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.

Mobile Advertising

Of the total digital advertising in India of Rs.9490 crore in 2016, almost 50 percent is contributed by mobile advertising. In the years to come, mobile specific advertising will dominate the digital advertising space.

There are multiple ad formats of mobile advertising. Yahoo rolled out Tiles in 2016. InMobi launched video ad suit in 2016. mCanvas introduced recently Streambox.

Banner ads have been widely used since the introduction of online promotion. This is the horizontal ad you see at the top or bottom of the page. It promises visibility and high recall value. It is not intrusive too. It has minimal production cost. Users can interact with it by clicking.

Interstitial ads are the ads which cover the entire mobile screen. This is full-screen advertising after loading or closing an app. It is sponsored by advertisers. To contiue, either the user watches the ad or purchases the ad-free version of the app.

Rich media ad is expandable ad which could be seen as a combination of banner and interstitial ads. It seamlessly integrates call-to-action and other interactive measure to engage the viewer with the advertisement. It combines text, images and video.

Native advertising works seamlessly with the content of the website or app.

(In-app) Video ads uses HD videos targeted at a demography of users to gain maximum impact. It has been steadily gaining traction in India. With the advent of OTT and mobile gaming there is a remarkable growth in video ad spends by marketers.

Aprt from the format, what matters is the placement of the ad. Placement is a function of viewability of the ad, its ability to keep content consumption unhindered and the context of the content.

The challenge the marketers face here is the skip option. Another challenge is the standardisation of ad measurements across the platforms.

Though ad blocking is a bane in the longrun, it will improve the quality of online ads.

In measuring effectiveness, the metrics used were reach, impressions, time spent, frequency, video views. These days there are  third party tools which provide insights beyond reach, CPMs, CPCs and CPIs.

Digital Medium Must Be Understood

Digital marketing emerged in India since 2004-05. During those days, there was no YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform. All the ads were Google search ads and display banners across web sites such as Yahoo and Rediff. Those were the early days for digital marketing.

As the industry and technology evolved, many new options arrived. In the last decade,we have seen rapid progress of this medium from  text-heavy advertising to video-heavy advertising. Many new formats have appreared, but the challange is the creativity in messaging.

To begin with, print ads were adapted for digital advertising. That led to the creation of digital banners. TV ads were similarly adapted for YouTube. TV has a history of 35 years in India, and digital is evolving in the 15 years. Digital has thrown up a large number of options. That becomes confusing for ad creators.

TV ad brief was simple. Create a 60 seconds commercial, capable of being adaptable to 30 and 10 seconds. Print ads must have applealing visuals that could be recalled. In a digital campaign, a 480×60 banner looks very different from 250×250 banner. YouTube bumper ad is very different from a YouTube pre-roll ad. These minute details confuse the creator. They end up sticking key visuals, as they used to do in print. Therefore, digital specialist agencies are required, rather than the traditional agencies.

Companies spend more time with a mainline agency making a TV commercial. They spend comparatively very less time with a digital agency which has to design a month’s content for social media. Creative suffers from lack of time. Ultimately, the client complains that digital does not work for his or her brand

Clients must use the digital medium effectively. They should understand the medium. Great digital ideas can come in an instant, but great digital execution requires planning and meticulous production so that the message fits the medium.