How Web3 can weave a fascinating future for marketers

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“Today’s consumers are facing advertising overload. The average American is bombarded with anywhere between 3K and 10k messages per day. There is an estimate that the average consumer spends over 7 hours looking at a screen each day — a trend that is exacerbated by the holiday shopping season. Given this reality, can we expect them to notice our marketing messages, associate them with the appropriate brands, and ultimately make their brand choices based on these messages?”, Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Mastercard, posed this question on LinkedIn on January 1. 

The post generated curiosity among his followers. After all, a global market leader has raised the issue which is giving marketers around the world a sleepless night: How to stand out in a world of increasing advertisement overload, especially on personal devices? 

Indian smartphone users spend approximately 7.3 hours on screen every day, according to a recent report by Redseer Strategy Consultants. Amid heaps of social media messages, what annoys them the most is the overdose of promotional content pushed by the brands on their laptop, mobile or smart TV, which they view as an intrusion in their privacy.

Marketers are at the cusp of an era where digital advertising is on exponential rise, but consumers are increasingly using ad blockers and skip ad and ad-free versions to keep ads at bay. Targeted advertising, that is supposed to serve relevant ads to potential consumers only, still has limited scope. 

“So far, only high-end advertisers, roughly 15 per cent, have been able to use targeted advertising effectively,” brand strategist and angel investor Lloyd Mathias noted. 


Indian advertising has evolved over the course of the last 70 years, reflecting the change that the country’s economy as well as society has undergone. In terms of revenue, it is believed to have crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in 2022, of which digital advertising’s share is nearly 45 per cent, as per GroupM’s This Year Next Year report. 

This reflects the challenges ahead of the CMOs. 

How much is too much?

Among the biggest digital offenders are pop-up ads that redirect you to a site you don’t want to visit, autoplaying video ads and those interstitials, which occupy the entire screen of the news, sports, entertainment and other websites. 

Besides, direct messages on mobile phones add to users’ woes. Over 95% of mobile users got spam SMS regardless of their DND list registration, a 2022 survey conducted by LocalCircles revealed. Such messages have started coming through Whatsapp as well, the study found. 


How can you tell if you’ve got too many ads above-the-fold? Marketers have been flummoxed with this question for years. Various Artificial-Intelligence (AI) tools are available these days which claim to calculate optimal frequency of ad delivery. Their effectiveness is often not up to the mark. 

According to Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director (Sales and Marketing), Maruti Suzuki, for sharper and hyperlocal targeting, brands need to have robust first party databases along with AI tools. While the customer data platform (CDP) helps identifying your target audience, AI-tools help serve the relevant creatives to the cohorts based on their interests, geography etc.”

“At Maruti, we use SVOC (Single View of Customer) that creates more personalized marketing and sales experiences,” Srivastava insists. 

Innovative methods

Rajamannar notes that marketers need to think outside the box and figure out how they can show up in unobtrusive ways where consumers actually are. Doing that effectively requires connecting with consumers in entirely new, game-changing ways, integrating organic touch points into many aspects of daily life.

Airbnb, for instance, devised a unique digital marketing strategy to boost tourism during the pandemic which revolved around user generated content. Photos clicked by customers during their stay at airbnb properties were shared by the company’s official Instagram page. 

Maruti, which spends close to Rs 700 crore annually in advertising, uses “Roadblock” and “Social Media Takeover” marketing to win the brand game, Srivastava says. 


 

Roadblock and takeover are used for ads that take over a page, or block other advertisers from showing on a page. Social media takeover is a fun influencer marketing strategy in which an individual, commoner or influencer takes over the brand’s social media page to post user generated content. 

In-content integration 

In-content integrations into the stories is a great way to be unobtrusive yet have impact, feels Manish M Nagori, Head, Branded Content and Large Accounts Publishing, Saregama India. 

Nagori says, “Intelligent in-content placement is a huge win-win for the brand because they not only get an impression but also rub-off of the celebrity in the content piece. If one does a CPV analysis for an in-content integration piece, it will always be higher than paid space. This is because the impressions of in-content integration or placement are in perpetuity and will rest within the content till the time the content is available to consume anywhere publicly.  The numbers get even better when the content-integration is in Music because of the immense repeat value of music videos.” 

Nagori cited the examples of Heineken integration in James Bond since Skyfall, Zomato’s placement in Jalebi Baby music video, Rupa’s ingenious brand integration in Lal Singh Chaddha, Coke Studio all seasons, Carvaan Lounge by Amazon Prime Music and more recently Colorbar’s integration as the “Cherry Wali Lipstick” in the Resham Ka Rumal music video.

Shradha Agarwal, CEO & Co-founder, Grapes, emphasizes on data points, “Going heavy on data is a great way of identifying the different cohorts and enables ad personalization to suit the specific traits of the group. It is a game changer in optimizing the ad to keep the messaging relevant to the demands of the consumer,” Agarwal says. 

She explains how his team leveraged data insights to identify various consumer cohorts, and also recognized the highest affinity genres across the digital world for a Myntra Roadster campaign #LogOnToTheRoads. “The team also used data tools to identify the hashtags and the most commonly used keywords by Gen Z to convey our messaging more effectively,” she explained. 

Awareness & training 

Marketers need to keep the pace with the emerging trends, ad agencies have realized. Training sessions are being arranged for them. 

Mitesh Kothari, Co-Founder and CCO, White Rivers Media, says, “We have been engaging with some of the top advertisers to help them understand the digital transformations their organizations would have to undergo to move from Web 2.0 to 3.0. We have also leveraged partnerships with platforms like Meta, Google, Twitter, and Quora to arrange expert-led training sessions for leaders across different industries. Such specialized awareness and expertise are the need of the hour to cement all gaps that may exist in putting together the most beneficial strategies for our clients.” 

However, sticking to one’s roots is crucial in modern times, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost amidst newly emerging trends, technology and formats, Kothari noted.  

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