Trends in Digital Advertising

  1. Nimble : Digital medium is content hungry. It requires snackable content. Digital can be guided by big ideas, but the voluminous content in digital wholly cannot be big-idea-driven. Big idea is replaced by hundreds of small ideas — those micro moments which engage the  audience. Digital agencies must be able to pick up snackable content by being nimble.
  2. Content : Per se, the consumer is not intrested in the brand. He requires engagig content. Some content may not serve the marketing objectives. The content must be targeted to an audience. It should be valuable, relevant and consistent.
  3. Eco-system : Multiple apps clutter a phone. There are integrating apps where one app enables bill payments, cab booking, food ordering and playing games. It is necessary to create a digital eco-system.
  4. Bots Bots are digital assistants. They are for cusomer service as well as for prompting purchases. They do entertain.
  5. AI will make thins better.It will revolutionise e-coomerce, gaming, product design and health care.
  6. Technology will generate ideas. There will be technology-based execution. It will be a new experience.
  7. Chronological Facebook and Instagram changed completely with the advent of algorithm in 2016. It regulated free-flowing content. Businesses were made to pay for the ads. There will be more influencer marketing. Consumers trust less known influencers than celebrities. Micro-influencers will become more important.
  8. Collaboration between social media and e-commerce will increase. Commerce gets to know consumer preferences and experiences. It helps marketers to improve their offerings. Users provide feedback of their experience on social media.
  9. Big data has become a reality. It provides rich insights. Dataanalytics extract these insights. The core of the agency is likely to shift from creativity to data.

Marketing : Changing Contours

Marketing so far focussed on one Big Idea. It exploited creativity associated with the right brain. These days, however, marketing is increasingly becoming data-driven. There is huge data about consumer behaviour, marketing channels, feedback, data from online apps and video streams, customer service etc. Marketing has to be analytical and this is associated with the left brain. This happens to be science.

There are 5000 plus mar-tech or marketing technology products to encourage marketers to embrace this change — shifiting from art to science. The science-based aspects include analytics, AI, automation, content marketing, data management, media optimization, sales automation or CRM tools etc. Mar-tech and ad-tech firms have to use these effectively.

At the time, creative ideas must be used in technical thinking. Instead of templates, we have to use imagination and inspiration.

The art of story telling must use the data with the story. There should be creative blending of data and story.  Data we seek not for its own sake, but for insights and inspiration. Data science and art folks must collaborate.

Just great brands are not enough. We have to build great brand experience. Marketing has to orchestrate the experience. Creative mad man must work with math-men. Marketing is an emotive science. It is no longer confined to right brain and left brain alone, but to the whole brain. It is a fusion of art and science.

A New Era of Advertising

Advertising has entered a new era which focuses on truth and real value. All crap will be cut off from the messages. We should bid good bye to superficial glitter and be real and relevant. While doing so we should continue to be entertaining and engaging.

It is time to allow the consumer behaviour to dictate our strategy. Earlier, the advertisers manufactured a world around the product and the needs of the consumers. In digital era, the focus is on making this world real. We will have to tell the truth about products. We have to do so in a more entertaining and interactive way.

Business in general has shifted from efficiencies and capabilities to connections. There are integrated softwares taking you from idea to implementation. Targeting has become complex. The second shift pertains to advertising objectives which formerly focused on awareness to sales. These days it goes beyond sales to advocacy akin to yesteryear’s word-of-mouth. The third shift is regarding the target group (TG). It has not remained an aggregate of demographic and psychographic traits. It has converted into communities of purpose. Consumers are identfied by what they do, say tennis players, where they are active and what content they consume.

What has remained constant is the need to establish relationship with the consumers. The opportunities to do so have now exploded.

The old day model of advertising which interrupts entertainment on TV by one-way pitch no longer works.It was pushy and buy-me approach.

People spend more time on social media. Traditional advertising suffered because it lacked segmenation or specific targeting. What way now are we to persuade the consumers?

Social media uses influencers. Then there is content marketing. Here you give content that is personally relevant. People consume messages that are useful, or will help solve a problem. The content should be non-invasive. In digital marketing, we should choose the right platform for the target audience. We have to create relevant content which is of high quality. We have to establish relationship with customers. We have to exploit mobile telephones. We have to test the campaign. We have to optimise the website. There should be creative elements. We must keep on learning and re-learning.

Digital Advertising Beyond Facebook and Google

Beyond the monopoly or duopoly of the Facebook and Google, there are opportunities to leverage an equally effective mobile advertising platform. It is less costly than these other media. Mobile advertising uses RTB system to price their inventory. Platforms used by them command an unnecessarily high price simply because there is more demand than supply. There are always online publishers who are hidden gems allowing advertising to reach the desired audiences.

The second reason is that story-telling can be more diversified with new media. Google and Facebook formats  are standardised. Advertisers can combine mobile and internet to create very effective campaigns. The targeting can be more layered. There is location data and interactivity.

Google and Facebook are likely to become generic — just like TV and billboard in the long run. There is an element of consumer fatigue also. There is a tendency to skip the ad videos.

OTT : AltBalaji

AltBalaji, the over the-top (OTT) video on demand platform has been launched by Ekta Kapoor in April, 2017. At the time of the launch, it featured five shows in Hindi and one in Tamil. Currently, there are 18 originals. Mukesh Ambani invested in Balaji Telefilms buying a stake of almost 25 percent in July, 2017. Their plan is to offer content that is neither cricket nor movies. It excludes these two popular genres. There are three buckets of content — Tenpole Properties with shows like Bose: Dead or Alive, digital shows with big TV stars like Ram Kapoor and Shakshi Tanwar in Karle Tu Bhi Mohabbat and classics like Devdas interpreted boldly. The shows are for the individual. They intend to give 150 hours of content in a year. They are waiting for their Kyunki moment for the OTT.


Making money in digital is going to take some time. The trditional media companies are not just competing with other media companies but also with telecom, digital, e-commerce and even taxi services. Media companies have the unique strength of consumer loyalty on the back of product (content). OTT’s success depends on how rapidly the consumption grows, which is a factor of cost and access to robust broadband and Wi-Fi. In near future, there will not be any impact on TV. Digital and TV collide on entertainment. Only sports have to be watched live. In entertainment, drama looks fresh even after 5 years. The freedom of digital does dent TV, but currently it is not reflected in numbers. TV is so cheap that digital still find it difficult to compete.

Total Readership and AIR

IRS has been released in January, 2017. It emphasises total readership which is usually three-to-four times more than the average issue readership (yesterday), which was the standard used by advertisers. It introduces three-day and seven-day readership metrics, separate metrics for the main paper and its variants. It cover almost 0.32 million Indians.

Average Issue Readership (AIR) is the standard metric buyers have used for decades. However, planning is more dynamic, and not everybody is reading a newspaper everyday. There is an option of looking at whether you read the paper yesterday, in the last three days, seven days or the last month. IRS gives different dimensions to data. The user can decide which one to use. AIR (yesterday) is accurate and relevant for what advertisers can expect to reach on any given day. The two — AIR and total readership — serve different purposes. AIR uses memory from day after reporting, while total readership does a month-long memorability. Total readership is an indication of the maximum reach of the publication, while AIR is a measure of regular readers. Advertiser puts money based on probability of a regular habit and hence expected view of the ad on any given day.

OTT to be driven by Regional Content

OTT is growing by leaps and bounds. In future, the focus would be on regional content. According Deloitte report, vernacular users will  be more than 2.5 times of the English Internet user base. Internet connectivity and mobile devices give a boost to such usage.

To begin with, OTT was about the TV on the go. Later original programmes were developed for the OTT platforms. Rural audience makes it necessary to develop programmes in multiple languagesfor multiple geographies. The medium may overtake TV as the preferred platform for movie premieres too. The time spent on mobile devices will increase too. It then becomes attractive as an advertising medium. There could be advertising-led model, as well as subscription supported model. There are hybrid models with a mix of free content and some content behind a pay-wall. Thre is growing preference for the medium among sports viewers. There will be a boost in fortunes of the live events industry.

Advertising Trends of Future

As mobile screen are going to be the primary screen to see the video, many brands will invest in augmented reality (AR) to connect with the consumers. AR will overtake the figures of virtual reality (VR) platform. Slowly, both these platforms will merge into a mixed reality future. Pokeman Go used AR hugely. There are going to be AR games based on Harry Potter.This technology may become mainstream.

Data and insights it provides enhance the targeting capability. There is AI and machine learning. It allows us to focus on human side of marketing. It can be predicted what life stage the consumers are at. The messages can be customised.There is going to a shift to moments-led marketing.

Brands can be alighned to consumers’ special moments. Coke tried this. It was made possible by automation of the marketing systems.

Advantages of Digital Advertising

Digital advertising enables advertisers to sculpt the advertising experiences. The ads can be individualised by using the big data and analytics.

Ideal marketing mix can be developed as digital works on pay per use model. Small amounts can be allocated to different digital campaigns out of the total budget. It is easier to analyse the success or otherwise of the campaign. Ideal mix of digital advertising tactics can be developed.

Distinguishing features in digital advertising which are easily identifiable. Digital efforts are audience-oriented marketing efforts.

Influencer marketing by using celebrities online and by using digital leaders.

Better targeting by using psychographic and behavioral targeting.

Granular analysis enables digital advertisers to have access to numerous tools and tests to measure the effectiveness of the digital campaigns. The testing could be across key words, digital ads and sponsored posts. The whole data is trackable, scannable, traceble and analysable.