anyhow as an advertising, so for the community followers it is just shown as a regular community content. Here is what a paid post looks like – a reseller of G-Shock watches is promoting a post on a Cartoon Network community, leading to the G-Shock page:


Vkontakte promoted post


There are two basic types of this kind of ads:

  • Original post, created ad-hoc for that community by the advertiser.
  • Re-posting of an existing post from the advertised page.

In both cases, after the post is approved for placing it cannot be changed.

Advertisers create not only the content, but it also indicates the desired date of publication and time of the day (considering that there’s a Prime Time for posting and advertising on VK).

Also comments can be attached; all interactions takes place anonymously, to make a direct connection impossible and avoid all the risks.

Of course, advertiser should search and select the most appropriate community – with topics consistent with their objectives, a good amount of subscribers, geography and other characteristics. Payment is based on coverage, total number of subscribers and other factors.

Of course there are some limits: the promoted post should be at the top of the community timeline for at least 1 hour (and presenting in the community no less than 24 hours). Also each community cannot post more than 3 promoted posts a day.



Being the biggest social network in the Runet, Vkontakte is a crucial tool in order to reach a huge amount of Netizens across Europe and Asia. Knowing how the adv system works, what can be done and what cannot be done is definitely mandatory for any brand approaching these markets.

Ekaterina Sivertseva

Ekaterina Sivertseva

Born in Moscow, she has degree in Management from NRU HSE (Moscow) and studied at Cattolica University in Milan. After an experience in a Digital Agency in Moscow, she joined Young Digitals as social media manager.


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