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Guide to Vkontakte Advertising

So, you’ve decided to promote your business on Vkontakte. On one hand its advertising tools are less advanced than on Facebook, but on the other hand VK have its own interesting nuances. In this guide I’d like to provide you through all the advertising opportunities that VK gives us. This article will be updated.

On VK you can promote a community (on VK the community is a common name for a group, fanpage or event), a game/app, or a website. All advertising tools can be divided into three main groups: targeted ads, newsfeed promo posts, paid posts.

Let’s consider each of them separately. Here is the navigation menu for this guide:

  1. Targeted ads in left sidebar
    1. How to run targeted ads
  2. Sponsored posts in the newsfeed
    1. Nuances
    2. How to promote posts
  3. Paid posts in groups and fanpages
    1. Types of paid posts
    2. How to create paid posts
  4. How to top up your VK advertising balance?

Check out my video where I briefly describe these three types of advertising on VK:

Targeted ads in left sidebar

First group of advertising tools is the most extensive and contains six ad types. Each of them is intended for promoting different objects: community, website or app. For your convenience I have compiled them in a table:

Ad typeImage sizeWhat can you promote?Where is placed?Details
Image & text145 x 85Public page, Group, Event, App, Website, VideoLeft sidebarText length: 60 characters
Large image146 x 165Public page, Group, Event, App, Website, VideoLeft sidebar-
Public pages promotion145 x 145 (image or public page logo)Public page, Group, EventLeft sidebarShows: number of followers/members, CTA buttons "Subscribe" or "I'll attend""
Square image145 x 145 (image or app logo)AppLeft sidebarShows: buttons "Play" for games, "Launch" for apps; number of users of friends that use this app/game"
Special type of ads for communities 256 x 256Public page, Group, EventNewsfeedShows: number of followers/members or friends in this community
Special type of ads for applications 256 x 256AppNewsfeed, Apps catalogueShows: game ranking, game genre

You have a plenty of targeting options here:

  • Gender, age, marital status, country and city of residence.
  • Those who have a birthday today, tomorrow or during the week.
  • University, faculty, school, year of graduation.
  • Job positions, districts, metro stations and even streets.
  • Those who follow certain fanpages, groups and events.
  • Interests, hobbies, favorite movies, books, games, etc.
  • Special group of “Travelers” — those who log into VK from other countries.
  • Users of certain devices, OS, browsers.

Other options:

  • You can limit to 100 impressions per person.
  • Use the retargeting mechanism, to show ads to people that visited your website.
  • You choose – to pay for unique clicks or for impressions.
  • If you pay for clicks, then the more effective your ads are, the less price you pay.
  • You can change the design and text of your ad at any time.

How to run Targeted ads:

Go to your advertising account: https://vk.com/ads?act=office.

In the upper right corner select Create an Ad. Here you need to choose what you are going to promote — community, app, or website (promoting a post in community I will describe below):

Let’s say you would like to promote your VK public page (technically it’s the same as fanpage on Facebook). To do this, click Community and choose your public page or enter its title in the field, and click Proceed button:

You will see all the settings for your new ad. At the beginning, you should choose ad type (I’ve described the differences in the table above). For public page promotion you can choose one of these:

  • Small image + title + description
  • Large image + title only
  • Community ad
  • Special type of ad

Let’s choose the first one. Enter title and description, upload an image and choose proper categories (or topics) of your public page:

Next, you need to set your targeting, meaning who exactly you want to show ads to: their country, city, gender, age, relationship status etc. And an additional setting — those, who have birthday in the near future (for example, if you want to give them a birthday discount).

Next, you need to set more detailed targeting: interests, education, work, and additional parameters like devices, browsers etc.:

If you click Show more options in the Interests category, you’ll see additional options:

Here you can indicate which communities your audience should follow. For example, you can show ads to those users who followed your competitors. You can also exclude certain communities: which means, if the user is following it, he will not see your ad.

Another important parameter — “Travelers”. It is perfect if you are interested in potential customers who move frequently. People who visit foreign countries during business trips as well as people who go abroad for tourism get into this category.

Finally, at the bottom, you need to determine the method of payment — per clicks or per impressions and set a price you’re willing to pay. I recommend starting with pay per impression, to better understand how the audience will react to your advertising, to calculate your final CPC and find out conversion rate. And that can often be more profitable than if you set the payment for click at the very beginning.

Besides that, CPM will fit you, if you come to market with a new product, want to create a demand or to increase the recognition of your brand in Runet.

Here you can also limit the number of impressions per user to 100, if don’t want to annoy uninterested users with your advertisement. At the end, enter a name for your new advertising campaign, and submit ads for moderation by clicking on Create Ad.

Sponsored posts in the newsfeed

Post promotion on VK is the similar tool as Facebook Adverts, that you see in your newsfeed. They look like normal posts, but labeled as “Sponsored”. Check out my article which describes a case study of VK sponsored posts.

VK Promo post

This type of ad have all the targeting settings as for the previous group of ads, including geographic and demographic criteria, interests, etc. You can specify where the ad will be shown — only on VK desktop version, only on mobile devices (Android, iOS, Windows Phone and mobile version of the website m.vk.com), or both.

Nuances of Sponsored posts on VK

  • Visible both on mobile and desktop
  • Multiple formats: photos, videos, call-to-action buttons
  • Ability to attach additional content: audio files, documents, survey, map, external links in the text
  • User cannot leave a comment in a promo post, but can share it on his/her wall
  • You cannot promote posts from closed groups or events
  • You cannot promote reposted posts (if you shared a post from another group in yours)
  • To start promoting a post, your community details must be completed. Here you’ll find an example of community details and information that is sufficient to pass the moderation: https://vk.com/public120091278
  • Impressions limits: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15 or 20 views per user
  • CPM and CPC

How to promote posts on VK

The same as for Targeted ads, go to your advertising account: https://vk.com/ads?act=office and click Create an Ad.

Here you should choose Community post and either paste an URL of your existing post, or create a new one by clicking Create post.

Let’s try to create a new post and promote it. Click Create post and choose the community where you want to create it.

Now you should create your post, and for this purpose you can use additional features that you need:

  • add an image
  • video
  • music
  • create a poll
  • add a product that you offer on your public page

Try to write intriguing and interesting text. Use emoji, if it is suitable for you. In short, create a great copy!

When you finish, click Create and in the next step click Proceed.

Next, you will see exactly the same targeting settings as in the previous part of this guide (geographic, demographic targeting, etc.), except for two options at the bottom — Where to show my ads and Views per user.

Here you may choose whether to show your ads on mobile only, on desktop or on both platforms. And then you may choose how many times a user will see your ad max. I do not recommend to show your ad more than 5 times per user.

When you finish, enter a name for your campaign and click Create ad.

Paid posts in groups and fanpages

On VK there are a huge number of popular communities on a variety of topics, which are followed by millions of users. One of the unusual instruments on VK is the ability to purchase posts in these groups or public pages.

There are two tools for this purpose:

  1. the official service inside your advertising account
  2. and external service Sociate.ru

Before creating your first paid post I recommend to read the rules here, which describe restrictions on advertising of certain goods and services, as well as the documents you need to provide, for example, in case of advertising medical or baby products.

Types of paid posts

You can choose between two types of paid posts:

  • a normal post that looks like it was published by the owner of community
  • and a repost, or shared post, of the original post from your community

Here’s how a repost looks like:

How to place paid posts on VK public pages and groups

If your product or service meets the requirements of VK mentioned above, let’s create your first paid post and place it in a community.

Go to your advertising account and on the left menu choose Paid post marketplace, or just follow this link.

To create your first paid post, press the button New ad post in the top right corner:

 

Here, in this window you should choose the post type — normal post (text with attachments) or repost.

Length of the text entry can be very large — up to 16,000 characters. However, if you want your post to be better perceived by users, I suggest you to create posts with 450 characters or less. The same as in promo posts, described in previous part of the guide, you can add images, video, music, poll, map, other documents.

When you finish creating your post, give it a title (it will be visible only for you in your advertising account) and choose a proper campaign.

You have your first post. Now you should send it for verification by clicking the link inside your campaign (1), or clicking it in All posts section (2):

While your post is being verified, let’s take a look at communities that VK offers. Select Available Communities on the left menu. Here you can apply different filters to find communities with your topic and target group. Let’s say you’re looking for communities with young ladies interested in beauty & fashion:

Pay attention that at the right of each community name there is an icon with a small chart. If you click on it, you’ll see detailed statistics on coverage and audience engagement:

Vkontakte community statistics

When your post is verified, you will be able to send a request to a chosen community by clicking a button Send request. Here you should choose the appropriate date and time for your post to be published, and leave a comment for the community owner if you want:

If the community owner accepts your post, it will be posted at the time that you have chosen. You can check the status of your request in the Requests panel here.

According to the rules, your post must be placed for at least 24 hours. After that, the owner has the right to delete it.

How to top up your VK advertising balance?

If your company is outside Russia, there are three ways to pay for your VK advertising campaign:

  • Payment with a bank card or PayPal by an individual person. In this case, however, you cannot receive the invoice.
  • Cooperation with an agency or advertising platform, which has signed a contract with Vkontakte.
  • Sign the contract with Vkontakte yourself. In this case you get the invoice, but you can only pay with a bank transfer in rubles.
 Thanks for reading! Have any questions? Please, leave a comment below. 

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