We are thriving on our advance towards digitalisation. The increased media consumption has led to the rise of content production and distribution through digital channels. Digital video consumption, at its peak of proliferation steered by emerging trends and innovation, has given a new direction to brands and consumers.
Consequently, brands now seek better insights into the evolving patterns of technology, advertising and content in the digital world. With this context in mind, ZEE5 and ETBrandEquity.com led an initiative, ConTech.Ed, to analyse the changing trends, demystify the digital video consumer preferences, and delve into ways brands can leverage these insights to gain maximum benefits.
Shaili Chopra, Founder of SheThePeople, hosted the session in conversation with Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO – APAC, Group M; Rohit Sharma, Founder and CEO, POKKT; Projjol Banerjee, Founder and CPO, Zeotap; and Ujjiyaini Mitra, Chief Data Officer, ZEE Entertainment Enterprise Ltd.
The Rise of Digital Media Consumption
Digital media consumption has surged, leading to significant consumer behavior shifts. With people in their homes during the pandemic, the digital growth has accelerated further. Digital video content has widely been reconstructed, and its reach to the audience is being re-strategised.
Srivastava of Group M commented on the trends of content modifications based on consumer demographics, “Initially, content in India used to be focused toward the male millennial living in metros and seeing it on mobile. But today, content is available in all forms, languages and a plethora of devices, which in turn helped all platforms grow in terms of penetration across the country. This trend will continue to expand.”
With this digital video consumption shift steering in a direction of multi-device, multi-demographic reach, brands are discovering new ways to engage consumers, better technologies to leverage and bigger branding opportunities to grab.
“Big time, people are moving to smart TV. Earlier, video consumption was on mobile; but now it’s on large screens, where families are also consuming the video. So, advertisers who want to target families as an audience base can now utilise the big screen as an opportunity”, explained Ujjayini.
Gaming has become another new opportunity in the digital sphere for brands to draw consumers. Sharma of POKKT revealed, “Post-pandemic gaming has surged and our traffic of unique audiences in a quarter has grown by 20%. Gaming will be the only platform that will provide a different consumer base on the basis of gamification, which more and more brands can use for engagement. The merger of gaming users and programmatic advertising will be a great differentiator for advertisers.”
Evolving Advertising Patterns: Building Foundations on Technology and Data
It has become crucial for digital platforms and brands to have data-driven technology to deliver modern advertising requirements. Digital platforms are immersed with data on consumer habits that can lead to a wide range of possibilities to strategise and target desired audiences. Advertisers need to scrutinise the shifts in data and media consumption modes to rethink their audience engagement strategies. “The first trend that has emerged is first-party data because it gives a strong platform to build a marketing strategy and execute on it. The other is consolidation with the explosion of technology in the last decade. Brands are striving to grapple with the latest technologies,” Banerjee of Zeotap remarked.
Technology has indeed become a foundation for brands to create personalised, targeted ad experiences for their audiences. Mitra of ZEE5 added on this note, “Investments are going pretty heavy on artificial intelligence-driven products, creating consumer data analytics, hyper-personalisation and demonstrating how much we can know about their behavior outside our platforms, to create targeted ad experiences.”
Advertising and Data: The Need to Prioritise Consumer Privacy
The process of leveraging consumer data to create preferred pieces of media content is complex as it also necessitates the involvement of consumer data privacy. Mitra emphasised, “Data privacy is very important, and it needs to be managed. Consequently, subtle changes will occur in advertising.” Garnering consumers’ trust entails brands to prioritise and reinforce privacy and security of their data. The requirement is getting even intricate with stricter privacy regulations.
Srivastava suggested some solutions to the above scenario, “One of the technologies trying to solve this bottleneck is blockchain. For instance, blockchain applications can cater to privacy where consumers share their data and that remains clearly visible to them. There will be new solutions and new ideas in the area of identity and security; however, it will take time. We have to work with different solutions to try and solve this problem.”
In other words, advertisers must seek branding methods that engage consumers closely with minimal or no risk to their privacy. In this context, even with all the data restrictions, the space for influencer branding is going to flourish. Sharma expressed his views, “The influencer model is not tech-heavy. Platforms are being built to maintain transparency and engagement between consumers and brands, and the amount of return it is giving to the brands is amazing.” He is hopeful that the proliferation of social media will lead to the emergence of more influencers who are closely followed by consumers, and that will scale up advertising.
Digital Advertising in the Future
Mitra believes that, in the future advertisers, will start to tell a story to help consumers relate to them. “The advertising will change from a distinct video to be a part of the video and the story,” she added.
Modifications in the methods of content production, rise of analytics and evolution of advertising technology are harbingers of a new age of digital media. And in this age, video will keep on growing by leaps and bounds over the next few years. Thus, digital video consumers will become a key medium for brand growth, according to Banerjee. Brands should be prepared to leverage this consumer reach to mount any kind of transactions – whether an e-commerce transaction or any downstream activity.
The pattern of media buying will continue to shift from media to the audience. Privacy of consumers will continue to be a focus point for brands and digital platforms while using data for creating advertising strategies. In addition to these, storytelling and personalised, targeted content will find more relevance as video consumers continue to seek better, more authentic experiences.
In the race of digitalisation, brands will need to watch out for the shifting consumer choices and growing technology ecosystem to remain relevant and thrive in their branding journey.