We are now in a state of free play: Rubeena Singh

Adgully is back with a new edition of its annual feature – TRENDING NOW – where we present the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of the pandemic period.

Over the next few weeks, Trending Now will bring insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are gearing up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.

In conversation with Adgully, Rubeena Singh, Country Manager, Josh, speaks about the key marketing trends expected in 2022, as well as the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.

What are the trends that you expect to dominate in your sector in 2022?

Plagued with uncertainty, the last two years have forced brands to reinvent and rework their marketing strategies. Going into 2022, we will see the pronounced trends that emerged and shaped brand marketing strategies for the last two years.

Short Form Video led advertising: Video will continue its meteoric rise, especially short-format video. With limited attention spans and the lack of time, we foresee more and more consumers spending their time, browsing trends and consuming content off short video apps in their preferred language. With India’s short-video user base expected to reach 650 million by 2025, short-video will hence be a popular choice as brands aim at communicating more effectively with their consumers.

Growth of Local language advertising: The next set of 500 million Internet users in India with come from outside of Tier 1 cities.  Also, with video consumption surpassing text on digital, these users will prefer local language content. After all, a Bollywood movie beats even the biggest Hollywood Blockbuster in India! As brands focus more on engaging with their consumers in a more personalised manner, a key trend we can expect to observe this year will be the growth of local language digital advertising.

Uptick in social commerce: Leveraging both these trends and expected to boom in 2022 will be the rise of social commerce, considering shifting consumers sentiments and rising popularity of influencer led marketing. In 2022, we can expect social commerce to grow very rapidly and see the space evolve into a mature one.

We’re already seeing these trends take shape, especially with regard to our short-video app, Josh. As brands strive to communicate with their consumers meaningfully and authentically, platforms like ours become the driving force behind such engagements and will play a larger, more crucial role going ahead, especially in terms of leveraging short-video to maximise on the potential of local language content and the creator economy.

What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?

With the emergence of new trends such as short form video, influencer marketing, AR, etc., gaining high traction among consumers, brands are yet playing catch up. There is a lag to build capabilities and adopt these forms by brands and their agencies. 

A major challenge brands face is to rise above the clutter. These new formats create an opportunity for brands to innovate and create as they shape strategies, to reach their potential customers. Brands now have the opportunity to open up ongoing, engaging conversations with their consumers, including them in their brand narrative in a personalised and hyperlocal way.

How strong will this sector’s growth be this year, compared to the last two years as well as the pre-Covid period?

The pandemic forced us to throw out our playbooks and write a completely new one adapted to the world we now live in. We are now in a state of free play.

As brands had to focus on digitising their business models and engaging with their consumers in a more personalised manner, digital marketing grew phenomenally. Digital continues to grow at high rates of 30% plus and reach a market size of approximately Rs 30,000 crore at the end of 2022. Digital media has enhanced the way customers interact with brands and other users as well, with social enhancing the equation. Social media continues to dominate the highest proportion of digital ad spends with a share of approx. 30%. We expect there will be further growth of digital advertising, in the next few years.


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