The rapid proliferation of digital marketing and advertising agencies has encouraged advertisers to look beyond the traditional. With the emergence of newer technology and more players joining the fray, digital agencies have a lot to look forward to in 2009. exchange4media speaks to some full service digital agencies to gain a better perspective on this growing sector.
Digital Triumph in 2009
Most agencies believe digital marketing would achieve newer heights in India in the year ahead. Manish Vij, Co-founder, Quasar Media, noted, “The growth in the medium will come from vertical and horizontal expansion of clients. Two different mindsets have to work simultaneously. According to Quasar’s internal research team, we see a growth of 43 per cent coming in 2009. This includes Search, Display and Mobile Ads, and not Classifieds.”
A confident Sidharth Rao, CEO, Webchutney, said, “Clearly, digital will triumph in 2009. This month, as we worked with our clients plan for 2009, we saw a great appetite from advertisers for digital media. From 2005 to 2008, the growth of digital marketing came from Internet companies themselves. We believe, going forward it would be fuelled by traditional brand advertisers. We expect the industry to grow overall at about 70 per cent.”
Despite the downturn, 2008 has been a somewhat good year for the digital agencies, with digital ad spends not witnessing any major dip. Moreover, there had been a growing interest of traditional advertisers in trying out this medium for the first time.
It is believed by most of the digital agencies that more advertisers would be adopting this medium in 2009. With more publishers entering the market, there would be a resulting increase in inventories. In the next 2-3 years, it is believed that traditional advertisers would take to the digital medium in a big way, and familiarising the traditional advertisers to a whole new digital culture, and its ways and terminologies, is the biggest focus of the digital agencies currently.
According to Amar Deep Singh, VP, Interactive Avenues, “The Internet advertising market stood at Rs 500 crore as per Interactive Avenues estimates in FY08. This was expected to grow around 50 per cent to Rs 750 crore in FY09, however, it is likely to close this financial year at anywhere between Rs 625 crore and Rs 650 crore, which is still a growth of about 25-30 per cent. During the current slowdown, advertisers who have been using the Internet have not cut down their Internet spends even though they have cut down on traditional media spends.”
He added, “We have seen an increasing interest from those advertisers who have not used digital media. The current slowdown has, in fact, worked in favour of digital media because of its nature, being completely accountable and trackable, the kind of audience it reaches out to, the targeting options, and also the fact that Internet as a medium is consumed by users actively and not passively. Given all these, the digital marketing market will definitely grow in the year ahead. Our estimate is that it will grow anywhere between 25 per cent and 30 per cent.”
Commenting on the growing demand of this medium among traditional brands, Quasar Media’s Vij said, “Internet is a marketer’s delight. It gives him ability to change, adapt, pause, learn, detailed analytics. In our opinion, it is relevant for all, but more so for brands that have marketing departments that are open to learning and adapting media mix according to their customers’ behaviour. Also, it is becoming relevant for advertisers, for whom targeting and interactivity are important to succeed in their category.”
A large number of high-end brands have already started exploring the benefits of the digital medium, but the category of other big brands are yet to make this medium a serious component of their media plans. How strategic these traditional advertisers will get in their handling of the digital space is set to become a subject of serious consideration in the New Year.
(To be continued)