2019, Are You Listening?

Ayushman Chiranewala, Head - Marketing, Fastrack - Titan Ayushman is a strong marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry. He is highly skilled in Marketing Management, Retail, Sales, Market Research, Management and many other sectors.

Advertising is one of the most prolific industries in India with never a boring day. It is the industry that has always kept a tab on the pulse of the consumer, unearthed new ways to communicate to them and driven innovation in different fields in an attempt to reach-out to them. The industry has grown considerably with brands and businesses investing heavily in different mediums to further their cause.

While large pockets of the industry across the globe are already seeing saturation in expenditure, growth in India is still being driven with digital making in-roads to some of the most untouched and untapped markets. Thanks to affordable mobile-internet plans, courtesy of the Jio-revolution, digital platforms today are seeing increasing number of users hopping on to their products and services. 330 million of the 400 million internet users, access it via their smartphones – completely bypassing the desktop computer altogether. It is not only YouTube, which has seen India viewership grow 1.8x, but other platforms too since Jio’s entry into the telecom sector.

Advertisers and brands today are looking to go beyond the quagmire of urban markets, opening-up countless opportunities for the industry. And sitting at the heart of this is the simplicity and ease of access driven by new audio-video technologies. Since, the advent of TVC, video has taken the lead in driving creative, innovation, and growth possibilities to new heights. YouTube, Netflix, and other OTT platforms are today’s harbingers of change. However, what is taking the world by storm is the rise of ‘audio’. While still in a nascent stage, the possibilities and applications are infinite.

With the growing number of users from rural India becoming digitally active,‘voice search’has become a
buzz word for users and marketers alike. According
GlobalWebIndex Voice Search Report, 27percent of the global online population is using voice search on mobile – and a similar trend is visible in India as well. 28 percent of search queries in India are done by voice, and Hindi voice search queries are growing at over 400 percent year on year. It’s the ease of access and use of the technology that makes this the new preferred way of internet usage. For an audience set that is still grappling with tech know-how, it doesn’t get easier to use internet for whatever purpose – shopping, entertainment and research than to simply just say things at your phone. Tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple are working at besting each other in speech recognition technology, however the options and resources available to brands is limited, making it difficult to deliver a unique brand experience to consumers.

"For a country that is divided by linguistic barriers, it is interesting to see new audio-tech is driving tech adoption and a certain sense of uniformity"

Brands today have little to no plans on voice search. There are a handful of brands who’ve actually have gotten their website in ship shape to capitalize on this rising trend. Consumers find it intuitive to search for product and information simply by talking to their phone the way they would to their peers. While most advertisers have this foresight, the symbiotic relationship between advertisers and publisher is stalling end-to-end implementation, growth and innovation. Most implementations today are based on manual tests and guess-work. While, there are case studies and articles on how to go about it, there’s very little to work with in terms of data to back your experiments and formulate way forwards.

Another trend on the rise, propelling the usage of voice search is Smart Assistants. With the Google Assistant launched just over a year ago and over 60 percent of Indian mobile users using Android OS, it is safe to say almost every Indian today has an assistant. While publishers are ready, marketers are far from ready. The investments to build an assistant bot while not very significant, does not really justify the ROI. When in a toss-up between other tried and tested measures, an assistant bot tends to take a backseat, curtailing development in the sector. Development is driven by marketing gimmicks, PR value and not long-term plans. It is imperative that solution providers, content creators, and brands see value and invest prudently to catalysis advancement.

Online music streaming is another sector that is fast exploding. Brands like JioSaavn, Gaana are top of mind for the Indian consumer. The consumer is steadily shifting from downloading music or listening to it on radio to streaming it on demand on these platforms. This opens newer prospects for advertisers and brands to get their message to the tuned in audience in the most creative manner. Ad-tech on these platforms is also getting the right focus with the ability to create real-time audio spots and other innovations in the works that go beyond the traditional jingles, with brands are willing to bet on newer avenues to advertise.

For a country that is divided by linguistic barriers, it is interesting to see new audio-tech is driving tech adoption and a certain sense of uniformity. 2019 holds potential for this space to overcome hurdles and deliver a seamless experience for the consumer.