Digital branded content has emerged as a surefire way to build brand recognition
By Mayank Yadav
The Covid-19 pandemic hurt all industries alike, and the advertising and marketing verticals are no exceptions. A recent report by Interactive Advertising Bureau stated that “almost 24% media buyers, planners and brands paused ad spending until Q2; while 46% indicated they would adjust their ad spending across the same period”.
The move to digital
However, there has been an interesting shift in paradigm. To give you some context, a survey conducted by Comscore early this year reported that visits to websites and mobile apps in the general news category increased by 61% during March 16-22. Likewise, the report also stated that the reach and engagement with digital content within the business news category have surged by 34% in the same period. These are indicative of the fact that the transition, which was predicted to happen over the next five years, happened over a period of some months or weeks, led by the pandemic. Digital branded content has emerged as a surefire way to build brand recognition. Since the message isn’t a sales pitch, it creates trust between the brand and the consumer.
As per a report by Dentsu Aegis Network, while the FMCG sector spends the highest (30%) on advertising, the biggest spenders on digital are BFSI (42%), followed by consumer durables (38%) and e-commerce (37%). It is evident that traditional industries are betting big on garnering more eyeballs. Brands have had four to five months to restructure, and will be trying to find opportunities to advertise. Verticals such as ed-tech will also continue to maintain an upward gradient, given the current circumstances.
Moving ahead, 2020 is going to be the year of cricket for marketers. Brands must look at placing themselves organically within the content that people are already watching. IPL sponsorships are a great way to do that. Popularising branded content not only during IPL, but before and after the tournament is also important, as content related to their favourite topic will automatically help garner higher engagement. This is where brands must look at capturing viewership across either branded content around cricket, or creating campaigns around cricket.
However, owing to the Covid-19 situation, traditional brand spending on IPL will be dismally low. A majority of sponsors this time are start-ups. Furthermore, for the first time ever, IPL and the festive season are going to coincide. Marketers are looking at this as a collective opportunity to drive demand and revive the economy. With digital media, it is also now possible to draw up multiple creatives, or work with publishers to focus on two back-to-back opportunities for their brands. This wasn’t hitherto possible with TV or traditional media buying.
However, there will be a lot of clutter in this space as numerous brands will advertise to make their presence felt, be it around IPL or the festive season. Therefore, this is a perfect opportunity for brands to be most genuine in their approach, so as to remain relevant and have top-of-mind recall. It will be imperative for brands to generate organic viewership and virality in their spends.
It must also be noted that since 2020 is unprecedented and very different for all industries and sectors alike, IPL, too, will witness innovation as far as brand advertising is concerned. A lot of brands are looking at it as an opportunity, but at the same time, treading with caution. Most will use the fail-fast approach to see what is working and what’s not, and continuously innovate on things that can potentially work for the brand.
The author is CEO, Rusk Media