It is finally happening. Even as marketers are steadily moving from conventional advertising platforms to digital platforms for advertising, within the digital space, too, there has been churn. Search, which was the predominant medium of advertising for brands across the board, is losing its sheen; and social media has outshined it, albeit marginally.
According to a report by digital marketing and communications firm Dentsu Aegis Network, social media currently takes the lion's share - 28 per cent - of all digital ad spends in India, amounting to Rs 2,309 crore. Search advertising commands 26 per cent share (Rs 2,128 crore) and display follows with 21 per cent share (Rs 1,714 crore). The size of digital advertising in India is Rs 8,202 crore.
While search still enjoys a fair share of spends, industry experts foresee social media emerging as the clear leader in the times to come.
The report says that social media advertising in India is expected to grow at 34 per cent CAGR; which would up its share in the overall digital ad spends to 30 per cent by 2020 from the current 28 per cent. The report further suggests that it expects to see a slower growth for search, and that its share in the overall spends would reduce from the current 26 per cent to 22 per cent by 2020.
The report also states that by 2020, digital advertising is expected to have almost 25 per cent share of the overall advertising market in India - which will roughly amount to Rs 18,986 crore.
Why are marketers veering towards social media over search? Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, says, "More people are getting connected and browsing on the Internet, but not everybody who is getting on the Internet is searching for anything; he would be on social media for sure."
Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO, South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, says that these hard boundaries that exist in the analogue world, do not apply to the digital world. "You cannot separate these things in digital; they are all inter-related. For example, if you post a video on Facebook and a friend searches for it and then posts it, all three functions - social media, search and video - are being used," he explains.
He believes that the digital medium, overall, is going to witness exponential growth in coming years, irrespective of whether the share of one platform goes down or not.
Social media companies have much to rejoice either way.