On forecasts for 2009:
India is in a phase that has already seen a significant growth in Internet usage and this is likely to continue.
Growth ahoy: Shailesh Rao, managing director, Google India. Jagadeesh NV/Mint
• We will see significant growth in overall search advertising
• This year, we will also see a dramatic increase in mobile searches and a lot of advertiser interest in reaching people on the mobile device
• The media agency community will embrace the digital platform as it will become a core part of their practice. Their overall billings will grow because of the digital medium
• Also, more towards the tail end of 2009, the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector will awake to the importance of advertising
On the impact of the downturn:
The downturn has had a positive effect as the country has seen a strategic use of Internet.
So by increasing the use of the Internet, marketeers are being cost-conscious and mindful of company budgets and they still have measurable RoI data to substantiate their efforts as well.
On the impact of IPL and general election on online advertising:
We clearly benefited from political partnerships and political advertising but, more importantly for Google and the Internet industry as a whole, it has expanded the relevance of the Internet in India.
On the IPL front, it is still too early to say, as we do have a couple of initiatives lined up where people can go online and access interesting information on IPL. But yes, there has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm shown by users and advertisers for IPL online.