Omnicom Media Group India in collaboration with MICA (formerly Mudra Institute of Communications), Ahmedabad has released a report titled ‘What’s Next in 2016 - Top 10 Digital Trends in India’.
The report covers the top 10 trends for India in 2016, the implications for brands as well as predictions from platform providers like Google and Outbrain. The trinity of content, technology and marketing is the key factor that features in the forecast and insightful analysis adds to its relevance.
The top 10 trends revealed in the report include:
India gets Mobile-ized
Consumers are shifting to mobile for a variety of activities including video consumption and mobile shopping. Mobile is fast becoming the starting point for consumer-brand interactions. Smarter options for search and more integrated media types are creating many micro-moments (want-to-know, want-to-go, want-to-do, want-to-buy). The emphasis on increasing visual, contextual and vernacular communication also makes mobile the chosen platform for many advertisers.
The unique ecosystem of India, with its young population, is operating in such a way right now that mobile first will be the way to go. For some brands, it even makes sense to be mobile only.
With 2015 being the year of e-commerce startups, confidence level in online purchasing has gone up. With more household decision makers going online, even local kirana store are finding it necessary to be online. “Commerce everywhere” will mean better micro-segmentation and personalization as brands can better gauge the desires of each consumer by analyzing their online behavior. This however needs to flow across channels as ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) and web-rooming will increasingly be important.
Story Rises Above the Medium
PR, Advertising and Storytelling, as we knew it, has become largely irrelevant. Consumers are demanding more immersive experiences across channels and devices.
Today there is no one channel, no one medium to reach the consumers. As the media landscape continues to evolve, we pay too much attention on the medium instead of connecting with consumers. Ultimately, it is the content that connects and not the medium alone paving way for good stories to takeover once again.
Moment Marketing breaks Silos
Brands need to provide value in key consumer moments with a new, more agile and collaborative marketing approach. Brands today are expected to deliver against rising consumer expectations in ‘moments of intent’ —the times when people turn to their devices to act on a need to learn, discover, find or buy something. The modern marketer has to be ever present in these critical moments of impact throughout the buyer’s journey.
Brands need to understand the behavioral journey of their consumers and capitalize on these moments. Identifying ‘moments that matter’ to consumers is no longer optional. Brands must be present in such moments when people act on their needs to learn something, do something, or buy something.
Rise of OTT Content
With the growing appetite for video content, it is not surprising that OTT service providers like Hotstar and SonyLiv are seeing rapid growth. The active OTT video subscriber base is expected to rise from the current 15 million to 105 million in 2020. It’s a "winner takes it all" category where early movers will have a significant advantage. There's also a push for regional content. Indian users prefer both long and short form videos. Leading players are targeting video content and multi screen offerings. Many traditional TV Channels (Zee, Star) have entered into the mobile TV market even though YouTube still maintains its superiority. Ease of access and bundled services will create a positive ecosystem for OTT.
This marked shift towards OTT content means that even marketers will shift their advertising spends on digital. However, OTT tends to be based on subscription models and this presents both opportunities and challenges.
Social Moves into Walled Ecosystems
With the convergence of social and mobile, the use of mobile chat apps is growing. The surge in users equates to less people interacting freely or directly on traditional (or ‘public’) social media.
People are moving into walled (or ‘private’) mobile chat environments such as like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line, where majority of the conversations are un-trackable. This is further exacerbated with apps such as Snapchat where content is deleted on servers after a period of time.
These messaging apps have managed to create entire ecosystems within walled environments –these include social gaming, mobile commerce as well as payment options. More users are beginning to enjoy these closed environments as it places emphasis on their privacy. Brands need to show consumers authenticity and value to inspire peer-to-peer conversations held within these chat apps and encourage community marketing.
Internet scales up from Urban to Rural
According to BCG, internet usage is expanding and diversifying from a primarily urban phenomenon -accessed by young, high-income users to rural and lower-income consumers across all age groups. There remains a huge opportunity exists for marketing, brand influence, engagement, and ultimately commerce for urban markets.
With the growth of ultra low cost hand-held devices, a mobile-first strategy will enable education, information, entertainment and banking amongst other services for rural India.
The rise of e-commerce, social media and smart education has already encouraged the rural consumer to go online. A shift to a low carbon economy, ways to connect farmers and ease of payments and business will mean that rural economy needs to be included and brands should prepare for this change.
Vernacular Content Rises
Today, 75% of online users in India prefer video content in their local languages and 40% of online traffic is for Hindi content. There is a clear demand for voice, video, social media, messenger apps and search in local languages. Google, Facebook and Twitter have launched vernacular content initiatives to get more users online. Vernacular content will become hygiene for content strategies.
To drive e-commerce, our web and mobile assets will need to be vernacularized. Also government initiatives and advertising in general will be communicated in local languages.
To remain authentic, relevant and talk-able, brands will need to create vernacular content and start engaging with consumers in their native local languages on social media, websites and other owned media platforms.
Internet of Me
In a world where digitally empowered consumers are taking control of who, what, where, when and how brands are allowed to communicate with them through various media channels, brands need to hyper-personalize experiences for consumers. This is the “Internet of Me”.
Understanding the behavioural journey of the consumer will become essential if a brand wants to leverage micro-moments. This results in media buying shifting from audiences to individuals in the coming future. In fact, platforms like Facebook and Google are offering the ability to combine CRM data with second and third party data. Brands will be able to leverage the power of all that data to target each individual more effectively and efficiently.
Brands need to start investing in this rather sooner than later. The ROI of such data-driven targeting –if executed well –is most likely higher than “traditional” campaigns.
Form vs Function in Wearables
Smart devices and clothing, embedded with intuitive technology, will provide seamless integration between data and consumer experience. Wearables are established in the sports and fitness space. However, we now see more ‘every-day focused’ devices entering the market.
Some examples of popular fitness bands are Fitbit and Xiaomi’s Mi Band. Goqii adds a personal touch by one-on-one coaching from certified health and fitness professionals to every subscriber.
With use of Galvanic Skin Response sensor technology in wearables, commonly used in polygraph testing or psychological research, opportunities for leveraging emotional data for real-time marketing will further increase ROI.