Digital Marketing Trends for 2013 in India

As over 150 million Indians surf the interwebs (yes, that’s what the cool kids call it these days), Indian marketers are losing their sleep to catch them young, in their mid-life crisis or even after hanging up their boots. The challenge is immense. Out of the $5 billion Indian advertising industry, $900 million go to digital marketing.  The share of digital is poised to grow larger every year & slated to touch 30% of the total market by 2015.

As marketers we need to keep a track on the consumer’s pulse and the next big idea to engage them. Keeping that in mind & that we have 11 months left to make those ideas work for us, here are 5 trends, which will go massive in 2013

1)   Native Advertising

“Once you go Native, you don’t go Interruptive” – ANON

Over the past 10 years, publishers have continued to monetize their sites with banners and pre-roll ads, and advertisers have continued to pump billions into these formats, in spite of tanking performance & universal contempt. While click-through rates on display ads started out at around 9% in 2000, they now hover around 0.2% – which effectively means 99.8% of banner ads go straight to the trashcan.

Native advertising like a Promoted Tweet or a Sponsored story in Facebook allows brands to promote their content into the experience of the site or other mediums, in a non-interruptive & integrated manner. We are going to hear a lot about Native this year & it will affect the way we create content, effectively & hopefully killing advertising that sucks.

Native advertising is the irrefutable future.

2)   Social TV

2013 is the year when Social TV will go mainstream, ending the era of sitting passively on big boy recliners and watching television.

Social TV’s secret sauce is mixing humanity’s love for Television and its enchantment with social media. NEWS, Sports and Music channels have been on the wagon for a while but the turning point for the industry will be getting GEC’s onboard, inviting viewers to interact and decide their own storytelling experience.

NDTV’s second screen effort in its mobile app and Airtel’s Shazam campaign are couple of recent examples from the Indian market, but the biggest of them all comes in April 2013, when American network SyFy launches Defiance as a cross-platform story, on TV and as a MMO game.

What makes the industry even more exciting is the imminent launch of Twitter TV ratings with Nielsen this summer and the prospect of Social TV growing to a multi billion-dollar industry by 2020.

3)   Fragmentation

Today’s consumer is both everywhere and nowhere and his/her attention is divided between multiple screens & platforms on different screens. Marketers like to speak about TV, Desktop & Mobile as 3 screens, adding Tablet into the mix as the 4th screen will be a wise move to reach those fragmented souls who are always on the target list as the “elusive on-the-go customer”.

More consumers are watching more and more content, but that viewing is dispersed across different platforms, starting with TV, Online Streaming and VOD to Podcast. Although some western markets are going through the cord cutting phenomena, Indian market is going through what I like to call as “Cord extension” phase, where consumers are adding broadband, mobile, DTH, DVR and IPTV connections over their existing Cable TV.

The mantra of Content everywhere and anywhere on any device & any screen has played its bit role in fragmentation but changing consumption lifestyles has made it necessary to shift both strategy and focus for marketers that want to keep up with their audiences.

Thus 2013 should see some brave moves by content owners worldwide, some even unthinkable few years back, to keep their audience with them.

4)   Content Marketing

Content Marketing has already attained huge prominence among marketers worldwide but 2013 will see consumers seeking out content themselves, making it increasingly vital to the purchase cycle as well. Brands & agencies are responding with increased capabilities, as they look for opportunities to get involved and engaged with consumers at different levels, to provide content that is relevant and share worthy.

2013 will also witness marketers combining content with context to drive commerce.

Brands such as Red Bull with the Stratos Freefall initiative and McDonald’s Canada with Our Food, Your Questions campaign have led the charge globally while Tata Nano’s Social road trip has made a splash in the Indian market.

5)   Smart Data

Originally this was supposed to be titled as Big Data, and then came along an email by Rachel Gilley from our UK office, explaining how 1 of our clients thought data needs to be actionable and Smart data attained it’s place in the list. Every consumer touch point is a valuable piece of data & taking it together is possibly an antidote to fragmentation, discussed earlier in this post.

Big Data is complex to say the least and possibly the greatest challenge marketers face all over the world today. Companies collect information from their customers in structured or unstructured format, which are later put through various tools to understand consumers better. Global brands like Netflix, Amazon and Apple use it to serve better recommendations to their customers, whereas most of major Indian Retailers like Shoppers Stop & Lifestyle use transaction data to re-design store layouts & inventory management.

Interestingly Shoppers Stop, for instance, found that very often when middle-aged ladies shopped for Indian clothing, the other item on their list was men’s innerwear.

The much-improved version of Big Data is Smart Data, Data that can be put instantly to use by brands to improve marketing, business decisions and customer engagement practices.

This post has also appeared on imediaconnection India


  1. thestorytellingmom

    Wow, you’ve given a complete facelift to the blog! I am not only talking about the cleaner and more austere looking template, but also the style of data presentation. This also happens to be your first post on digital marketing, I guess. Though I cannot comment on the figures of this blog, because till some time back, you had been the first and most credible source of knowledge on digital marketing for me.
    But I have been noticing people’s reaction about the Facebook ‘promote’ service and found it to be slightly negative. Even I, as a content developer, don’t think that Facebook should demand a fee to make the posts visible to one’s own friends! They say promoting a post keeps the post above the un-promoted ones. How fair is that? And how beneficial? Because ultimately the challenge of following/ subscribing/ liking a page remains the same.

    Nevertheless, developments like Social TV are eagerly awaited by me.

    A very insightful post. I am ardently keeping a pulse on your views.

    Thanks for sharing, Vishal.


    • Vishal Mehra

      Thank you for your comments Priya. To be honest Facebook has all the rights in the world to promote us “stuff” mainly because we dont pay for facebook yet & it has obligations towards it’s shareholders to make some money. It is similar to Television & Print in many ways.


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  6. Prof. Kanchan Fulmali, Mumbai

    Namaste vishal. I m quite impress with your PPT and info on digital trends in ad. It is very useful for me to teach my advertising students. if you have given more light on recent trends in ad will be better for prof like me in college.


    • Vishal Mehra

      Nameste. I’m glad this could of help to you professor. I blog about things which capture my imagination, nothing specific or set in stone. Feel free to suggest tour students to have a look at the PPT if it is of their interest. Cheers


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    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog?
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    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?


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