MOSCOW: Online is bigtime the world over – and even more so in giant emerging economies like Russia – where in the first half of 2008 internet advertising recorded a scorching 73% growth to $260 million (€168.73m; £133.48m).

And, predicts research agency MindShare Interaction, that growth is set to continue through H2 to beyond $600m.

As an ad medium, online moved into top gear propelled by the rapid growth of internet access, currently used by around 37.7m (29%) of all Russians, according to data recently released by the Public Opinion Foundation

In terms of active usage, some 15.7m (14%) of citizens go online daily.

Says Andrei Chernyshov, general director of the AdWatch advertising agency: "Advertisers are attracted by the internet because the medium offers instant feedback, and it is easier to monitor how users behave. 
"With the introduction of social networks such as Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte, the cost of advertising on the Internet has been halved.

"So far in Russia, most of the online ads are distributed among three major search portals: Yandex, Rambler and Google, which recently acquired Begun."

And mimicking trends elsewhere in the world, traditional media are feeling the chill as online grows at their expense.

Notes Vladimir Yevstafiyev, vp at the Russian Association of Communication Agencies: "With a new array of technical possibilities, the internet in Russia [will] draw away media buyers from print publications.

"But just as cinema and TV never destroyed the newspapers, newspapers and news magazines will continue to occupy a niche in the advertisement market."

Data sourced from Moscow Times; additional content by WARC staff