BFSI AdSpends in JFM 2020: A mixed bag

BFSI ad spends 2020

With the help of industry experts, Social Samosa takes a look at the BFSI sector ad spends and the brands that went big in JFM 2020.

The last quarter of the financial year marks an important time in the marketing strategy of BFSI brands. With the financial year end & final date for tax savings, January, February, March is when they make the most noise. However, the quality and quantity and mediums of this noise-making have changed over the years. BFSI ad spends 2020 sees many new trends.

Spends are being allocated differently and there is a focus on immersive content. There has been a change in the products too. Insurance, where mortality is a major factor in the narration, has been gradually transformed into a wealth generator avenue. While TV continues to draw a major chunk of ad spends, digital too found a strong holding in BFSI ad spends 2020. Here’s more.

Numeric Growth

According to a 2020 DAN report, the BFSI sector contributed 10% to the Digital Media Industry in 2019. It comes to about INR 1354 crore. During JFM 2020, the spends are expected to touch INR 630 crore, George M. Jacob, Executive Director, Muthoot Finance tells us.

“TV spends had a growth of 4% in Feb 2020 when compared to Jan 2020. Axis Bank, Mastercard and HDFC Standard Life were the top 3 advertisers in TV taking up 38% of the total spends. Both Axis Bank & Mastercard reduced their spends in Feb 2020 by 31% & 39% respectively whereas HDFC Standard Life had a huge growth in spends in Feb 2020,” he adds.

He further tells us how LIC was the top spender in print as well as radio. The spends can be attributed to the massive campaign run by LIC this year, encompassing all possible media vehicles, including outdoor. The efforts contributing to drilling the tune, ‘Smart logon ki clear hai priority, baaki sab baad mein, Pehle LIC’ into the minds of consumers.

Technological Determinism

In 2019, the BFSI industry had gone heavy on digital, led by search. According to the DAN report, BFSI segment spends 39% of its digital media budget on Paid Search, followed by 26% on Display and 24% on Social Media.

Mohit Joshi, Managing Director, Havas Media Group India expects 2020 to go along the same way. He expects ad spends to be higher in JFM 2020 than in JFM 2019.

“The BFSI sector in India is leveraging advanced technologies to acquire digital customers and ensure better outcomes for the business,” he says, adding that the banking industry is becoming more complex with the rise of mobile and open banking, increased demand for real-time interaction and personalized services, as well as new regulations.

Also Read: How BFSI campaigns commemorated JFM in 2020

One such example of technological advancement is Tata Asset Management POST, which has been launched to drive efficiency in information dissemination among users on Telegram. “We have created the capability to reach over a thousand units of communication at a single instant. This is no spam, this is demand-led marketing,” said MVS Murthy, Head – Digital and Marketing of Tata Asset Management at the launch.

Trends of Change

The last quarter of the financial year has always witnessed ad spends from most major players and is historically considered a strong quarter from a business perspective. However, Pankaj Gupta, Sr. Executive Vice President (Sales) & Chief Marketing Officer HDFC LIFE tells us that with time, this trend is changing.

“There has been a noticeable change in terms of the business that is taking place in the last quarter and the numbers have been reducing. While overall business continues to grow, we see a more even distribution across the year for insurance as a category when compared to previous years,” he explains.

He adds that most life insurance players get active in JFM, leading to significant media clutter. This is why the quarter continues to be critical. “Brands tend to spend a significant proportion of annual marketing spends to drive visibility in crucial JFM quarter. This varies, basis objectives, from brand to brand,” Gupta explains.

Moving with Caution

The ongoing COVID-19 scare has affected global markets in a significant way. While it would be a while before damages can be calculated, the advertising and marketing worlds are among the first where effects are being reflected. Recently, Coca Cola Philippines announced that it would put commercial advertising on hold, redirecting budgets towards supporting #COVID19 relief and response efforts.

Even if one were to look at the decisions before COVID-19 became an elephant in the room, there were factors of caution in the mix. Reflecting of these, Mayank Bhatnagar, Executive Vice President, Carat told us, “With the degrowth in the economy, brands want to be very cautious towards the advertising spends.”

“Brands might also choose to postpone big campaigns or launches. They wish to focus on platforms or media sources that drive growth & improve ROI, and this trend will continue,” he added. Unfortunately, his prediction and insight are now even more relevant due to the global crisis at hand.


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