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Indian Advertising in the Digital Age

Indian Advertising in the Digital Age

By Shreya More

Edited by Nandini Bhatia

Television advertisements have been appealing to all sections of the society since time immemorial. But with the massive shift of the digital world to the internet from television, advertising on the internet has taken a toll on TV ads.

“According to industry estimates, the size of advertising industry is $7.3 billion in India, of which digital advertising spend is 6%. Digital advertising is already growing at 50% as more and more numbers of people are using internet. By 2015, there will be around 300 million internet users in the country,” said Google India Operations head Arijit Sarker.

One of the reasons for the same is the change in our consumption pattern. We still consume content but the concept of “prime-time” is now close to dying. Nobody wants to sit in front of the TV to view shows, they prefer surfing it online without the commercial breaks. However, the TV won’t come to an end very soon considering the fact that 75% of our population still hasn’t found its way to the internet.

Last year, a 3:33 minute Google ad showing two estranged friends (one in India, the other in Pakistan) went viral on the internet. It showed how Google apps helped reunite two friends, now living across the border post partition. The ad acquired huge success in spite of a longer duration than traditional advertising videos and sans any celebrity appearance. Another recent Titan ad featuring a woman choosing her career over her romantic relationship has gone viral and has managed to challenge some hard bound stereotypes as well.

Display ads on the internet have come a long way too. Even though pop-up advertisements can be irritating and consequently blocked, carefully placed display ads have a greater impact.

With the changing medium of ads, the content has evolved and enriched as well. Advertisers have understood that the online audience respond greatly to ‘coming-of-age’, fresh and ‘breaking-stereotypes’ sort of content. As a result, the portrayal of women, religion and sex has experienced a sea change and positively so.

All these ads have had the advantage of reaching their target audience. For example, a certain website ad follows you everywhere if you have visited it a few times. There are many ways in which video ads are put up online. TrueView on YouTube is one such way. TrueView allows viewers to skip ads after five seconds, also known as self-selective advertising. With this model, advertisers only pay for the ad if it is watched for at least 30 seconds. TrueView tells what type of topics the users are interested in from cookie data on their computers (knows the terms they search, websites they visit, times of day they search, etc.). It then categorizes the users to decipher what video ads to put in front of them. It also makes decisions considering whether the viewer skipped the ad or viewed it completely.

The cost of online advertising is feasible as well. In TV advertising, the advertisers pay to run an ad for n number of times. However, in online video advertising, the advertisers pay only for the number of viewers they have been able to engage. So, this maximizes the value and benefits of advertising because through TV ads do not allow the advertisers to decipher the viewership and impact of the ads.

Viewing behavior has changed, and advertisers should take this into consideration while planning their advertisement. It can be safely assumed that people aren’t always watching commercials on TV. In conclusion, to make more meaningful video ads and for better target marketing and cost reductions, advertisers should take the bold leap into the world of digital marketing.

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