The digital numbers are looking good. Google’s market cap is $ 190 bn; Microsoft is $250 bn; and Apple is $425 bn. With Facebook all ready to join the big three, the commercial possibilities are immense. While the definition of digital has undergone a sea change over the years, the medium has made a shift from being merely popular to hugely profitable. Naturally, this means many more brands are ear-marking their marketing budgets for operations. An unprecedented mass adoption of both – social networking and smart phones – has accelerated the growth of digital marketing and m-Commerce (and now s-Commerce) across screens.
Spots during NBC Sports’ annual Super Bowl match are among the highest paid in the media space. With these blurring of lines, NBC Sports was not too far behind and partnered YouTube to launch a dedicated channel to showcase all ads broadcasted on game day immediately after the telecast. This time around, though brands paid a premium for the spots, some chose to maximise their investments through digital integrations using mobile apps like Shazam.
On 1 February, Facebook announced plans for an IPO that could value it between $75 billion to $100 billion. This is extraordinary, considering that it will be more valuable than Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft maker. The social network is expected to boast around one billion users soon, or one in seven of the world’s population. In its regulatory filings, Facebook has noted that the site had 46-million active users as on 31 December, 2011 in India, an increase of 132% during the twelve month period. Moreover, as trends have shown, people love to socialise and social networks like Facebook and Google+ are making it easier through their integration with websites and search results. This is reason enough for brand managers to take note of the growth of social media, and digital as a medium.
Agencies as well as brand managers, in India, are going through a learning curve to optimise their marketing investments for seamless delivery across mediums. Further, social and mobile technologies aren’t just important for guerrilla marketing campaigns and grassroots outreach. They’re also changing how some of the world’s biggest media companies do business. The shifting landscape can be seen by the emergence of an essentially ‘digital first’ attitude from some of the prominent brands in the space.
In this special issue focused on digital, we look in-depth at some of the emerging digital trends including the recently rolled out Facebook Timelines and integration of digital and on-ground campaigns by Indian brands where Maruti Suzuki’s Shashank Srivastava highlights some of the challenges he faces as a client. Even though Indian agencies are working with their digital counterparts for developing integrated marketing campaigns, digital outfit 22feet’s Brijesh Jacob feels “traditional agencies have to make an effort to understand and embrace digital advertising.”
Outside of the social media discussions, the one term that has been top of mind throughout the digital space recently is ‘gamification’. The concept of gamification revolves around rewarding users for performing set tasks in a certain manner and creating a reward structure around the overall performance of the task. Although it is a new term, the concept has been around for many years under different guises such as ‘reward points’, ‘virtual money’, ‘usage bonuses’ and other such terminology. Though it is at its nascence right now, this could turn out to be the next big wave in the ever-evolving digital media landscape.
Jagadeesh Krishnamurthy is reports editor of Campaign India