Odnoklassniki (OK), one of Russia's most popular social networks, released today its 2019 performance results. OK focused on the development of services for sharing emotional content and new ways of communicating with friends and family.
Services for communicating and sharing emotions
In 2019, OK focused on its key feature and a core business segment – communication services for sharing emotions with friends and family: virtual gifts, stickers, postcards, calls, friendship services etc.
The abovementioned services saw an increase in user engagement in 2019, whereas gift service, OK’s crucial feature, grew exponentially. OK users sent 45 bln virtual gifts (paid and free) to each other in 2019, a 4-fold increase year-on-year. Sender numbers grew 45%. On peak days, during national holidays, gift numbers would exceed half a billion per day. Notably, on Mother’s Day celebrated in Russia on November 24, users sent 662 mln gifts meaning that 25% of Russian women received virtual gifts on OK. On International Women’s Day (March 8) users sent 500 mln gifts. New Year brought a new historic record with over 1 bln gifts sent by OK users. It has solidified OK’s position as the top service for greetings in Russia and ex-Soviet states.
With such high user engagement, OK’s DAU in Russia increased by 2.8% in December 2019 year-on-year. At the same time mobile DAU grew by 11%.
Stickers that are used in direct messages and in comments also demonstrated robust growth in 2019. Hundreds of new sticker sets were added by the OK team in 2019. Content variety triggered an increase in audience numbers and user engagement. The monthly number of stickers and their senders doubled year-on-year. OK was also improving its video call service throughout 2019, resulting in the average daily number of calls growing 56%.
OK also deployed up-to-date technology to its friendship service. Thanks to the friend recommendation algorithms based on neural networks and the launch of the service’s new platform, monthly number of friend requests grew by 50% year-on-year. It eventually boosted user engagement and the number of users’ interactions on the social network.
Video, Games and Music
OK’s content and entertainment services found new audience and became one of the drivers of user engagement growth in 2019. OK video platform, number one in Russia for video uploads (Brand Analytics, April 2019), attracted audience not only with UGC but with professional content that gained millions of views. The latter includes broadcasting of sports events, new season of OK Online late-night show, OK’s own New Year show. Thanks to the long-form content consumption, an average video viewing time in OK increased by 27% in 2019 year-on-year.
Mobile games also continued to grow. The social network will be paying more than 600 mln rubles to mobile game developers for 2019, what is twice as much as the payouts in 2018.
OK has timely adapted its gaming platform as the audience has been moving to mobile massively. The social network however retained significant numbers of payouts to game developers across the platforms. The payouts stood flat at over 3.2 bln rubles in 2019. OK also actively developed game monetization adding in-game advertising model along with in-game purchases. As a result, payments to developers for in-game ads in their games in 2019 were three times higher than in 2018.
OK’s music service went through a major update in 2019 with a new catalog for the desktop and mobile versions, improved recommendation algorithms, ML-based tools for the search of similar music. This encouraged users to add more songs to their playlists from recommended content, and led to general growth in song plays: recommended tracks were played 3 times more often year-on-year.
Marketplace and small business
OK marketplace offering Chinese goods underwent some updates in 2019 related to the boost of personalization and expansion of users’ content. Personalization algorithms helped to ramp up the marketplace’s revenue by 29.4% with a total number of orders exceeding 4.5 mln. In the meantime, the marketplace maintained high retention levels: 42% of users would make the second purchase within a month after their first order. In 2020, OK will introduce technology and tools from its marketplace in joint products with AliExpress Russia – the joint venture between Mail.ru Group, MegaFon, RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) and Alibaba Group.
Recent launch of business profiles and ad manager for entrepreneurs and content creators opened up new opportunities for small businesses in OK. In 2019, a number of business profiles in OK created by entrepreneurs exceeded 1 million. Revenue from SME (ad tools inside OK platform and a new ad manager) increased 2.2-fold in 2019 year-on-year.
Anton Fedchin, Head of Odnoklassniki:
— OK stands out from other social networks because of the open-hearted and sincere nature of communications between its users. They can share emotions using many different formats on the social network. That said, we focused on the development of the most popular emotions-sharing services, including virtual gifts, stickers, and calls. Essentially, we went back to what initially made us special for millions of users. This helped us secure positive dynamics in daily audiences at the year-end.
The services and business areas that were new in 2018 continued to grow. Mobile game audiences outpaced desktop which led to the exponential growth of in-game purchases. Our marketplace reached the threshold of 4.5 mln orders in 2019, and we expect further growth in OK’s social commerce through cooperation with AliExpress Russia. Our SME platform went through a series of important updates which helped double ad revenues in this segment, while entrepreneurs received all the tools for the emotional communication with their clients that OK provides.
We will keep these segments in the spotlight in 2020. We will also continue developing services for sharing emotions, as well as OK SME platform, new gaming and content projects. In 2020 we are planning to introduce our own series created for OK video platform.