2019 Predictions: Digital trends to watch out for

Take a look at what industry experts think will define digital advertising in 2019

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Published: Jan 3, 2019 8:33 AM  | 6 min read

In 2019, digital advertising revenues will cross Rs 15,000 crores, growing at 30 per cent CAGR. According to a KPMG study, the key drivers of this growth are: increasing internet and smartphone penetration, affordable data costs and adoption among non-urban and rural India.

Digital advertising is experiencing the strongest growth among all sectors of media. Google India's three themes for digital growth in India are: video, voice and vernacular. The tech giant believes that all stakeholders of the media ecosystem must focus their efforts to build and strengthen their video, voice and vernacular strategies.

And these three are not all. Industry experts believe that there will be a few other factors that will shape the digital marketing landscape in 2019.

Take a look at what industry experts think will define digital advertising in 2019

Shamsuddin Jasani, Group MD, South Asia, Isobar

2019 is going to be the year of voice. It’s part of the Next Billion plan. Voice will break a lot of barriers in these media-dark regions. Every brand must take voice seriously because it will change the way humans interact with the things around them. Just like brands have mobile apps, they need to build a voice presence. The Rs 1,500 Jio phone that comes with the Google Assistant will change the dynamics of the landscape. Voice, which was once thought as limited to high-end products like Google Home and Alexa, will transcend demographics and reach areas which were until now media-dark in a sense. 

The second aspect that will define the market in 2019 is Phase 2 of the Jio Revolution - which will be the broadband revolution. It will blur the lines between television and digital because people will be consuming more of television through their internet pipes. 2019 and beyond, consumers will just be buying video, be that through the internet or traditional channels. 

Digital will also assume a bigger role in businesses beyond marketing. The question that people will ask about digital is “what can digital do for my business.” Digital transformation will become the key differentiator between companies, especially in the case of legacy companies. India has a lot of legacy brands wthat will need to rethink their digital strategies because there are many digitally savvy start-ups that can give competition to legacy companies. 

2019 is going to be a year when digital will gain much larger share of the advertising pie and become very important to brands.  

Rohan Mehta, CEO, Social Kinnect

OTT and VOD will see a dramatic rise in user adoption. The video OTT and VOD market in India is buzzing with competition. Apart from the global content streaming OTT giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, 2018 has witnessed India developing its own OTT base. The ever-growing OTT marketscape in the country presents a big window of opportunity for all the players in India. In fact, a report by Boston Consulting Group stated that the OTT content market in India is “at an inflection point”. The report also states that the Indian OTT market will reach $5 billion in size by 2023, and 75 per cent of content will be consumed on OTT platforms in 2021.

We will see a significant increase in smart devices. I expect 2019 to be the year of voice-activated light bulbs or even air conditioners. Digital will extend to outside the phone or computer screen, and enter your daily life. The insane proliferation of smart devices will be a huge disruption because these will create even more marketing touchpoints.

The disruption that 'Bharat' will bring to digital mediums cannot even be anticipated. The non-connected mass becoming the connected mass - the ‘last mile’ having digital access- will lead to the proliferation of new types of services, new devices and of course, digital content in more languages.

Kedar Teny, Chief Strategy Officer, Tilt Brand Solutions

The age of personalisation is here to stay, and brands will be working smarter to ensure that customers receive more relevant, contextual messaging informed by data and insights. What’s particularly exciting about this is that it will put the spotlight on specialists who focus on redefining the ‘digital creative experience’ to unlock fresh opportunities for brands. And customized videos will be the lead creative asset.

To quote IBM, “90 per cent of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years”, and this is only compounding every minute. The real skill for brands and businesses is to convert the big data to small data, uncluttered, meaningful and insightful data to unlock business potential and build brand love more accurately.  

The 40-plus bosses will feel the need to upskill and upgrade on digital like never before as they lead their team of millennials who are digital natives.

Bindu Balakrishnan, Country Head, DCMN India

2018 saw the advents of voice-based assistants in the Indian market such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. At first it appeared that the Indian market was not ready for this leap, but after analysing social conversations, it is evident that the Indian urban market has embraced these products. You can see an Amazon Echo at your friends’ places and people ordering Siri and Google Assistant for homes, offices or for use while driving. We will see the next-level of innovations and evolution of these assistants for transactions in the forthcoming year. The advertising will be more intense around it.

Brands seeking to extend their reach beyond linear TV audiences in a clutter-free digital environment will find OTT an increasingly promising avenue. However, independent measurement remains a challenge, especially since standardization is still not there and OTT is still largely a walled garden. Hopefully we will see BARC’s EKAM independent measurement attempt to bridge this big gap in 2019, which would see India join handful of countries to have this in place (e.g. UK BARB’s Project Dovetail).

A more inclusive and safer workplace for women will emerge. #MeToo has clearly shown the dark side of the industry. Thanks to the first few women who were brave enough to come out in the open and talk about it, the industry had a shake down and people responsible for it got penalised. The movement also brought some fresh air in the agency space. People are now more conscious and respectful of boundaries so that women can feel safer in this environment. The movement has also brought the issue of gender pay gap to the fore. 2019 will see even more women leaders emerging at all levels.

Shrenik Gandhi, Co-founder and CEO, White Rivers Media

Today, over four billion people spend an average of six hours every day on internet-powered devices or services. The way marketers advertise is changing, thanks to programmatic advertising. While AI has been the buzzword in our industry for quite some time, it was only in 2018 where marketers actually caught up with the technology and used it to deliver better targeted ads. According to IDC, worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems will reach a staggering $77.6 billion by 2022. Right now, almost every sector is trying to get a piece of AI pie. The focus on AI will only increase in 2019 and marketers will find newer and innovative ways to engage with their audiences using big data and AI.


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