Ad agencies bet big on search marketing biz

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Mumbai | Updated: Dec 8 2012, 07:36am hrs
Recognising the growing significance of search marketing business (SMB) in India, advertising and media buying agencies are sprucing up their operations to meet the evolving needs of advertisers. The R700-crore SMB sector is growing at 40% in India. Search marketing is a form of internet marketing that promotes websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages.

To start with, GroupM India, the media arm of the WPP Group, has become beta partners to key search engines in the country for new tools and product launches. We work with major search engines and Google is most prominent in the Indian context. By being a beta partner, we get access to their new products and updates before it gets launched in markets, said Tushar Vyas, managing partner, GroupM South Asia. This allows media planners to tailor their plans to suit those new search services, and advice their clients accordingly. The agencys SMB clientele includes, Castrol, Reliance Communications and Dominos, among others.

Meanwhile, ad major Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) India is scouting for acquisitions in the Indian search marketing sector to strengthen its services. We plan to double our business in 2013 with organic as well as inorganic growth plans. We have already invested in tools, process and manpower. With this move, we will be increasing our SMB business in 2013, said Kunal Jeswani, country head- India, OgilvyOne Worldwide. O&Ms search and digital media clients include, IBM, Qualcomm, British Airways and The Economist.

With the economic slowdown, companies are increasingly looking for cost-effective communication solutions. Indian advertisers faith in search marketing is increasing every year as their media spend is accountable in this mode of marketing. As a result, marketing spends on SMB has grown by over 40% in 2012 and is expected to increase in 2013.

Search advertising is highly accountable and customisable and it helps marketers of all sizes connect with users at the perfect moment when theyre actively searching for information, said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP (sales & operations), Google India.

Recognising the growth potential for SMB in India, Google, global leader in search engines, has made significant investments in localising its market outreach to tap the various clusters of SMBs in India. India is a strategic market. We are looking to significantly maximise our reach and educate the Indian SMBs on the benefits of online advertising. Search advertising will be a key a component of that, said Anandan.

After acquiring Mumbai-based search marketing and contextual ad firm Communicate 2 in August 2012, Aegis Media has set up i ProspectCommunicate 2 to offer varied search marketing solutions to its clients. We are geographically expanding our operations by setting up offices in Bangalore and Chennai. Also, we are adding muscle to our existing manpower to meet growing needs in SMB, said Ashish Bhasin, chairman India & CEO South East Asia, Aegis Media Group. Currently, Aegis Media India has offices in Pune, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Looking at new areas in SMB, Aegis Media has set up a studio for shooting and editing ad films in Mumbai. We have joined hands with our creative agency Doosra for this initiative video on the internet. We are doing offshoring business in SMB for our global clients, too, said Bhasin.

According to Anandan, advertisers are today using search advertising campaigns for varied purposes from telcos launching products, to retailers offering discounts, to small businesses generating leads through click to call ads & drive in-store traffic, to firms using search ads to offer online help centre. Bulk of our revenues comes from search advertising and we are growing faster than the industry, he said.

Major search engines include Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Bing, Rediff, Jadoo (game search) and Ask, among others.

The strategy

* With the economic slowdown, companies are increasingly looking for cost-effective communication solutions

* Indian advertisers faith in search marketing is increasing every year as their media spend is accountable in this mode of marketing

* As a result, marketing spends on search marketing business has grown by over 40% in 2012 and is expected to increase in 2013