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Advertising in Russia - statistics & facts

Russia has the largest advertising market in Central and Eastern Europe. In fact, it is forecast to have the 13th highest advertising expenditure worldwide in 2022, at over eight billion U.S. dollars. In total, over 473 billion Russian rubles were spent on advertising in the country in 2020, marking a decline from the previous year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nevertheless, the past decade saw a rise in digital advertising in Russia. Between 2010 and 2020, the online advertising budget grew more than ninefold, and 2018 was the first year when the internet had the highest spending among all channels, surpassing television.

COVID-19 impact on advertising budgets in Russia

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian advertisers reduced their budgets on traditional channels, with the most prominent decline observed in press ads at 47 percent between 2019 and 2020. In outdoor advertising, the budgets on traditional or static screens shrank more significantly than digital placements. Furthermore, as movie theaters were closed during the lockdown, cinema advertising suffered a decline in spending from 1.1 billion Russian rubles in 2019 to approximately 300 million Russian rubles in 2020.

The internet was the only advertising segment that recorded a growth in Russia, as its expenditure increased by four percent year-over-year in 2020. However, the advertising industry is expected to recover in 2021, and the only channel whose spending is forecast to decrease was print advertising which witnesses a general decline due to the rise of digital media.

Leading advertising agencies in Russia

In terms of media buying volume, Russia's leading media agency was Carat, at around 21.8 billion Russian rubles in 2020. OMD Optimum Media and Media Instinct had the second- and third highest billing volumes, respectively. Furthermore, the Russian branch of MediaCom was the third leading media agency in Europe, according to the WARC Effective 100 ranking in 2019, while OMD Optimum Media placed eighth on that list. The highest earning advertising agency group worldwide, the British WPP, is largely represented in Russia by its partner company, GroupM. In the first quarter of 2021, WPP increased its revenue in Russia by over 21 percent.

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