Earlier this morning I’ve had a privilege of speaking at the Russian Internet Forum at St. Petersburg in the in the city’s largest conference hotel (and we’re talking a city with a population of over 5 million people), Pribaltiyskaya.
I must admit, I’ve been impressed. The conference has had 3,128 attendees registered, and regardless of the fact that the registration was free, the quality of
most content has been simply superb. All major players of the Russian online market (TNS, RU-CENTER, RosBusinessConsulting, Mail.ru, Yandex, WebMoney, Begun.ru, to name but a few) are presenting at this conference. Even folks from the State Duma in the Russian Federation, and RIA Novosti are having their sessions tomorrow… And nearly every session is jam-packed with useful (and actionable) data.
Needless to say, I was honored to give my speech on Datafeed Affiliates earlier today. The room was packed (it was the room you see in the picture above). My rough count tells me that I had at least 200 people in the room. My session was bundled with 4 other sessions, and placed in the “Market of Internet Advertising” section, and it was good to witness that only one of the questions asked at the very end of the section/marathon was not addressed to me. The rest (5-7 questions) were all on affiliate marketing. There is a great interest in performance affiliate marketing in Russia these days (both on the merchant, and on the affiliate side of things). However, much needs to be improved/developed before performance marketing can take root there. The infrastructure (read: affiliate networks, primarily) is still undergoing a lot of development, there are payment-related concerns (some 90% of Russia’s payments for online orders are cash on delivery, which makes a CPS payment model less effective, while both CPS and CPL are then greatly dependent on the transparency of the merchants), and the end-users aren’t as ready yet (e.g.: per TNS‘ report earlier this morning only 2% of all Runet users visit coupon websites; while as far as datafeed-driven sites are concerned, there is only a handful of such). Additionally, affiliate marketing education is desperately lacking. However, there is much interest, and I do believe that we are going to see a significant growth in of the performance marketing industry in Russia with the development of Russian e-commerce.
If you are reading this, and you’re in Russia, there seems to be great opportunity (for new affiliate networks, merchants, and affiliates) in all of this, and you want to seriously consider what you’re gonna do with it (or at least keep your finger on the pulse of things at all times).