Advertising volume increases by 23%: Digital marketing recognized as the way forward in 2021 India

With advertising in 2020 seeing a rise initially in FMCG brands on account of the Covid-19 outbreak, all companies in 2021 are building a stronger online presence as ad volumes see a boost


The annual study What India Watches of the BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council India) in February reported that Advertising Volumes in Indian television have increased by 23 per cent since the January 2020, as opposed to the 21 per cent fluctuation observed from 2019 to 2020.  Additionally, Ad Volumes are said to be the highest since 2017 on account of increased consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The increase in overall ad volumes in January 2020 dropped by 4 per cent, as compared to the growth in January 2019 – 108 ad volumes in million seconds in January 2020, as opposed to 133 ad volumes in million seconds in January 2019. Trends indicate that the ad volumes in 2021 have increased by a whopping 23% as compared to 2020’s numbers.

As reported by the BARC’s study, the kids genre saw the highest spike of 35 per cent in ad volumes, followed by movies with a 28 per cent surge and music with 31 per cent. The GEC and news genre saw surges of 23 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in 2021 as compared to 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic in India, since March 2020, disrupted supply chains and marketing investments, on account of the sharp drop in demand for non-FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) products and services due to the imposed lockdown.

While digital consumption saw an explosive spike both on television (by 40%) and on the internet, advertising was ironically at an all-time low as demand for non-essential or goods and services slumped. Companies dealing with essential goods and services continued with their existing advertising strategies with little alterations and saw a 36 per cent rise in ad volumes, while others have either reduced their advertising expenditure or focussed on virtual brand building.

In 2020, television was reported to be the medium that received the most traction in advertisements. “Television continues to be the screen of the household for all major advertisers, both before and after the hit of the pandemic,” stated BARC India in a statement to the media, despite overall ad volumes having dropped by 3 per cent in 2020.

The study said that although ad volumes dropped by 3 per cent on television, the top 20 Indian advertisers in 2020 had a 10 per cent increase in ad volumes as compared to the top 20 advertisers in 2019. FMCG brands like Whitehat Jr., Vaseline Intensive Care and Harpic Power Plus are the most successful entrants in advertising. Brands like Dettol Toilet Soaps, Dettol Antiseptic Liquid and Lizol have also seen a massive growth in ad volumes.

With the lockdown persisting even in 2021, deterioration of planned purchases will require brands to revamp their marketing strategy and language. Social media marketing and unprecedented methods of online marketing like livecasting for B2C brands and webinars for B2B brands contributed greatly to the growth of brands in this digital age.

“When lockdowns are lifted and things get back to normal, individual consumption on personal digital devices will increase and TV’s dominance will go down,” predicts Anuj Kapoor, Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM-Ahmedabad. Digital marketing and e-commerce has given brands a better understanding of target audiences, and paid campaigns and consistent communication via social media has given them an opportunity to use a language of trust, social care and authenticity.