Are GroupM's digital projections on the mark?

Are GroupM's digital projections on the mark?

Author | Ankur Singh | Monday, Feb 09,2015 9:26 AM

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Are GroupM's digital projections on the mark?

As brands increasingly move to digital platforms in order to remain relevant, GroupM’s biannual “This Year Next Year” report comes as no surprise. The report reaffirms all projections about digital media growth. As per GroupM’s in-depth research of the Indian media industry, digital media continues to show the maximum growth with 37 per cent in 2015. Digital has been growing at an average rate of 35 per cent over the last two of years. This year within digital media video, mobile and social will be the biggest growth drivers.

Digital all the way

“Digital media will continue to grow at strong levels but do keep in mind that the high growth is due to low absolute numbers which are dwarfed by the spends across traditional channels. So while we are all rejoicing cause of a high growth rate, we still have a long way to go before there is a fair comparison. A lot of this could change for the better, with the new government’s push to a more digital India with better infra in place and the finance sector moving to more accessible online and mobile banking+payment solutions,” said Karan Bhandari, Digital Director, Weber Shandwick.

“But, what we need to keep in mind is the fact that brands might debate on the spends for advertising online, which will depend on their CPCs and ROIs and war chests, there is no denying that they will all push for increased spends on creating content that can drive engagement that drives the corporate and marketing narrative across their stakeholders,” he pointed out.

Vikas Mehta, CMO, Lowe Lintas + Partners & ED, LinTeractive, said, “While our estimates are slightly different, the overall picture remains that digital is poised to continue growing at 35 per cent-plus. The more important statistic, however, is its share in the overall marketing spends, which remains sub-optimal in our view. This year we see greater momentum coming from content that creates significant value beyond paid digital media.”

“While I agree with the broad findings of the report, I believe the most important area of growth in digital will be native advertising. As blindness towards traditional ad units continues to grow, native content that resonates with audiences is going to continue to prove its effectiveness. For clients, as well as digital/paid agencies, this will present an interesting challenge both in terms of building capabilities as well as designing strategy that best helps clients,” said Narendra Nag, Asia Digital Leader & Vice President, MSLGROUP.

According to Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director, Eeksaurus, “We are at the turning point where advertising, business and our very lives are going to be impacted by the ushering of the digital era. It is here, making its presence felt strongly and is here to stay. The change is exciting, interesting and even unpredictable because we have not completed the loop yet.”

“We as an agency are seeing over 50-60 percent growth annually and in 3-5 years we hope see the industry grow 150-200 per cent,” said Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO - WATConsult.

Intensifying ecommerce battle 

“eCommerce is one of the rapidly growing and most promising sectors in the rapidly- growing Indian economy. While the country is moving towards a massive data adoption, the current scenario is that we are still at the nascent stage of internet usage which makes it important for companies into digital space to promote themselves. The initial campaigns have helped us address various concerns and misconceptions that prevail amongst Indian consumers with regards to online shopping alongside promoting the brand. Now with more competition coming in, we’ll have more ads coming in to support brand recall value,” said Manav Sethi, Group Head, Marketing and Digital Products, AskMe.

According to Mehta, the ecommerce battle will only intensify because there's enormous headroom for growth in this sector. The percentage growth numbers are not that crucial given it's an emerging category, growing from a small base.

“ecommerce is already the way people are doing work/business and has almost become a way of life in the urban metros. A matter of few years before this percolates down,” Eriyat pointed out.

“Brands are opting more and more for digital ad options where even 1/4th the media spends diverted to digital productions are keeping them more engaged with their customers,” he added.

“Ecommerce will lead the way not just in terms of ad growth spends but also for innovations across platforms. We will witness a growth in SoLoMo/ location/ behaviour/ augmented reality experiences and move away from a one size fits all route. Mobile again will be a key growth driver and admittedly we haven’t even scratched the surface,” said Bhandari.

Growth drivers

“We believe that rich media content is the key to engagement. In our experience video as a format will be a strong growth driver given how brands are increasingly investing in storytelling for themselves,” said Bhandari. “One reason rich media formats are becoming increasingly popular is the increase in consumption and share-ability owing to the affordability of high speed internet.  Mobile internet will be the fastest growth driver, the signs of which can even be witnessed when the likes of Airtel declare phenomenal YOY growth for mobile internet,” he added.

“Social space, the way we will look at it is in for a big overhaul. There will be strong convergence of social and mobile messaging applications leading to networks which we will compel all marketers to look beyond just Facebook,” he pointed out. 

According to Eriyat, Digital media, being more accessible and affordable, is surely going to need the growth of video, mobile and social. “The focused and accurate connect with the audiences resulting anticipated business conversions, where the overall engagement being the core, is the main reason for the same,” he said.

Mehta had a different opinion on the projections made about Video, Mobile and Social will be the biggest growth drivers within digital media. He said, “We feel looking at digital this way is partly why it's still marginal in the marketing mix. You can't lump content (videos), devices (mobile) and platforms (social) into one category. Predictions like this can be misleading and tend to confuse the matter rather than clarify.”

“On digital video, mobile and social being the largest drivers of digital I wholeheartedly agree. We believe with consumption on the web increasing interaction with visual content will grow significantly. Also smartphone penetration is expanding the fastest which gives a boost to mobile marketing and apps. Social media is now the first channel of communication for the youth in India and it's just not the youth young and old are whatapping liking sharing and socialising online,” said Dhingra.

Sethi of AskMe said, “India predominately is a mobile first economy where a large chunk of consumers spend a significant amount of their time on mobile screens either checking mails, chatting with friends, playing games, or streaming music. To be able to initiate conversation with these customers, it therefore becomes essential for the marketers to explore innovative marketing strategies. With India set to become one of the largest internet economy, we’ll soon have mobile listed as one of the essential marketing channel for every brand.”

“On digital video, mobile and social being the largest drivers of digital I wholeheartedly agree. We believe with consumption on the web increasing interaction with visual content will grow significantly. Also smartphone penetration is expanding the fastest which gives a boost to mobile marketing and apps. Social media is now the first channel of communication for the youth in India and it's just not the youth young and old are whatapping liking sharing and socialising online,” said Dhingra.
 

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