From starting the year with the second wave of Covid-19 to ending it on an Omicron note, the advertising and marketing industry saw the challenges that were posed to brands, especially in rethinking their strategies.
With the rising number of Covid-19 cases, it witnessed the shift in marketing trends move towards brands redefining themselves and working to add value to society. Brands started focusing on empathising with their messaging and building it around people.
With 2022 starting, Raghav Bagai, Co-founder, Sociowash, shared that from Multiverse to Metaverse, this is the year to expect innovation, leaps in technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The world took the last two years to build a virtual world and advancements in technology are anticipated in 2022.
More advancement in technology:
“Avenues are broadening for influencers and digital platforms and advancements like NFTs, virtual weddings, fashion shows, will evolve and improve in 2022. Recheck your seat belts are still tight enough for the crazy ride next year is going to be,” Bagai said.
“As the world continues to alleviate the repercussions of the pandemic, the trend of businesses digitizing services and marketing strategies has increased in 2021. IoT, AI, and ML are making strides in all sectors, and as a creative industry, we must keep up with these technologies' rapid progress,” advised Angad Singh Manchanda, CEO and Co-founder, Chimp&z Inc.
The pandemic has fast-forwarded the adoption of programmatic advertising in India as marketers realize the need to be more flexible and agile in a world where everything can change in a minute.
Faced with the reality that restrictions and market conditions could change at lightning speed, brands turned to programmatic advertising, said Tejinder Gill, General Manager, The Trade Desk, India.
“This offered them the flexibility to take full control and leverage every data point available to purchase each impression based on its value relative to their short and long-term business objectives. Marketers can launch and pause campaigns in real-time; scale spending up or down at will; and swap creatives on the fly. Nimble companies fared better than others because they were able to adapt their businesses, pivot their messaging, and appeal to consumers even as their lives witnessed unprecedented disruption and change,” he added.
Programmatic advertising will further help brands double down on ad support when a sports game goes into overtime or serve creative ads dynamically when nail-biting events happen.
Mohit Bhasin, COO Keeda Media - Vitamin Stree, shared how web3 technologies are becoming more widely used. Virtual production, short-form content, audio content, interactive content, and other new means of creating and consuming information are gaining traction.
“Web3 is a very exciting concept for our communities. It provides a new approach for us to engage with our audiences, and it will allow us to give the community greater opportunities to participate in the shaping of the community,” Bhasin said.
Rise in OTT advertising, creator’s economy and vernacular:
Madhura Moulik, CEO and Co-Founder, Skilfinity, foresees content creators and gig workers ruling in 2022.
The pandemic driven by great resignation has enabled people to work as they wish and when they wish. This flexibility is helping brands tap into manpower from all quarters - offline/online - for big/small scale projects and quick turnarounds.
While influencer marketing will be a mandate for almost all campaigns and ESG will drive conversations and attract eyeballs, Moulik added that advertising on OTT platforms will be an important channel to reach the right audience at the right time.
The numbers of live-streaming platforms and streamers have increased mainly since the onset of the pandemic in late 2019.
Shreyansh Bhandari, COO and Co-Founder, Lyxel&Flamingo Digital, shared that with the use of live streaming this year consumers got yet another opportunity to acquire better information about brands, products, and discover the character of brands. With real-time interaction, live streaming emerged as a strong medium for brands to create a better relationship with their consumers and expand the viewership for their marquee events and new launches.
“Continuous visibility on different live streams enabled brands to experience better engagements. The community of live streamers is just starting to get bigger and live streaming will continue to play an exceptional role in 2022 as well,” he said.
Also, 2021 saw marketing moving towards vernacular in a holistic way. Brands actively began transcending into literacy agnostic content across formats – audio and video to target consumers across the spectrum and the same will grow multi-fold next year, he said.
Varun Duggirala - Content Creator, Podcaster, and Co-Founder - The Glitch, shared that the industry has moved towards a hybrid existence with life purpose at the centre, and that's become essential to operating.
In 2022, he sees this trend grow even further and a movement from ‘more of everything’ to a ‘deeper focus on a few things’ being the mantra for the future.
2021 also came with its own set of challenges - the amusement and theme park industry was hit with uncertainty and affected adversely due to the pandemic.
Tarandeep Singh Sekhon, Marketing Director at KidZania India, said that with virtual fatigue at a peak, revenge entertainment/travel/outings are on the rise as families want to just step out into the real world. It is also witnessing a growing trend of phygital (a blend of physical and digital) in several sectors, including education. The brand likewise, has been swiftly moving and adopting tech in its activities and seeking to offer a phygital learning experience to its visitors, while keeping it authentic and interactive at the same time.
Connected TV is the next growth frontier
2021 represents the year where we began scratching the surface of TV’s transformation and what it means for advertising.
According to a recent Mediasmart India CTV Report 2021, almost 70% of Indians now spend one to four hours on connected TV (CTV) and CTV consumption has increased by 31% over the past year.
Moving forward, Gill said that it will become increasingly difficult to predict who will watch which show or which Live sports event. This means that linear viewership commitments are harder to predict as it is no longer about reaching an audience at a certain time on a certain show. CTV advertising enables brands to apply data to their massive TV campaigns in a way that’s simply not possible with linear.
“While linear TV allows advertisers to target viewers only at a broad demographic level, CTV enables brands to apply data-driven insights to target specific audience segments based on their interests and preferences,” he said.
Now that TV sets have proven they’re not going anywhere, there’s no question of the immense opportunity that CTV, one of the fastest-growing channels in digital marketing, holds in 2022.
Connecting advertising more directly with business outcomes
Marketers have traditionally relied on KPIs such as CPMs, CPAs and click-through rates to measure campaign performance. But these traditional KPIs don’t adequately reflect business growth goals. The pandemic has sharpened the focus on advertising measurement and underlined the importance of connecting campaign performance to real-world outcomes. This will gain even greater momentum next year as more marketers expect clearer ROIs in the form of in-store and online sales to store visits and brand perception.
Furthermore, as we emerge from the pandemic, Gill from The Trade Desk said that brands will need to re-assess their measurement approach in a “phygital” environment as consumers move between online and offline.
Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice-President – Marketing, Columbia Pacific Communities, shared that the brands will continue with the ‘safety and hygiene protocol’ as an integral part of their marketing strategies. The rise of empathy for consumers is a trend that is here to stay.
She also foresees gender sensitisation conversations happening in the ad world.
“2022 will be the time where finally people across all genders are given respect and a space to express themselves. Also, value-based spending and ecologically sensitive spending is here to stay.”