India’s digital ecosystem is undergoing a tectonic shift. The digital transformation that the country has undergone over the last few years has made the ecosystem sturdier, more frugal and more democratic than it has ever been. This new era is characterised by increased mobile internet penetration, rock-bottom mobile-data pricing, and an increased adoption of technology. Mobile data prices are at their lowest in India and smartphones have invaded almost every household across demographic tiers in the country. Indians across all walks of life have been truly inducted into true digital citizenship.
Such wide proliferation of the digital ecosystem has also played the concierge to an expanding consumerism of online platforms and services. Within the span of a year, India has converted over 83 million digital laggards to new customers. Needless to say, modern and traditional businesses have come to realise that a sizeable portion of their consumers are taking to digital media.
Brands are now leveraging contemporary ad-tech to seamlessly and actively target consumers across the digital universe by understanding the consumption habits of their consumers and employing deep-learning to capitalise on an unprecedented marketing opportunity. And in this journey, they are looking at enablers—on-the-ground platforms that provide a comprehensive marketing solution to build relevant, direct and meaningful relations with their consumers.
Platforms such as Times Internet have now evolved to provide brands the opportunity to leverage innovation, collaboration and personalisation. Times Internet advocates seamless knowledge-sharing and offers a wide portfolio of brands the chance that delivers incremental consumer value with cross-brand synergies and multiple transactional streams. Increased digitisation and higher automation of interactions between brands and consumers have seen marketing strategies being significantly overhauled over the last few years. The ever-dwindling attention span of the Indian consumer and the growing magnitude of brands constantly vying for message retention, have commanded an increasing need to build solutions that both stand out and resonate with the target audience.
2019 had started with the promise that it would be about the 3 Vs—voice, video and vernacular—to fulfil the needs of “The Next Billion”. As we turn the page into 2020, this journey has only just begun. A deluge of video content through the proliferation of OTT players and live/video UGC apps has flooded across a mobile internet where prices were at rock bottom. As good sense returns to the telecom industry and shareholders demand returns for all the dollars sunk into content creation, some changes to the models are in order. If there is one word that has probably cut across all online business models, it is “subscriptions”. It is time now to take stock of what lies in store for us in 2020.
Here are five key marketing trends we foresee in the Indian digital economy in 2020.
1. Programmatic everything: With a rapid development in technology brands and a soaring demand for high-quality digital customer experiences, marketing as an ecosystem has developed focused niches that can curate and orient customised solutions for individual consumers. This shift to tailored marketing efforts is exemplified by the increased monetary attention paid to programmatic advertisements grounded in privacy, brand experience, and standardisation.
“We expect programmatic investments by brands to gather further momentum in 2020,” said Piyush Agrawal, Director, Media Sales at Cricbuzz. “Brands will also likely put more emphasis on investments in video-based media properties and look at various forms of influencer marketing in the mix.”
Programmatic is steamrolling into the marketing mix to generate better, more optimised value chains. Better brand know-how and the hunt for creative solutions will also spearhead the adoption of programmatic and correspondingly establish the role of content-generators.
“We are expecting to see greater adoption of programmatic in the audio streaming sector, with a rise in audio solutions-based sales. This will lead to brands increasingly partnering with content creators to produce original content aimed at their target audience,” Ravi K. Shharma, Head of Sales, Gaana observes.
2. Storytelling: Content has been the biggest focus of any marketing communication, and the turn of the decade will see a meteoric rise in content marketing as brands partner with content creators and publishing platforms to trigger meaningful conversation regarding their products and services. This also offers marketers the chance to boost their SEO and get noticed by their targeted audience.
“Premium visual content creation along with distribution at scale, coupled with bespoke events and a focus on storytelling rather than story-selling will be the most inventive ways to communicate with customers from a place of authority,” Sumit Sethi, Head - News Business and Spotlight, observes.
Coupling creative content generation with technological means will also give brands the opportunity to create messages that are personal, relevant and customised to their needs and wants.
“With website personalisation, one-to-one content, natural language generation, image recognition, and other AI tools, brands inexorably march toward hyper-personalisation, thereby making sure that the marketing communication is generates interest without appearing intrusive,” Prrincey Roy, Head, Integrated Media Solutions, Times Internet JVC, said.
3. Bite-size snackable content: As the Indian audience’s attention gets split among the various new things, more content would be consumed in transit. This would lead to omni-channel marketing strategies across print, social media, audio and video OTT among others. This also means a boom in regionally relevant content that can be consumed anytime and anywhere on the go—be it at restaurants, shopping malls, railway stations, or bus stands.
“In our experience, a well-executed audio ad campaign added on top of a traditional media campaign increases overall awareness scores by a significant margin, and more advertisers should experiment with this medium to augment their ongoing brand-building efforts,” Ravi K. Shharma, Head of Sales, Gaana observes.
Not just content, content consumption, distribution and search methodologies are also developing to become more quantifiable, convenient and less time-efficient.
“Creativity and data have joined hands like never before making content and distribution strategies stronger, sharper and measurable. Technologies like Chatbots, AI, and Machine Learning are here to stay. They have provided unprecedented consumer-facing solutions, whether it is about supporting multiple customer — queries through chatbots or OTTs using ML/AI to make advance content recommendations. These technologies have made a difference in the way consumers react and behave,” Abhita Anand, Head of Agency Relations and Analytics at Times Internet, remarked.
4. Growth of video: A majority of the Indian internet population prefers visual content as it’s easier to consume, and hence video proved to be one of the hottest digital marketing tools in 2020. This is likely to continue in 2020 with increased audience acclimatisation to OTT video, with a skyrocketing audience-base and daily watch times on platforms like MX Player.
“Association with content has become a big part of why people are looking at platforms like us. At MX Player, we help brands associate with content across multiple formats. We create tailored content with the help of our in-house team and also have tentpole programming like MX Originals. To serve as an example, brands have leveraged the success of our recent marquee programme Queen, which has done well across the country in five different languages. Sponsors like Ace2Three and FanFight have been able to leverage the association with our content. Tentpole programmes are no longer exclusive to broadcasters. OTT has been able to create and generate their own exclusives and if the story is strong enough, there is no reason why brands will not want to associate with them,” Viraj Singh, Sr. Vice-President and Head Revenue, MX Player says.
5. Deeper social and regional media incision: Social and regional media will continue to be vital for the sake of building brand awareness and driving brand-connect among the wider section of Indian society. As older social media platforms undergo significant evolution and newer platforms emerge, social and Indic publishing media will continue to be a key platform for audience engagement for the modern marketer.
“Creating social conversations and getting brands to be a part of the larger social narrative will be integral to create cultural relevance. 2020 will see deeper advertising partnerships with lesser and more philosophically aligned media, brands, and platforms to generate meaningful consumer to brand relations. ILN will also be looking to create highly impactful and culturally relevant IPs that resonates with contemporary audiences,” Mallika Nath Handa, Head- Revenue and Branded Content - ILN said.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)