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My expectations from ad:tech India
Ad:tech India had asked a question on its Facebook page 5 months ago. The question was “To make it as successful as possible, we’d like to know what your expectations of the conference are; in terms of speakers, topics, discussions. So, let us know what you’d like to see”. And I was not surprised to see that nobody has actually answered it within that discussion board. Speaks a lot about ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘passion’ for digital marketing & advertising in India? Well, this may not be the best indicator. I thought I should answer it. Maybe in that process I can have clarity myself w.r.t why I should be attending this event.
For starters, I have heard a lot about Ad:Tech from peers and colleagues who work in the industry. And since this is the first time an event of this magnitude and scale is coming to India, I’m sure that the ‘business reasons’ justifies its presence.
Following are my expectations. I will keep it short and sharp.
(Disclaimer: The views and concerns mentioned below are strictly personal. It is also mentioned in the context of digital brand communications or digital marketing / advertising)
1. Showcase of best practices: The world wide web happens to be like an inescapable centre of gravity. Digital pundits claim that we are in an age where our fundamental relationship with technology is changing. It goes beyond the purchase of the latest shiny gadget. People are watching movies on mobile, virtual worlds are created and re-built, consumers are playing with digital merchandise and distribution is challenging old models – whether its music, movies, television or games.
Question: Given this ever dynamic context – how would marketers build brands in the digital sphere? What are some of the best practices world wide?
2. Role of content: Even in India, we are currently in a stage where any content is consumed on any device at any time and in any place. Our experience of entertainment or brand centric messages will only vary in terms of what we are doing and the screens that are available to us at any given time. For a marketer, this is an opportunity to target 5 different messages about the same product in 5 different ways! If we were to divide content into two types (i) professional – created by companies, brands, etc and (ii) personal – created by individual users; how would both these aspects play a role in advertising? The digital devices we carry around us increasingly has the capacity to control, capture and rate content. And few of these devices are even aware of geographical location – as content can be tagged to places.
According to latest consumption patterns of digital content, IAMAI data shows that digital downloads as a category in India has increased from Rs.238 crore in 2007 to Rs.435 crores in 2009 with paid music and video downloads contributing about 7 per cent. Bollywood movies like ‘FALTU’ have allowed users to buy music tracks for the film online (Rs.40 for the album and Rs.10 pet song). While cloud based storage services enabling streaming, downloading and sharing of music seems to be the model of the future, how can existing technologies like 3G shape consumption in India? Add to this developments like these – where Intel with the launch of its second generation core processor, will be offering a service that will allow users to download and stream HD movies on their desktop/laptop computer!
Question: How does content play a crucial role in digital marketing? What are the challenges and limitations within the Indian context especially in a scenario where content platforms, content creators & content distributors have a crucial role to play?
3. Social + Search: We are what we want others to see. And its true for people and brands in the social web. Social networks have changed the meaning of ‘friend’. We don’t make friends anymore. We friend people on the basis of common interests, dislikes, angst and causes. Social networks have evolved from a simple tool of staying in touch to a more complex infrastructure where sharing and feedback is deeply interwoven with each other. It seems that the more we watch, the more others see. The more we create, the more we tend to reach out to people with similar interests or points of view.
And while the party continues – most of these online actions are indexed. Its good and bad at the same time. This presents a whole set of challenges and opportunities for marketers. Even the format in which users expect to consume information is rapidly evolving. Text is so 2000. Video is so 2010. While the giants of search rework their algorithms and take drastic steps to showcase relevant information, initiatives like Blekko remains a personal favourite.
Question: Many marketers and agency folks haven’t even woken up to this reality. How can we scare them?
4. The over optimism around internet: Yo mama-internet-is-so-cool-yo-and-it-is-the-future-yo! Yes, the internet yuppies are all around us. Fact is that in India brands are still built on traditional mediums – where television and print plays a very crucial role. Internet is not the medium where ‘brands are built’ and I am not even using the term ‘digital’ in this context. Let’s look a scenario where a publishing giant like Yahoo uses print, television, radio and ambient media in four different languages to create awareness. Reports state that Yahoo India grew twice as fast as the market last year. The reach (measured as the number of unique users visiting Yahoo in India as a percentage of total internet users in India) increased from an average of 65 per cent to 81.4 per cent during the period according to comScore. That is the reality. Clearly the traditional media is not dead. TV is not dead. Print is not dead. In fact, the way print has adapted to using QR codes is noteworthy here. Mass media is very much here to stay. But what role will it play given the fact that digital is also growing – remains to be discussed and debated. As media platforms and consumption patterns increase, the audience also gets fragmented.
Question: Where do we go from here?
5. Mobile: One of the largest selling cameras today is the mobile phone. There are about 791 million mobile phone subscribers in India. Although we are in the age of applications and games, mobile advertising in India remains a challenge. Infrastructure and connectivity issues remain. Even for 3G. And reports do state that consumers have gone cautious in their usage of 3G. Can we go beyond interactivity of ‘click to call’ or ‘click to SMS’? I also think that creative & contextual brand communications within mobile needs to be showcased and highlighted.
Question: How do we see mobile experiences getting contextualized in the Indian market (within the limitations)?
6. M-commerce in India: What? Really?
7. Games people play: According to the FICCI-KPMG 2011 report, Indian gaming industry will touch a compounded annual growth rate of 31 per cent till 2015 and will touch the Rs.3800 crore mark from the current Rs.1000 crore. This report also states that there are close to 8 -10 million social media gamers in India.
Question: Some good examples of advergaming please?
8. E-commerce and group buying: I couldn’t believe the fact that Groupon has a staff strength of 3000. Most of them happen to be in sales. This is an interesting space. Social shopping. Site hopping. Private sales clubs. I’m all ears.
I’m also keen to attend the ‘agency transitions’ sessions. Let’s wait and see.