Digital marketing trends to look out for

Guest Column: Joyeeta Ghosal, AVP – Brand & MarComm, Home Credit India, writes on the shifting of consumer behaviour and the resulting digital marketing trends

e4m by Joyeeta Ghosal
Published: Apr 7, 2022 1:01 PM  | 6 min read

The pandemic has proved to be a ‘blessing disruption’ for digital marketing growth in India as it accelerated the adoption and understanding of the new-age platform by brands and individuals of all shapes and sizes. Though integrated or omnichannel marketing strategy had already evolved a decade ago, with CMOs keeping a balance between traditional and Digital (online + social media) marketing, the year 2020 flipped the marketing mix, heavily in favour of the digital platform.

The digital marketing wave is clear as the latest GroupM report – ‘This Year, Next Year 2022’ – forecasts that with 45% share, digital will overtake TV as the largest advertising medium in 2022, a trend many years in the making. The AdEx in India is expected to cross Rs 1 lakh crore in 2022.

According to a report by IAMAI and Kantar Research, the number of Internet users in India is set to touch 900 million by 2025, growing at a 45% CAGR post-pandemic. Digital adoption in rural parts of India grew 13%, clocking 299 million Internet users in 2020, which is 31% of India’s rural population. By 2025, there would be a greater number of Internet users in rural India than in urban India.

Digital engagement of customers has risen on the back of affordable data and increased content consumption, and the digital ad industry is capitalising on this by giving a very measurable ROI, and almost an immediate impact. During pre-Covid times, in 2019, a surge in digital ad spends was predicted to be led by three factors - voice-based search, vernacular and video-based content, and ads on digital media, led by social media followed by search (25%), display (21%) and video (20%).

As customer behaviour shifts, let’s look at the digital marketing trends for 2022 and ahead.

5G Technology
Although leading telecom companies are further strengthening their 4G footprint and wanting to tap the vast feature phone users still out there, 5G tech is the road ahead that the government is looking at to get on the digital expressway. With multi-fold data speed, it will have expanded capacity for delivering new content and services, as well as the ability to create unique experiences in previously unimaginable ways and further strengthen the digital transformation future.

The disruptive forces of the pandemic, along with propelling the digital marketing growth, have led to the emergence of new-age digital audio content listeners akin to the age-old radio listeners known as Podcasts. India is forecast to have more than 100 million audio content listeners in 2022, expanding at over 30% CAGR.
The digital audio content includes podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio-based online entertainment, on the Indian platforms, created with both User Generated Content (UGC) and Professionally- Generated Content (PGC) model.

Live Streaming
In the current year, "live streaming" is expected to become one of the most widely accepted and used influencer marketing methods. The paradigm of live-eCommerce will be applied in India, with many start-ups and MSME businesses now focused on performance-driven influencer marketing campaigns, disrupting the influencer marketing sector. Being a more authentic and real-time content component, live streaming is recognised for establishing greater interactions between creators, brands, and customers. It also allows customers to connect with their favourite creators, which opens up more possibilities for personalization, feedback, and results-driven conversations.

AI-enabled automation
Artificial Intelligence has come a long way in the last few years and witnessed the rising adoption of AI-powered solutions by new-age companies and big organisations too.
AI is enabling brands in a whole new way for marketing and reaching the right potential consumers or clients. AI plays a significant role in automating 99% of the process, from sending automatic sequenced emails to linking one platform to another. Furthermore, data collection and insights using technologies such as data science and AI allow marketers to understand consumer behaviour and thereby, customize personalised products, services, and communication.

Conversational and Experiential Marketing
Marketing in the modern era is more conversational and experiential than ever before. People want it, and businesses will undoubtedly respond. Conversational marketing enables organizations to react to customer requirements at the appropriate time, through the right channels, and in the most effective way possible, resulting in a stronger relationship with them. Experiential marketing will also scale significantly as a result of the current scenario and hybrid methods of doing things.

This will enable brands to provide unique consumer experiences in a hybrid model where the 'touch and feel' component is a key decision-making factor. Brands may use conversational and immersive marketing to reach a broader audience, boost brand recall, and boost conversions. These marketing tactics will be highly popular in the hybrid world we live in right now and will help firms up their game in terms of marketing.

Chatbots have always been a key component of digital marketing automation, and they will remain so in 2022 and beyond. Chatbots are AI-based technologies that allow your consumers to communicate with you via chat in real time, at any time of day or night. According to statistics, by 2022, chatbots will fuel 90% of customer support services. Chatbots are extremely useful since, unlike people, they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide rapid and accurate responses.

Social media apps
In early 1990s, with the advent of the Internet and Worldwide Web, the world came closer as a network and the information age transformed us all into a Global village, and now with the rise of social media, it has democratised social interactions, connect and opinion sharing. The following statistics make it more evident:
• Facebook Messenger has roughly 1.3 billion monthly active users
• On Facebook Messenger, about 10 billion messages are sent each month between consumers and companies
• Every day, 55 billion messages are transmitted on WhatsApp Messenger, which has over 2 billion active users, out of which India accounts for nearly 500 million users

These figures demonstrate the widespread use of social messaging apps, and because people spend so much time on them, it makes sense to sell products and services on the platforms where your potential clients hang out.

Finally, with consumers having embraced the pandemic induced digital life, and are experiencing the convenience & efficiency that digital brings such as enabled customized and seamless user experience, quick & instant access to products & services, it is but obvious for brands and organizations to cater to this evolving digital consumer to attain new success and relevance. Having said that, not every tool may work for everyone but it’s important to understand how their customer behaves digitally, their digital experience and therefore, cater to the expectations.

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