Digital media today is one of the most influential mediums to reach voters and its importance is going to increase manifold in the days ahead leading to the upcoming Assembly elections in five-states. According to industry experts, during elections, there is a big increase in traffic on the digital platforms as the audience keep updating themselves on the various activities by the contesting political parties.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) banning physical rallies for Assembly elections in five states: Uttar Pradesh (UP), Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, has further come as a blessing in disguise for digital news publishers, as more and more political parties are likely to flock to them to push their agendas and promote their campaigns. Also, with the viewership/readership increasing during this period, the brands are also likely to increase their ad spends.
Anil Shankar, Senior Vice-President, Digital Marketing at Starcom, said that news publications can expect a 20-25% upswing in ad revenues during the election period. “Owing to the criticality of the states under election and the larger economic challenges to be addressed, brands need to build their equity and be present while the nation is tuned in; the opportunity for publications to make some ad dollars is ripe and expectations from this year's elections are huge.”
He added that the retail corporate advertisers will capitalise on the event and will increase spending by 10-15% to make the most of this huge event.
Pradeep Gairola, Vice-President and Business Head – Digital, The Hindu Group, said, “The ROI on ad spending on digital is very high due to the high traffic received by the publishers making the brands, parties inclined towards the digital medium. With the new technologies coming in and due to the ban, many parties are planning to have virtual rallies that can be seen from any part of the world.”
Although, he stated that the ad rates during elections, compared to normal days, don't differ much but he went on to suggest that there could be bulk purchases or long-term associations.
Shankar of Starcom said that advertisers may be charged a 12- 15% premium by digital news publishers depending on the reach, inventory and placement during this critical election period. He said, “Elections in India are a competitive and fiercely-fought battle. The media houses are going to innovate to accommodate as many advertisers as they can. Events like these attract a lot of sponsorship opportunities, impact presence, strategic placements and standard inventories as well. Often, advertisers try to race to get the most impactful placements in order to have higher visibility among the consuming audience, which impacts the brand scores.”
Indranil Roy, Chief Executive Officer at Outlook Group, told BestMediaInfo.com that regional news websites have more advantage than national news websites, “as they tend to be more localised and local brands can easily target the audience in the local language. They see rapid ad growth during an election period.”
Talking about the advantage that digital news media has over other mediums, Gairola said that the biggest power of digital advertising is its ability to serve audience as per the requirements of the advertiser. He said digital space comes with a large number of options for promotions such as advertorials, branded content, videos, media banners, live video on the website, social media engagement. “The targeting can be done in whatever way the advertiser wants. During elections, politically-aware readers are keener on forming an opinion based on the things they see or read about,” he added.