Lines between brand and performance marketing are blurring: Rohit Dosi

At e4m eTechManch, InMobi Director- Microsoft Advertising Rohit Dosi offered more insights about the search medium, said brands are now using search advertising to drive awareness

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 25, 2021 9:38 AM
Rohit Dosi

Search platforms have gained a lot of insights into consumer behaviour during the pandemic, as users took to the internet to gain information on a diverse set of topics. InMobi Director, Microsoft Advertising Rohit Dosi offered more insights about the search medium on the first day of the two-day tech marketing conference, e4m eTechManch.

Dosi said that the lines between brand and performance marketing is blurring. He also said that brands are now using search advertising to drive awareness. "The line between brand marketing and performance marketing is blurring for marketers and brands," he said while presenting the Microsoft Advertising Report 'Search in India - 2021 Trends Report'.

"Brands are now using search advertising to drive awareness, and we have seen that happening on Microsoft Search advertising as well. We have seen verticals gain massive traction and brands fully leverage search by finding new and innovative approaches as they reach out to their users," he added.

Dosi noted that search still continues to dominate digital's share of advertising and with the continuing pandemic search continued to be a key area of investments.

Offering the key trends in search marketing, Dosi said there has been an increase in queries for content translation to local languages and location-specific search requirements. The search for grocery and every day supplies has become location specific.

"We have seen a humongous increase in location-specific search queries, which is specific to things in the vicinity in people and the requirements and the services they use. We have also seen a lot of increase in queries content translation to local languages. The latter one is fascinating because this in some way that there a lot of new users in tier-2 and tier-3 towns coming online and searching for a lot of things," he added.

As per the report, there has been a huge spike in search-related queries on hyperlocal services. "In the first lockdown, a lot of search queries had 'near me' as people were looking at things around them. This vertical continues to show signs of continuous growth and as user search volume continues to grow it shows an upward trend," Dosi noted.

Branded searches also saw phenomenal growth as brands had the opportunity to grow and build online presence. "Big Basket, Nature's Basket, DMart and Grofers....all of them are seeing phenomenal growth which is also being leveraged by these brand as they grow their brand presence and penetration in the market."

In the personal health and well-being category, the report shows that more people increasingly opted for online consultations and seeking nutritional guidance as doctor and online consultation-related searches witnessed 12% growth while immunity and diet-related searches registered a 125% growth.

With gyms and recreation centres remaining shut, people opted for virtual sessions to stay fit at home through activities like yoga, Zumba, and dance. Yoga-related searches were up 24%, while online dance-related searches jumped 28X. Zumba-related searches grew by 39%, and home gym-related searches saw a 14X uptick. "People are also making investments in gym equipment and setting up home gym," Dosi stated.

Mental health also emerged as an important search category, as home isolation and personal losses took a heavy toll on people's state of mind. The report highlighted that mental health-related searches were up by 21%, while anger-related searches jumped 27%. There was a 17% increase in anxiety-related searches.

"Staying in isolation at home while dealing with crises and personal losses impacted a lot of people as they are facing mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. There has been a huge increase in queries for support resource and seeking help online," Dosi averred.

As far as the entertainment and music category is concerned, generic searches across the segment reached an all-time high, giving brands a strong opportunity to leverage keywords and own the category. Some key searches in the category were Most popular Netflix series, cricket live scores, new TV premieres, and download free movies online. "Branded searches in OTT and music shot up as people opted for online content streaming services at home," Dosi pointed out.

Gaming has emerged as a strong vertical during the lockdown, with online games-related searches and download game-related searches going up by 52% and 14% respectively. "As internet devices and users keep increasing, this is another vertical that is going to show significant upside as we into the future quarters," Dosi said.

There has been a huge spike in automobile vertical as consumers are avoiding visiting dealership showrooms. This has also increased affinity towards online channels when they make research about their next purchase. Preference towards personal vehicle has increased as people have chosen to stay away from public transport for safety purposes.

Terms like car/user car-related searches, used vehicle-related searches, scooter-related searches, and electric vehicle-related searches have seen huge spikes. There has also been a spike in the vehicle insurance related queries, with bike/two-wheeler related searches seeing 10X growth.

The pandemic has also brought about a behavioural change, with many more people prioritising health insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones. There has been a 288X jump in health insurance-related queries, and government health plan-related search jumped by 43%.

Dosi also mentioned that there has been perceptible change in investment preference from physical assets to financial investments. Asset management, stock trading, mutual funds have seen double-digit growth in searches.

Education and e-learning is another category that has seen huge growth with 118% increase in overall search volumes. Queries like preschool and nursery, K-12, and online related searches saw a huge spike. Professionals are also future-proofing their careers by learning skills that would either help them transition to a new career or progress in the existing one.

Home improvements category has seen a jump in search volumes during unlock phases and festive season. There has been a major growth across bedroom and living room categories. People are investing in home appliances as 40% of customers still prefer to buy appliances online even after lockdown has been relaxed, Dosi said.

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