Paytm is investing heavily to maintain its leadership position in the Indian online payments market, with a reported US$49.5m earmarked for marketing initiatives.

The investment in marketing comes as the company continues to grow in tandem with the increasing popularity of digital payments in the country. But it is facing an increasingly competitive landscape, with global rivals like Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and WhatsApp Pay also intent on grabbing a bigger slice of India’s $200bn digital payments sector.

Paytm is targeting a monthly active user (MAU) base of 250 million by the end of the current fiscal period – a near 80% increase on its current total of 140 million MAUs.

The company’s media mix is reportedly skewed towards above-the-line (ATL) advertising platforms, but at the same time, maintaining a focus on below-the-line (BTL) initiatives, according to The Economic Times.

The company will spend around US$28m on above-the-line (ATL) media including TV and digital, while about US$21m is to be spent on below-the-line (BTL) mediums, such as retail initiatives.

Of the amount allocated to ATL, Paytm forked out nearly US$3.5m on being Board for Control of Cricket India (BCCI) on-ground sponsor.

“Cricket had been very impactful for us as a vehicle for brand-building. And it has almost become an independent media vehicle,” Jaskaran Kapany, marketing head at Paytm, told BestMediaInfo.

“We have two kinds of relationships with BCCI. One is title sponsor of BCCI home cricket since 2015, which we have now renewed and are going to be the incumbent for the next four years till 2023. And also we have been a part of the IPL for the last two years as umpire sponsor.”

But the bulk of its ATL spend is split between TV, radio and print, with TV getting the lion’s share; digital amounts to just 15% of the total.

And an increasing amount of that TV expenditure is being directed towards regional language channels. The ‘Scan any QR to pay using Paytm’ campaign has been launched in seven languages including Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

“We live in a country where audiences consume media in multiple languages. Hence, the ads are running across 50-60 channels which are a combination of news, general entertainment channels (GECs), and music,” Kapany said.

The online payment platform currently has a 70% share in offline merchant payments and is accepted at over 14 million retail outlets. The company now aims to increase the number of outlets to 25 million by the end of this financial year.

Sourced from The Economic Times, BestMediaInfo; additional content by WARC staff