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Despite 30% y-o-y growth, Indian digital ad industry lagging behind global market

Lesser ad spends and incapability to build brands can hamper its growth further

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MUMBAI: Even though the digital advertising industry is showing impressive growth, touching a year-on-year rise of around 30 per cent, there is scope for it to boom when compared to the global market. “If we look at expenditure made on digital advertisements in India, the average is still 4 dollars per view, while in countries like the US and China it is quite higher. China’s ad spends per view are at $88 per view. Even sub-Sahara African regions, which have a different GDP than ours, are spending much more than us,” said Interactive Avenues (a Reprise network company), IPGMediabrands COO Shantanu Sirohi at Future of Video-India conference in Mumbai, recently.

He was the part of a panel discussing if digital ad spends are shifting back to TV. Joining him on the dais were Dentsu Aegis Network CEO, greater south and chairman, CEO, India Ashish Bhasin, and Zee Media managing director Ashok Venkatramani.

The panel unanimously declined any possibility of such a shift and maintained that digital is showing tremendous growth and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. They also said that advertisement on television is also growing, though at a slower pace.

However, the panel highlighted some of the constraints that might hamper this glorious growth rate of the digital advertising industry in the future. Venkatramani said that the industry has come to realise that one can’t build a brand using just the digital platform. He quoted, “Digital serves a purpose, which is of performance marketing. It creates impact and also high marketability as you know what your input is and what your output is. The spends on digital also give very quick results. But what one can’t do using digital is build the brand in a classical sense.”

Further highlighting the constraints that can hamper digital’s growth, from an advertising perspective, Ashish Bhasin added, “From an advertising perspective, digital can land into trouble in two areas. One is this whole [issue related to] reliability, credibility and fake news, wherever one’s ad is appearing. That is starting to scare off the people a little bit. And the second thing is the lack of a measurement system. This should be the most measured medium but as an industry, we haven’t come to a consensus on a common currency like BARC or IRS.”

Sirohi concluded by saying that when it comes to keeping a tab on data, the digital medium has been ‘always over-measured’. He said, “You always have third-party applications that you can run to measure the data. The entire concept of fraudulent e-links or bots comes in when agencies or the clients are not doing what they are supposed to do. They must plan around the media and pass only the end-goal metric to the third party. Otherwise, there always are people who will figure out the way to make a little more money from the advertiser. But on the whole, the internet is not the problem.”

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