Nuances of digital storytelling in the new decade

Experts speak about the increase in ‘demand’ of digital campaigns along with a strong emphasis on data and analytics for better digital extrapolation

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Jan 22, 2021 1:11 PM  | 5 min read

The country witnessed rapid digitization triggered by the ongoing pandemic. Industries have been prompt in adapting to changing consumer behaviour through effective communication with their target audience. Agencies of the future also have taken a full stack of digital capabilities. Giving a digital edge to storytelling has been both a necessity and now a demand for the public relations agencies.

According to InMobi’s Annual Mobile Marketing Handbook 2021 report, titled ‘Marketing in the era of Mobile’, globally, there has been a significant increase in app downloads, the time spent on mobile, and consumer mobile spending. 2020 saw the addition of 321 million new internet users worldwide and a 25% spike in app downloads in H1 2020 as compared to H2 2019. Catapulted by the pandemic, consumers across the globe spent on an average 4.2 hours per day just in the month of April 2020 while overall around 1.6 trillion hours were spent on mobile in H1 2020.

With digital becoming more and more domesticated in the current scenario, we try to understand how PR professionals are using digital acceleration for storytelling and the nuances of digital storytelling in the new decade.

The Transition and changes in approach

The digital transformation journey began a couple of years ago, but with the pandemic, this has been accelerated. A lot has changed in terms of consumer behaviour or target audience, said Aman Gupta, Co-founder, D Yellow Elephant. According to him, “The role of data has become extremely crucial. This includes data analytics, audience mapping, behavioural assessment and overall measuring a campaign to ensure that the impact becomes more visible and clear. In the digital era, the ROI matters more than ever, also because it is measurable.”

Emphasizing on transition is an ongoing process, said Swati Nathani, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Team Pumpkin. “We hold training sessions on a regular basis which can be attended remotely by our team members across India and abroad, create special internal groups and forums to keep each other informed of new tools and developments taking place in global and local markets and brainstorm new strategies for cross-channel engagement," she added.

Shift to digital and altered media pitching

With the country pacing towards a mobile-first and digital-first ecosystem, mainstream print media coverages have not remained the staple ones for agencies and brands. They are no longer the be-all and end-all of information, said Nathani. “The shift has been as seamless for us as it has for the consumers as we have always been technology-first in our approach to efficiently disseminate information.”

From changing approach for pitches to media, which now take place in audio/video / HTMLized formats agencies have also changed their ways of content usage. Content has changed from just text to infographics, videos and sometimes even interactive content.

Gupta added, “Each medium of communications has its own target audience. The way we at DYE approach this is by mapping the content consumption behaviour of each target audience. For instance, millennials might be pureplay digital consumers, but another age group could be a mix of traditional and digital. So the factors we keep in mind are geography, age, gender and socio-economic demographics because they play a big role in deciding which channels to use for what kind of campaign.”

Campaign formulations and brand outlook

We see a ‘demand’ in digital campaigns now. Digital-first agencies help brands realize their digital aspirations by focusing more on digitally-driven campaigns rather than print or TV or radio coverages. Earlier, digital used to be an afterthought, but in recent times digital is part of every communications core strategy keeping in sync with altered customer behaviour and sentiments.

AI: An enabler or counter-productive?

According to Kunal Kishore, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications, “Ongoing innovations continue to transform the online digital ecosystem. AI will further lend to this transformation, allowing digital marketers to cut through the content overload and streamline copious amounts of data, ultimately helping each stakeholder to make better decisions around creative campaigns.”

“For instance, an influencer marketing platform powered by AI will be able to glean insights around influencers using crucial data points, parameters, and metrics in a matter of seconds to present several suitable matches for specific brands, campaigns, audiences, etc. It is through data analysis that you will be able to discern the sentiment around a brand, consumer behaviour, and consumer spending patterns, among other important factors that drive digital business decisions,” explained Kunal.

While Nathani beliefs that AI has made amplification easier, it doesn't always mean that AI is necessarily better. “AI allows us to disseminate stories across the world with the click of a button and in real-time. It definitely has made amplification easier and we are able to track and quantify results and reach. Moreover, access to more data and resources enables us to deliver more efficient campaign strategies.”

Future for digital extrapolation

Kunal beliefs that technological adoption – AI, ML, Data Analysis, etc. -  is the future of digital extrapolation. Resonating with the same thought, Gupta also said, “The more the world moves to digital, the more the ‘agency of future’ needs to ensure they have a complete stack of digital capabilities. This includes analytics, measurements, multiple content formats and tech embracement. Let’s also not forget that the role of tech is crucial and how tech can play a role in human to human interactions matters today more than ever before.”

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