Category Archives: Industry Insights

Battle of the Titans: Yandex vs Google

Have you ever heard such a word a word as “Yandex”? If so, you might have dealt with Russian internet market or you are an expert in digital industry and aware of key players on international scale. For those, who has no idea what Yandex is, this post will be interesting and hopefully informative.

The history of Yandex started in late 80’s. The site that we know today was created in 1997. In 1998 except usual search Yandex added the option of searching by dates, which gave users sort of multiplicity. Besides the number of indexed pages was much higher than any other search engines at the market at that time.

In 1999 the team of Yandex marketers launched a TV commercial with a slogan “Everything is findable”, which was very unusual, particularly for a post-soviet audience.  Despite the fact that people hardly understood the meaning of the slogan, history demonstrates that they checked the website at least because it was known.  As a result, audience was growing tremendously and in 2000 Yandex was recognized as a number one search engine in Russia.

Automatically set homepage has played an important role in Yandex success. During the period of uncontrolled soft very often as a result of downloading any soft Yandex has been set as a homepage. Users weren’t aware of methods to remove it and consequently left the page by default. That clearly has illustrated the fact that Yandex leveraged users’ incompetence to hold its position at the market at the time of the Internet development in Russia.

Google came at Russian market in the end of 2004. Traditionally Google volume of audience maintains comparatively low due to Yandex monopoly. However, as it might be seen from the graph below Google had a strong surge in the number of users in 2014.


This stat prompted me to compare these two web giants, to better understand their pros and cons and clarify which search engine has more chances to dominate the Russian market.

  Yandex advantages

    • Language issues are easily tackled by Yandex. In addition, the Russian search engine is better at understanding CrazyFont: writing in Russian using English, rather than Cyrillic letters. CrazyFont is the most popular among Russians living abroad who don’t have access to a Russian keyboard. Yandex understands the complex searches better and therefore, returns more results.
    • Regional search results are more relevant. It is more likely to find precise information relative to regional news in Yandex rather than in Google.
    • Integration with Yandex services as mail, traffics, weather forecast, cloud storage, maps, web wallet, news. Everything is on the main page and accessible in one click.screensho44t

The design is a matter of preferences, for those, who are a fan of minimalism, there is a special version of Yandex with domain name ya.ruscreenshddotGoogle advantages

        • Higher relevancy of search results, which lies in different ways of ranking. Google is more content orientated, web site optimization is a core element of being ranked highly by Google. Things are much simpler with Yandex, search engine builds his top list based mainly on number of backlinks and its authority (SeoIntelect, 2015).Obviously, this is not the only ranking factor, web sites still need to be user-friendly, have a seamless user journey and quality content. Although Yandex announced in 2014 that the use of backlinks as a ranking factor has been rejected, the experts from “Ashanov and partners” showed that still it significantly affects positioning. Despite the latest attempts of improvements in this field, Yandex is still lagging behind its competitor.
        • Speed of indexing pages is significantly better compared to Yandex, the reason being the differing method of indexing pages. Yandex is gathering new pages in one database and only after filtering put it into users search results. On average Yandex’s update takes 7 days, while Google is indexing new pages and sending it in search results simultaneously. Russian analytical company “Ashanov and partners” measures the speed of indexing pages annually. Google is being an absolute leader.
        • screenshqot
        • Mobile orientation is one of the key, winning tactics that Google has used. Being a default search engine for Android platform, Google reaches the majority of Russian mobile users; Why is this?
        • First of all, it is a crucial aspect for any search engines to become a default one on desktops or mobile devices. Importance of that might be illustrated by Yandex’s example itself. At times, when Apple didn’t allow to set up Yandex as a default search provider on iPhones, Yandex market share on this device accounted for 35%. However, as soon as Yandex was included in a list of possible default search providers, its share has increased by 14%.

          Secondly, mobile phone usage of Google, especially among young audience, is rising. The share of devices, using for Internet access, has been changing fast. According to TNS in 2015 mobile phones share raised by 34 % over last year, along with smart TV and tablets, 41% and 20 % respectively, while desktop’s share went down by 1%.  Picture1

        • The third reason is Android smartphones. The figures from Group report show that 75 % of Russian users have Android platform on their smartphones, that makes Google number one search engine on mobile phones. Moreover, Google is likely to seek a further increase in a share of the mobile audience as the economy shrinks, incomes decline and people prefer cheaper Android phones. It is no wonder why the well thought-out move from Google has led to a remarkable increase in number of users. Last year Russia opened an investigation into Google after the desperate Yandex asked for a review of the U.S. company’s Android mobile operating system. Yandex asked Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to check if Google is violating Russian regulation. Sergey Libin, Moscow-based analyst at Raiffeisenbank, suspects that “Yandex expects a ruling in its favor and sees it as a silver bullet (Bloomberg, 2014).

Though Yandex may in some ways be better suited to serving the Russian Internet user, after all it is domestic service, Google seems to have an advantage with its wider accessibility. Overall, the reality is that Internet users are migrating to mobile and since Android devices dominate mobile, Google will increase its number of users and probably will be able to catch up with Yandex.

sharing economy

Sharing Economy: the ‘use, don’t own’ notion

Traditionally, the consumer’s behaviour has been immersed in a linear economy in which products are made, used and disposed of. Nevertheless, since 2014 a new trend has been taking place: the sharing or circular economy.

Under this new system, the consumption of products and services is moving from owning to sharing and renting. This encourages reusing and recycling in order to give a better use of goods and skills, which not only provides an innovative experience but also an economical benefit.

The ‘use, don’t own’ notion

According to Vincent Rousselet, director of consultancy Vincent Rousselet & Associates, there are 4 factors that have been essential in the spring and development of this peer to peer consumption model:

  • The recent credit crunch has made people reconsider their consumption patterns.
  • The increased development of the internet and the global connectivity
  • The tracking of user online behaviour provides valuable, predictive insights (big data)
  • The rise in the user’s consciousness of the consequences of consumerism, regarding specifically the global climate change.

So far, the technological platforms are the foundation and main channels that let this collaborative system evolve around the world. The Nesta report ‘Making Sense of the UK Collaborative Economy’, states that in 2014 “25 per cent of UK adults used internet technologies to share assets/resources over the last year.”

Some of the most outstanding examples are Airbnb and Uber. The first one encourages individuals to share their homes for short periods of time while the latter transforms private cars into resources for public transportation. Most of these companies are for-profit services that only keep a small fraction of the fees charged.

According to the Journalist’s Resource, Airbnb has over 10 million guest-stays on their records and 500.000 properties listed while Uber is doubling its profits every 6 months.

Even though this economic model has worldwide detractors that argue it replaces secure jobs through a trend of part-time, low-paid work, there are already around 860 start-ups in this sector. Accounting for 1 in 10 of these, the UK is the European capital of the sharing economy.

Stand out start-ups

Since these peer-to-peer services are an alternative towards the fulfillment of the different consumption patterns, there are several start-ups that are worth noting due to its creativity or valuable contribution to a more sustainable socio-economic model:

1. Feeding Forward (United States)

Sharing economyThis platform allows any kind of business can request a pick up of their food surplus. Considered to be a donation, it is afterwards delivered to nearby shelters in need. The objective is to allow companies to receive a tax reduction and reduce disposal costs while ending hunger in the world.

 2. Fon (Spain)

Sharing economyThrough millions of hotspots around the world, it enables users to share their WiFi network in exchange of getting this service for free in any of the 16 countries that are part of their network. It started with residential wireless connection only and then moved forward to small, medium and large venues.

 3. Misterbnb (United States)

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 03.03.11With 30.000 hosts in 130 countries, this is the largest gay travel accommodation in the world. The objective is to develop a sense of belonging by helping this community to travel safely while learning local insider tips.

 4. Hassle (United Kingdom)

sharing economyRegardless of the venue (room, flat or even a mansion) this company is able to provide a local professional cleaner in a 60-second online request. No matter if it is a one-off, weekly or a fortnightly clean, the cost per hour will always be the same and it can be refunded if the service is not good enough.

5. Pley (United States)

sharing economySubscription platform that allows families to rent toys for a short period of time (as kids grow). Through a 70% cost reduction and the elimination of clutter, the aim is to raise a playful, creative generation aware of the principles of sharing and waste reduction.

 6. Kiwi (Colombia)

sharing economyAs long as it is legal, this company challenges users to ask them for any kind of service or product. Food, alcohol, electronics, reservations, plane tickets, health care services, clowns and even pranks can be requested. Through a network of national and international providers, Kiwi is capable of providing a 24/7 service in Bogota and Mexico City.

The Sharing Economy has had a smashing beginning. Even though it seems to be a promising land entailing a social, cultural, economic and environmental transformation, it is paramount to create global and local legal frameworks able to regulate its proper implementation.

If this system manages to integrate and assemble the multiple society sectors under a common good premise, in the future we might discover that we are currently in a historic transitional period towards a new worldwide economic model.

Written by Estefanía Jurado Rodríguez

Not Using WeChat Yet? You Might Be in Future!


WeChat was originally known as Weixin, it was created by a Chinese company

The app has more than 600 million registered users, as most of the users are from China, with around 70 million of them from other countries all over the world. The app was originally released at the beginning of 2011, and it comes with a webpage version later on.

Multiple Platforms

WeChat is available for downloading on various platforms, such as iOS phones, Android phones, Windows, Blackberry and Symbian phones. The app offers text chatting as well as the ability to make voice calls to the contacts. Also, there is a broadcasting feature and a walkie-talkie feature. You can broadcast something or talk to a group through voice chats as well. Users can also send stickers to one another through the sticker shop.

Free of charge

WeChat is a free app, so you can use it without making any payments. Voice calls, as well as video calls, are free. Also, you can share your photos or videos as well as an audio message and participate in global chatting. Group chatting is possible with a maximum of 500 members in a group. Bulk messaging is possible along with bulk audio or video files.

Simple Interface

The app comes with an interface that is user-friendly. It is also lightweight and does not use up much of your device resources. The menus are very simple, and even beginners on text chatting or novices will find it easy to communicate. It is easy to sign up, as you only need to provide your phone number. The app then searches your contacts after you give it access.

If you are already familiar with WhatsApp, you will find it easy to transition to WeChat. The menu options are simple, and you can find your way through the app very quickly. Users can send text messages along with a video or an audio file.

The app also allows you to access the camera quickly. You can use the photo filters or add captions to your photos and videos.

Innovative Ways of Communicating

The app brings in several innovative ways of getting acquainted with new contacts and connecting with friends. You can make new friends, locally as well as internationally. For instance, there is the phone shaking feature and the drift bottle feature along with people nearby one. It also has Moments feature, which rather works like the NewsFeed on Facebook. However, you cannot see whether a particular contact is online or not, so in this way it ensures privacy for users.

More reading about Wechat

Curated by Bo Zhang

Guerilla and Experiential Concepts: Its all just a Fad!

In recent years many articles are popping up praising concepts like piggybacking, experiential, viral, buzz marketing etc.
Are these concepts THE solution to get your brand and message across to your target audience no matter what?

Buzz Marketing being “A big Fad!”
In the blog of Joseph Putnam “How to Apply Buzz Marketing Principles for Effective Internet Marketing” the success of Buzz marketing seems to be guaranteed.
“The difference is that the goal of buzz marketing is to get people talking about your brand – not just to make people aware that your brand exists.(…) Most people think it’s something that happens randomly, but in the book Buzzmarketing, author Mark Hughes talks about how buzz can be generated by following a few basic principles. Businesses that follow these principles are much more successful at getting people and news outlets talking about their brand than businesses that only use traditional marketing tactics.”

“A big fad” called Piggybagging
As well as in the blog of Laura Davies “Can piggybagging on viral activity help with your marketing strategy?” the author talks about using Piggybagging as a successful concept to reach the right audience “One thing is clear, the impact of viral campaigns can be huge, but in a few months, weeks or even days they can be easily be forgotten. For brands, “piggybacking” on these trends and campaigns quickly is highly beneficial (…)”

Experiential Marketing “The next pig fad!”
Shareen Pathak who is the author of the blog post “Just What Is Experiential Marketing, and How Can It Be Measured?” mentioned that “Jeff Benjamin, chief creative officer at JWT North America, said experiential is what brands do in the world that get people “participating.” He called it an evolution of what interactive advertising was a few years ago — anything that pulls people into the brand, digitally or physically. “It just has the gas pedal on it now because of social media and technology.”

If one follows up all three blog posts mentioned before and carefully reads them, the question stated at the beginning becomes obsolete. Plus questions like: Are these “new” concepts the Holy Grail of marketing? Can these vessels transport any type of message to any person on the planet? Do they only have to be new and exciting to be appealing? where the answers is no becomes obsolete as well.
This is all due to the progression of marketing itself. As I was putting this blog post together I researched the web for FAD look alike blog posts based on marketing concepts. So far I could not find one single article praising one concepts or idea as the single perfect solution.
It seems that marketing and its experts grew up to the extend where marketing is not a side function of sales anymore but rather a mature, smart and educated industry.
Every article or blog found, mentioned that in the end it’s much more important to identify key trends within the target audience, use the right tone of voice across channels in a coherent way and stay true to what research and data can provide us with.
That said, concepts like piggybacking, experiential, viral, buzz marketing etc. have proven itself to be successful approaches and concepts but only within an appropriate context and with a meaningful and coherent message.
Following marketing 101 rules, these concepts can stay valid overtime but only if the implementation and execution is spot on and inline with a proper strategy.

For instance, Pepsi just proved that experiential marketing can work over time with the same idea as long as it is coherent, hence following the same or an adapted strategy and has meaning to its audience:

Year 2013:

Youtube Facts – Views: 45,216,778, Likes: 155,103

Year 2014:

Youtube Facts – Views: 19,785,451, Likes: 63,740

Although the second #TestDrive was less successful ADWEEK put it on their Ad of the Day page showing that this idea once implemented correctly can produce repeated results:

One final word: Thanks marketing for growing up as a sector and especially understanding that ideas and concepts are only one part of you. Plus thanks concepts and technology for making marketing way more creative and diverse than ever before. There are no fads within concepts or ideas but there are people using the marketing tools wrong or in the wrong context – Nevertheless these people seem to become obsolete in a growing and more mature marketing world.

Written and edited by Benjamin Glahe