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Digital Trends 2015: India gears up for digital metamorphosis

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Digital Trends 2015: India gears up for digital metamorphosis

With increased digital spends, and brands acknowledging the potential of digital in making or breaking a brand, 2015 is posed with the challenge of channelizing the technology and enormous data into the right direction. Digital and mobile ad spending has increased exponentially over the last couple of years and estimates put the total digital spends to reach 30% marketshare globally in 2015 (Source: Magna Global). In fact, some commentators and studies also predict that digital ad spends will overtake TV spends before 2020. In India, we have seen similar upward trend in digital and mobile spends. A joint IAMAI and IMRB study says that the digital advertising market is poised to reach Rs 3,575 crore by March 2015.

The Indian digital landscape is unique in many ways. It is still behind the curve in many areas but at the same time, adoption of new concepts is much quicker than the more mature geographies. In this scenario, let’s take a look at some of the trends that could define the digital space in the country in 2015.

Programmatic targeting

The entire objective of digital marketing is to be present where customers are and in a more effective way. Unlike a print ad which remains same for everyone, digital has the flexibility to customize according to screen type and user demographic. Concepts like programmatic and RTB are already mainstream in the developed markets and we will see adoption increase in India too this year as brand managers begin to realize how efficient and transparent it makes digital advertising.

Despite some concerns regarding the transparency and the effect it will have on direct sales, concepts like these are here to stay, given that is the direction the world is moving in. However, there is a need for catalysts who can take upon this task and recommend the break-up of niche target audiences to media houses as there are no such entities yet.

Optimization of mobile affiliate tracking capabilities

Mobile as a platform is evolving fast and thus it takes lot of trials to have a perfect environment for affiliate tracking. Even the leading e-commerce companies in India started mobile affiliate tracking on apps towards the fag end of 2014. Brands will have to keep optimising capabilities and have a platform independent tool for the same.

The “Ad Blocker” challenge

The nuisance value of ads online has become much more than what one watches on television. You don’t miss any part of the content when you watch ads on television. You would just have to put it on mute and wait. Online ads have become a necessary evil but are also paving the way for the future. The more one moves away from selling, only then will such ads work.

A recent Google study suggested that more than 50 per cent of all display ads are not seen by visitors. This is nothing new in fact, since a number of agencies and internet companies have been questioning how important display advertising is on digital and, especially, mobile for quite a while.

Looking at some of the campaigns and technology innovations in 2014, it seems quite likely that there will be an added emphasis on exploring new ways to connect with the audience. Can mobile gaming be one? Or vine videos? There are a lot of opportunities out there for brands to experiment with.

Shift from being measurable to being truly accountable

Basic forms of measurement, such as click-based attribution models, only tell us a very small part of the story. With more scale, accuracy and new measurement tools, marketers will be able to understand what worked and focus on what matters to their businesses: brand metrics and sales.

Personalisation is key

Marketers have more information and tools to create relevant campaigns than ever before and people increasingly expect the ads they see to be relevant across all channels.  According to eMarketer, just 5 per cent of client-side marketers worldwide said they were personalizing extensively. As the target audience gets even more fragmented with respect to their means of accessing the internet, it will become all the more important to tailor content according to different tastes and platforms.

Video will rule the digital space

This is something that digital agencies have been preparing for over the last year. Video content consumption online is on an all time high and this is only going to increase going forward. Video ad revenue is set to increase at CAGR of 19.5% through 2016, says a report by Business Insider; this is faster than any other form of digital ad. Companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Vdopia have already made significant investments in video ad serving and we will see the fruits of this in 2015 and beyond.

Social media will find its destiny

Though no one denies that social media has been a revelation over the last couple of years, it is also true that the digital agency, client and the platform itself  have been a bit confused about how exactly to approach the tremendous opportunity available to them. All this changed a bit with the extremely business oriented view that Facebook has been espousing since going public. Some of its decisions might not agree with everyone but it has proved that making money and keeping your users happy need not be mutually exclusive. With Twitter also seemingly on the path to figuring out the financial aspect and the likes of Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram not too far behind; we could see more social media platforms mature to true brand allies, which only be only help everyone.

The Indian digital space will consolidate

Digital agencies are a dime and dozen these days, but do not expect this to continue indefinitely. We have already seen some major takeover in the space taking place in 2014 and this trend is likely to continue going forward.

The internet of things will be a reality with wearable tech

This might seem a bit futuristic. After all, wearable tech is still some way from becoming mainstream. But this does not mean that there is no meaningful market currently. A recent research stated that the wearable technology market was $14 billion in 2014 and could be worth over $70 billion in 2024 (source: Idtechex). Another research commissioned by Samsung called 2014, the "Year of Wearable Technology" and predicted the value of the market in the UK is predicted to total £313.6 million by the end of 2014. With major corporate entities like Google, Nike, Samsung, Apple, etc. working to make wearable tech cheaper and commercially viable, we could see the first marketing applications of this revolution become a possibility.

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