Saurabh Khattar
Oct 14, 2021

How brands can improve ROI during the Indian festive season

To extract maximum value from India's biggest shopping season of the year, advertisers should focus on quality media and the growth of mobile, suggests Integral Ad Science's India commercial lead.

How brands can improve ROI during the Indian festive season

The upcoming festive season in India is the highest consumer spending season for Indian consumers. According to a report by The Trade Desk, 91% of Indian consumers plan to shop in the upcoming festive sales, as optimism gradually follows the impact of the pandemic.

This presents a huge potential to savvy marketers to target the consumers as they traditionally make big-ticket item purchases—furniture, automotive, and electronics—in preparation to receive guests at home. Forrester expects e-retail sales to reach about US$9.2bn in India during the 2021 festive month, up 42% year-on-year. 

But brands looking to stand out during this period need to know that their ads are being viewed by real people—or risk losing the chance to improve ROI on media campaigns. According to Integral Ad Science (IAS)’s internal data, consumer packaged goods (CPG) campaigns during the festive periods had the highest viewability rates of 63.34%, followed by retail at 62.08%. Auto reported the lowest viewability rates at 49.18%. Auto advertisers and other categories of advertisers are advised to optimise towards viewable and quality impressions to ensure that the campaign will have an opportunity to be seen and to positively influence consumers.

In addition, media quality matters. A brand has to look out for ad fraud, viewability, and brand risk issues throughout the campaign cycle which includes acquisition and engagement or re-engagement.

Many a time, brands only focus on customer acquisition. But, as the customer journey continues, there is also a need for sustaining interest which can be done by an effective re-engagement strategy. Retargeting campaigns are mostly unchecked and vulnerable to fraud, so ad verification metrics can be used to monitor and optimise towards viewable and fraud-free impressions.

There is an opportunity for brands to harness the dual power of tailored ads and high-quality placement to drive greater brand engagement. However, it’s also vital to acknowledge that placing ads beside low-quality content has significant consequences—carrying a high risk of damage to brand perception and even revenue, which, over time, will also impact the publisher. To ensure online ads drive the right attention and outcome, relevant content and a suitable context must be a top priority.

Here’s how to maximise your ad returns:

Fraudsters go where the dollars go

Global losses to ad fraud exceeded US$35 billion last year, a figure expected to rise to US$50 billion by 2025, according to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). According to WFA, ad fraud is second only to the drugs trade as a source of income for organised crime. When it comes to minimising waste, eradicating ad fraud should be top-of-mind. While ad fraud is a risk to be kept in mind year-round, campaigns have proven to be at a higher risk during holiday-buying. Since video advertising in mobile and connected TV (CTV) typically yields higher CPMs than display, video buys are more susceptible to bad actors. Make sure your campaigns are protected from fraudulent activity by applying pre-bid fraud filters. 

Mobile advertising has gained strong traction among Indian advertisers

Dentsu’s Global Ad Spends Forecast 2021 predicted major growth for mobile ad spending across the world with the Indian market estimated to have almost doubled its mobile ad spend between 2019 and 2020. With over 500 million Indians using smartphones, an overwhelming majority of consumers today are making purchasing decisions through mobile devices. People are typically on the go and travelling during the festive season, which means they will be spending additional time on their mobile devices. So, make sure you implement a mobile strategy that reaches the full age spectrum of your audience. According to App Annie, average smartphone usage is about 4.6 hours a day in India, the third-highest globally. But as spending increases on mobile, media quality challenges may arise such as mobile fraud, unsafe brand environments, and unviewable inventory. So advertisers should ensure they protect their campaigns from risk.

Tap into quality inventory

Not surprisingly, video inventory will be in high demand during the holiday buying season. If your brand wants to heavy-up on video leading up to Diwali, you may want to increase your bid price to win valuable video inventory. We recommend focusing on video to drive effective, meaningful engagements and increase engagement through mobile devices. Tap into quality video supply and work with trusted partners. It’s about quality as much as it is about quantity, especially around peak festive periods. Work with trusted marketplaces and partners to ensure that your investment will garner the maximum return.

In order to get your consumers into your store in the first place, your ads need to be seen in fraud-free, brand-safe, and suitable environments. Advertisers must maintain an all-encompassing approach to media quality, utilising insights to optimise campaign performance, preparing for a happy festive season.

Saurabh Khattar is India commercial lead at Integral Ad Science 

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