Anurag Gupta, Managing Director at DGM India, the largest online performance advertising network in India writes about his top Digital Media Trends and Bets for 2011-2013. He blogs at http://anuraggupta.blogspot.com.

After showing promise of exponential growth for almost a decade, I strongly believe that finally internet in India is on the threshold of inflection. In this scenario what will be the big trends & bets over next 3 years? List of my Top 10 is given below.

1. Mobile broadband:  With close to 70,000 crore having been paid by the Telecom companies to the government for the 3G licenses, the telecom operators will like to monetize by giving great value packages to their users for accessing internet through their mobile devices.  We see Aircel & Docomo already doing this.  I am sure that this will lead to a surge in number of users connecting to the internet through their mobile phone which will be aided by the fact that almost all modern mobile handsets have the capability to access the internet.

2. Continued interest in Social Media: The stats released by Comscore for July 2010 revealed that more than 33 million Internet users in India visited social networking sites, representing a whopping 84% of the total Internet audience visiting social media sites. This was a growth of 43% over a 12 month period; contrast this with a mere 13% growth in the total internet users. I feel that Social media is here to stay and will have continued interest.

3. Decline in standalone email & instant messaging usage: I envisage the email & instant messaging applications of the social media platforms undergoing a huge improvement and matching the features & functionalities of the stand alone services. As users get more hooked onto the Social media platforms like Facebok & Orkut, the users will start using the instant messaging & email services built into these platforms to interact with others more and this will gradually reduce & replace the usage of standalone email & instant messaging services.

4. Surge in eCommerce: Barring Travel, that too Air & Railway tickets, India has not witnessed significant numbers in other ecommerce verticals. I foresee non travel ecommerce taking off in a big way over next 3 years spurred by verticals like Deal-a-day, Books, Gifting, Luxury retail etc. The growth will happen due to various reasons like convenience, value(pricing) etc. We have seen users buying huge numbers of air & railway tickets online as they promise better deals & convenience to users.  The recent emergence of Deal-a-day sites is yet another harbinger for increased e-commerce spends from users.

5. Explosion of Digital advertising spends in India: Digital advertising in India to constitute at least 7% (up from under 3% as of now) of total ad spends over next 3 years. The growth will also get spurred by mobile advertising & DTH advertising. There will be continued dominance of performance metrics based pricing (cost per click, cost per sale, cost per lead, cost per unique user etc.).

6. Demand for relevant Audiences– Marketers need to target relevant audiences. The success of Google hinged on the fact that they managed to be most contextually relevant by allowing advertisers to present their message when a user was actually looking for information on the product! A normal publisher that doesn’t get users to sign in will have no way of knowing the demographic details of the user and hence they can never be as attractive as Google. We already observe emergence of cookie based targeting of users. Over next couple of years there will an increased demand from advertisers for delivery of audiences vis-à-vis delivery of traffic. There will be emergence of more options for targeting users on behavior, demographic & contextual relevancy including location based advertising. Mobile companies can unlock a huge value here.

7. Rich media consumption: With higher speed of internet access, users will start consuming more rich media content. The trend is already apparent in the usage of vide sites like YouTube etc. Apart from videos, we will see users streaming complete movies online & listening to live music on the internet.

8. Mobile internet – Users will access internet through various devices (iPads etc.) and not only through smartphones or desktops/laptops.  With this there will also be an explosion in usage of mobile applications. I also envisage that more and more gadgets will become Wi-Fi enabled allowing the users & gadgets to ‘talk’ using the internet.

9. Mobile payments & mCommerce – Mobile payments & mCommerce should take off over next 3 years in a major way. The growth will come from regulatory authorities like RBI giving permission for mobile payments. Lead has been taken by SEBI a couple of days back to allow mobile trading.

10. Innovations & Entrepreneurship:   We should see a Silicon Valley kind of environment in India over next 3 years with lot of entrepreneurial ideas & innovations happening.

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