Consumer dependency on the Internet is increasing rapidly – be it booking tickets online, shopping, gifting, finding a partner or even making a career move. With the Indian online advertising industry looking up, customer engagement models in India have also evolved, moving from traditional modes of e-mail and web banners to injecting more engagement in the offering.
Talking about the Indian online industry and its potential, Sidharth Rao, CEO, Webchutney, said, “The Indian online ad industry today stands at Rs 200 crore and is most likely to double in the forthcoming year. The industry has seen tremendous change both in numbers and a continually evolving quality change.”
V Ramani, President, MediaTurf, added here, “Earlier, client spends on the Internet was based on being part of a new fancy thing rather than have a media and communication objective on the Internet. This would lead to client disillusionment as he would not know the return on his money. But today's online advertiser is savvier and serious about the medium.”
Quoting statistics, Ramani said that while on the one hand online advertising is experiencing an exponential growth rate (69 per cent in 2005 over 2004), on the other hand, the advertising industry has a stable growth of 11 per cent. Though, the overall advertising share of online advertising is only about 1 per cent, it is expected to reach nearly 4 per cent in 2010.
“The main triggers of this growth are increase in Internet penetration, machines of higher configuration, superior Internet speed, better search tools (relevant for search engine marketing), accountability, constant technological innovation, interactivity and of course better RoI (return on investment),” added Ramani.
Another reason for Indian advertisers and marketers to consider the Internet and online advertising is the host of solutions provided by the medium and the specialists. These include Mobile Internet partnership (86 per cent of Internet users have mobile phone), TV-Online partnership, Internet video, RSS feeds, blogging, podcasting/photocasting and innovative / viral marketing.
Leroy Alvares, Country Head, Tribal DDB pointed out that the adoption of such newer and innovative mediums on the Internet, by Indian marketers and consumers had led to some successful programmes that have not only been cost-effective but in fact have become revenue drivers for some brands.
Some of the successful examples are HLL’s Sunsilkgangofgirls.com, India’s all-girl online community, Makeyourmoves.com, a viral concept using video, Mycandymanclub.com, a hang-out zone for Indian kids by ITC, Chocos.co.in, another hang-out zone for Indian kids to interact with animated brand characters and Pepsizone.yahoo.co.in.
Here the brands have tried to not just showcase the product, but connect with the consumer on a one-to-one level.
How different is this medium from others? BC Webwise’s CEO and MD, Chaya Brian Carvalho, replied, “It is interactive and immediate. It gives the brand a large
space in which to communicate and the customer can access whatever information
he / she wants at their will.”
A key advantage of the online space comes in the fact that unlike other traditional mediums, Internet campaigns allow brands to capture user information, preferences etc., just by their surfing pattern on the site, participation in interactive sessions and registration information whenever available, giving brands the opportunity to capture its captive audience database.
Alvares observed, “This medium has the advantage of engagement and virility. The dynamic nature also allows for quick course correction and updating so there is no fatigue. The simplicity of maintaining a website and campaigns surpasses any other medium.”
The Internet offers advertisers a variety of benefits, which eludes them in case of other mediums, like interactivity. The medium lends itself readily to interaction between consumer and advertiser. It also provides for measurability and synergy in the use of advertising and marketing activity in other media.
To measure the impact and reach of the campaigns different tools such as real-time campaign management, automated reports, action tracking – track beyond-the-click users actions and multiple action tracking are used.
BC Webwise divulges some interesting data based on the measurement of the medium. The results prove the impact and effectiveness of both the campaign and the measurability tools: Clinic All Clear’s Makeyourmoves.com had received 5,000 registrations, 2 lakh user sessions of 18 minutes each and 1.4 million page views.
Also Clinic All Clear’s ‘Make your own movie’, another viral on the Indian web, was a success with around 3,842,710 hits to the Clinic All Clear website and over 5,000 movies made online.
HLL’s Sunsilknaturals.com has a database of 100,000 regular customers (as on January 2006), who now are a part of Sunsilk’s loyalty programmes and monthly mailing list. The website touts of being the most successful brand portal with the average visitor staying online for 28 minutes with 19,99,998 page views and 32,000 registrations in just 15 days.
Targeting can also be possible with the help of a combination of database building and profiling techniques, at the same level as well-managed direct mail, at least as well as a specialist magazine campaign. With the rapid spread of broadband, the medium can stream film and audio messages (rich media), in addition to traditional print-style advertising.
Surely Indian online advertising is looking up, but international initiatives like Google.com’s online community Orkut, campaigns like Lynxjet, Frontier Airlines and Bud Wieser’s Bud Light show that sky is the limit for the medium and that despite the leaps, Indian market still has some catching up to do.