Online advertising clicks 66% Growth in India: Webchutney study

The digital landscape in India has not been impervious to the dramatic high witnessed in world-wide online ad spends, as the top 1000 marketers contributed to a whopping 66% growth in online spends in 2009 from the previous fiscal.

New Delhi: The digital landscape in India has not been impervious to the dramatic high witnessed in world-wide online ad spends, as the top 1000 marketers contributed to a whopping 66% growth in online spends in 2009 from the previous fiscal. The positive trend is expected to continue in 2010 with 45% growth predicted for this medium by Webchutney’s annual study of top marketers in India.

The report highlights findings from face-to-face interviews conducted with influencers and decision-makers across 13 verticals/sectors pan India and captures their usage, attitude and perception of the Internet as a marketing medium while analyzing their ad-spends and the rationale behind these allocations.

Commenting on the state of online in 2009, Sidharth Rao, CEO and Co-Founder, Webchutney said, “Marketers across FMCG, Telecom and Automotive have been open towards embracing social media and we’ve seen some very engaging community driven campaigns powered by big brands like Marico, GSK, Airtel, Maruti among others to name a few. The extent of their executions may not have been as large scale as BFSI and ITES/Internet companies who have been early adopters of the medium, but they’re slowly crossing over to explore the power of building organic conversations with their target audience online”.

Elaborating on the trends in digital marketing in 2009, he added, “Online marketing in India remains heavily skewed towards display advertising followed by brands taking the first step in building their online identity through websites. Most offline marketers approach the medium with the same ‘mass media’ mindset, much like Television or Print, while few realize the depth of activating compelling hooks to enable brand conversations and build communities/assets that encourage brand evangelism through social media. ‘Hits and Clicks’ (As clichéd as they sound) still dominate result-oriented online campaigns while fueling advocacy remains low on the ROI/metrics scale”.

The report indicates 50% of online spends were dominated by Display, Website development and Search in 2009, while e-commerce, mobile, augmented/virtual reality failed to impress marketers or spark their interest. With 73% of the top 1000 marketers spending only 4% online, the report builds on the irony/paradox that continues to surround this medium with its lowest spend-share in the total advertising pie.

“A lot hasn’t changed in most marketers understanding of how this medium really works, especially when it comes to including digital in the marketing mix at the outset, or even giving it its fair share. That being said, digital adoption in the mix is becoming more frequent as marketers become curious about how to maximize the brand experience and drive engagement by bringing it alive online. The size and scale of their executions online is increasingly big now, we estimate that 4 out of top 5 spenders online this year will be non-internet companies” said Sidharth.

Speaking on how digital has enabled positive change and its outlook in 2010, Sidharth concluded, “Digital enables sharing of opinions and conversations that are truly democratic with microblogging tools like Twitter and social media at large. As consumers become brand evangelists sharing positive recommendations, or strip brands naked by sharing negative brand experiences freely, they become the ‘currency’ or a threat to the brand depending on whether the brand is actively listening and participating with its consumers where they most flock to. Word of Mouth is as powerful a tool as is dangerous, particularly if brands aren’t careful with its use, and don’t wake up to it in time”.

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