Digital projected to grab a lion’s share of the ad pie

Sidharth Parashar, who leads media buying for GroupM India as president, investments and pricing, said what digital experts need to watch out for is the multiple acquisitions and the creation of super apps by large Indian corporates for e-biz dominance. Also, various initial public offerings planned for unicorns/ e-commerce companies will boost investments in consumer startups to help solve consumer problems, which may boost consumer spending. “Enabling consumers with a superior user journey is the need of the hour and brands need insights to do this. So, we will see more marketers investing in tech solutions,” he said.

Parashar’s observations tie in with a clutch of recent reports forecasting solid growth that India will see in digital ads. Management consultancy Redseer predicts digital advertising to grow 10x in the coming 10 years to touch 70-85% of the total ad market. Key growth drivers for this will be increasing digital consumption, both time spent and number of eyeballs, the proliferation of direct-to-consumer or internet-first brands driving digital promotions and deeper digital penetration in smaller cities creating new markets and opportunities.

Traditional companies are also moving ad budgets online as millennials and GenZ consumers engage more with websites, social media and apps.

Professional services firm PwC’s July report, Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021-2025, also marked India as the fastest-growing internet advertising market at a compound annual growth rate of 18.8%. PwC highlights the growth potential of gaming too, both video games and e-sports. Revenue from the sector is expected to touch 24,213 crore by 2025, up from the current 11,250 crore.

Robert Godinho, managing director, MediaMonks, India, a creative digital production company and part of S4 Capital, agreed that the digital space is booming with its advertising share set to increase to 40% in 2025. “This year-on-year growth comes with a lot of viewing fatigue and a lot of copycats on original IPs, thus making it hard to distinguish a single trend,” he said, but added that the digital market is effervescent.

Godinho pointed to gamification in the social media space. “Building an interactive environment to hold consumer attention rather than having one-way conversations with your (prospective) customers is gaining traction and being appreciated by the audiences,” he said.

“I would also stay focused on ‘everywhere commerce’ and the inclusion of augmented reality (AR), which allows commerce to be more immersive, more engaging and experiential,” he said.

Parashar, meanwhile, highlighted the future potential of social commerce. “Once tech and full consumer journey capabilities have been built, this will make the consumer experience more interactive than a typical e-commerce journey,” he said.

That’s not to say that e-commerce will lag behind. “Large e-commerce players have either acquired or are investing in building their back-end and technology for advertising. We will continue to witness rising investments in e-commerce,” he said.

The growth in the influencer ecosystem as a medium for brand promotions is also a given. Marketers favour higher localization and personalization of communication to the right audience. The growing potential of enabling these needs will lead to changes in digital advertising. “The increasing time spent by consumers on social platforms is leading them to build trust and proximity with influencers, thus aiding discovery,” Parashar said.

Godinho said brand loyalty will be built by specialization and region-specific influencer targeting as vernacular will play a huge part.

And though social media giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Google will continue to wrest a lion’s share of the ad pie on digital, “it would be interesting to see how gaming platforms and in-game activations plot their trajectory. I believe interactive is the way forward in the digital space”, he said.

While conventional digital advertising, which basically means the hygiene pieces a brand puts out on the formats provided by social platforms to advertise on will continue, advertisers are likely to push the boundaries on digital with innovations.

Godinho said AR, light detection and ranging, experiential and gamification are the buzzwords of the future for brands getting ready for the “everywhere commerce” reality.

Shuchi Bansal is Mint’s media, marketing and advertising editor. Ordinary Post will look at pressing issues related to all three. Or just fun stuff

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