Decoding Programmatic Advertising in India: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

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The realm of programmatic advertising has experienced significant expansion and acceptance over the past few years, not only in India but also in Southeast Asia overall. It has revolutionized the way digital advertising is conducted, enabling precise targeting and increased efficiency. In India, the programmatic advertising market has grown exponentially, driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones and internet connectivity. India and Indonesia are among the top five countries in the world for smartphone adoption by volume of users and by percentage of population. Meanwhile, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines each reached a 90% internet penetration rate in 2022.

This article aims to explore the current state of programmatic advertising in India, highlighting the trends, and strategies that will be helpful to leverage this automated advertising approach.

Programmatic Trends in India

In recent years, India has witnessed a significant shift towards programmatic advertising as advertisers become increasingly aware of its efficiency and effectiveness in reaching their desired target audiences. This growing recognition has led to a steady rise in ad spend allocated to programmatic advertising. Notably, ad spend in India is estimated to grow at 15.5% in 2023 to reach 1.46 trillion Indian Rupees (~18 billion). Indian marketers are expected to enhance their marketing strategies by utilizing data-driven buying techniques, enabling them to efficiently and accurately target their desired audiences. 

Based on “The State of Programmatic in JAPAC 2022” report, the Japan and Asia-Pacific (JAPAC) region is witnessing a remarkable surge in programmatic investment and revenue. More than 70% of firms in the region have reported an uptick in their programmatic activity compared to the previous year. 

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As programmatic advertising continues to evolve and mature in the Indian market, its role is set to expand further, empowering advertisers with data-driven insights and strategies to effectively navigate the digital advertising landscape and drive meaningful results for their brands. You can also learn about the advantages of running programmatic campaigns in India by downloading our free eBook.

The Difference Between Mobile Programmatic and Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to affiliate marketing and mobile programmatic, there are major differences. In affiliate marketing, an advertiser (an app developer) hires an affiliate (an ad network) to run the marketing and promotions for their app. Ad networks are the middlemen who sell the publisher’s ad impressions at a set price. 

Mobile programmatic on the other hand, is automated. Impressions are bought and sold in real time and do not rely on manual insertion orders and trading. This method saves time, avoids human errors, and allows real-time price negotiation through auctions based on supply and demand.

There is also full transparency with mobile programmatic, from impression to end-user event behaviors. Its standout feature is the ability to serve specific ads to specific audiences, giving advertisers precise control over who sees what ad and when. These advanced targeting capabilities enable the acquisition, retention, and retargeting of high LTV users, leading to increased ROI.

Take a look at the below table for a summary of the differences between affiliate marketing and mobile programmatic.

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Mobile Marketing is the Way to Go

Mobile marketing in India has transformed the advertising industry, enabling advertisers to reach a large customer base. With widespread smartphone ownership and active digital engagement, mobile devices provide an ideal platform for targeted ads. Advertisers are leveraging this opportunity by creating campaigns customized for mobile users, optimizing content for smaller screens, and delivering a seamless user experience.

India boasts the world's second-largest internet population, with over 749 million users in 2020, and the majority of them accessed the internet via their mobile phones. It is projected that this number will exceed 1.5 billion by 2040. The rise of smartphones has revolutionized mobile marketing, enabling advertisers to engage with consumers in real-time and forge personalized connections, presenting limitless opportunities for impactful advertising in India. 

Growth in Mobile Gaming

The mobile gaming market in India and Southeast Asia (SEA) holds immense potential. According to Google's findings in 2022, approximately 80% of the population in SEA engages in mobile gaming, with one in three smartphone owners playing games on their devices at least once a week. The revenue from mobile games is expected to continue its upward trajectory, reaching a peak of approximately 5.02 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. Projections for 2023 indicate that India alone is expected to have 209.6 million mobile gamers, creating a highly captivating landscape for both local developers and advertisers.

With a thriving market and a growing number of game developers focusing on creating engaging and localized content, the mobile gaming industry in India is poised for further expansion and success in the coming years.

Navigating Programmatic Advertising in India: Key Strategies for Success

In the present macroeconomic climate, marketers are confronted with increasing demands to justify their ad spending, minimize inefficiencies, and achieve a return on investment (ROI). The vast array of options available in digital advertising can make it seem like a complex and daunting process to comprehend. Let's explore several strategies to make the most of programmatic advertising in the Indian market.

  • Consult with Experts

Partnering with experienced programmatic advertising experts can provide valuable insights and guidance to optimize campaign performance as they bring valuable expertise and insights to the table. With their deep understanding of the programmatic landscape, these specialists can offer valuable recommendations to fine-tune audience targeting strategies and make informed decisions about ad placements hence helping marketers maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their programmatic campaigns, ultimately driving better results and achieving their desired advertising goals.

  • Design the Right Creative for the Right Audience

Crafting ad creatives that effectively resonate with specific target audiences is paramount in capturing their attention and fostering engagement. It is essential to tailor creative elements, including visuals, messaging, and call-to-action, to align with the preferences and needs of the intended audience. One vital aspect of achieving this is through personalization. By harnessing data-driven insights, businesses can customize their programmatic ads to deliver highly relevant messages to individual users, leveraging demographics and browsing behavior. This enables advertisers to create personalized ad experiences that resonate with their target audience, leading to stronger connections, higher engagement, and overall campaign success. 

Additionally, considering localization is crucial, particularly in a diverse country like India, with multiple languages and cultural nuances. By localizing ad creatives, incorporating language-specific messaging, and being mindful of cultural sensitivities, advertisers can establish genuine connections, overcome language barriers, and drive stronger brand affinity and conversions. Learn more by visiting the link here.

                              GIF for localization GIF for personalization

Bottom Line

Programmatic advertising has gained significant traction in India, with rising ad spend and a shift toward mobile marketing. Businesses that embrace programmatic strategies are poised to maximize the potential of programmatic advertising in the Indian market. By staying informed about the latest trends and employing effective strategies, advertisers can tap into the vast digital landscape of India and drive successful programmatic campaigns. To learn how we can help you in this journey drop us a message here.

Aarki is currently seeking talented individuals in Bangalore who are eager to drive innovation in the field of mobile advertising. If you are ready to contribute to the cutting-edge advancements in this industry, let’s chat! Job openings banner

Topics: Creative Insights