Changing Behavior Of Media Buying A Digital Market In 2016 – Vikram Gupta

2016 will be a very positive year for digital media buying and will see transition to and creation of new norms says Vikram Gupta, Business Director, Havas Media


Editor’s Note: At LI we are inviting some of the best digital marketing minds of the country to share their opinion on how the market and the different facets will evolve or fail to attract in 2016. This is the second in the series from Vikram Gupta, Business Director, Havas Media. You can connect with him on Twitter – @vikram_a_gupt.

(Click here to find the entire coverage of this series)

It’s not digital strategy – its strategy in a digital world

The rapid developments in technology with advances happening in viewing technologies and with so many options for the consumer – the quintessential Media Mix could not have been any more complicated and overwhelming. Add to this the plethora of platforms, devices, channels and properties which has made the media landscape so very fragmented, thus complicating the already complicated media buying dynamics.

Vikram Gupta Havas MediaToday’s media landscape is very dynamic and evolving… the landscape changes every few months. The rise of time-shifted viewing and digital video subscriptions coupled with availability of TV on “non-TV” devices, media viewing itself has become layered and multi-tiered.

It’s in a state of a boosted evolution – things that were in their pilot phases as recent as mid of last year are full blown properties now. We are in a multi-screen world, each screen uniquely different to the other – be it in size or accessibility or the content being consumed on it. Mobility today has changed how consumers consume their content – as such the science of media buying and the way planners approach media has undergone a monumental shift.

And the shift is – Digital at the core!

It’s no longer just enough to allocate that 8-10% to digital or simply run a TV ad on YouTube and claim that it’s an integrated campaign. Today digital savvy brands are investing as much 30-40% of their budgets online and reaping the benefits of being able to converse with their consumers and maintain an always on channel of dialogue with them.

The strategy is shifting towards Digital Up (and now Mobile first) and there are tons of examples of brands successfully doing this.

Take the case of ecommerce – Myntra, Flipkart app only access is a clear indicator of the way things are now.

YouTube features in plans alongside TV channels for many brands. YouTube is clearly pushing down the message that: YouTube (and not TV) is where primetime entertainment lives.

Another important aspect of this is the way in which this is now being sold – in TV terms. Google now uses “reach point”, and in similar developments Facebook is also launching “target rating point” buying, mimicking the Gross Rating Points used by media planners to plan TV campaigns.

Video advertising spend is growing quickly and expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 29% between 2014 and 2017 – but even then, video ad spend will just be a tenth of what TV ad spend is today.

Digital buying has a long way to go considering on the average it still in struggling to enter double digits in brand media mix.

Within the digital ecosystem also changes are always constant and with ever advancement in technology buying patterns and formats are always evolving.

B2B digital campaign awards 2015

The Indian market is now more digital aware and one can clearly see the shift in buying behavior when it comes digital campaigns: buys are also more focused towards key brand objectives. Impression and view buying are now used sparingly to drive awareness and click/acquisition based buys have gained momentum- thanks to the influx of ecommerce brands and their insatiable appetite for traffic.

Google Search, YouTube and Facebook still command a lion’s share of majority of digital media plans almost taking up 60-65% of the kitty. New age inventory and traditional inventory scavenge on the rest of the budgets.

This is also leading to the influx of new innovative formats – native, in app, overlays, embedded etc. being on the rise.

With the advent of 2016, my take on key trends that will drive Digital Media Buys are:

  1. Rise of Programmatic and beginning of the decline of Reservation buying:
    • Audience segmentation cuts will give way to individually targetable users with the use of programmatic media buy tools.
    • “Traditional digital” display which had been in a tug of war with Google display and social media over budgets, will move into consolidation under the Programmatic umbrella. A majority of all display buying will move towards Programmatic in order to compete with the level of targeting and analytics being offered by these self-serve media buy platforms.
    • And because of this reservation properties will experience a sharp decline in budget allocation becoming restricted to the few “launch” campaigns.
  1. Native Advertising will finally make a mark:
    • With the increasing demand for performance and networks offering similar “innovations”, native advertising will emerge as the next super inventory.
    • Not only does it help build reach to key audiences but these typically have higher positive reactions to brand communication in the native environment – the catch here being that the content be relevant and trustworthy, so consumers don’t feel tricked.
    • Ad Blocking tech will give native advertising the boost it requires in 2016.
  1. Attribution will become even more important and cross-device attribution will become a key point in strategy meetings. This will directly impact and give rise to a new wave of creativity which will be driven by consumer understanding and how they interact with multiple devices in a multi-platform world.
  1. Location targeted media buying (geo fencing) will gain more traction – while location targeting has been gaining ground since 2013 – this will be the year when it finally manages to cross the threshold.
  1. Video will continue its growth spurt and will command a major portion of campaign budgets. Video buying itself will go through closer examination and evolved video analytics will be a huge contributor to this. Innovations in the field of in-video placements, clicks (other than annotations, allowing viewers to roll their cursor over products seen in a video and be directed to the specific items on the product site) etc. will be the new norm.
  1. Email is still alive and rocking – For marketers, email will continue to be a key communication channel for capturing consumer intent.
  1. Social media is no longer earned – but becomes paid media (for brand pages at least). Post Facebook’s reduction of organic reach to the zero levels, other social networks have also gone ahead into similar models with the introduction of paid ads for higher reach – Instagram ads, Twitter cards.

So in sum, 2016 will be a very positive year for digital media buying and will see transition to and creation of new norms.