Internet Spend in India

Was going through the “Indian media forecasts” report released by GroupM recently, the report has covered trends of different media quite comprehensively. Well, I will write my view-point and analysis of that report separately as I still need to go through some of the figures in details. Call it my special personal interest in this space or the nature of my job, but one thing which immediately caught my attention in that report was trend of internet media. Spend on internet media was Rs. 390 crore in 2007 as against Rs. 204 crore in 2006. And this spend is expected to become Rs. 624 crore in 2008. Here is the table which I have made out of GroupM April’08 report for internet spends.

Well, the good thing is that internet spend has increased by 91% since last year, a very commendable growth so to say and is further expected to grow by 60% in 2008, but the sad part is that the % share of media is just 2%!!! Now this is an abysmally low share of the total media spend considering the internet penetration amongst the urban India now-a-days. Had read it in last year report that on an average, Indians in metros and category A towns spend 9 hours a week on internet. And if I think of myself and me like lakhs of consumers who are working professionals and their life revolve around internet, I think this average time will surely go high. On an average most of us must be spending 5+ hours daily on internet and this is far more than time spent on TV or newspaper. Television for sure is restricted to few minutes on weekdays and few hours on weekends. Despite such high internet reach in most of the metros, A and B category towns, why is this % share of overall media so low?

Though more number of brands are advertising on internet now but still internet as a medium is taken in most of the cases just to complete the 360 degree circle. Also whichever company I have worked for, one key factor which I have personally experienced in planning an internet campaign is the fact that most of the media planners present internet as a lead generation medium wherein a small ad click will take you to a landing page asking you to submit your details! No freshness or uniqueness at all! One can hardly observe any innovative and engaging campaign on internet these days which is for brand building and not only for lead generation. Well, working for a company where leads play a critical role for sales team, I agree that lead generation is a very critical objective for any campaign but just spending few grands or max lakhs on internet only for lead generation and not for brand building is not at all justified for this medium.

When most of the big budget campaigns have advertising money spent in crores on traditional medium like television or newspaper why can’t there be money spent on internet as well? When money can be spent on hoardings or television where there is so less accountability, why on internet everything needs to be justified by CPL or CPA? I think a good internet strategy should have both angle – brand building followed by lead generation and marketers as well as decision makers should realize the importance of internet now. Internet as a medium is not only having high reach these days but it is also one of the most quantifiable medium. As compared to any other medium, internet can measure the performance of any campaign more accurately and precisely. Well, its time now that this medium should definitely be given its due!

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