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Advertising VKontakte: how to advertise on the most used social media in Russia

Properly launching an advertising campaign on VKontakte from scratch is not easy, but in this post we will try to discover all the notions and tricks of the business section of VKontakte. Where do we start from?

Decide on the target audience

Get the necessary data from Yandex.Metrika or Google Analytics . If there is no information about the target audience, you need to build a hypothesis about who your potential target may be. Once done, you need to choose your ad placement options. Do you want to promote the community on VKontakte or attract users to the site?

Then you need to set the overall budget of the campaign. Make sure you’ve included your trial budget , because running a campaign without the initial test is a mistake. First you need to check the audience, banners and all settings. Remember that the test takes at least 2-3 days.

How to set the budget for advertising on VKontakte?

For the calculation it is necessary to know the formulas and indicators that are used in targeted advertising:

  • CPC – pay per click;
  • CTR – CTR rate, defined as the ratio of the number of hits to the number of clicks, measured as a percentage;
  • CPM – CPM (VKontakte you pay for 1000 impressions);
  • CR – conversion coefficient.

Two formulas can be used to calculate the advertising budget , depending on the type of payment you want to use:

  1. Budget 1 = CPM cost per 1000 impressions.
  2. Budget 2 = CPC cost per click.

Where can the CTR be calculated from ? If this is your first campaign, use the average value for VKontakte (example, 0.03%, for the news feed). In the future, you will take the arithmetic mean of the campaign. After analyzing everything, you can enter the “Advertisement” section of VKontakte and start building your ads and banners.

Or you can act differently. As a first step you can enter the “Listing” section, build a test “target ad” (to roughly understand what the costs per click and per view will be ), continue with the budget analysis and finally move on to the actual creation of the adverts.

How to set the cost of the listing?

For advertisements in communities or groups, payment is only possible per impression . If you promote an external site or a community, payment is also possible by click .

In fact , all the settings on the target affect the costs of the ad . Changing even a detail leads to a change in the final sum. VKontakte always shows the coverage of the target audience and the recommended sum is shown in the right column of the display.

How to calculate the target audience?

  1. Limit below VK’s recommended price – you’ll be able to cover around 70% of the audience.
  2. Upper limit: able to cover more than 90% of the audience.

Having 100% audience coverage is impossible – not all VKontakte users come online on a regular basis. Remember: VKontakte overestimates the price for advertisements, so better start with a lower rate (30% of the second recommended price, for example). At least for a test setup.

VKontakte advertising: is it better to pay per click or per impression?

It all depends on the individual campaign , as many factors can influence the payment method. But if it is the first time you are launching a campaign on social media , it is advisable to choose pay per click . This way you will pay for the individual transactions. By choosing the payment for 1000 impressions you risk emptying your budget without having obtained any results. Always set a limit on your budget , so you will have the possibility to continuously keep it under control. Make sure you set limits for all ads.

Working with VKontakte advertiser account

To start creating VKontakte advertisements you need to enter the ” Advertisements ” section. The service offers a choice of four post placement options:

  1. Community
  2. Posts in communities
  3. External site
  4. VK application

1. Advertisements in the communities

To run advertisements in communities, you need to be an administrator. Otherwise, the service will not start. Click on ” Community ” and in the window that opens select the group or page you want to advertise. Click “Continue”.

Four different formats can be used to promote communities:

  1. Image and text;
  2. large image;
  3. community promotion;
  4. special format.

All formats, except the special, will be displayed to the user in the left bar below the control panel. This type of ad is only available for the desktop.

Image and text

Ad format: Title up to 33 characters; Description max 70 characters; Preview – 145 × 80 pixels resolution.

This format is often used when an image is not enough, because a description of the advertised object needs to be added. Here it is recommended to use a call-to-action not only to inform the user, but also to encourage the user to activity, be part of the community and take action.

Big picture

Ad format: Title up to 33 characters; Preview – 145 × 165 pixels resolution.

If you use this version it is important to find suitable images, because the first thing the user pays attention to is the image, at the base of the advertisement .

Promote the community

Ad format: Image – size of 145 × 145 pixels, and title (max 33 characters).

As the title you enter the name of your community directly, but be careful: if the name is longer than 33 characters, the text is cut. The ad displays the number of subscribers and the subscribe button .

Special format

The special ad format for communities is found in a separate section and is displayed in the VKontakte user’s news feed. The image must have a strong contrast background: using light colors on a white background is unacceptable.

The ad format:

  • Image: size of 256 × 256 pixels;
  • Title: the name of your community is automatically entered as the title. By default the header can contain up to 33 characters, but in practice the title is cut to 15 characters;
  • Number of members.

2. Promotion of community posts

Recently VKontakte added a new option with which you can advertise your community posts , also writing ” hidden posts “: these will be sponsored and visible in the user’s feed, but they will not be published on the community wall. The choice is based on your goal. If you have only one recent post with important info you can publish it and then sponsor it. If, on the other hand, you have a wide variety of products / posts / services and you don’t want to clog the community board, launch the campaign with hidden posts.

3. Sponsorship of an external site

To create this type of advertisement, insert the link of the landing page , in which the “continue” button is displayed and to which the user is sent directly.

Important: to accurately track the conversions of your ads on the site, use the UTM link . The tags allow advertisers to send further information on the parameters of the passage to the site with the web analytics system. So you can keep track of all the movements , as well as analyze the target audience, and then create even more targeted ads. There are only two ad formats for promoting a site : large image; text and image.

The parameters of the target

This feature allows you to easily set the location of your potential users . It is possible to use the default settings, selecting the country and the city or to exclude places from the advertisement. Example: Show the ad to all of Russia, except Moscow and St. Petersburg . Tip : If the audience is all of Russia, we recommend that you create a separate ad for Moscow and St. Petersburg only, also because they are the most expensive regions for sponsored ads.

Important : Any changes in the settings affect the target audience and the cost of the sponsored post. The narrower the target, the more expensive the listing .

Audience demographics

First of all, you need to choose your target audience. The data relating to the target can be obtained directly from the user pages. Only not everyone fill in all the fields related to personal information. For example, the target women between 25-35 years, does not take into account women who have not specified their gender or age. To have a more targeted target it is recommended to use other parameters.

The ” birthday ” parameter can be useful for many goods and services. Thus, it is possible to offer people who have their birthday coming up with posts where there are gift proposals with a special discount. There are examples of campaigns where this has worked very well . The Nescafè brand with the “women” target and the specific city received more than one million visits in a month.

For example, if you change your sentimental situation to “boyfriend” you can immediately see advertisements from photographers, wedding announcements, stylists.

Interests of users

In this section you can choose the interests of your target, you can use different parameters to reduce the target audience. Important: don’t shrink your audience too much. If you select more parameters, the users who will be intercepted will have to respect all of them, not just one of them.

Remember that very often users do not fill in the interests field and if they have filled it in they update it very rarely. I advise you to use the “interest” section, in fact this section collects pages and communities that fall within this section.


Another interesting option is to insert “communities” as a parameter for the announcement. Here you can select any community that you believe may be made up of potential customers . For example, if the target are accountants, they are certainly registered on the pages for accountants, to keep up with the news and the change in legislation. Pay attention to the number of subscribers, their activity on the page, and the frequency of publication. If the last post in the community was six months ago, this is unlikely to be of interest as a parameter.

Tip : Use parsing services – there are both free and paid ones, they can help you more accurately segment your audience. This type of service helps to identify communities with the topic that interests you, identify the most active users in the community.

Applications and websites

Here you can specify the sites where the user is authenticated through the VKontakte account, or through a variety of applications that the user uses.

If the target is travelers , the service collects all users who have visited the VKontakte site from at least two different countries in the last year.

Training and work

By choosing the parameter of education you can choose: the type of secondary or higher education , specific institutions or the time of training.

You can also select the job position of the users . The data for this option is taken from the specific user page.

Additional options

It is possible to select from a list the devices, browsers and operating systems used by the users of your target.

Plus there’s the retargeting audience . Which we will analyze in more detail.

This is a very important parameter, which must necessarily be used if you have your own website.

How does retargeting work on VKontakte?

Remarketing is automated with R and Google Tag Manager .

Retargeting is a tool that allows you to view promotional material for users who are already familiar with the product or service having already visited the site previously .

Retargeting allows you not to lose the “hot users” . So, if a user went to your site visited the content also put the product in the basket but did not purchase, VKontakte retargeting will retarget it through the social network. This will increase conversions on your website.

VKontakte can gather an audience of 1000 users but it’s best to start with 3000. To regulate retargeting you need to generate a code (or pixel), and insert it into your retargeting website. Vk subsequently collects the users who have visited the website.

To get started, go to the left menu to the “retargeting” section

Then, go to “pixels” and click on “Create Pixel”.

To create a pixel, you need to perform three simple steps:

  • Specify the pixel name.
  • Register the domain of the site to which you want to enter the code.
  • Select the site theme.
  • Press the “New” button – and the pixel is ready!

Now you need to copy and paste the resulting code on the site between the <head> and </ head> tags. If you don’t have access to your pages, just contact your system administrator (or developers).

Until you insert the pixel you will see the status “not working”. After entering the status will change to “working”. From now on, you can create and save your retargeting audience.

The retargeting audience

Public is a customizable database of VKontakte users, to whom sponsored posts can be targeted. The audience can be chosen in two ways:

  1. loaded from file
  2. added to the site through the VKontakte pixel

To build the retargeting audience you need to enter the “Audience” section and select “Create audience”. In the opened window you will be given two public collection options by pixel or by uploading from file.

How to create the audience through retargeting pixels?

With the help of a pixel, you can create two types of audiences:

  • all visitors to the site;
  • users who have visited a specific page.

To build the audience of all site visitors, you need to:

  • Record the name of the audience.
  • Select from the list of pixels, the one created previously.
  • Specify an “All Visitors”.
  • Select the time period for which you need the information. The time interval can be corrected at any time.
  • Save audience.

To create an audience of users who have visited certain pages of the website , it is necessary:

  • Specify the name of the audience.
  • Select pixels.
  • Choose the option “People who have visited a specific page.”
  • Specify the time interval.

You can then choose the desired settings. Here you can select the users who have visited the specific page, for example information about a particular product. For this it is necessary to insert in the empty window the link that refers to the specific page.

  • Save audience.

How to create an audience with the list

Just select “Load from file” from the menu. Next, you need to select a file on your computer and upload it to the sponsored posts section of VKontakte. VKontakte will automatically find users based on the data provided. What are the data recognized by VKontakte?

  • email addresses
  • phone numbers
  • User ID

A few final tips for creating sponsored posts on VK

  • Use images with light and flashy colors to grab the user’s attention.
  • Use a custom language for specific targets . For example, the language for posts with the “mom” target must be different from posts with the “dad” target
  • Always use a “call to action” in the text of the post, or if the format allows it also in the image.
  • Never forget to do a test campaign before launching the actual one.
  • Try all campaign formats and see which one brings you the most results.
  • Always analyze the results of sponsored posts, this will also help the web analytics tools .
  • Always segment your audience. Having a very large audience will bring very few results .
  • Images may contain text , but the text cannot exceed more than 50% of the image.

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