Inside the ad world
Editorial compatibility is the latest in native advertising and this trend will ensure advertising remains contextually relevant, feel experts

Advertising has long struggled with an image problem around issues of diversity. The growing dependence on smartphones has transformed the way advertisers communicate with consumers. It is but obvious that mobile video will remain a big revenue booster. Further, social media streaming with so-called “stories” has only paved way to this growth.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Cisco, video will absorb 80 per cent of world’s Internet traffic by 2019. And mobile video advertising is projected to touch $9.90 billion by 2018 year-end.

However, having said that experts still believe that native advertising remains a growing tendency with a strong position in online advertising market.

Kalyan Ram Challapalli, chief strategist and founder of Wolfzhowl Strategic Instigations feels being editorially compatible is the latest in native advertising and feels this trend will ensure native advertising is contextually relevant, matches with the personality of the content space and will be less intrusive for consumers. “Some clients are picking up on this trend, but most are afraid that it is too indirect a form of messaging. Editorially, sound native advertising also needs a lot more craft and hence many agencies also do not root for it because of the low retainers they are paid,” he explains. Wolfzhowl is known to work with marketers, digital agencies, CRM & analytics firms, and advertising agencies across India, Singapore & UK.

According to Native Advertising Institute such ads are fast taking over the ad space. It is expected that native display ad revenue will reach record-breaking 74 per cent of total display US ad revenue by 2021 as against 56 per cent in 2016.

Also it is often seen that with the advent of technology, the human angle is diminishing when it comes to brand value. But this long-forgotten concept is the core if an organisation wish to continue growth. After all at the heart of everything, it’s important to understand that every consumer wants you to understand their needs so that they can relate to the brand easily, feel experts.

Amit Sharma, ad film director and co-founder of Chrome Pictures who directed the silent national anthem – a public message video featuring students with hearing and speech impairment, says: “I love telling stories. Every ad, be it about style, fashion or cars or various products needs to connect with the audience. Story is the soul of film. We just finished shooting a feature film – “Badhaai Ho” starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra,” he says.

He recalls how he wanted to explore that national anthem could be sung in a sign language. The idea in itself was very intriguing and exciting. “We explored around 10-12 schools in Mumbai and decided to conduct a 10-day workshop. It was a very special moment for me when I saw the kids performing for the first time. I was speechless and was emotionally attached to them,” he remembers. The human angle can never be avoided.

Amit along with Hemant Bhandari and and Aleya Sen Sharma founded Chrome Pictures way back in 2004.

While story telling and connecting with the audience is imerative, so are promotion and branding.

What’s been the role of branding and promotion, will there be a consolidation given the market scenario?

Kalyan feels consolidation is the only way out in the near future, as it makes no sense to have them run by different companies for a single brand. “Brand building on digital will be addressed better in the near future, as it dawns on marketers that creative marketing and brand building are also very important and that just doing promotions all the time actually damages the brand in the mid-long term,” he says. As digital content clutter increases, brands will understand that their promotions to stand out need to come from the same brand voice and personality. This will ensure that brand builders shall also be promotion crafters and executors soon, he narrates.

According to him advertising is reacting in a panicked mode to social and digital media. “Advertising is either busy turning social media into another broadcast medium instead of an engagement medium or into an adaptation medium. We rarely see any engagement and technology-based innovations. When operating on digital platforms it is very important to keep in mind that you are weaving in your messaging into what the consumer is really interested in,” Kalyan argues.

It’s true, a lot of times it might not be your brand that the consumer is interested in. Hence consumer engagement in digital platforms need to keep user utility in mind and weave in their messaging. At the same time, digital platforms also have to recognise that it is a human being using the platform and hence emotionally evocative acts do work well. “However, the real challenge to traditional advertising is data-led marketing and consumer engagement,” he feels.

Consumer engagement is about to become highly contextual and advertising is not prepared to cope with that change.

Given so many controversies arising from content generation, what steps are taken so that controversial content doesn’t appear beside ad campaigns?

Kalyan argues it is the other way around. “I don’t think we are anywhere close to finding real solutions for this problem yet. Better control over content allowed by platform owners is what we need to start with.” he comments.

In many ways, 2017 is often termed as a proverbial black eye on the digital ad business – be it domain spoofing, fake programmatic inventory or reports of scammers stealing upwards of $6.5 billion from advertisers.

Experts however say they are hopeful that by underbelly of ad frauds coming into light, the right kind of corrective, control measures will be put in place. “Ad fraud is not new. Whenever any new stream of advertising has come-up it has gone through an initial period of ad-fraud. However, digital is naturally more difficult to track and hence ad fraud is easier to hide. Marketers are taking several measures of audits by third party independent agencies, embracing better in-house control and measurement techniques,” argues Kalyan.

Brands will choose control and transparency over mindlessly participating in third-party popular platforms. Ad-fraud, combined with bad-servicing of programmatic content and insight led content marketing becoming more mainstream, the entire digital advertising industry is set to become far more thought-through and transparent,” he added.