Marketers Need to Look at Online Media Differently

by Manu Sharma    Feb 22, 2010

Reports indicate that India has about 50 million Internet users and growing constantly at 20-25 percent annually unlike the other media like television that has experienced only 3-4 percent growth over the years. Even though India has Internet users base of 49.4 million of which 36 million are active users, still marketers from Indian companies spend only about 3 percent on online advertisements. For instance some automobile companies spent only 3 percent of their advertising budget of Rs 25,000 crore on online media. Likewise, the insurance sector, spent it is 0.7 percent of its advertising budget on online media.

"Internet is the media of the future and is here to stay but Internet advertising still remains a small proportion of media budgets. Today the new media offers variety of choices like Internet, mobile and social media etc and so very encouraging for advertising." Arun Tadanki, managing director of Yahoo! India said while addressing a session on ‘Disruption by the New Age Customer’ at the CII Brand Summit 2010 at Bangalore.

Tadanki also added that most marketers look at Internet only to drive leads and not for brand building. If any marketer has such a rational approach then it is high time they changed their view, since Internet is the media of the future and is here to stay. Even though, India’s mobile penetration has crossed over 525.15 million as per TRAI Dec 2009 figures, still only 3 percent of the users access Internet through the mobile phones and this is primarily due to the poor bandwidth and also the high tariff costs involved.

He also added that, with the 3G services being rolled out shortly, the quality of access will get a big boost and hopefully the cost of data will also reduce. Like Tata Docomo, one paise per second tariff that has triggered a new wave in mobile pricing war and similar will follow on the data tariff as well.

Tadanki also mentioned that about over 4-5 years ago, Yahoo! created a fictitious brand called ‘Coffee Day’ in Taiwan to test the online market. Since Taiwan has Internet penetration of 70 percent, it was able to gather a lot of attention from the public especially the youth on the new product. Soon the brand became so popular with in the online community that many queries started to flow in through the social sites. In a short while everyone could recall the brand to the extent that some competitors wanted to even buy the company and approached Yahoo! However, Yahoo! did apologize and cleared the dough that it was a fictitious brand. The lesson here is that marketers should look at the new media differently.