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Digital advertising is moving from 3M to 3V, say experts

At the second edition of Advertising Club’s D-Code, leading experts highlight the best digital marketing formats, techniques and learnings that have worked well for brands

India's digital advertising has moved from 3M (male, millennial and metro) to 3V (video, vernacular and voice). It's the content that matters and not the format, size and length of it and always connects customer data across touchpoints for a holistic view of the market.

These are a few tips India's top marketers and digital experts shared on digital advertising at The Advertising Club’s D-Code event on Wednesday.

The event brings together India's top marketing minds on one platform to talk about their successful digital campaigns, key learnings and the code to maximise the campaign objective. has broken down key learnings into pointers here for readers' convenience.

Partha Sinha, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, McCann Worldgroup:

1. It’s not the output but the outcome that matters in the digital world — in the digital world, ‘what happened and how did you do it,’ is what matters. According to me, the best example is BJP’s campaigns which were good and competent but will you write about it? I don’t think. However, what stood out was the response that these campaigns garnered, the influence, views and engagement that these campaigns received and that is where the success is. So, if we are outcome focus then we are far better off.

2. The ‘let’s do something cool’ attitude has been the death of digital advertising — digital has to get out of the ‘let’s do something cool for millennial’ mentality. Digital is moving from 3M (male, metro, millennial) to 3V (Video, Vernacular and Voice).

3. It is a world of visual extravaganza: In the world of techs and wrong spelling nobody reads, it is a world of visual extravaganza to multiply that power in India, one needs a bit more innovation than the mere internet.

4. Even in digital, truth lies in the middle: One needs to use the power of technology and creativity to give brand solution.

Sumeet Narang, Vice-President, Marketing, Bajaj Auto:

1. While dealing with sensitive subjects, lot of authenticity and purity is required. If you really want to go down the route of authentic marketing, one’s backend need to be very authentic.

2. We need to be very clear about consumer entertainment and brand relevance: Independence Day is around the corner and we are going to see several branded content films and brands riding on the freedom fervour and we realise at the end of the day, what is the connection of the brand with that. So trying not to fall victim to those is the key.

3. Brand marketing online isn't any different from the offline environment.

Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director, Google:

1. The tips to crack is simple, we call it CAT and the CAT principles of A, B, C, D. CAT is a machine-learning tool which Google has and we extend it to all our partners. The CAT tool gives suggestions to go through the A, B, C, D aspects of what it should be. It respects the fact that the art of storytelling should remain whereas it is the film crafting that needs to change. The reason for that is because the way people react to a six-inch screen is different than they react to a 30inch and 30ft screen.

Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director, Spotify:

1. Message is a medium — there is a different communication for TV, print, radio, outdoor and I think digital has become a bit more different as there are sub mediums in digital. If you look at digital media like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, one we see a clear difference in the way content is consumed. For example, people tend to use the stories feature more on Instagram than on Facebook. So, one has to think on how to make the best use of the features on that medium and built their communication around it.

2. Connect customer data across touchpoints for a holistic view of the market — one had to look at consumption patterns and use it to target that particular consumer.

3. How do we leverage two way communication — most of the advertising mediums are more about broadcasting but digital offers the advantage of hearing back from your consumer.

Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player:

1. Target: Everyone has known about digital for a while but I still believe it has not yet seeped into the ground level from the way marketers and advertisers see it. Use all of the data that we are collecting, to go after the audience that you want.

2. Use OTT to build your brand: Don’t think too much about frequency, CTR, bouncy rates, etc., one has to remember that for a lot of people on OTT this is their first real exposure to advertisers. So, build reach and get your brand out there through OTT because that is the language they understand.

3. Consolidation of Brand: Extend brands into multiple things; we are extending ourselves into gaming, rewards and coins, among others. Given that friction in digital distribution is low, I would encourage brands to extend their reach.

Sachin Sharma, Director Sales and Partnership, TikTok:

1. Short-format video users have less time, so brands should cut down their long formats. A few seconds is what matters and in that time the brand needs to connect a consumer to the power of its story narrative.

2. Users trust influencer or peer-generated content much more than the brand-generated content — brands have to believe in native placements and have to allow users to co-create content for them.

3. Brands have to allow users to participate and help to come up with the cumulative stories for the brand and what it stands for.

Siddharth Rao, CEO and Co-partner, WebChutney:

1. The consumer is analogue; he or she is a human being — ideas are based on analogue insight or analogue truth; digital is neither the insight nor the truth. Digital allows amplification, reach and interactivity at scale; analogue was and is limited in all these areas.

Rashi Goel, VP Consumer Communications, Media, CRM and NHW, Nestle:

1. Be audience first — why ask. Nestle is working superb than any of our digital platforms because we are completely working towards consumer requirements and queries.

2. Solve offline problems online at scale — connect to your consumers online and help them receive the best support or education from your end.

3. Brands should always be on beta mode — they should always be on beta mode and keep experimenting through technology and communication.

Jogesh Lulla, Co-Founder, Cornerstone Entertainment:

1. Brands should plan ahead on their digital marketing initiatives in order to be relevant.

2. Always answer what’s in it for consumers and not for brands.

3. Try and touch an emotional chord, it always works especially in a country like India.

Srivats Ts, CMO, Swiggy:

1. Spirit of idea and not fearing failure — be comfortable with having a couple of ideas that don’t work. If you are not failing at all, you are not pushing the boundaries hard enough. Spend more on production than media.

2. Source of idea is un-important — ideas can come from everywhere. Spirit of innovation and ideas must be fostered, whether internal creative team, or creative agency/brand partner, or social agency, it is immaterial.

3. It’s about content, not format or length or spends — content needn’t be paid or a minute long, or 10 seconds short. The idea and the message needs to be told- if it’s a bad idea, 10 mins isn’t enough.

Kenneth Sebastian, comedian, singer and director:

1. Learn to create before you sell.

2. Technology changes, people don’t.

3. Make fun of yourself. (Don’t take yourself so seriously).

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