#SocialThrowback: Indian digital Ad Spends see double digit growth on the back of various driving forces

digital Ad Spends 2018

As we draw closer to the end of 2018, a quick looking back at how the year was in terms of Digital Ad Spends 2018.

In January 2018 when Dentsu Aegis Network released it’s Global Ad Spend Forecast Report, it predicted the ad spends in India to grow at 12.5 percent in the year and later in the biannual report launched in June it was revised to 10.5% to reach Rs 624 billion driven by growing  economy, global media and digital marketing.

Looking at the year in its last month, Ashish Bhasin,  Chairman & CEO – South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network anticipates that we will end the year in a double-digit growth- somewhere around 11%-12% as overall, given the economy is doing well.

“Overall it’s been a good year, though not a great one- definitely has been better than some of the previous years when GST and demonetization had impacted businesses,” adds Bhasin. Several other reports from media giants like Madison and IPG also projected growth in double-digits placing India among the fastest growing ad markets followed by China.

2018 – The year of Digital advertising

A GroupM report shared that spending in 2017 grew at 10% and the growth was pegged at 13% by the company with the digital adex to continue growing by 30%. Reflecting the projections, Omkar Joshi, Business Head, Schbang Bangalore shared that the industry has seen a double-digit increase in the ad spends by each brand this year.

He adds, “Digital was at the core of marketing activities and a lot of brands started experimenting and pushing boundaries on the platforms. Instagram got the maximum attention and spends increased drastically here. Twitter seems to have lost its charm for most brands and it fails to have a significant voice in their marketing mix anymore.”

As rightly estimated by many, growth was led by digital which was forecasted to command 60% of ad spends and increase by 14.8%. Emphasizing one of the big highlights of 2018 Bhasin observed that digital came into the mainstream in a big way this year. “Until now it was for clients to experiment with. The growth was led by the Jio impact- dropping of data prices, handsets and smartphones prices decreased and the bandwidth increased. It was aided by these macro conditions. It is no longer a question that ‘should we do digital’ that you needed to address for the clients in 2018.”

Soham Bhagnari, Business Head – West, FoxyMoron too feels that  2018 has been another year of robust digital spends. At a CAGR of 30pc, the digital industry was expected to clock around 12,000 crores and we seem to be well on track to achieve the same.

He said, “Search, Social and Mobile video content will continue to command a lion’s share of digital ad spends and the trend is likely to continue in 2019 as well. Instagram, analytics and programmatic ad buys came off age this year and will continue to see a fair chunk of marketers spends”.

According to Magna, digital represents 19% of total advertising budgets currently and will touch a quarter share of media growing at CAGR of 22.6% by 2022. Retail, BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance), FMCG, telecom and auto are major contributors to this growth.

For Parle Products, in 2017 digital spends were at the tune of 7-8% and this year it increased to 15% which is more than double.

“Moving ahead it is going to further get enhanced  As we enter into the new year there is going to be a greater focus on digital marketing as a platform. Of course, TV continues to dominate but it’s just that we are seeing a better chunk or proportion of digital coming into play in the overall scheme of things,” exclaimed Krishna Rao, Senior Category Head-Marketing, Parle Products.  

Also Read: Digital to surpass TV; accounts for 38.4% of total ad spends: DAN report

As the reach of digital reach crosses 450 million and the smartphone Internet user base crossed 300 million taking the spend close to  9,500 crores. Suraj Nagappa, VP- Isobar noted that along with other sectors, e-Commerce became the backbone of digital adex. “With the influx of Jio and cheap data on mobile the desktop advertising took a backseat… Facebook and YouTube continued the dominance on the video platform along with the OTT’s”, he shared.

2018 –  The Year That Was

Bhasin notes that although there is double-digit growth happening, all media sectors are not growing equally. Until now, if the industry was growing at 11-12 %, some media grew at 9% other at say 12%, but the growth was in some sort of a range. For eg: magazines and English press have grown minimally, regional press has grown better, TV has grown around 11-12%, outdoor is going to grow at 10% but digital is growing around 25-30%. So, now the range is from a low single digits to upto 30%.

For Parle as a company, 2018 was quite remarkable. Considering the roll-out of GST and the aftermath of demonetisation the company claimed to have seeing a lot of positivity. Rao further explained that the rollout of E-way bill from April-May onwards has proved to be a boon for marketers who are manufacturers wherein there has been a higher level of compliance- it has led to a better business altogether.

“That has definitely helped us improve our demand. The various government initiatives have led to higher disposable income amongst general people at large and more so in particular people residing in rural markets. Opening of Jan Dhan account is ensuring that the money is reaching to end consumer. That has also boosted demand and has improved overall for us as a company”.

As a marketer, Rao feels that 2018 has played a big role in terms of traction from old conventional television medium through the digital medium. In terms of Jio’s higher data speed of 4G with Vodafone, Idea and Airtel joining the bandwagon which has led to higher number of smartphones and higher consumption of data,  has actually boosted demand for various platforms like Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Youtube channels- the consumption has gone up significantly. “As marketers, we have realised the significance of evolution of newer of newer medium and efficient medium to reach our prospects,” shared Rao.

KPMG report too states that the Indian M&E industry went through a slightly rough patch in FY18 due to adverse impact on ad spends following the lingering impact on demonetisation and teething issues with the rollout of GST roll out. This was reflected in the industry growth of 10.9% in FY18 on the back of advertising growth of 11.5%. 


Hence, Joshi defines the year 2018 as the year of digital maturity. Exemplifying further he stated that a lot of brands have embraced the power of video content marketing (a little too late, but better than never) and thus increased their focus and spends on creating relevant and fresh content for YouTube. B2B brands have spent on Search, Social Display, and LinkedIn judiciously. But they have been more open to innovation than ever before. Automation has become key to their marketing success resulting in decent spends in this area.

Sectors benefited in 2018

While the major contributors have been FMCG, Retail, Auto, and BFSI, Bhasin shared that joining the list of these bellwethers is e-commerce. Other sectors like real estate and education become big as add ons every year.  

“E-commerce and retail will probably increase. Digital entertainment like Netflix, Youtube, Amazon prime, etc and the general entertainment category will like to get more consumers on board and start advertising more in 2019”.   

Also Read: 65% of digital media to be programmatic in 2019: Zenith Report

S Venkatesh, EVP, director intelligence, Magna anticipates even stronger growth in 2019 due to the combination of an accelerating economy, broader access to digital media, general elections and Cricket World  Cup. “India remains one of the fastest growing ad markets globally, and is among the top five countries that are expected to drive incremental investment in 2018. Our growth percentage is three times that of the global adex and more than double of the APAC growth percentage.”

Meanwhile, Zenith’s global forecast mentions that seven of the ten largest contributors will be Rising Markets* (China, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Brazil, Russia and South Korea), and between them, they will contribute 40% of new adspend over the next three years. Overall, the forecast Rising Markets to contribute 57% of additional ad expenditure between 2017 and 2020, and to increase their share of the global market from 37% to 39%.

While 2018 has seen a positive growth, with the inset of assembly elections and IPL along with the World Cup, it would be interesting to see how aggressive the industry grows in terms of spending in 2019.