Indian advertisers look online

21 April 2009

NEW DELHI: A number of India's biggest advertisers are expected to increase their digital adspend over the course of this year, with many FMCG companies, in particular, predicted to boost their activity online.

The web is one of the few mediums likely to enjoy meaningful growth in 2009, while figures from WARC Online's latest Consensus Forecast predict the Indian ad market will post an 8% uplift in revenues over the course of the year.

It is currently estimated that the internet takes around a 3% share of most major companies' marketing budgets in India, but this is predicted to rise alongside greater penetration levels.

Pushkar Sane, chief digital officer of North and South Asia, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group, argues that internet adspend will grow to take 10% of many brand owners' total advertising expenditure by the end of next year.

In particular, he posits that "as marketers experiment with the medium and get success, online advertising will grow exponentially."

Prashant Mehta, coo of the digital ad network Komli, similarly suggests that many FMCG companies are "experimenting with increased budgets for one or two brands" as a starting point.

Typically, this involves "increasing the brand outlay from 1% to 3 to 5%," a figure rising to "8 to 10% in some categories."

Multinational advertisers like Hindustan Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Cadbury have all expanded their online presence in recent months.

However, Sangeeta Talwar, executive director of Tata Tea, suggests that the "medium is not suitable for mass market brands as the target audience is not present online."

Rather, he thinks that online is "better suited for brands targeted at urban consumers, professionals and housewives," who are among the most frequent users of the medium.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by WARC staff