Discussing the evolution of digital advertising during the last five years, at MediaNama’s #NAMA conference, Tushar Vyas, General Partner (South Asia), GroupM said that there’s been a change in the mindset of advertisers, and the question ‘why internet?’ has disappeared. He also added that social was another phenomenon that’s gain precedence and advertisers are now bullish on mobile. Mahesh Murthy, Founder of Pinstorm was in agreement and said that digital has graduated from being part of other miscellaneous ad expense, and is now a Rs 2,500 crore industry.

Change in perception: They also discussed how digital was now becoming inclusive right from the conception of the campaign and even FMCG brands have started considering digital an integral part. Murthy talked about the absence of separate media buying and creative agencies in digital, and conceptualisation and execution. He did mention that Pinstorm managed media buying in digital but there were no commissions involved.

He elaborated that it was difficult to change perceptions related to measuring the effectiveness of digital advertising, as it was now moving from cost per thousand to cost of engaging with thousand. “Facebook has changed mindset among brands from its image as being a broadcaster to being a platform for its audience.” On what works, Murthy responded that search, social, video and mobile were the 4 pillars of digital, and that display was a little less important – he cited the success of Facebook and YouTube, after Google.

Lack of content a problem? : Vyas added that one of the constraint for display is lack of online content in India. He said that data was going to play an important role as the need for more targeted advertising arises. Murthy added that many publishers were interested in doing content but did not focus on monetization from day 1, and fall for media networks – this needed to change. He gave the example of afaqs, a site in which he has invested and mentioned that the average yield on the ste was Rs 700 per CPM.

Elaborating further, Vyas stated that Indian publishers were more focused on aggregating content instead of creating fresh content, and that there was less investment on content. Problems related to ad revenues taking time to reach publishers were also discussed.