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Digital Advertising
Is digital advertising really picking up in india or is it a mere propaganda produced by a few in the business?
This is the channel of the future of the youth," says Group M division director Tushar Vyas. "As a whole generation of kids grow up with Internet, gaming and mobile being their main means of content consumption, youth marketing, which already accounts for 20% of all marketing spend, in the future, will turn to digital in a big way."

As per the Internet & Online Association (TOA) statistics, there are more than 28 million online users in India today, thats three million more than last year, and this number is estimated to rise to 100 million in 2007-08. Although mobile penetration is a little more than double that of the Internet, not surprisingly, a lot more than the advertising and revenues is through the latter. One reason is that mobile advertising is considered intrusive, and not many people have the MMS facility. But this is changing with the kind of innovations happening. Where measurability is concerned, the Internet is by far the most authentic and measurable medium.

The growth in advertising on the net is upward bound. "We have moved beyond contest-based communication since more than 14 months now, and consumers are responding to all kinds of campaigns across all categories," estimates Preeti Desai, president, IOA.

An innovative campaign launched by media2win is in a game format centered at Dominos 30-minute delivery proposition. "Since 50%-60% of our business is delivery-based, the challenge lies in creating a virtual restaurant. This campaign, coupled with our kind of business was a hand-in-glove fit," says Ajay Kaul, CEO, Dominos Pizza. "Before the campaign, one of our main concerns was how fast this medium would translate into money, but this was solved soon enough." Dominos tied up with Airtel and ICICI, where payment could be made through the mobile phone. Of course, the problem of customers being unwilling to part with credit card information still exists.

While consumers are becoming net savvy, and there is scope for interactive delivery-based models, one of the problems is a mismatch in when online ads get eyeballs and when is the optimal time for them to be viewed. If people view the Dominos ad when theyve just eaten, its quite a redundant piece of communication, given Dominos USP of catering to hunger pangs.

Advertisers are realising that patience is the key. "The first three-four ads serve as trials, then something dicks," says Kaul. "At the moment, ad spends are less than 10%, as big bucks are still-on traditional media, but well definitely up it over the next couple of years."

For a show called CSI:NY on AXN, media2win devised an interactive search-based game involving the characters of the show, in order to familiarise people with the characters before the launch of the show. It saw 32,000 players in the three weeks that the campaign ran. In the next game for AXN, called GameMax, the target was 35,000 players, and the result was a good 3,000 more than expected.

"We devised interactive games for AXN promos because our main target group is 13-19 years. Teens are elusive and detached, so grabbing their attention is most challenging, "explains Alok Kejriwal, CEO, contests2win.

The banner, the most crucial part of a campaign, has evolved with time. Initially, there was a limited space that a banner could occupy on a webpage. With more leeway now, there are homepages that are 65% full of banners.

"There are new formats of the banner that have developed. There are sky-scrapers which are larger and more appealing, and interactive banners that are Flashenabled, which take advertising to a new level," says Neeraj Roy, CEO, Hungama Mobile.

An example of this would be the Gamier Fructis campaign that contests2win launched. In this campaign, there was a banner, which one would click on to add ones name and contribute to the worlds longest braid. LOreals returns were not full-blown as they were just testing waters. In 2006, though, they plan to consider advertising on the net more seriously. "We are building markets as we bring new technology to Indian consumers. We are open to opportunity, and everything is a learning experience with rewarding results," says Philippe Raffray, general manager, LOreal.

When it comes to going all the way, the recent Axe Unlimited campaign has used all media possible to market the product, and the response has been, well, quite unlimited. Although based on the international advertising model, everything has been redone in a context appropriate to India. For this campaign, they advertised in print, TV, outdoor, pubs, Barista outlets, malls, multiplexes and online. Through these, they created an Axe Academy with 42,000 enrolments from India, of which 7,000 were through the mobile alone. The campaign is largely online, as most of the data collection is done on the net. HLL was expecting 25,000 enrolments: the result is almost double. For Axe, HLL plans to allocate 50% of their budget to digital advertising.

So, what are the catalysts that will drive advertising in the digital space? "Increasing communication, content and convenience," says V Ramani, CEO, Mediaturf. "By 2010, the likely landscape will be drawing parallels from other countries."

Ramani categorizes advertisers taking into account the kind of campaigns they opt for. Some advertisers use the digital medium in order to create a media-multiplier effect, whereas others are less aware of what the medium can do for their products, and hence experiment with it with no clear idea, sort of like a me too effect. Then there is a small group, which feels that the medium would not work for their product type. Ramani believes that the Internet is no less mass than TV and print. "Some advertisers do not look closely at data, and hence do not realise what the mediums potential and reach is. The internet is not technology, see it and embrace it as a medium," he says.

The debate of whether the digital medium will overtake the traditional is still unclear. "In some cases, the internet will overtake traditional advertising. For example, there is a major threat to the role of a travel agent today. Everything can be done through the digital medium, from booking to planning the trip," says Kejriwal, citing an instance he had recently dealt with.

"The Internet is the only medium where customers can be led on with a single message all the way to conclude a sale. Its about executing a 360-degree strategy, where apart from initiating a dialogue and concluding a sale, marketers can maximize value from the same customer. Marketers should use traditional media for maximizing their reach, and the Internet to zero in on target marketing, " believes Desai.
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Posted on : 9/11/2005
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