For people who kept on wondering whether digital advertisements can grow in India, the answers were pretty much clear this year. Thanks to social media (specifically, Facebook) and Mobile (3G is finally here), businesses in India invested a total sum of 1000 Crores in digital advertising. But this growth is almost double in comparison to Rs 500 crores internet ad spend which happened in 2009.
Can we now believe that Indian digital market is finally happening?
Not long ago we kept on speculating India’s internet market based on how Google was doing, and results were pretty disappointing. Google Ads are majorly meant for small and medium businesses and Indian small and medium businesses are quite sceptic about internet. Although Google India was profitable this year but total revenues earned were 779 Crores (miniscule as compared to their overall ad sale revenues). Big brands in India were not comfortable using Google Adsense because of it’s search ability criteria. Hence it only made sense to advertise on Google when there were high chances of users searching particular words- say “IPL”. But all of this change with the big-bang arrival of Facebook this year- although Facebook was popular for quite some time, but this year they surged ahead of Orkut (and quite confidently).
Facebook seems to have captured Indian mindset (huh.. they seem to have captured whole world’s mindset, btw) and quite brilliantly. Indians by nature like to converse and that gave big brands a reason to spend money on Facebook and engage users.
Facebook platform is not a search specific thing hence its easier for brands to continuously engage users based on their choice rather than their action. Remember that Google asks you every time what you want to do, but Facebook doesn’t. Today having a Facebook page is a must for every big brand and not to have a lakh fans on your page is a matter of embarrassment. So? Advertise more and get a fan following- Facebook has hit the nail for sure!
The other important reason for overall increase in digital ad spend is growing mobile market, India has 40 million Mobile Internet subscribers now! BuzzCity, a Singapore-based mobile media company, in its Q3 report for 2010 stated that it served over 3.7 billion banner ads on mobile phones in India (can you believe this). With cheaper smart phones this number would only increase and will increase fast and deep.
It’s just the right time to have 3G services in India. I have learnt that many digital media companies are now focussing on delivering cutting edge 3G solutions like- “QR-Codes”, “Artificial Intelligence” and location based advertising solutions to give another reason for brands to spend more on this space. Although all big companies are spending small amount (10-20 lakhs) on experimental basis in these new technologies, but the future seems to be quite bright for Indian digital space.
In my opinion, all Indian internet companies should start thinking of “engaging” customers to thrive. Time has gone (much before it actually came) to stop relying on Google ads for revenues. Indian digital space is expected to grow 50% to 1500 Crores by next year and to keep pace with competitors like Facebook and Google, Indian internet companies need to slog and slog hard!
What are you doing to keep pace with current trend? Are you on Mobile?