How has brand activity on Instagram in Russia changed during the pandemic?

It’s apparent that businesses are suffering during the lockdown. For a month and a half, the economic crisis in Russia has now become everyday life, which was just on the horizon before the pandemic. It’s prudent to discuss how businesses are meeting challenges new conditions and trying to staying up. Businesses that used offline now need to take a closer look and become online. But some do it better, while others worse. Who does it and how they do it are good practice questions.

To answer this question Yoloco, an analytical service, made a research of brands on Russian Instagram. It shows how the activity of individual brands and business segments has changed over the past 5 months. In other words, which brands are getting more posts, likes and comments, and which are getting less.

Yoloco analyzed 250,000 posts from November 2019 to April 2020. 829 brand accounts with about 1 thousand up to 13 million followers were selected for analysis from 23 categories: “Education”, “Beauty” and others. To get these categories, the team created its own AI-based module. It automatically determines the categories for each account with a probability of >50%.

Involvement map

The Yoloco team made a special map with the categories of brands to clearly demonstrate the changes in the activity of brands and the involvement of their followers in one place.

Horizontally it shows the changes in the average number of likes, and vertically — the average number of posts. The more to the left the circle is located, the bigger decrease in the number of likes has happened from November 2019 to April 2020 among the brands of the category. On the contrary, when the circle turns to be more to the right, it means the number has increased. The higher the circle, the more posts were made during this period, and the lower — the less. Circle size refers to the total number of followers in a category.

Now let’s slice and dice: we will analyze the dynamics of posts, likes, and comments separately.

Brand Activity

Key trend. There were more posts before the New Year, a slump of activity in January, and a rise in February. In January, there were 24% less posts than in November — instead of 48 thousand 36 thousand only. In February, a slow growth began — the number of posts increased by 15% compared with January — there were 45 thousand posts. By March, the number of posts increased slightly, but in April it reduced to 43 thousand again.

Who posts less. In April, the activity of travel companies, online marketplaces and beauty brands slashed the number- by 43%, 31%, and 26%, respectively.

Pantene, Chistaya Linia (Pure Line), and MIXIT drastically decreased their activity. For example, MIXIT decreased by 44% — it had 157 posts in April rather than 279 posts in March.

On the contrary, online travel aggregators are well adapted. They either continued to do as many posts as before or began to do even more often. OneTwoTrip, an airline ticket aggregator, regularly made posts where it shared useful tips. For example, what one can do to return money for canceled flights.

Who posts more. Compared to November 2019, banks, education-related brands and fitness brands made significantly more posts in April, increasing by 72%, 75% and 63% respectively. VTB Bank made 525% more publications in April, Yandex.Practicum, an educational company made 214% more publications, and the World Class fitness club increased its posts by 463%. Now let’s see how it relates to the number of likes and comments, and whether it is related at all.

Audience Involvement

Key trend. Since the New Year, the number of likes and comments on brand accounts has begun to reduce. Most of likes were gotten just around the New Year. And since February, the number of comments has dropped.

What brands get fewer likes and comments. In April, the posts of travel companies, auto brands and beauty brands were liked less — by 29%, 68% and 103%, respectively. Then again, compared to November 2019. Also, beauty brands have significantly reduced the number of comments — by 170%. For example, Maybelline reduced it by 2100%.

What brands get more likes and comments. The leaders here are Fitness, Education, and FMCG brand categories. In April, likes were increased by 45%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. As for comments, the number increased by 49%, 40%, and 10% more, respectively.


Banks. Key trend: involvement of bank accounts for legal entities has grown, but for individuals has fallen. For example, VTB is the leader in the number of posts in its category. In April, the account for individuals made 525% more posts than in November 2019, although it has gotten 90% likes less. It’s hard to say why this happened. However, it can be noted that VTB continued to post about its services and did not adopt the content to the current situation. Meanwhile, “VTB for Business” account has made 363% more frequent posts, and the number of likes increased by 22%. Here the situation is opposite: the content was updated to solve user tasks. In particular, many posts were devoted to remote work topics.

Modulbank has also increased its involvement in making useful posts on how to adapt to business during the coronavirus, and it also held contests. The posts where they explained the legal side of burning questions such as: how to make employees work remotely, how to make tax installments for business, etc. became especially popular.

Sberbank for Business has launched an anti-crisis show ‘Remote Working’ on IGTV with Aleksey Pivovarov. He contacts people from various fields of business and discusses with each of them how to survive during the crisis. The show is popular now. Sberbank also created ‘SberSovetnik’ application, in which one can monitor his/her business performance, compare it with the market and analyze customer behavior. This is an example of a targeted response to the current situation of lockdown.

Fitness. Key trend: involvement of the segment has grown. Fitness clubs such as World Class, USSR, WeGym, and others — almost every (or just every) day conduct live broadcasts with trainings suited for every fancy. From the beginning of lockdown, WorldClass conducts daily up to 11 live broadcasts per day: cardio, yoga, stretching, and much more. Their trainers explain the exercises and communicate with followers as if it was happening offline. The format works well: live broadcasting creates the participation effect — here and now. In addition, this method solves the specific problem of users — you can’t go to gyms because of self-isolation. Well, if you don’t go to the gym, then the gym comes to you — this is the motto of WorldClass and other fitness clubs, and it really works.

FMCG. Lays and CityMobil launched a joint social project with #stayhome hashtag. This is a post-contest for which Lays made a separate @lays_home account. If a user gets a prize, then CityMobil driver brings it. This is the way Lays support another business, speak out on a relevant topic, and increase audience involvement.

To summarize, we can say that making useful content that helps followers to use competitive mechanics is the most winning strategy now.

Исследования рынка инфлюенсер-маркетинга от самого продвинутого сервиса для поиска и анализа блогеров