A few years back, digital advertising in India was just small potatoes. It was fashionable to talk about the medium, but it mainly served as embellishment around the main course of print and television ad campaigns. However, in 2013, a set of circumstances have collided midway, in order to make this medium a mainstream one. An advertising cap by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has forced television networks to hike ad rates, and advertisers to run for cover. Media buying groups are now directly associated with content online - which means that more advertising will go this way. For instance, WPP Plc’s GroupM India, which controls 40% of ad spends in India, has an alliance with 04 Digital Media Pvt Ltd, promoted by television production house Optimystix Entertainment. The alliance is for digital brand solutions firm MashUp. Others such as Omnicom Media Group (OMG) are scouting for similar opportunities in India.
Technologies are converging as never before and high tech gadgets such as the iPhone are a lot more accessible than in the past. Advertisers are now re-structuring themselves in order to make the best of these converging technologies. One of India’s leading fast moving consumer goods companies Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has set up a digital media lab in Mumbai to train its digital managers better. “A big trend in the area of digital advertising is branded content. Whether it is Idea, Cadbury, Surf, they’ve all developed short films for the internet. Hindustan Unilever is expected to launch its ‘Be Beautiful’ project in India where it gets prominent bloggers to do online videos. This will help them leverage their brands in the beauty space,” says Atul Hegde, chief executive at digital firm Ignitee. According to him, a lot of multinational companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Dabur, Airtel and Procter & Gamble have incorporated chief digital officers as part of their marketing teams, in order to understand the medium better.
The size of the digital advertising market is estimated at R2260 crore for financial year (FY) 2012-13 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and is expected to touch R2,938 crore by the end of FY 2013-14. Ad spending on social media went up from R94 crore in FY 2011-12 to R300 crore in FY2012-13; according to IAMAI. Video advertising on the internet has been growing at over 30% in the past