session, Evolution and Future of Search Marketing, on the second day of the India Digital Summit 2008, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Dylan Thwaites, chief executive officer, Latitude (UK), the European search marketing agency, touted search marketing as the fastest marketing option as compared to television and radio. "Search marketing coupled with online display advertising can together produce results up to 22 per cent for an online campaign," he said.
Comparing search with other interruptive marketing tools, Thwaites said, "Search marketing is not interruptive, it is self-selecting. It is truly measurable, metric based and provides detailed tracking."
Thwaites also talked about the emerging areas of mobile search, social media search and the opportunity of behavioural targeting through better search optimisation.
Moderator Vivek Bhargava, CEO, Communicate2, said, "In the UK, search marketing constitutes 7-8 per cent, whereas in India, it's not even 1 per cent."
Disagreeing with Bhargava, an optimistic Mahesh Murthy of Pinstorm Technologies said, "Search marketing in India constituted 0.6 per cent last year and this year, it has moved to 1.3 per cent, reaching Rs 60,000 crore. Something really tipped the market last year and now every client is spending 8-10 per cent on search."
The panel discussed the importance of hiring specialised search marketing agencies because the innovations offered by in-house agencies cannot match those produced by the former. The panel also urged search agencies to deliver full support to the client after leads are generated for the campaign and work on ensuring further client-to-customer interactions. "The role of the agencies should not stop once the leads are shared with the client," added Bhargava.
Concluding the session, Bhargava predicted, "By 2011, firms like Google will not even use the word 'search advertising' -- it will be called 'contextual search'. While users will continue consuming media in the same way, they won't mind listening to an ad if it is contextual."
In the session on Games - The Centre of Future Entertainment, Kyu-Nam Choi, president, Korea Game Industry Agency (Korea), delivered a keynote address, claiming that the gaming industry is the most important industry of the 21st century.
He said the $2 billion Korean gaming market is the largest growing gaming market in the world. Korea has a population of 48 million, 28 million of whom are online gamers. Korea's online gaming market forms 37 per cent of the entire online gaming market in the world.
Choi presented figures which indicated that online computer games would overtake console games in the Asia-Pacific region by 2011, and that the real growth in gaming would be on the online and mobile platforms. Online PC games in the Asia-Pacific will increase by 141 per cent, and thanks to mobile broadband growth, mobile games will also accelerate by 119 per cent by 2011.
"Games drive the growth in the Internet and mobile platforms. But the game industry, despite its growth, has been criticised a lot and often accused of urging violent behaviour in gamers," said Choi. He also talked about the diverse revenue sources in gaming such as in-game advertising, trading games and powering gaming software.
Rohit Sharma, CEO, Zapak.com, said, "Gaming is much like the movie business - there are hits, but flops are often more. The right thing to do is to offer good content. Online gaming is the only genre which builds a community kind of atmosphere."
Sharma agreed with Choi on online gaming being a driver of broadband penetration. He said, "Unless there is very good content, people will not switch to broadband. So, broadband will be driven by rich online game content in India."