2016: Trend or Troll
2015 made us fall, rise, learn, and unlearn many a things. Here’s what we learnt from the year gone by and share it with you so that we can break the Internet and trend our way through 2016.
In 2015, the baton was handed over to digital
Digital advertising is one of the latest entrants to the advertising game as compared to other traditional media that have existed for decades, some of them even for more than a century. However, over the last few years, it has grown by leaps and bounds giving the same traditional media a run for their money, quite literally. The FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2015 puts the growth rate of digital advertising in 2014 as compared to the previous year at 44.5%; much higher than advertising revenue generated across any other medium. Also, if one takes a step back and looks at these figures from a vantage point, its difficult to not notice the steady growth in terms of marketing budget spends on new media advertising that has grown from INR6 billion in 2008 to INR43.5 billion in 2014; and this figure is likely to grow with estimated growth rate for the next five years predicted at 30.2%.
These figures alone mean nothing if the ground realities are different. However, in 2015, we witnessed these predictions come true. For long, digital was considered as a Junior Communication partner, where it followed and mostly adapted the ‘Big Idea’ crafted by the mainline agency of the client. Today, however, it is no more the case.Digital marketing agencies are now cracking the ‘Big Idea’ and executing them too. In short, they’re now taking the game to traditional media spaces making their presence felt.
Also, well established brands that have, till now, maintained distance from digital media are now letting go of their inhibitions and taking the plunge. The growth of social media has now convinced these players that digital medium is an effective platform to initiate and sustain conversations with their community.
A Digitally Connected India
With the Government of India actively promoting Digital India by Wi-Fi enabling villages and stations, our country now has more digital presence than ever before and the numbers are growing by the day. India is currently the world’s fastest growing smartphone market and with the advent of 4G services and a healthy growth in those adopting 2G and 3G services, eyeballs that were once fixated on medium like television are now going ‘online’. This has also led to the rural India getting a taste of social and other forms of digital media. In such a media universe, the omnipresence offered by digital advertising makes it a cost-effective and efficient medium for advertisers (corporates and public service alike) when messages are aimed at specific markets and audiences that include urban, suburban, and rural markets.
When talking to a diverse target group, hard sell seldom works. With advertising messages now reaching far and wide, there is a need to create more narrative based content that makes it entertaining for the audience with the brand embedded in the content as a key ingredient.
Going by our experiences, concept creative and low-cost but original content will go a long way in the upcoming year with high levels of engagement from the digital community lending it a potentially wider reach.
2015 saw a surge in the number of startups across various sectors but more so, in the e-commerce space. Some of them even went on to scale great heights in their inaugural year. Phonethics too was busy amplifying a few startup brands across online jewellery, food, and curated art and craft categories by designing digital campaigns for INCOCU,RailTiffin, and The Art Bazaar.
2016 looks no different. We expect to see lot more startups and even more diversity when it comes to the categories.
How does digital affect offline retail?
When so much is happening online, it is only natural that it also affects offline retail, whether organized or unorganized. E-commerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong, and OLX are investing heavily on advertising across media and the bricks and mortar businesses are now starting to feel the pinch. This effect is not limited to retail but also spreads to age-old brands.
After Mobile Apps and Microsites, 2016 looks to be the year of reckoning where the offline players will have to take some tough decisions in an attempt to reinvent themselves.
Mobile App vs. Website
The euphoria around the mobile app vs. website debate is likely to settle down in 2016. With an e-commerce major like Flipkart taking an almost U-turn on their app-only strategy, it is likely that marketers may begin to question whether there’s something in it for them. However, this incident, by no way, means that apps are heading for peril. What this means is that marketers will have to ensure that their apps undergo a makeover by incorporating more task-oriented and game mechanics. Using the app for market awareness is too expensive an activity; on the other hand, it would be fruitful if these apps can deliver some real value to the audience.