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Digital Trends - Kal Aaj Kal

Here are the six digital trends that are going to get only bigger

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Power is shifting towards the connected consumer. One of my observations - instead of using technology to just automate processes, industries are looking at it to aggrandize human interaction. The need for the shift in focus has not come in overnight. Connectivity is arguably the most important game changer in the history of marketing. More so, screens are becoming so important in our lives that we spend more than four hours of our time daily to use multiple screens sequentially and simultaneously. And behind these screen-based interactions, the internet has been the backbone. Hence, the broader approach I observe for advertisers, there is a gradual shift from thinking about a growth framework rather than just doing a campaign.

In this article, I will share from my lens, 6 trends that are going to get only bigger.

Voice – Everyone has an Assistant 
Way back in time, much longer than recorded history, voice was and is still the primary mode of communication. It’s evident that humans started using voice to interact long before they started to communicate in writing. We first learned to interact through voice, and it is therefore, the most natural, easy and spontaneous way for us to convey as also we are wired to respond more easily to voice. See the ‘Kal Aaj Kal’ of it?

Think about it. When we type a search into Google, we phrase it slightly differently than when we use Alexa for information. For example, a person looking for the nearest Indian restaurant might type “GAP stores” into Google, but might ask Cortana, “where is the closest GAP store?”. When writing content, choosing our keywords based on the questions people may ask when using Siri or Alexa, can increase visibility, and this digital marketing trend will see a steep growth in scope, usage and monetization.

Expanding orbit in Vernacular
According to a recent report, the estimated market size of the vernacular content market in India is $53 Bn. A study by KPMG on the vernacular internet users in India has estimated that out of the total 735 Mn internet users in India by the year 2021, 73% (or 536 Mn) are going to Indian language internet users. In addition, the increasing migration from rural to urban regions is also equipping more Indian language users with stable and high-speed internet which will eventually increase the usage of vernacular internet apps and services over time. Right from their websites, to their apps, social media campaigns, performance advertising and even social media listening, Indic languages are a focal point.

And if we are talking vernacular , how can we miss the growing regional OTT platforms – Hoichoi (Bengali), SunNxt (South India), launch of Aha (Telugu) in March 2020, Planet Marathi launched in Dec 2020, Koode (Malayalam) launched in Dec 2020, CityShor.TV (Gujarati) launched in Oct 2020, Talkies (Tulu, Konkani, Kannada) launched recently and also caters to a lesser-known dialect Beary (Byari). And to me, this is just the beginning.

Speaking to regional audiences involves more than just taking a brand’s main communication and translating it into various languages. Instead, it requires them to develop communications aimed specifically at these audiences, keeping their unique needs, challenges and desires at the core. Only by doing this can they create that all-important personal connection with consumers, and we are seeing an increasing scope here with an upward trend.


If your ads do fall victim to ad blockers, the best strategy is to adapt and not waste time trying to convince potential customers to change their own preferences. Readjust your advertising budget to suit other, more fruitful campaigns, like influencer marketing or sponsored content. Younger audiences don’t seem to respond that well to display ads anyway, but they do respond well to influencer marketing, so making the switch is advisable in any situation. Hence, the need to stay agile and adapt.

Personalization (More than Customization)
People buy (and share content) from those that they know, like, and trust Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2022, $800 billion in revenue is likely to shift to the 15% of companies that get personalization right. On average, people spend about 6 hours and 48 minutes per week watching videos online. The main reason why people love watching videos is because of their highly interactive nature and the various formats. In fact, personalized videos can be the best form of interactive marketing given that messages through videos are retained better. Consumer appetite for personalized products is stronger today – so much so that they’re willing to pay for products unique to them.  

Though personalization and customization are not the same. Personalization is about creating a one-to-one marketing experience for customers. It begins with collecting ample qualitative data about your audience. Amazon is a brilliant example of personalization done right, and so are Spotify, Netflix and YouTube. Recommendations flow depending on users’ on-site activities. Customization, on the contrary, is about giving people the liberty to be able to custom-make a product or service, based on their particular taste. Put simply, it puts them in the centre, having complete control over everything they’d like to keep or lose.

For example, Canva, a free online graphs and chart maker, has plenty of customizable templates. Users can make changes in fonts, colour, layout etc. and also add/delete elements in an existing design or start from scratch. Nike uses customization to great effect, letting shoppers edit the shoe design and even sharing the customized design on their social networks. Of course, flaunting on social media is an additional way to give shoppers’ ego a boost, because someone out there may praise! For Nike, it could translate to more people dropping by their website and buying their products.

In the present set of my regular apps that I use, I find Spotify doing a great job in the right mix of both personalization and customization.

Shoppable Ads
E-commerce has transformed the way business is done in India from which tangents on various forms of shopping have taken shape. The Indian E-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion as of 2017. India’s E-commerce revenue is expected to jump from US$ 39 billion in 2017 to US$ 120 billion in 2020, growing at an annual rate of 51 per cent, the highest in the world. Much of the growth for the industry has been triggered by an increase in internet and smartphone penetration. Conceptually, it is about a marketplace and also the concept of creating different ways to shop for new products. Shoppable posts allow brands to list products on social media posts. Users scrolling through the feed can find, tap, and purchase products directly inside an app such as Instagram. Using shoppable posts removes a barrier to entry for your customers

Marketing to Gen Z – Video at the Centre
This coming-of-age of Gen Z is a big deal to marketers, and is becoming one of the most wide-spread digital marketing trends of 2020. One study by MNI Targeted Media Inc. went as far as claiming Gen Z will comprise up to 40% of all consumers in 2020 and account for $4 billion in discretionary spending. While I was bit skeptical of their optimism, even a conservative estimate still proves their market power. A Lincoln Financial Group study from back in 2016 showed that 60% of Gen Z already had a savings account and 54% had a checking account — more than other generations at their age. A Centre from 2017 revealed that 21% of Gen Z had a savings account before the age of 10. These studies also showed that Gen Z prioritizes saving money for the future more than other generations. According to a research, Gen Z responds well to video blogs, photography, online comics, GIFs and memes. The big winner, though, is short-form video.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Ankoor Dasguupta

Ankoor Dasguupta is the Vice President - Media at Hashtag Orange. With two decades of work experience, Ankoor identifies himself as a learner, mentor and a strong believer in network effects and nurturing relationships. Connect with Ankoor on LinkedIn. Twitter handle is @AnkoorNow

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