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To Reach Social Networkers in Russia, Be Funny

Humor, health key to country's most popular social media communities

July 5, 2017 | Social Media

A study of adult social network users in Russia has found that humor and health are the topics most likely to draw their attention in the social realm.

According to April 2017 research from Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), the most popular social media topics were humor, mentioned by 43% of respondents, health (41%) and news (41%).

But age, gender and location skew those preferences.

For example, young adults—ages 18 to 24—were most interested in humor, sport, and science and technologies; but their older counterparts, those ages 60 and older, sought out news, health and food topics.

And among genders, men preferred sport, cars, and science and technologies topics, while women said they most often opted for topics such as healthy lifestyle, food and recipes, as well as family and children.

When it came to which social networking sites users turned to most, homegrown sites VK (formerly Vkontakte) and Odnoklassniki.ru remained the most popular by far, used by 61% and 54% of respondents, respectively.

Frequency with Which Internet Users in Russia Use Select Social Networks, April 2017 (% of respondents)

Most respondents used those sites at least several times a week, if not every day or almost daily. Among VK users, 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 54% of 25- to 34-year-olds turned to it daily.

The US-import sites that dominate much of the rest of internet users’ social networking in Europe and the wider Western world remain much less popular in Russia. VCIOM’s study found only 20% of the country’s social networkers used Facebook, and only 11% used Twitter. Photo-focused Instagram was used by 25%, which was enough to make it Russia’s third most popular social site.

Overall social network usage continues to grow in Russia. This year, 75.0 million people in the country are expected to use a social network at least once per month, up 3.6% from 2016, according to eMarketer’s most recent forecast for that activity in Central and Eastern Europe.

Other researchers have found most of those users are open to following brands on social sites. In an April 2017 study by Mail.Ru, which owns VK, Odnoklassniki and My.com, 66% of social network users in Russia ages 14 and older queried said they followed brand pages on those sites.

Cliff Annicelli

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