Changes to ecommerce in Russia – the essential update


Over the previous few weeks there has been much written in the media about the proposed legislative changes on international imports in Russia.


Russia presents sizeable opportunities for UK brands, as consumers seek out competitively priced products and fashionable Western brands that are unavailable locally. As a result international ecommerce in Russia has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the market valued at approximately $3 billion in 2013*.


With interest in the market increasing at pace, we thought it would be useful to share an update on the market developments to-date. We talked to our contacts at Yandex (the leading Russian search engine), to get a summary of the key points;


  • Following a brief suspension, the major international courier companies, which include FedEx and DHL, are once again operating in Russia and delivering parcels to individuals as well as businesses.
  • A new import tax has been set at 30% tax on goods worth over 200 EUR. However we understand that this has not been activated yet.
  • Currently there are no restrictions on the number of parcels that an individual may receive from an international retailer. However discussions are continuing, and this position could change.


For UK brands that already operate in the region, such as ASOS, Next, and Net-a-Porter, this new legislation will have varying impact. For example, it would appear that ASOS will not be significantly affected by the new tax levy as the average purchase value tends to be lower than the 200 EUR value threshold. Retailers of luxury goods, on the other hand, could be harmed by the new measures.


Currently, the extent to which UK retailers will be affected by the restrictions is still unclear, and this is unlikely to be resolved in the immediate future. With Russia involved in an on-going politically sensitive situation, market developments may evolve further and could bring more wide ranging implications for foreign brands.


We will continue to monitor these developments and will share updates on the situation and the impact for UK brands in due course. If you would like further advice, or information on what these market developments could mean for your international campaigns and ecommerce opportunities please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


For brands interested in exploring the Russia market further, then please visit our Yandex services page or, which provides useful insights on Russian search and digital advertising opportunities for international brands.






Simpler Shopping On Mobile

Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are beginning to play a major role in the digital marketing strategies of retail brands. Over the past year they have soared in popularity, and this growth looks set to continue. Indeed, recent research from Marin Software shows that retail advertisers have increased spending on PLAs by approximately 300%*.


Following this growth, Google is now expanding the reach of PLAs even further, with the recent launch of a new version of mobile PLAs.


Given the size of the opportunities for retailers to connect with mobile shoppers using PLAs, we decided to put the new mobile PLA update to the test.


Understanding the new mobile PLAs:

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices not only to research but also to buy products. Google’s recently updated version of mobile PLAs has now made it simpler for consumers to quickly and easily browse products. One key new function is the new swipe feature, which allows users to swipe across the screen to browse all of the products. Not only does this enable users to browse more products from the initial search results page, they can also view larger product images and longer, descriptive product titles. This update has also given more retailers the opportunity to appear on the mobile PLA unit, as the screenshot below shows:


Example mobile PLAs:



Testing out mobile PLAs:

To conduct a test of the new version of mobile PLAs, we analysed performance data of an existing PLA campaign being run for one of our online retail clients, which was opted in for all devices. Mobile has consistently performed well for this client, and currently holds 14% share of traffic and a 7% share of sales from PLAs, with an outstanding conversion rate of 4.8%!


Following the launch of our campaign with the updated Google mobile PLAs, we noticed an initial decrease in CTR which could have been due to initial usability issues, with users unaware of the new scroll feature. It is worth mentioning, that even if the product is not seen, it will still warrant the impression but not the click and could affect CTR as a result.


Following the initial drop in performance, the number of clicks from mobile PLAs quickly started to increase, as shown in the graph below. Over the 8 week reporting period, the share of sales from PLAs on mobile increased by a significant +29%.


Campaign data pre- and post- launch of the new mobile PLA:


In conclusion:

Although it is early days and the test analysed a relatively small data set, there are some interesting insights. Certainly, the results suggest that Google have developed something that is far more in tune with how users are searching for and looking at products.


Furthermore, the marked increase in performance with this campaign demonstrates the growing value of PLAs on mobile for retailers, and the growing importance of mobile for connecting consumers researching the best places to buy products, both online and in store.


Therefore, if you have not already set up your PLA campaigns into mobile, we recommend carrying out initial testing by applying appropriate mobile bid adjustments. This will help to capture more searches which are relevant to your product set.


Mobile PLAs could provide a potentially profitable new way to reach new consumers and incrementally grow your business. Certainly, with advertiser investment continuing to increase, and the on-going success of the PLA format, they seem here to stay.





Yandex launches new site for international advertisers


As a valued business partner of Yandex, the market leading Russian search engine, we are pleased to support the launch of their new website,



The new site is designed specifically for international advertisers and will provide key insights into Russian search and digital advertising opportunities.


Over time the site will expand further to include regular news updates on key industries (such as fashion, travel and electronics) in the market, and will also provide online training on how to use Yandex’s various digital advertising tools.


For online advertisers, the Russian market offers real appeal. Cross-border Ecommerce in Russia has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the market valued at approximately $3 billion in 2013. The market presents vast opportunities for UK brands, as Russians buy from foreign brands not only because of price differences, but also access brands that are unavailable locally.


This site will provide a valuable first step for brands looking to explore the Russian market further.


If you are interested in learning more about the Russian market, then please contact us for more information, our in-house Russian market experts would be pleased to advise you further.


Net Media Planet joins Global Search Marketing Panel

This week, Net Media Planet continues its international speaking road show, as it joins Yandex and Baidu’s European business partner, CharmClick on an international Search marketing panel hosted by leading US ecommerce company Borderfree.


This event will provide a unique opportunity for brands to hear from three international marketing experts who will be discussing Search marketing trends, tactics and opportunities in Russia, China and Europe. Some of the confirmed attendees include Saks Fifth Avenue, DKNY, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Barneys.


At this event, Luke Judge will present Net Media Planet’s POV on how brands can unlock the online business opportunities in Europe. The session will provide insights and practical guidance on how brands can take that first step into new international markets.


Attendees will also hear from Preston Carey, US & UK Business Development Director at Yandex, who will discuss the ecommerce opportunity in Russia and will offer guidance on how to reach the growing consumer market in Russia through Yandex.


Johnny Zhu, CEO of CharmClick and the exclusive Baidu European partner, will also be joining the panel to give an overview of the China business opportunities, and discuss strategies for maximising the business potential on Baidu.


Borderfree is a leading US ecommerce company that works with some of the world’s most iconic brands, helping to pave the way for their global expansion. As a UK business partner, Net Media Planet works with them on an on-going basis to help drive new business opportunities for leading UK and USA brands looking to launch into new markets.


For more information on the event and to discuss international opportunities further, please contact [email protected]