True integration and data sanctity to planning branded content and solving for scale on digital are some areas that panellists highlighted at Digies 2023.
The quantum of money that brands spend on digital advertising has exploded. Sample this: In FY 22, Google India earned Rs 24,926.5 crore in ad revenue, Meta made Rs 16,189 crore, Amazon India’s ad revenue stood at Rs 4,171 crore, and brands spent Rs 2,084 crore on Flipkart.
Four platforms alone attracted around Rs 47,000 crore in advertising. GroupM’s forecast for calendar year 2022 was about Rs 48,000 crore in ad spend on digital and Rs 42,000 crore on TV.
It remains to be seen whether or not digital ad revenue exceeded that of TV, but the FY 22 numbers speak for themselves. The growth of digital ad spend is unstoppable and the avenues where brands can advertise are exploding.
Long or short, performance or brand building, e-commerce and a variety of digital experiences and the technologies that support marketing campaigns are all areas where a marketer can allocate spending.
And with avenues growing, so are the challenges. At the Digies 2023 panel discussion moderated by afaqs! executive editor Venkata Susmita Biswas, leading digital advertising professionals discussed the big challenges that the marketing fraternity needs to address in 2023. Edited excerpts:
Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & co-founder — global, GOZOOP Group
Brands and us agencies need to create an environment for digital marketers to think beyond digital and give talent an opportunity to break out of the box.
The challenge today is that most look at a digital marketer as just that — a platform ninja on the digital medium. The mindset is that a digital agency can offer a defined set of solutions — media, content, memes or achieving a certain level of return on ad spend (RoAS). Because the client expects only a few solutions from the digital agency it ends up siloing the agency into this narrow zone.
What’s more unfortunate is that digital marketers become comfortable with that. I am all for hyper-specialisation but with a certain degree of generalisation a digital marketer will turn out to be one who is short-sighted and never be able to go on to build brands. Brands and us agencies need to create an environment for digital marketers to think beyond digital and give talent an opportunity to break out of the box.
Ankit Desai, head - media & digital marketing, Marico
One thing that keeps me up at night is — how to achieve a fine balance between broad reach and sharp targetted reach. The other is: how do you get digital to work in a volume segment.
There was a time when brands focussed on either brand building or performance marketing. The mantra today is different — it is sustainable and profitable growth. Therefore, every marketer is trying to find the answer to the question — how do I balance brand building with performance marketing. Both have their own place in the marketer’s tool kit. But in the middle, for a few years, we got lost in the glitz of believing that digital can drive business without having the backbone of brand recall. There was an immense sense of attribution and as an industry we ended up misusing it.
One thing that keeps me up at night is — how to achieve a fine balance between broad reach and sharp targetted reach. There is a plethora of data and marketers need to find ways to use that data to drive either equity or business goals.
A lot of the brands that have scale are volume-led businesses and a lot of those volume-led brands cannot sustain with digital marketing. Unfortunately, digital is still operating in its own silo where the platforms and entities are yet to synergise their data, insights, with other media. We need digital to play with other media. And the question that will be asked is — how do you get digital to work in a volume segment.
Dheeraj Kummar, chief creative officer, Motivator
Brands that aspire to be media companies themselves and have an impressive social media presence need to first strategise their digital content.
Branded content is one area where there is a lot of interest from brands — so much so that brands want to make their own content. But the problem is with the sporadic and unplanned approach that brands have towards branded content. Brands that aspire to be media companies themselves and have an impressive social media presence need to first strategise their digital content. The challenge is to have a documented content marketing strategy and a clear distinction of the role the in-house creative team plays and that of the advertising agency. All of this needs to be done with a Thoda Data Thoda Dil approach.
Mihir Karkare, co-founder and EVP, Mirum
CMOs and CIOs are rarely on the same page and that creates a whole lot of downstream problems.
We recently conducted a survey asking senior level executives to rate their organisations on a data maturity scale. We found that as you move up the ladder executives are becoming harsh in assessing their organisation’s data maturity — CEOs are the harshest by far. In 2023 there are organisations where CEOs are saying their teams are ‘data unaware’. We surmise that this is because CEOs have a broader view of the organisation and therefore are harsher. The issue is that within organisations, the information — data in this case — is not evenly spread. CMOs and CIOs are rarely on the same page and that creates a whole lot of downstream problems.
Pratik Gupta, founding partner, Zoo Media
Over-expertise is being expected from the agencies but the same does not hold for the brand teams. We are struggling to integrate because integration needs to happen at both ends.
One of the key things we are noticing is that the brand teams are becoming smaller and the number of functions that the brand teams want their digital agencies to solve for are becoming wider every year. Brand teams which used to be 10-12 member teams are now down to three to four members. We are now expecting the brand team to know everything about each of these functions — this is hard. Information translation is becoming a challenge. Brands weren’t built to think about solutions for the top funnel, bottom funnel or mid-funnel. They were built to reach the consumer and give them a solution to a problem. Over-expertise is being expected from the agencies but the same does not hold for the brand teams. We are struggling to integrate because integration needs to happen at both ends.
Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder and CEO, White Rivers Media
The scale of digital is only going to increase — if we don’t attain data sanctity the whole compounding effect of a marketing campaign will be lost.
When we work with the top brands in the country we realise that the performance marketing team and the branding team don’t speak to each other. Attaining data sanctity is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities for 2023. The scale of digital is only going to increase — if we don’t attain data sanctity the whole compounding effect of a marketing campaign will be lost.
Within the digital ecosystem the consumer has evolved and the act of consumption has changed. As a marketer, if we are able to find a way to be present across the consumer journey, we would be in a better place. Also, it would be valuable if all stakeholders could sit together and start solving for each of the touch points with the consumer.