Till a few years ago, computers were a family possession and were kept in one corner of the house. One was allowed to surf the World Wide Web for a few minutes or so, but a peek into today’s world shows a completely different scenario. Now that smart phones and notebooks are as common as a Sachin Tendulkar century, the internet is accessible to all – anytime and everywhere. And guess who is taking ‘advantage’ of the new digital medium – the advertisers in their agenda to bring the brand closer to a consumer.
Television remains a major medium for advertisers but over the last couple of years, things have moved on in the digital world. “Television is a family medium whereas the web offers uniqueness,” said Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, GroupM at a briefing on Living with the Internet – A global study on what’s driving web behaviour, organised by Mindshare, MEC and Microsoft Advertising.
The study was conducted to understand and to gain better insight on consumers’ web behaviour and brands to tap into the same. The study revealed that 72% time spent online by Indians is planned and not spontaneous. “Till a few years back, the internet was seen as an unplanned activity. But today, it is an integral part of everyone’s day. Therefore, it has become important to know what users do online and what is the consumption,” said Neville Taraporewalla, director, Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft India.
He added, “The rapidly changing dynamics of internet usage in India offer a fresh set of opportunities and challenges for advertisers. As the internet is growing, consumers are adopting a time efficient, planned and deliberate approach towards internet usage, which in turn implies that marketers will have to work harder to reach the consumer on the go.”
Internet users spend 81 per cent of their time spent online seeking information and for communicating – chatting, social networking, e-mailing – which is planned. This only highlights that fact that apart from search engines, the social media sites are too increasing becoming a gateway for one to start searching and to become aware of a brand. IPL distribution on youtube is an excellent example of how marketers grabbed users’ attention.
Alok Sinha, leader, invention, Mindshare elaborated, “Handheld devices play an important role in increase in the internet usage and as broadband width increases, the number of users will increase too. Through this study, we want to make clear that internet is an effective channel which has to be made part of the whole approach.”
An internet user usually follows a certain path where the journey starts with intimate zones like social network sites, blogs etc towards public zones like information search, entertainment before returning back to the private zones. Therefore, for advertisers, it is important to know what the consumer is looking at so that they can “target” them.
Age as well as mood too influences one’s association. Thus, a brand has to create ideas for a particular area for a certain target group.
However, there are still many apprehensions which make brands not go online. The medium is going through constant change and for many it is unclear and immeasurable. So, one has to understand it and instead of seeing it as an advertising expenditure it has to be seen as a marketing tool. It has to be made part of the 4Ps - product, price, promotion and place.
On the brighter side, with increase in broadband, web ratings and huge opportunity to create better content for online space, soon many brands will be able to “trap” the masses at the click of a mouse.