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Digital the silver lining amid dark ad clouds

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MUMBAI: As the industry braces itself for the impending slowdown, there might actually be a sector that is preparing to manage an increased workflow. Digital marketing is expected to maintain its pace or even speed up this year as advertisers look to scale back spends on expensive mediums like print and hoardings.

Experts say there will be no major deviation from Mindshare‘s early year forecast that digital would grow at 30 per cent in 2012, in the same rate as the earlier year.

Maxus, part of WPP group, agrees that digital will not see any specific slowdown this year. “It should grow at 30-31 per cent from the first part of the year trends," says Maxus South Asia head of digital Unny Radhakrishnan.

In fact, insurance companies like HDFC are looking at increasing their digital spends this year.

Says HDFC Life EVP marketing and direct channels Sanjay Tripathy, “I only see the spends going up because the whole media pie has been asymmetric all this while. If you look at the reach frequency formula and compare it to TV, print, radio and then digital, you will agree with me. There are more people spending time on digital in comparison to other traditional media touchpoints. I only see the digital percentage increasing in the overall pie.”

With India‘s economy slowing and the bottom line of companies coming under pressure, advertising spends are bound to become increasingly result oriented. This is where digital scores over its media counterparts as it allows for more targeted marketing and better measurable RoI.

Says Brandlogist CEO Saurabh Parmar, “Digital offers clients an ease in measuring RoI and helps target a wider demographic. What is more important is that digital offers an economic advertising to the small and medium-sized businesses that aspire to advertise among the masses but do not have the budgets of TV and print.”

As consumers tighten up their purse strings, they would want to carry out detailed research as well before they arrive at a purchase making decision. The Internet is becoming the research tool of choice for several consumers, offering brands the opportunity to become more visible and interactive.

In the wake of such trends, Parmar feels that the percentage of ad spends dedicated to digital will see a spurt to 11 per cent in 2012, up from 3-5 per cent last year.

While building brands take a backseat in times of slowdown, it is an exercise that can‘t also be neglected.

Admits Mindshare principal partner Jai Lala, “Digital, specifically social media, offers brands a platform to interact with its customers. This serves a two-pronged benefit of getting feedback and enhancing the brand image by being responsive and interactive. This is one of the main reasons why digital is growing so rapidly.”

Also Read:

Ad Slowdown Looms

Signals are for a mild ad slowdown: Mindshare‘s Lala

Slowdown to impact outdoor advertising

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