Sanjeev Jasani, Cheil India on digital ad spends, the cookie-less future & more…

Sanjeev Jasani

Next in our series, Advertising & Marketing Thought Leaders, by Social Samosa and Quora we bring to you Sanjeev Jasani, COO, Cheil India. Jasani speaks about the digital transformation and how digital spends might soon surpass TV AdSepends.

Sanjeev Jasani, COO, Cheil India further talks about the rapid digital penetration seen during the pandemic and how that has created scope for consumer behavior that is here to stay. He also talks about platforms such as Quora and how they are the way to go in the “cookie-less” future.

Edited Excerpts:

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in the last two years. What are some of the consumer consumption trends that have emerged in the last two years?

Over the last two years of the pandemic, people couldn’t step out of their homes. As a result, all they did was probably land up watching OTT content and playing online games in addition to just shopping on e-commerce portals. These two trends have really taken off. 

India’s over-the-top (OTT) video streaming market may record a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20% to touch $13 ~ $15 billion over the next decade. Paid subscribers are also estimated to expand at a CAGR of 17% to reach 224 million by 2026 from the current 102 million. What’s more, the regional content also grew in leaps and bounds. 

Regular consumer shopping habits changed as well during the pandemic. We saw the continued growth of eCommerce. Thanks to the pandemic, we achieved in 2 years what would have otherwise taken 10+ years to achieve. New categories like food and deliveries came to the forefront. Brands that were earlier selling in the physical retail space now started selling on Amazon and Flipkart. Those that were already selling on Amazon and Flipkart started their own DTC (Direct To Consumer) business. Your business would not survive if you didn’t think of digital transformation.

With the changing consumption trends, how do brands need to realign their approach towards media spends?

With these changing trends, I feel advertisers are trying to make the dollar work much harder. The last two years were all about using digital to keep your business alive and so the focus was largely on the mid to lower end of the funnel. 

Every advertiser was seen talking about performance and not just that, people also dialled up their digital budgets, so much so that digital spends seem to be fast catching up with TV. We might even see it bypassing TV spends in the near future. Within this, the media mix has changed as well to incorporate more OTT, gaming and eCommerce spends.  

While the penetration of digital marketing is way higher than it was 2 years ago – brands still tend to stick to the basics. Any tips on how brands can leverage platforms such as Quora to reach the consumers directly?

Now platforms like Quora are in my opinion, the future of digital marketing. Pandemic or no pandemic, Quora is bound to grow in leaps and bounds over the next couple of years. We all know that we are fast approaching a “Cookie less” world and when that happens, contextual targeting would possibly be the only way forward apart from relying on first-party data. 

People on platforms like Quora are already in a mindset to buy and brands should leverage these platforms to ride the wave.

We will see micro-influencers as well entering this space nudging consumers closer towards their brands. 

In terms of social media marketing, what kind of success have you seen on platforms such as Quora? 

Brands that are early adopters on Quora have started to see success. These brands are using influencers to post relevant, contextual content which caters to their consumer needs. Audiences on platforms like Quora are high intent audiences who are evaluating a brand and are probably in the pre-purchase stage of the consumer journey. Juicing platforms like Quora will allow brands to help convert more consumers and as a result drive more business. 

Also Read: Reach and frequency will always remain the core elements of media: Vishal Chinchankar 

What are some of the AdSpends trends seen in this year? Which categories will be the biggest spenders?

By the end of 2022, advertising spends in India would reach close to 1 Lakh + crores with a growth in excess of 20% as compared to 2021. Digital spends would grow at more than 30% to cross the 45,000+ crore mark. TV would continue to grow at 13~15% and hit around 42000+ crores. FMCG and eCommerce will be the two largest categories followed by automotive and consumer electronics.

As consumers get more aware & digital-savvy, the power of intent play an even bigger role. As a marketing veteran, what is your opinion on the power of intent & how can it be used to drive full-funnel objectives?

Like I said above, the bottom of the funnel has started to become more important. Stretching the dollar and driving business conversions is the name of the game. So, while a full-funnel will need to be driven, one would need to work their way up rather than work their way down the funnel. Digitally savvy consumers find your brand. They need to be convinced to buy it. So saturate your spends to the intended audience first and then move upwards to drive awareness with the rest of your budget. Awareness will play an important role, however, it will have a shorter life cycle of 90 to 180 days.