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Monetising digital platforms is still tough

MUMBAI: The digital medium empowers people to decide what they want to watch or read. While this medium has become a powerful giant, the majority of advertisers aren’t dishing out the kind of spends they should do.

A common consensus among most industry stakeholders—content creators and new media platform owners—is that they have to wait in the wings to monetise this dynamic platform.

“Everybody in the ecosystem—publishers, broadcasters, advertisers/brands—need to work together to scale up this new world. Lack of understanding will kill the business,” said Ping Digital Broadcast co-founder Rajeshree Naik in a session on advertising challenges at FICCI Frames 2016. The session was moderated by Grey Worldwide chairman Sunil Lulla.

Considering the media is at its nascent stage, Rajeshree believes that digital advertisers shouldn’t categorise the number of ‘views’ an ad receives as being organic or inorganic. “Let’s face it, online banner ads just don’t work and we need to accept this reality,” added Taboola vice president (APAC) Ran Buck.

Industry experts are of the opinion that increasing brands ought to consider creating ads that are specific to the digital mediums in order to grab people’s attention. An example of this shift is apparent from the latest ad ‘Share the load’ by detergent brand Ariel. “Running targeted messaging of one brand campaign for different audiences is possible only in the digital world,” said Yahoo India VP & MD Gurmit Singh.

Additionally, adverting content needs to be made more relevant given the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour. Brands can use tools that track user behaviour and use the data to their better digital advertising.

“Digital advertising can be made more engaging across formats. We ran an ad campaign on mobile for an auto brand that was linked to its TVC. Based on the target audience, we created unique formats, such as a just product specification, on a platform while communicating a different message on another platform,” said Zapr Media Labs co-founder Sandipan Mondal.

Linguistic communication is another parameter brands should consider while underscoring their relevance in the digital space. “It is observed that when a brand communicated in a language specific to an audience (Hindi ads on a Jagran website, for instance, instead of an English ad), the ad performs 40% better,” added Buck.

Meanwhile, digital content creators and publishers are still dabbling in monetisation, as opposed to taking it in the right way. “The digital audience sticks to good content, and few brands warm up to the idea of using this audience base sitting with the content producers. For instance, Uber tied up with TVF (The Viral Fever),” said Vidooly founder Subrat Kar. As part of this association, every viewer who signed up for TVF, got two free rides from Uber, each worth Rs 200.

While over-the-top (OTT) is emerging as the new playground for content publishers, there is a long way before the service providers can put into effect the freemium model, under which premium content is charged while most of it is free.

“Until then, the OTT service providers are dependent on advertising revenues. For the new digital platforms to grow, all stakeholders have to consider these factors,” observed POKKT founder & CEO Rohit Sharma.

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