Nov 22, 2008

Business - India;Google sees strong shift towards online ads

Sravanthi Challapalli

Chennai, Nov. 21 Google India is seeing a very strong shift towards online advertising, and more so in the face of a slowdown, says Mr Parminder Singh, Business Head (Technology), Google India. Speaking to Business Line, he said that advertisers are now more cautious of how they spend their money and conscious of ways to make it go that extra mile.

Online advertising offers better targeting and flexibility to control ad spend as it need not be committed to a campaign upfront as in traditional advertising. It also provides the facility to gauge the extent of the impact. Google has several kinds of advertising — search ads, gadget ads, display ads and click-to-play video ads — which advertisers could customise to their needs and get information on how Internet users used the ads. The advertising model also allows for advertisers to pay lesser and lesser as the clicks on their ads rise. As the placement of the ad is determined through the auction model, the advertisers decide how much the cost of the click should be, Mr Singh said.

“Even for companies doing well, there is some uncertainty these days, so online advertising — which is measurable, targeted more accurately and served up at the moment of relevance (as in an ad for a camera phone appearing on a web site concerned with mobile phones) — comes in handy at times like this,” he explained. Google conducts Digital Days, which are fairly exhaustive sessions that are an effort to educated and convince advertisers to invest in online advertising.

“Brands are being built online. Online advertising’s advantage is not restricted to lead generation. People are realising that online and offline ads have their own value. It’s not an either-or situation — all media have an impact on each other,” said Mr Singh.

Travelguru, a portal for hotel and air ticket booking and an advertiser which uses the Google platform, says the approach now is strictly driven by return on investments. “There is complete focus on marketing/advertising platforms which are measurable and have clear returns. As we are able to acquire customers at a good CPA (cost per action), there is no need to curtail this investment,” says a spokesperson.

Travelguru’s predominant media of promotion are print and TV, considering that much of India’s population isn’t very computer-literate. “However, mass media advertising does not have the same ROI focus as online advertising and is more of a ‘brand building’ play,” says the spokesperson. “With less measurability, it often gets heightened scrutiny at such periods of slowdown.”

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