The first half of 2015 has passed us by and it’s been a memorable six months in the Indian digital marketing space. Facebook now has more than 118 million monthly active users in India, of which 89% are accessing via mobile. Mobile internet users in the country are growing at an astonishing rate (if not exponentially); a youth fashion etailer went app-only claiming healthy traffic via mobile.

Mobiles are becoming primary devices of content consumption, with short videos being a favourite. And, the funnier the video, the more is its likelihood to go viral on the social web. New social networks/apps are slowly gaining in popularity, but Indians are ‘Dubsmashing’ their way to social acceptance and to add to their coolness quotient.

Brands are up in arms to find new ways to connect with their target audience on digital, while also fighting for maximised reach through paid social media spends. Rising to the new challenges posed by the evolving consumer behaviour on digital, brands are investing heavily into originality, innovation, meaningful engagement and experimentation.

Here, we try and compile major trends that have defined the first half of 2015 in the Indian digital marketing space.

1. Longer digital films for the online junta

The first quarter of 2015 saw many brands roll out their long format ad films, after the trend of long format digital storytelling caught on in 2014. The 30-second TVC gave way to 2 to 7 minute long videos that helped build the brand image one story at a time. Brands ranging from insurance, FMCG and online service providers/marketplaces chose to go long format in their digital campaigns. Do watch the “The 14 Most Endearing Long Ad Films Of Q1 2015”.

Hair care brand, Dabur Vatika made many heads turn with the launch of its 4-minute film titled ‘Brave and Beautiful’. The film paid a tribute to woman cancer survivors by featuring the story of a young mother reclaiming her regular life post surviving cancer.

2. Digital campaigns specially crafted for millennials

Millennials do not like advertisements, just like teens do not like advice. Brands would need to talk in a language they understand to reach out to them. This year, we saw a few brands experimenting in the space of digital campaigns specially crafted keeping the target audience as millennials in mind.

For the digital launch of Britannia’s premium chocolate biscuit brand Bourbon, the brand created a fun social media buzz around a new smartphone called the Bon. The phone reportedly ran on Chocolatey 2.0 and had features like power pack, friend finder, auto charge, etc. Later when the buzz about the new phone launch was at its peak, the brand revealed it to be the new Bourbon.

3. Real life stories to bring alive the brand philosophy

Stories of real life heroes and their survival against all odds, tend to go viral on social networks. Studies have proven that inspiring content is the one that is most share-worthy. For a digital campaign, the concept is a powerful one for brands that want to bring alive their brand philosophy, compared to just having a fitting celebrity be the face of the brand.

Ford Figo Aspire set about discovering the aspirations driving young India, with its #WhatDrivesYou campaign featuring real life achievers that included Phanindra Sama, Co-founder & CEO,, Rajat Tuli and Rahul Anand, Co-founders,, Indrani Medhi, Researcher, Microsoft Research India and Lakshmi Pratury, Curator, INK.

To bring alive Mountain Dew’s new brand ideology ‘Naam bante hain risk se’, the brand brought on board real achievers who have risked their lives to make a name in history like Padmashri Arunima Sinha, Padmashri Shital Mahajan, and many others.

4. Taking ‘Influencer marketing’ seriously

There’s a discrepancy when it comes to defining social media influencers. While most brands go with folks who have 5K plus followers on Twitter as a good measure of their social influence, and choose to run their promotional contests through them, there are many who dig deeper to understand the influencer and her community.

For the Gusto, Mahindra Two Wheelers’ first automatic scooter developed entirely in-house, the brand launched an innovative campaign involving food lovers in a city. It arranged a food ride #GoGustoRides led by influential food bloggers that saw a group of food enthusiasts explore their city’s most famous food joints riding their Gusto.

5. Video over visual

A picture can say a thousand words, but a video…a video can do wonders. The rise in video consumption in the country is leading to a rise in brand videos. Creative visuals are giving way to creative, funny and inspiring videos that are more likely to be shared on social networks.

This Mother’s Day and Father’s Day saw many brands come up with heartfelt videos, rather than the regular visuals we are used to seeing every year. The 14 Best Mother’s Day Brand Videos of 2015 and The Most Endearing Father’s Day Videos Of 2015 tell us that video is here to stay.

For Father’s Day, ICICI Bank asked people which superhero reminded them of their dads or three words to describe their dads, and compiled the responses in a video. It urged fans to express their love for their dads, taking inspiration from the video.

6. User generated content never goes off style

Brands (or rather their agencies) are brainstorming all the time to create fresh content for their social media platforms, with the challenge to create visuals, gifs and videos aligned to the brand message as well as being share-worthy. A few brands choose to let users create content for them, a trend we’ve seen ever since social networks got popular.

Crash the Pepsi IPL invited fans to create a 30-second commercial showing their love for Pepsi, with the promise that the best ads would be aired during the IPL matches. Oreo is inspiring playfulness this year with its global campaign ‘Play With Oreo’. The cookie brand has been hosting many contests inviting fans to #DoodleIt create doodles using the cookie, #PopIt find innovative ways to pop an Oreo, #PlayIt find new games to play with their Oreo, and others like #DipIt and more.

7. A dose of ‘humour’ in ad films

Seriously, a lot of brands are employing humour to drive home the brand message, especially those brands that are in boring industries like BFSI. This year, television commercials and by extension their digital films have taken the humorous route to win their audiences. While humour is indigenous to iconic brands like Cadbury 5 Star, Mentos, Center Fresh and others, now we have other brands joining the bandwagon of funny.

For the launch of its New Body Deodoriser that claimed to control the formation of body odour, Nivea Men released a hilarious appeal video called ‘Ban Body Odour’ featuring the likes of comedians Suresh Menon, Jose Covaco and others. The video was much appreciated and led to a decent pre-launch buzz for the deodorant.

MobiKwik’s latest set of TVCs use humour to demonstrate how easy, fast, and safe it is to pay using its Wallet.

8. Dubsmash video campaigns are the new selfie campaigns

Dubsmash is the new rage after selfies all over the globe. The mobile app not only lets you lip-synch your favourite songs but also your favourite dialogues from movies to create short videos and share it with your social connections on Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp.

Bollywood folks took to Dubsmash like baby ducks to water, with viral videos of Sonakshi dubsmashing to her father’s popular dialogues, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and even Salman Khan posting Dubsmash videos for their fans.

Brands also tried their hand at Dubsmash leading to some hilarious user generated Dubsmash video campaigns.

Do bookmark these and let us know of other trends in the digital marketing space.