App Marketing in Eastern Europe: What You Need to Know

By Marydeana Nolan | October 18, 2021

Digitization proved it’s worth during the pandemic with mobile-first businesses across the globe reaping the rewards. In Eastern Europe, in-app revenue rocketed. According to data from App Annie, consumers spent $1,330b on in-app purchases in Russia during 2020. In Ukraine, consumers spent $220b and in Poland the figure was $390b. An IAB study found that during the pandemic, Romanians increasingly sought their mobile devices for entertainment and shopping. As a result, mobile advertising managed to attract 60% of total online advertising revenue in the country last year.

The Eastern European market also offers many benefits to app marketers not available elsewhere. Lower CPMs and less regulation offer a great opportunity for testing. The introduction of 5G across the CIS region, and the increased bandwidth and high-speed data that comes with it, also offer a huge advantage for mobile advertisers.

But navigating and dominating the Eastern European app market can still be a challenge. In this article, we’ve outlined some essential tips for promoting your app in the region. Read the article in Russian here.

Good Testing Ground

Some of the world’s most innovative apps have roots in Eastern Europe. Tech trailblazers like Skype, TransferWise and Bolt have all come out of Estonia. While Poland was one of the first European countries to roll out an app that collects reams of personal information in its fight to combat the pandemic. It is also true that many of the apps born out of Eastern Europe make the majority of their profits in other parts of the world.
But are these marketers missing out by not taking advantage of Eastern Europe’s benefits, especially when it comes to advertising costs? Gaming apps in Russia have one of the lowest cost per installs (CPI) compared to global benchmarks which sit at $0.86 and $0.44 for iOS and Android, respectively.

Dariia Opanasiuk, Chief Marketing Officer at Genesis (Impulse) adds: “For apps that are not geo-specific and intend to go worldwide, Eastern Europe may be a good market for a soft launch or quick tests. Lower CPMs give a great opportunity to do that cheaply and being able to access these countries via all the main traffic channels will save a lot of time. The Eastern Europe market gives marketers the possibility to gather data on user behavior, define success criteria, discover the most effective promotion methods without committing significant budget.”

Dariia Opanasiuk, Chief Marketing Officer at Genesis (Impulse)

Vladimir Ilchenko, UA LEAD at Nakusi Games comments: “We don’t have such strict regulations as China and there is no big barrier to enter the market. So, all that makes our market similar to other European countries, but with lower eCPMs.”

Vladimir Ilchenko, UA LEAD at Nakusi Games

Max Mikhedov, Lead UA at Easybrain comments: “I believe that these markets are still underestimated. Perhaps companies believe that they will make less money in them. But they actually offer an opportunity because there is less competition in the market, making it easier for apps to take the top spot in their vertical or industry.”

Max Mikhedov, Lead UA at Easybrain

Get Hyper-Local

Eastern European consumers are used to product offerings in localized languages, both from local players and foreign market entrants. In order to compete effectively in this region, it’s key for marketers to translate creatives into local languages. It’s also important to understand local social and business customs and nuances.

Kirill Grigorev, Senior User Acquisition Manager at Dataduck comments: “Most of the people in Eastern Europe speak local languages and do not speak English so you need to make sure your creatives are localized. You need to understand Eastern European sentiments when preparing a marketing strategy. Try to avoid any messaging that can cause a negative reaction.”

Kirill Grigoriev, Senior User Acquisition Manager at Dataduck

Aleksey Golovachev, Marketing Team Lead at Awem Games comments: “The share of Eastern European countries in the marketing mix is usually small, so many developers neglect localization. However, this is critically important. In Russia, for example, no more than 5% of the population know English (according to the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion).”

Aleksey Golovachev, Marketing Team Lead at Awem Games

Aleksey Tishakov, CMO at ZiMAD comments: “The Eastern European market, especially Russia, has grown in recent years and has provided an opportunity for game developers to expand their player base. In general, understanding regional characteristics is the key to a successful marketing strategy, but unlike, for example, specific Asian countries, it is not necessary to introduce a unique user flow here, language localization is enough.”

Alexey Tishakov, CMO at ZiMAD

iOs 14.5

Apple’s iOS 14.5 update and the depreciation of the IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) affected app marketers around the world, and the story was no different in Eastern Europe. Marketers scrambled to find workarounds to capture consumer data, target the right audiences, and run personalized ads.

Vladimir Ilchenko comments: “Just like other companies all over the world, here in Eastern Europe we are facing difficulties with iOS 14.5 and later versions. As a result, some companies have started testing new products on Android.”

Danusia Buquet, Head of Sales, CSE at Liftoff adds: “The iOS 14.5 update rattled the app marketing industry. In Eastern Europe, marketers shifted their ad dollars to Android. On Android, marketers still have full visibility into what drives performance at a granular level and can optimize to their heart’s content. But it’s still early days. As more users adopt 14.5 and marketers get comfortable with the new normal on iOS, most of us expect ad spend on iOS to fully recover.”

Danusia Buquet, Head of Sales, CSE at Liftoff

Galyna Iefremova, CEO at SUITSME adds: “One significant factor that forced marketers to completely reconsider their app marketing strategies is the introduction of Apple’s restrictions on the transfer of personal data. As a result, more and more marketers are turning to influencers, both local and global, to promote their apps.”

Galyna Iefremova, CEO at SUITSME

Sergey Tsondinov, Head of Marketing at Beresnev Games comments: “All mobile marketers are faced with the challenges of adapting to the new iOS and the upcoming Android changes. This has really affected how marketers approach purchasing and traffic estimation. It is quite possible that this challenge will result in the need for even closer integration of marketing and product. Both in terms of product ideation and monetization.”

Sergey Tsondinov, Head of Marketing at Beresnev Games

The Eastern European market holds a lot of untapped potential for mobile app marketers. The costs are lower meaning even those with smaller budgets can reap the benefits of this market. It’s also a good time to be a mobile marketer in Eastern Europe as users are spending more time than ever before connected to their devices. But to make the most of this region, it’s important to understand the market and the challenges which are unique to it. Those that do, will get ahead of the rest.

You can read the original article in Cossa.