Festive Bonanza: Digital all set for better show than traditional counterparts

Industry experts believe that given the focused reach & cost efficiency of digital, even big ad spenders on traditional formats may be seen shifting a part of their ad spends to the medium

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Oct 3, 2019 9:19 AM



It may not be the best of times for India Inc. but it will not hold back its digital advertising spends this festive season. In fact, according to industry experts, the medium looks all set for a festive bonanza, with a healthy surge of 20-25 per cent being predicted for the period between Ganesh Chaturthi and New Year. 

Ashish Bhasin, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, Asia Pacific, says, “I think it will be good. I expect it to grow at 20-25 per cent. In some ways digital will gain from the general slowdown. Particularly, performance marketing becomes very important for clients because they want to drive sales in a short period of time.” 

Traditionally, businesses reserve 40 per cent of their advertising budgets for the festive season, but the first half of this year saw big ticket events such as IPL, General elections and the Cricket World Cup which put a strain on marketing budgets. In such a scenario, given the cost efficiency of the digital medium, even big ad spenders on traditional formats such as FMCG, auto, consumer durables, BFSI, smartphone manufacturers and others may be seen shifting a part of their ad spends to digital.  

Bhasin too believes that the medium will benefit from spends from across sectors. “I think it will be business as usual for digital. Around this time, the e-commerce platforms have a lot of sales, there will be consumer durables, and auto will make a comeback. So it will not be one particular sector but a combination that will contribute. It may not be irrational exuberance like in the past but compared to all other mediums, digital will do much better. I'm guessing in the period between Ganapati festival and New Year, which is really the festive season in India, approximately Rs 7,000-7,500 crore will be spent on digital,” he shares.

The positive outlook for digital advertising is resonated across the board, with the industry expecting the medium to perform better than its traditional counterparts.  

Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South East Asia at Havas Media Group, believes that this festive season, the sentiment for digital advertising will be better than other media, given its focused reach and cost efficiency.  “E-commerce, consumer durables, automobiles, real estate are some of the categories that will have an increased skew to digital,” says Nayyar.

Recently, The Pitch Madison Advertising Outlook Report revised its forecast for Adex 2019 downwards and attributed the drop to TV Adex in the first quarter of the year. The decline was majorly due to the impact of the New Tariff Order (NTO). According to the original report, released earlier this the year, Adex was forecast to grow by 16.4 per cent, but the agency revised it downwards to 13.4 per cent. Clearly, the New Tariff Order coupled with the economic slowdown hasn’t painted a pretty picture for the television sector. Meanwhile, the outlook for the digital medium has remained unchanged despite tightening of purse strings. Some industry experts believe that the slowdown may have in fact benefited digital advertising.

Joy Das, General Manager of Mirum India, feels that while the overall spends might remain similar to last year, with a modest growth, there will be shifting of budgets to mediums which will deliver higher ROI. “This will see substantial growth in digital advertising during the festive season while brands try new innovations to capture eyeballs. Currently, digital is growing 3X compared to ATL. In the festive season, and if the slowdown continues, it might increase, at the cost of television and print," Das opines.

Digital advertising has risen up the popularity charts due to its growing reach on the back of high internet penetration. The lure of its regional reach, lower cost, high ROI, measurability and precision targeting has worked in its favour. With a surge in platforms to advertise on, whether it is social media or the OTTs, the scope too is increasing day by day. Many sectors that typically prefer the traditional formats have been seen shifting spends to digital. Which is why the phenomenal growth of this medium comes as no surprise. 

Says Prateek Kumar, CEO & Managing Director, NeoNiche, “It is safe to assume that despite the current slump in the economy, marketing spends in these three verticals (FMCG, Auto, BFSI) will see an increase of 18-19 per cent. For other industry verticals that employ traditional marketing models, we expect to see an organic growth of about 7 to 8 per cent.”

Speaking on the same lines, Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy, vivo India, known to be a heavy advertiser, shares, that festive season is the right time to promote relevant products through various digital platforms. “India is known for its festivals. Given the diverse nature of the Indian market, we have been implementing a 360-degree marketing approach which includes television, digital, social, OOH as well as print. We have also introduced campaign ahead of the festive season for vivo V17Pro, #clearasreal driven by digital and tapping all platforms,” says Marya.

Interestingly, there are some voices that are not exactly expecting fireworks from the digital medium but believe that while the outlook remains positive, the medium will work synergistically with TV to drive growth. 

Elaborates Atrayee Chakraborty, Vice President - Integrated Media Planning, India, Essence, “This festive season will not see digital advertising gearing up disproportionately. Generally, most ad forecasts report that it grows at a rate of 30 per cent, which will likely continue. Advertisers are looking for scale and speed in response during the lull period, and tend to rely more on TV to focus on top-of-the-funnel brand metrics. That, along with digital, would work synergistically in driving bottom-of-the-funnel metrics. Overall, my guess would be an increase of 10-15% in advertising expenditure this festive season, with a mix that slightly favours TV over digital.”

For now, better than expected growth numbers for the digital medium, even in the midst of an economic gloom, firmly establishes the immense potential it holds as the medium of the future.


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