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Heydays of display ads over as advertisers opt for more engaging forms of digital advertising

The impact of online display ads is falling because of increased use of ad blockers. Advertisers are now moving to native, programmatic and interactive advertising

As advertisers seek better returns on their digital media budgets, the oldest form of online advertising – 'display ads' – are being rapidly replaced by more contemporary forms of communication, including native ads, content integration and content marketing.

Advertisers and marketers believe that the rampant use of ad blockers by users on mobile phones and desktops has significantly reduced the impact of display ads. Brands are relying more on less intrusive and more engaging type of advertising to target the relevant audiences.

Ashish Limaye

“Digital advertising in its current form is intrusive. What it means for marketers is they need to revisit focus on a few things such as insights (leading to emotional connect), storytelling and quality of execution. With these, they might find some traction with the consumer.  However there is still no denial that digital advertising in its current form is dying,” said Ashish Limaye, CEO, Happy Finish.

Ad blocker apps are increasingly getting popular across the Google play store (android), iOS app store and Blackberry World worldwide. These apps block any display ads from showing up on mobile websites. Content blockers like Crystal enabling users to block advertising, trackers and third-party scripts is an important feature on iOS 9. This is similar to the Google Chrome extension – AdBlock – that blocks all display ads (including ads from Facebook and Youtube) and claims to have over 200 million users worldwide.

Gopa Kumar

“For publishers, ad blocker means lesser ad inventories, while for advertisers, the effort to make good creative that can stand out and be counted has become more important. Both advertisers and publishers are now looking for various ways to beat ad blockers. So native ads, content integration and content marketing are gaining prominence. Also with lesser ads and push for quality inventory, I see the CPM or prices of the ad units going up,” said Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice-President, Isobar.

The average brand recall for native ads is twice more than the traditional ads on mobile.

Rohan Gandhi

"Quality advertising is not about forcing your viewer to look at your products, its enticing them to do so, whether it is via videos or surprising activities. Consumers don't hate ads; they hate pushy ads. Let your audience know that it's okay to say no and they will be more willing to know,” said Rohan Gandhi, a digital expert.

The formats of digital ads that are most intrusive include pop-ups, pop-unders, splash screens, ads covering text. Google and Facebook are among the largest digital platforms for display ads.

Innovative display ads still relevant if backed by right strategy, say advertisers

Women accessories and beauty products brand Nykaa believes that for e-commerce, display advertising can work right if used correctly.

As marketers, we want to reach out to our customers at the right time with the right content. To adhere to this we reach out to our audiences showing affinity towards a category basis their interactions on Youtube, social media and web browsing. A lot of times, our first party data is extrapolated to find matching prospects via similar audiences. Hence, intrusion makes way. We also rely on funnel-wise contextual targeting so that our ads seem relevant to the consumer as they progress inside the purchase funnel. For example, people who add to carts and not purchase are the lowest hanging fruit for display ads followed by people who viewed products but not purchased,” said Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing officer, Nykaa.

"It's not right to say display ads don't work, it has its own merit if done right. It helps you reach wider variety of audience. If targeted well and with good context and creative, it’s bound to do its job of engaging and inducing an action from a consumer, which is its primary task in the first place,” said Kumar of Isobar.

Pratik Gupta

“Display advertisement is not just a medium for putting ads but how we look at it is that it can be used for display advertising as a reminder medium,” said Pratik Gupta, Co-Founder, Foxy Moron.

The Indian digital ad industry is estimated to grow at 32% CAGR to reach Rs 18,986 crore by 2020, as per a report by Dentsu Aegis Network. It pegs the current size of the industry at Rs 8,202 crore. The current contribution of digital advertising is 15% of the total ad pie, which will reach 24% of the entire market by 2020.

Key highlights:

Digital advertising growth

* 2017: Rs 8,202 crore

* 2018F: Rs 10,851 crore

* 2019F: Rs 14,354 crore

* 2020F: Rs 18,986 crore

* Biggest spenders – e-commerce, FMCG, Telecom and BFSI

* Digital ad formats – Social media: 28%, Search: 26%, Display: 21%, Video: 19%

* 21% of the Indian population accesses internet daily by 2017

* 85% of the Internet user base spends up to 1/4th of their waking hours on the internet.

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