The director of av.by Dmitry Geranin is The Heroes Media’s guest. He graduated from high school with a gold medal, entered the Samara State University to improve mathematics by learning computer security. Then he had been working for several large companies including Rambler, Yandex and Poster. In Belarus, Dmitry has been leading the av.by project for two years, where a car seller and a buyer find each other.
“I was bribed by the freedom that they gave me”
It took me some time to move to av.by. I had to move to another country. I weighed all the pros and cons, and money was not the first thing. The main thing that really bribed me was the members of the board of directors. This is Zubr Capital, especially Oleg Khusaenov. He is a strong leader, who can give a lot of his experience.
The second player was TUT.BY. At that time Sasha Chekan went from the board of directors to av.by. He had experience with startups. Also, the previous owner of the project Andrei Zaitsev went to av.by. Being a merchant by nature he has a very cool skill, he feels the market like a beast in the good sense. The ability to work with people of such a level bribed me.
After two and a half years I have never regretted my decision.
The second thing that bribed me was the freedom I was given. I meet with members of the board of directors professionally every three or four months, and I have no questions asked. And if I understand that I do not have enough experience, I will go and ask.
My salary is comparable to the salary of a serious developer in a large development center such as EPAM. This is a bit more than $ 2000- $ 3000.
With a probability 70%, you will sell your car on av.by
This year av.by celebrated 17 years old. Now it is a stable and strong project and a market leader. We have the largest database of announcements, the largest audience among car-classifieds, the largest knowledge among residents of the country. And if you place the car on several resources, then with a probability of 70% you will sell it on ours.
Our audience has exceeded 200 thousand only on mobile applications over the past month. If someone tells you that he knows how many users come to the product, he lies. No one counter can not give the exact calculation.
According to Google Analytics, we have more than 150 million page views per month, now it has almost reached 180 million. Gemius says that 1 million Belarusians come to us every month, it is about 17-18% of the country’s inhabitants who surf the Internet.
Two years ago, there were about 30 thousand cars on the website simultaneously, and now it is 70 thousand. If you look at the entire volume of cars on the market, then this is about 100 thousand simultaneously, and 70% of them are on av.by.
How the car-classified earns in Belarus
It may seem that the project earns on advertising and on taking money from professional sellers. But this is only one side of the coin. About 50% of our income comes from advertising revenue from banners, display ads, special projects, company news. Moreover, earlier it was more than 70%, i.e. we began to earn more on other things.
The second part is the service income. We have several hundred professional sellers represented and they pay us a monthly subscription just to present at the project.
But our biggest growth takes place due to the monetization of sales from individuals. This is the piece of cake that we are striving for. Our growth was more than 100% if we compare 2018 with 2017. For example, users paid 100 rubles and now began to pay 200. If we compare 2019-2018, so far we grew in 2.5 times.
Europe has also done a long way from advertising revenue to service revenue.
We recently introduced a new service and waited a long time for the first transaction on it. The essence of this new service is placing an ad above the limit. You can place 3 cars for free, and the 4th is for the fee. Previously it was impossible, you could place only three ads. And it was the most expensive service of the existing.
Payment had deposited into the account, we tried to find this ad and found that it was no longer available.
We thought that there could be a mistake in the code, the person paid but his ad disappeared. Our moderator called this person, asking if everything was in order. The man really changed his mind to sell.
A buyer arises from a dreamer
Our target audience can be conditionally divided into 4 categories according to the stages of the client’s life cycle. The first stage takes place when a person attends school and starts thinking about buying a car.
You think: “I will get the drivers license and start to drive a car.”
At this point, you already become our user and fall into the group of “dreamers”. This is the period in which people often return throughout their life cycles.
And this person will be a dreamer until a certain event in his life, for example, he will get money or parents will make a gift. This is how a user becomes a “buyer." The buyer is a very short period, it lasts 2-3 months.
After that, he becomes the owner of a car but remains our user. For him, we have a marketplace of spare parts and consumables, the same news. At this stage, the person is usually 3-4 years old, then the car is already bored and you want a new one.
When the ownership phase passes the user becomes a seller. This is exactly the moment when a user brings us money. And at that moment he again becomes a dreamer. So we get a vicious circle of our stages, where everything starts all over again.
How to make effective advertising in Belarus
We always target the same audience, because a person’s life cycle changes, but sellers always bring the main money. These people have a car and they are willing to pay for an ad to sell it faster. And we always build the main advertising communication with sellers. The last advertising campaign was aimed at storytelling. When you have a car, you go through a new life cycle, then change the car. And it seems that the campaign is aimed at the buyer, but in fact, this advertisement was also aimed at sellers.
90% of site visitors are buyers and this audience almost does not increase.
There is no such thing that we launched advertising and it attracted much more traffic.
But after the advertising campaign launch, the number of ads immediately increases.
Any advertising campaign works to convince the seller that your site is the most effective.
We have already launched the fourth advertising campaign, where a large Pacman turns cars into money.
The first was with a bobblehead dog, the second with a blue head, and the third with storytelling.
The company with a flashing head was the brightest and largest by weight.
It coincided with the fact that a lot of announcements about cars that people were tired of appeared on the market. Why did they appear?
About 3-4 years ago there was a wave when cars were being brought from Russia. And owners of exactly these cars are now waiting for the fact that they are ripe for sale.
The promise of the advertising campaign was in the speedy sale of cars. We shouted out loud: “AV! Fast car sale! ”. And there were people who were sitting with these cars didn’t know what to do. And they heard the direct message “fast car sale”, there was nothing left to do but just stand up like a zombie and go to place ads. This was the biggest leap of all the campaigns we did. But here was the coincidence of the season, campaign and market situation.
The percentage is growing all the time. All advertising campaigns work approximately the same going up a notch. I use the term “weight”. Weight is the amount of advertising that goes per unit of time in the media space like television, radio, internet, outdoor ads. How much money you have put in, so much you will get. You can spend a bit less than necessary, and then you will not see any effect at all. I mean you made half of the weight and gained zero. You can spend more than necessary, and then each new percentage will cost you a pretty penny. It is like a DJ console but we mix channels and weights. We understand which weight we need to collect exactly what we want to collect. And do not get the remaining interest.
For one flight you have to spend several hundred thousand dollars.
A flight is a planned period when you start working with media activity and finish doing it. There are different strategies to enter media space. For example, you can do not disappear from the media at all. For example, every month you spend $50 and constantly launch ad campaigns, changing the strategy every six months. Or you may come out every six months with powerful campaigns as we do. Or you may go out just once a year with very powerful campaigns and spend a million.
How a personal brand helps to maintain a business in Belarus
A personal brand affects the entire project. If I filter my Facebook friends by the city of residence, then about 800 of them will from Minsk.
A solution to any issue can be found very quickly.
For example, if we did not do this before but want to learn how to do it, then we can just write a short post on Facebook. People understanding that they are familiar with me can recommend someone and offer their solutions. Working on your personal brand attracts people who are interested in what you are doing. And then your project becomes interesting to them.
Let me give you an example of the Vondel advertising agency, through which we place budgets on TV, radio, etc. How did I meet its director? I wanted to work with this agency but no one had direct contacts. I wrote to a friend and asked how to meet the director. He said that the director sometimes hangs on one bar. I came to this bar, then to a couple of other places which he visits often. We made friends and started working. This is a tree of probabilities. When you meet a person, you discover opportunities for yourself. You do not know when they will work, but you increase the likelihood.
If I leave, av.by will find a new leader that the project will need at that moment. This is not a problem but an opportunity. When a person leaves, this means that his specific role with his knowledge and skills is over. You give the company as much as it needs from you. As soon as my role on the project ends and a new type of manager is needed, this will be an opportunity for the project to find the right person at the right time.