GUEST COLUMN: Change of winds - The rise of Online Services in India

Tremendous growth in use of software programs, education programs, and OTTs in the last two years.

Mumbai: The Online Service industry is on a continuous upward path. This industry today contributes as much as eight per cent to the GDP of a fast-growing country like India. Online Services have always been there in the market but in the past two years, it has expanded massively to further sub-categories.

The hybrid working model and growing need to get essentials on your doorsteps drive the demand for Online Services. Some of the major categories that have proven to be a part of individuals in Tier 1 & 2 cities are- Online Education, Software, OTT & Entertainment Platforms, Food Delivery, Grocery, Cleaning Services, and many others counting under it.

Over time, various initiatives have been taken to increase the awareness of usability of these services among consumers, which is rapidly pushing this industry to become profitable and efficient. In an age of regular technological disruption, the need to upgrade and learn new technologies has become a top priority. The Online Services platform has witnessed a 70 per cent growth in 2021 – Rs 46 crore GMV on Admitad platform. The major contributing categories to this growth are Software programs, Education programs, OTT programs, and many others.  It has been observed that consumers are favouring these services and including them in their daily life routine.

Let’s dive deep into the top two categories of Online Services which we have observed during this year.

Software Programs

With no surprise, Software Programs are one of the key drivers of success in the digital world. Whether you’re focused on B2B or B2C, or both, there is no denying that you’re in a lucrative playing field. 2021 saw the emergence of the Software Programs as more and more end-users started using different software and applications to assist them in their day-to-day work from home. Norton, BigRock, GoDaddy, HostGator, Namecheap, Tenorshare, Mcafee, & Easeus are some of the top online software platforms to name a few. The growing need to secure cloud platforms, amid the growing incidence of cyber-attacks and hacking, drives demand for security softwares. With more visibility in this category, publishers have witnessed their traffic getting converted into revenue with an overall growth of 12x.

E-Learning Programs

The upswing in the E-learning space has created a lot of buzz around this year. To achieve career growth and add value to their knowledge, working professionals in India are focusing on skill development.  Post the pandemic, 2020 saw the rise of Online Education & E-learning as a service but it boomed in 2021. We saw an immense amount of traffic getting redirected to the Education programs. More and more loyal partners, banks, telegrammers focused their traffic on driving the Online Education programs. We saw an overall growth in the Education category by 4.5x. This category offers an opportunity for the publishers to thrive as we have seen more and more educational programs getting live by the Year-end. Brands like Edureka, Unacademy, Harappa, Udemy, Skillshare, Top rankers have been the top contenders in the E-learning segment and have offered the best for their users.

Impact of Affiliate Channel on Online Services

Looking at the demand & market trend, these brands are trying to find cost-effective channels to reach out to the end-users and to create and execute strong growth strategies in order to get ahead and rise above the competition. To leverage such marketing strategies, companies have started adapting performance-driven channels. Besides targeting a higher number of audiences, they are conscious about their ad spending, and to maximise their ROI, they are heavily spending on the cost-effective channel - ‘Affiliate’. It allows brand marketers to capture the market to the fullest and utilise the different Affiliate inventories to target all sets of audiences. Online Services Programs generated GMV worth 46 crores through Admitad platform. The major contributing partners to this growth are Cashback 43 per cent, Social Affiliate 36 per cent, Coupon five per cent Content 10 per cent Email two per cent and four per cent others in the current year.

The Online Service market has tremendous potential now and surely in near future and with the growing use of the internet, companies are creating more unique opportunities to reach every region and every potential customer. Even in the pandemic we have seen how they have created great services and reach every person to satisfy their needs and demands.

(Neha Kulwal is country manager at Admitad India. The views expressed in this column are personal and may not subscribe to them.)

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