i-COMference 2012 Moscow – Insights into the Digital Landscape in Russia


i-COMference 2012 Moscow: a door into the professional Internet Community in Russia

i-COMference’12 was held on March 13th – 14th in Moscow, RIA Novosti centre. i-COMference has been running events dedicated to the professional Internet community in Russia since 2008. Previously it operated as two separate projects that merged in 2011 called “Internet Communities” and “I-Media”.

This year’s conference was devoted to digital communications and platforms such as the present trends in social networks, internet media and mobile technologies. The event has a significant following with over 1000 participants visiting the event this year and more than 2000 people viewing the live broadcast online. It displays the challenges of digital and social media community in Russia.

i-COMference Structure and main objectives

The event was structured into 3 parallel streams:

–          Discussion panels

–          Master classes

–          Workshops and lectures

The main scope of the conference putting digital ideas “into practice” and the objective of the conference was to provide an analytical framework to facilitate integrating digital into the planning process for particular sectors.

Leading sector experts presented their new media market overviews and gave the advice on how to navigate business according to the latest market trends.

There were a lot of interesting presentations and special guests such as; creative director of Odnoklassniki social network, marketing services director of Yandex, managing director of Social Networks (AGT Holding), social media department director of “GRAPE”, famous Runet bloggers and many more.

Day 1. Findings: Russia Online Reputation and Brand Landscape

On the first day of the conference participants discussed how Runet internet media is growing up.

There were some surprising statistics presented that Russians spent more time in social networks than any other countries in the world (even more than Europeans and Americans). According to the findings, social network audience growth were boosted by new users, who previously did not have an online access and those who previously registered, but stopped using their accounts for some reasons, becoming active again.

A master class on “Monitoring and Reputation Management” took place, where several experts presented types of monitoring systems and their application in the Russian market as well as some case studies describing how digital, social media and PR agencies have helped manage brand reputation in response to crisis management.

One of the most interesting lectures of the day was a lecture by Yandex, Marketing Services Director, – “Social Enterprise Platform”. He reflected on how communications, with the help of social media instruments, can help to resolve numerous business issues and facilitate the internal development of an organisation. He claimed that after successful internal projects have been established, healthy and prosperous external communications can be built, significantly improving company performance.

There was also some very interesting information presented about brands in social media. At this forum various experts were talking about a number of subjects from; the Runet SMM, social media trends in European market 2012, banks in social media and automotive brands. Particular attention was paid to building brand reputation, its management and metrics within the social networks.

Day 2. Observations Social Media trends in Russian Market

Day 2 was more specifically devoted to social media and started with a presentation on social media trends in the Russian market. Deep focus was paid to using social networks internally within the company, serving corporate interests, and the effectiveness of  Web 2.0.

A final master class we found time to visit was “Communications with help of geo-social services” where experts shared their experiences and theories on new generation marketing and how geo-social services could serve the brand and also be utilized for powerful couponing service.

There were a number a ‘celebrities’ present including Russian politicians (Ilya Ponomarev – State Duma deputy), celebrities (Kseniya Sobchak), radio presenters (Alexander Plushchev – Echo Moskvi), internet publishers (Ivan Zasursky – director of internet publishers association) and Runet HR experts (Alena Vladimirskaya – Pruffi agency founder) also visited the event. They were participating in discussions like “Society.RF” and “Where to work – employee or start up”.

Runet – Russia Internet blog awards 2012

Runet (Russia Internet) Awards were sponsored by Internet In Numbers Magazine and took place within conference itself. There were several areas for nomination for both companies and bloggers including:

–          Media as blog

–          Business and professional

–          Media blogs

–          Politics

–          Events

–          Education

–          Lifestyle

All materials about the blog awards and conference can be found here (Russian language though)


Conclusion – Digital Marketing in Russia and evolving ecosystem still on its infancy

The conference revealed whilst digital marketing in Russian is fairly well established social media is still in its infancy. However it is being driven by young, resourceful, and highly entrepreneurial individuals who are fast becoming established thought leaders. With the Winter Olympics and World Cup coming to Russia and with its Western brands there will be hopefully be an increasing number of inspirational social media case-studies to help further to develop the industry.

More information on their Twitter page.