Year 2017 would be a rethink for digital media buying: Kantar Millward Brown

Even as digital medium is growing fast, television remains the most effective medium to reach a larger audience


At present, digital accounts for 33% of global media spends. Photo: Mint
At present, digital accounts for 33% of global media spends. Photo: Mint

Marketers need to rethink their advertising spends as the digital medium has not delivered as per expectations, say top executives at WPP-Kantar Millward Brown, an international agency that specializes in advertising effectiveness.

Digital works better when used in conjunction with everything, is the message of the agency, that comes at a time when global marketers including Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) are calling for increased transparency around media buying and viewability.

There has been a growing perception over the last decade that digital could become the sole medium dominating marketing spends.

At present, digital accounts for 33% of global media spends. “Digital is not a toy. It’s the largest component of advertising and media spends and there is a growing demand for increasing its accountability,” said Gonzalo Fuentes, global chief executive officer, Media and Digital practice, at Kantar Insights.

Moreover, even as digital is growing fast, television remains the most effective medium to reach a larger audience. This makes it important for marketers to stop and rethink their digital spends, said Fuentes, who was in Mumbai along with Nigel Hollis, chief global analyst, Millward Brown, as part of a three-city tour that includes Delhi and Bengaluru, to meet clients and present insights.

The year 2015 was the year of programmatic advertisement buying; 2016 was the year of video and 2017 will be the year of rethinking digital, Hollis said.

As such, media consumption is different across generations—Gen Z which is 16-19 years old, Gen Y which is 20-34 years, and Gen X from 35-49 years. Gen X prefers print and Gen Z online. “However, TV cuts across all generations,” said Ashish Karnad, executive vice president, media and digital, Kantar Millward Brown.

In India digital is expected to be the fastest growing medium with a compound annual growth rate of 30.8% for the five years from 2016 to 2021, according to ‘Media for the masses: The promise unfolds’, a report by consulting firm KPMG and lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

The rise of digital media is largely at the cost of print, which includes newspapers and magazines. To be sure, print is growing too, but at a much slower rate of 7.3%, though on a much larger base, said the FICCI-KPMG report.

“In India there is a tremendous feeling that we need to catch up, the rest of the world is ahead of us (in digital),” said Hollis, who is now advising his clients and saying, “hold on, digital is not everything, it works better when used in conjunction with everything.”

For digital to be effective, an advertiser needs to have an incredible amount of focus and good analytics otherwise it is a wasted effort, say marketers.

“With digital you can’t just shoot in the dark, it may not reach the intended audience. You need very good media planners,” said Paul Abraham, chief operating officer, IndusInd Bank Ltd. Abraham agrees that television remains the most impactful and best medium to reach a larger audience. However, the company’s digital spends have been constantly trending upwards.

To be sure, if the message is tailored to suit different mediums, its effectiveness can be as much as 67% compared to 47% if the use of the different channels is fragmented, said Fuentes, adding that most marketers would do anything to get that 20% increase.

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