The pandemic has reset many marketing and consumption trends that are here to stay. Much has been talked about the ‘New Normal; while a lot has already changed to an inconceivable extend, it is of paramount importance that we swiftly adapt to befit in the idea of our new realities to readjust to the ‘New Normal’.
To begin with, what is New Normal?
The common scenario today is – kids ready in front of their laptop or mobile phone for E-learning, parents into back-to-back day-long conference calls or zoom meetings, simultaneously managing grocery shopping, comparing prices with other e-commerce portals et al. This has led to a different level of acceptance towards trying even newer things digitally. No matter what gender they are, old or young, everyone is now willing to try new things virtually. e.g. online health consultation, paying for online entertainment, online courses, online banking, ordering food deliveries, watching live broadcasts through mobile phones, and many more. So much so, this massive shift to digital life triggered by the COVID-19 has hurled India to become the leading mobile-first consumer economy. This is further supported by the cheap prices of mobile data and smartphones, as well as the government’s focus to ‘Digitize India.’
Further, consumers have moved from a single TV household to one with multi-screens. Social distancing, stays at home, work from home, school from home overall ‘staying in has become the new norm.’ A quick look at some global numbers, that further vindicate these facts are, as of June 2021:
- Global number of unique mobile phone users has notched up to 5.27 billion
- Global digital population or internet user base has shot up to 4.8 billion
- Out of this 4.48 billion use social media
- In July 2021 alone, UPI recorded over 3 billion transactions valued at over 6 lakh crore
- Consumers today are spending 7 hours on the internet per day, more than twice the time they spend on Television
Given the above scenario, and the growth of the digital economy by leaps & bounds, marketers stand on the crossroads of re-arranging priorities and strategies in order to grasp the momentum, to not only survive but also to thrive in the post-Covid-19 era. In India, the pandemic has skyrocketed online traffic. Experts predict that going forward digitization of entertainment, gaming, and other services will further feed India’s data appetite. With over 500 million smartphone users and about one billion mobile SIM cards users that are active, India presents itself as an opportunity to thrust upon mobile marketing and in-app advertising. As consumers are consuming data, it has become imperative for brands to understand how to monetize this data.
Marketers now need to be more data-driven so as to be able to customize the needs of different target consumers in various channels in order to increase conversion and customer acquisition. The challenge for the marketer is to not only target and re-target the right consumer but also to do so at the right time, right place, and in the right context. This is where performance-based marketing is needed as it is able to level up the conversion of new buyers in new markets with lower cost, lower risk as well as higher ROI.
It is a common belief that consumers will never go back to the pre-covid era or habits. Hence, this is the most opportune time for marketers to adapt to changes and consider new targeted strategies in order to catch consumer attention and shape their behaviour. The aggressive pace of growth of India’s digital ecosystem is also evident from the trends across OTT’s and VoD’s, all this indicates one thing unanimously and that is, that media spending will never be the same.
Trends away from television and radio toward digital channels have accelerated and quite likely will experience a boom in the years ahead, as ad budgets will continue to increase. As advertisers look for solutions, they will continue to turn to digital as sophisticated strategies to sway consumers toward their products and services . Global digital marketers envisage $455.3 billion in global digital ad spending in 2021, which is up about 20% from 2020.
To conclude, I would say consumer today is savvier than ever. Technology can filter out a lot of clutter and noise marketing and it’s rather simple for users to close the tab and move on. Television ads are skidding because of cord-cutting, and DVRs make it possible to fast-forward through commercials. Indeed, the market is dynamic, and if brands and providers want to be at the top of their game, they must adopt next-generation technologies or potentially sacrifice share in the lucrative $150-billion global advertising industry.
Speaking about mobile marketing, media consumption habits, and certain other trends and behaviours, that have emerged in the last 15-18months alone also reflect some noteworthy data points here –
- 60% of internet users have started visiting online shopping platforms
- 11% of social media accounts have been created in the last 12 months
- Mobile speeds have gone up to 60% in the last 12 months
- 82% of adults above the age of 18 years are consuming news online now
- Social shares of images and videos via popular social media platforms have gone up to 66%
As per Statista report, over Rs 64 billion was spent in India on mobile advertising in 2019 and it is expected to touch Rs 304 billion in 2023. Therefore, brands must leave no stone unturned to catch the attention of mobile-savvy audiences. They are advertising within apps, taking over the mobile screens, sending regular custom notifications, making sense of the customer data, and others.
The advertising space has always been extremely competitive, with content serving as king to attract viewers. In days gone by, the content may have been a newspaper article, a radio show, or a television program, but things have changed. Those pieces of content still have their places in monetizing from ads, but they are gradually seeing their importance being shared with the power of social media content and influencers to best target potential consumers. All that COVID has done is further accelerate an already inevitable trend and it’s imperative that we ride this mobility and digitally driven wave!