India is a hotbed for the cryptocurrency industry and numbers are here to prove the same. Investment in the sector has risen to $6.6 billion in May 2021 from $923 million in April 2020, as per a recent Bloomberg report. Flushed with fresh funds, cryptocurrency firms including CoinSwitch Kuber, WazirX, CoinDCX, among others have released an advertising blitzkrieg in an effort to win the quintessential Indian consumer. The sector is expected to have an ad-spend ranging between Rs 150-180 crore, in the on-going financial year. “Cryptocurrency platforms have released high decibel campaigns across TV and digital to educate people about digital currency and how easy it is to invest. I believe these platforms will continue to spend throughout the next year and further, particularly in lieu of RBI about to announce its new digital currency (CBDC – Central Bank Digital Currency ) later this year. Hopefully, there would be space for both private cryptos and CBDC,” Gopa Kumar, COO, Isobar India, said.
Even as platforms such as WazirX and CoinDCX have advertised on TV, much of the ad-spend is skewed towards digital. Case in point, digital had almost a 100% share in terms of ad insertions when it comes to Cryptocurrency platforms between January-July 2021, as per the latest data by AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research. Ad insertions on digital saw a 12x increase between January-July 2021, compared to the same period a year ago. Interestingly, within digital, it is video which is leading the pack in terms of spends, followed by display ads and search. “We are looking at using all mediums to our best advantage. As almost 50% of users of our platform are below 28 years of age, it is natural that we will up our spends on digital including video over -the-top (OTT) platforms,” Sharan Nair, chief business officer, CoinSwitch Kuber, stated, adding that the platform is also considering advertising on TV.
Cryptocurrency exchange WazirX claims that it will continue to use digital to advertise, as the medium allows it to target users. “Although the last campaign on TV has helped in a double-digit brand lift in terms of unaided brand recall, we will spend on TV in a controlled manner,” Rajagopal Menon, vice president, WazirX, said. Moreover, the company claims to have spent a good amount on video streaming platforms.
For Ramalingam Subramanian, marketing head, CoinDCX, ‘Educate and acquire’ is the crux of the platform’s marketing strategy as the company doesn’t want users to come onboard uninformed. “We don’t release campaigns which promote multiple gains, we would rather focus on normalising crypto as asset diversification, besides educating users about it as an investment class,” Subramanian added. The large part of CoinDCX’s marketing budget is focused on digital acquisition. On digital, the overall spend is divided among performance, video, mobile-website affiliates. Nearly 70% of digital ad spend is being used to drive performance based campaigns and the remaining 30% is used for video ads across OTT platforms and influencer campaigns.
Additionally, the platforms have begun to invest in tentpole properties on streaming platforms such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), Bigg Boss, among others. For example, CoinSwitch Kuber collaborated with Disney+Hotstar for IPL 2021 as an Associate Sponsor. After the last IPL campaign, the platform’s registrations went up by 4x, CoinSwitch Kuber’s Nair claimed. It has also partnered with Disney+Hotstar for the upcoming ICC T20 WorldCup.
India’s first crypto unicorn CoinDCX is one of key sponsors of Viacom18’s owned Voot’s reality show, Bigg Boss. The size of the deal is estimated to be in the range of Rs 8-10 crore. According to Subramanian, the main reason behind these partnerships is to create top-of-the-mind awareness for CoinDCX, as well as for the entire category, he added. Meanwhile, WazirX tied up with SonyLIV as a co-presenting sponsor for UEFA EURO 2020.
Moreover, the category is using influencers to drive conversations. For instance, WazirX claims to be building its strategy around expert-led content. The platform has tied up with domain experts such as CA Rachana Ranade, besides influencers such as Nikhil Chinapa who speaks on the topic in an interactive format.
Over 30 crypto platforms have advertised on digital between January-July 2021. Of these only two players — WazirX and CoinDCX have spent money on TV. CoinSwitch Kuber is the top brand on digital with a 49% share of ad insertions, followed by CoinDCX with a 22% share. Meanwhile, WazirX and ZebPay accounted for a 10% share of ad insertions each.
With the Indian government yet to finalise the cryptocurrency bill, trust has been a major area of concern. “The category will become a big spender when there is consumer trust and that will happen when the legislation is drafted and there is a consistent approach for all players. If everything goes right, this category has the potential to be one of the big spenders and contributors to overall adex,” Isobar’s Kumar noted.