“Businesses will advertise where their customers are,” says Shailesh Rao, managing director, Google India. More so when the market hits difficult times. It is all about return on investment (ROI), and online ads, particularly those based on focused search, are expected to buck the current global economic downturn.
Rao puts growth at 50 per cent over the past one year. Yahoo! India expects growth of 50-60 per cent over the next two years. Basically, industry leaders are betting on the idea of ads based on actual clicks and that too, tailored to match content focused on the specific consumers, aided by sophisticated software tools and audience measurement, which are easier and more scientific on the Internet.
“While overall marketing spends might go down now, areas of marketing that give the best returns on investment will see higher spending,” says Sandeep Deshpande, general manager, search marketing & small business, Yahoo! India. “Online advertising, especially search that is the most targeted and cost effective, provides the best ROI.”
Vivek Bhargava, managing director, Communicate 2, a dedicated search engine advertising agency, expects more marketers to spend more online in order to get more measurable results.
Prasanna Rai, general manager, marketing for India at computer maker Lenovo, says his firm expects to increase the share of allocation for online ads, now at 15 per cent of total ad spend.
“Search engine marketing is very focused on lead generation at a very effective cost per lead,” he says.
Google’s Rao says that with 40-45 million Internet users, India has one of the top 10 Internet populations globally, of which only 30 per cent are metro-based. Google India’s technology & media head, Parminder Singh, says Google has seen an influx of even conventional advertisers in the last two months.
Yahoo! India expects to grow by more than 100 per cent in 2009, based on commitments and current growth.