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Digital will be core of ad budgets by 2020: DAN report

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MUMBAI: The increasing penetration of digital media in India is creating huge opportunities for marketers to reach out to untapped audiences in newer ways than before. Marketers are getting innovative with the way they choose to advertise to their audience.

As of 2017, the Indian ad industry stands at Rs 55960 crore and is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 11 per cent till 2020 to touch Rs 77623 crore. This growth will be driven by the smart phone revolution and the subsequent spends on digital advertising, according to the second edition of media and digital marketing communications company Dentsu Aegis Network’s (DAN) digital report that was launched yesterday.

India is on the brink of transitioning into a digital economy with a big push from the government and the public private partnership model. The Indian government’s concerted endeavours to boost digitisation coupled with an array of economic reforms and policies have infused higher momentum into India’s participation in a digital economy. The telecom sector has contributed in equal measure — lower data rates, improved connectivity have put India on a path to a mobile revolution of sorts.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) estimates the internet population in the country to hit 738 million by 2020. Currently India’s internet subscriber count stands at around 430 million. As per TRAI’s performance indicator report for July-September 2017, a total of 129 million rural subscribers and 300 million urban subscribers are connected via internet or broadband services. The tele-density in urban areas is 74 per cent whereas it is around 14 per cent in rural India.

Ad spends have seen double digit growth rates in e-commerce, BFSI, automotive and telecom in 2017. Ad spends have seen the highest increase in e-commerce with 13 per cent and BFSI at 11 per cent. Television takes the largest share of media spends at 40 per cent (Rs 22526 crore) followed by print at 34 per cent (Rs 18981 crore) and digital media at 15 per cent (Rs 8202 crore).

While spends on television will grow with a CAGR of eight per cent till 2020, its contribution to the advertising market has been on a decline. The digital ad industry is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 32 per cent by 2020 as advertisers are now adopting digital media as a branding medium, not merely a performance medium. The highest spender on digital is e-commerce followed by telecom and BFSI sector. The spends on digital video is expected to see the highest growth rate followed by display and social media. OTT and an engaging mobile experience will also help in driving the digital growth.

DAN chairman and CEO South Asia Ashish Bhasin believes that digital is no longer a medium but a way of doing business. It is how consumers interact with brands. “The digital transformation is affecting every business and agencies and marketers who don’t recognise this will be left behind. Digital is a behavioural change taking place with the consumers, not just a way of building a brand. This is a critical difference many don’t understand," he says.

Brands are slowly shifting their marketing budgets to digital platforms as the digital medium becomes all pervasive and consumers increase time spent on this medium. Even though digital ad platforms have been instrumental in direct sales, so far they do not match up to traditional media when it comes to brand building. Brand building is largely happening through mature ad mediums such as TV rather than digital.

Marketers are moving from purely mass-targeting platforms to a mix of traditional
and digital platforms. This makes use of the relative advantages of both media for an optimal marketing strategy. Traditional media provides a better reach in comparison to digital media while the latter is unparalleled when it comes to measurability. When it comes to performance marketing, digital media has evolved as a powerful platform. The explosive growth of internet-enabled businesses such as e-commerce, digital wallets, etc., has also caused a shift of ad money towards this medium as businesses targeting consumers inclined to online transactions rely on digital ad platforms. Meanwhile, the smaller brands also prefer to make investments on digital platforms as compared to bigger brands it provides better return on investment (RoI).

Automotive sector has had one of the highest growth in ad spends last year and is expected to spend a large majority of its ad budget on traditional media. Within digital, it distributes the budget across all ad formats. Growth in ad spends for e-commerce has been the highest and it spends the highest proportion of marketing budget on digital media and mostly on search and social media. Additionally, telecom also spends a high amount of its marketing budget on digital media but mostly on media and video.

Marketing has been an ever-evolving field. It’s normally exposed to so many new technologies and is an early adopter for most of them. This happens because the consumer is nearly always a step ahead and the competition is stiff. Businesses today have to acquire and retain consumers extremely efficiently in the marketing process. There is a limit to how many line items a digital marketer can create and manage effectively at a human level. No matter how many segments our planners create, no matter how finely we slice and dice the data, it’s extremely difficult to connect all the dots. Here is where machines come in helpful.

But the digital advertising industry is faced by several challenges like slow pace of digital transformation, lack of unified metric system, ROI on programmatic, ad frauds and the growing use of ad blocking softwares.

Having said that, the future of digital advertising looks bright and optimistic with the rise in video content, engaging mobile experience, voice-based interaction, data science and machine learning and transformation in payment mechanism.

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