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newage. 2022 Research: Digital Trends in Ukraine and the Impact of the russian Invasion

Newage agency. conducts Internet research in Ukraine every year. We review the degree of spread of technologies, popular sites and

Newage agency. conducts Internet research in Ukraine every year. We review the degree of spread of technologies, popular sites and applications and describe trends in Ukrainian advertising. This year, we also collected data and analyzed how Ukraine looks in the digital landscape of Europe. But in 2022, the situation changed, so the impact of the war on Ukrainians, from the point of view of their actions in the digital world, was added to our standard questions.

2022: the russian Invasion, New Reality

How the Audience Changed After February 24

Before the full-scale invasion of russia on February 24, according to the State Statistics Service, 28.7 million people aged 14 to 70 lived in Ukraine (not including residents of the temporarily occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea). Of them, 86% of people used the Internet, that is, 24.5 million Ukrainians were digitally connected.

But on February 24, a large part of Ukrainians moved to other regions of the country and abroad. In addition, part of our fellow citizens found themselves under occupation. According to the data of the Ministry of Reintegration as of May 11, 2022, 8 million people moved within Ukraine as a result of the war. But according to our estimate, this figure is 15-30% higher, if we take into account people who did not register in TsNAPs. The ministry provides the following statistics on which regions people left and where they arrived as of May 11.

Another 8 million people crossed Ukraine’s borders, according to the Operational Data Portal, but more than 3 million entered the country. That is, there are 5 million people left abroad, about whom we should not forget – we need to communicate with them, we can create products for them, and we can target advertising to them. Therefore, let’s look at the map of Europe with data on which countries Ukrainians went to. 

The most difficult thing was to count the number of people who remained in the occupation. According to our estimates, this is 3.6 million people.

“We calculated this number based on many factors. First, these are data on internally displaced persons — how many people left. Second, we took data on how many people were in the occupied regions before the full-scale invasion. We understand that there were more people living in the Donetsk region until 2014 than in 2019. Therefore, from the number of people until February 2022, we subtracted the number of internally displaced persons, with certain coefficients. There were also data from the head of Kherson Regional Military Administration about how many people remained in Kherson. The latest data are very depressing, but we had to take them into account.

In general, we used information from open sources, and data voiced by the heads of administrations and district councils, and as a result, we obtained 3.6 people in the occupied territories. I want those 3.6 million to understand that soon they will be back in their country and everything will be fine,”

commented CEO newage. Oleksandr Rolskyi.

So, aggregating all the data, we can record that for May-June in Ukraine, there are ~22.1 million citizens in the unoccupied territory.

Since we will talk about Internet trends later, it should be noted that ~19 million of them are the paying audience that uses the Internet. At the same time, we have successful cases when the Ukrainians collected donations for four Bayraktars in three days and now they are joking that they will drop Prytula to buy Belarus – so, the audience remains solvent. We urge all to restore or start a business in Ukraine, do what you do best and thus help both the country and the army.

How Did Digital Consumption Change During the War

Russian military aggression has changed the routine in all spheres of Ukrainian life, including our digital behavior.

Yes, in March we started reading more news, of the 20 most popular sites, seven are sociopolitical media, and two more (Telegram and YouTube) are also used to get news.

The method of accessing the Internet has also changed. In January 2022, 68% of Ukrainian traffic was on mobile and 28% on desktop, and already in March, only 13% went online from computers, and the share of mobile traffic increased to 83% (the rest are tablets).

Therefore, we should also consider the applications that were used by Ukrainians from the beginning of the invasion.The illustration below presents the TOP-20 applications by installations on Android devices with a comparison from March 2022 to December 2021. The top four new applications that were not in the 2021 research: VpnDialogs, Google Pay, YT Music, and TikTok. Shazam, AliExpress, My Vodafone, and Rozetka dropped from the list of the most popular.

Please note that the data is for March, and the priorities for applications may have changed since then, as happened with sites.

So in April-May, the situation changed. We will remind you that in April, the enemy retreated from the Kyiv and Sumy regions, and people began to return to their homes or focused on building a life in new regions. The traffic to news sites began to fall, instead, e-commerce sites received more attention. Educational sites such as “Naurok” (translates as “to the lesson”) and Brainly (Znanija.com) has also grown.

Data on our customers from the e-commerce segment also show the trend of returning to online shopping. Traffic in all of them dropped in March, but almost recovered to February levels in May.

The statistics of video site Megogo views also testify to society’s attempts to return to normal life in the spring. In April, compared to March, viewing of news fell by 10%, while viewing of films, cartoons, and series increased by 5%. Interest in sports content increased by 50% and reached the pre-offensive indicators — let’s remind you that in April, the Ukrainian national football team played in qualifying matches for the World Championship; quarterfinals of the Champions League 2021/2022, matches within the framework of the Europa League 2022/2023 and the championships of England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain were also held in April.

Considering all this, we are also witnessing revival in the advertising market. In March, 68% of agencies and platforms were loaded by less than 10%, but already in April, every fifth survey participant is loaded by more than half. Here it is worth noting that some digital companies have now reformatted to work for export.

“Today, marketing outsourcing can and should become the “second IT” of our economy. We have strong technical specialists who are valued and loved by Western companies. And now is the time to make a statement at the event as an industry, because we are seeing tremendous support and understanding. Marketers, like IT experts, can become the driving force that exports services and brings currency to the country,”

says the co-founder of the newage agency. Oleksiy Lyakh.

Digital Ukraine 2022/2021

Next, we will consider the general indicators that define the boundaries of the digital landscape of Ukraine. Most of the data that we will consider in this part is relevant for January 2022. But they describe general trends and habits that are characteristic of Ukrainians when consuming content and interacting with it.

Digital Landscape: The World and Ukraine

In Ukraine, the share of Internet users among the population is at the level of other Eastern European countries — 86%.

At the same time, fewer people watch our videos than the average in the world.

And the most popular site with videocontent in Ukraine is YouTube. Note that this study looked at the web versions of the sites, so we hypothesize that if app interactions were added, the distribution would be different, with TikTok coverage, in particular, being greater than presented here.

newage. Experience

At the end of 2021, video advertising remained the preferred format among advertisers, although it lost 10% in impressions and budget compared to 2020.

In terms of video length, our clients preferred videos of 11-15 seconds, as well as six-second advertisements that the user cannot miss on YouTube.

It is worth emphasizing the trend toward the use of Smart TV — during 2021, it accounted for 13% of the advertising impressions that we configured. At the same time, in some niches, this share reached 25% of campaign impressions.

We also formulated our own map of advertising video formats. It describes which formats should be used to build awareness or drive conversions. On July 7 at 10:00 a.m., we will hold a meeting with colleagues and clients, where we will present this research in more detail and talk about our own access to using the listed advertising formats.

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