2021 provided a big fillip to the Indian digital & mobile ad ecosystem: Vasuta Agarwal

With the year 2021 drawing to a close, it is time to recap the major developments across the industry. As in the previous years, Adgully reviews the year 2021 for M&E, Advertising, Digital, Marketing, PR & Communications along with leading names in the industry.

As opposed to the severe disruptions brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the year 2021 was more about resilience and rebuilding.

In conversation with Adgully, Vasuta Agarwal, MD, APAC, InMobi, recaps the trends and developments that dominated the Indian digital and mobile industry during 2021. She also shares her projections and expectations for 2022.

Performance & key developments in Digital

The year 2021 provided a big fillip to the Indian digital and mobile advertising ecosystem. In the background of the pandemic, digital channels, and more so mobile, became the lifeline of consumers and marketing organisations alike as they sought to meaningfully connect with the world around them. Simultaneously, data streams that helped build rich experiences for users, who have come to expect immersive and personalised journeys, came under the scanner. Advertisers across the nation continue to focus on being in lockstep with their consumers who are now exploring digital avenues at an unprecedented pace.

3 Key Trends that brands need to look out

While there has been a great buzz about the endless possibilities with the metaverse, the truth is that an entire generation of consumers is already living a version of this reality. Be it shopping on apps to meet their daily needs, watching the latest blockbuster movies in the palm of their hands, or gaming to connect with virtual communities – Indians have embraced their digital lives. Naturally, as they spend more time plugged into their phones, consumer expectations from brands have also dramatically risen, who are now willing to engage in meaningful data exchange provided it enables a more fulfilling brand interaction. As we see the Great India mobile economy exponentially grow, below are 3 key trends that brands need to look out for:

  • Gaming will rule media time spent among connected consumers: Over the past 18 months, we have consistently seen a growth in time spent by smartphone users on their mobile – accounting for 25% of all screen time. Brands must take note of this and invest in mobile gaming-based display and video advertising on programmatic as one of the primary channels for reaching connected consumers in India.
  • All eyes will be on the non-urban connected consumer: At above 800 million Internet users, India is home to the second largest Internet user base in the world and will become the biggest in a few years’ time. Thanks to the mobile revolution, non-urban Indians are coming online fast. And as this ever-growing Indian digitalization story unfolds, all eyes will be on the non-urban connected consumer.
  • Building mobile marketing maturity will be critical: Brands that do not build mobile marketing maturity will find it extremely difficult to keep pace with the connected consumer and consequentially be left behind by their competition. Brands that are cognizant of their consumers’ expectations and maximise the potential of each channel by creating personalised and immersive experiences are bound to rise to the top in 2022.

As organisations continue to pivot, strategise, and scale their mobile marketing maturity strategies in the next normal, I am reminded of the conversations I had with leaders across the advertising ecosystem, when we discussed what does it take to build resilience, ultimately it came down to three indisputable factors: Purpose, Authenticity, and Consistency.


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