Guest Column: The festive season brands have been waiting for is here

With the effects of demonetization slowly waning, along with the festive season around the corner, advertisers can benefit by turning up the heat on their year-end campaigns

e4m by Sandeep Balani
Updated: Oct 6, 2017 8:28 AM

Amazon's end of year campaign, #KaroMilkeTayyari begins by reminding us of something we are all familiar with: the joy of preparing for festivities as a family and the importance of strengthening bonds that matter. Flipkart, on the other hand, has plans to make its festive offers more exciting and affordable. It has launched options like ‘buy now, pay later’ and buy-back guarantees.

We’ve seen in recent years that it’s not just the big guys rolling out slicker deals and campaigns. Each year, new brands, brick and mortar retailers, mom and pop stores and e-commerce platforms are keeping pace with the competition too. The last quarter is often earmarked as the most lucrative period for the country’s advertising industry, so it comes as little surprise that approximately 45 per cent of India’s advertising spends happen during this season.

Bucking the trend last year, the Indian Government issued India’s biggest ever demonetization exercise. This unleashed nationwide chaos that resulted in frenzied consumers exchanging old notes with new ones. The cash shortage led to a complete halt in consumption, prompting many brands to hold back on their advertising spends.

Since then, the government has attempted to ‘remonetize India’ and sell India’s growth story. With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, said to be the biggest tax reform since India's Independence, consumption expenditures are expected to rise by a factor of three to reach $4 trillion by 2025. With the effects of demonetization slowly waning, along with the festive season around the corner, advertisers can benefit by turning up the heat on their year-end campaigns.

Big on festive buying

A recent study by Kantar IMRB found that Indian consumers are more influenced by advertisements during the festive season. They are 22 per cent more likely to buy from brands who advertised during this period and half as likely if these were expensive brands. New brands, in particular, can also expect to see heightened interest.

Better yet, many banks often reduce interest rates for loans around major events like Diwali and Dussehra, making it easy for consumers to take loans for big-ticket items. There are some that even offer a 10-day scheme where they remain open daily, increasing consumers’ accessibility to loans. With lowered interest rates coupled with increased access, consumers are not only more willing to spend, but are able to do so more freely.

As such, advertisers should look to capitalize on consumers’ willingness to purchase. This is especially since expenditure was off to a slow start earlier in the year, which means consumers have more money to spend or at least, believe they do.

New streams of quality inventory

Thanks in part to the affordable data plans and call rates made possible by the price war between India’s major telecommunication providers, data consumption has increased significantly. In 2016, India crossed the one million mobile subscriber milestone and fast forward a year later, 79 per cent of consumers in India now access the Internet through their mobile phones.

Apart from the increased supply in publisher page-views which has brought down the cost of inventory, advertisers now have the option of investing in advertising quality inventory on digital. Let’s not forget, however, that low-cost inventory can come with a high price too; advertisers must be equally wary of issues like fraud and viewability.

Diverse advertising formats

Unlike a decade ago when the advertising space was dominated by television and billboard ads, advertisers today have many options with traffic coming from various high-level channels like Search, Social and Discovery.

Then there is programmatic native – the adaptation of creative to fit the publisher’s native experience, programmatically. With this, media teams who have their own technology stack and unique data sets are able to leverage what they have internally for specific audience buys.

Publishers get to craft custom advertising experiences and formats too, while advertisers do not have to adhere to a one-size-fits-all advertising model.

This shift towards a more discovery-led and native consumer journey requires a deep evolution of capabilities and in line with this, we acquired Zemanta recently to help marketers engage with audiences natively with value-added content and invest less in interruptive experiences like banners and pre-rolls. For advertisers looking for greater transparency and control, these targeting solutions empower them to mix and match advertising options according to their needs and goals and also to discover the users who are most likely to engage with their message.

In short, the upcoming quarter is proving to be an opportune time for advertisers. The Indian market was volatile post-demonetization, but owing to the receptivity and purchase intent of consumers and the myriad of opportunities for advertisers, we can definitely expect advertising spends to gain significant ground.

Sandeep Balani is Head of India, Outbrain.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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