You are here: Home » Technology » News » Mobiles & Tablets
Business Standard

Riding the networking wave

Priyanka Joshi  |  New Delhi 

TECHNOLOGY: Want to get seen? Advertise on social networking sites. This, incidentally, is the
About 93 per cent of the 28 million Indians online belong to the age group 18-45 years "" a target audience that has the maximum buying power.
Ten million of these are hooked on to some form of online social media, be it personal, career or business networking, matrimonial sites, discussion rooms, virtual activity platforms, instant messenger, podcasts, RSS feeds and blogs. The mix of social media sites being a hot favourite among this bunch of young Indians, it presents a perfect milieu for online advertisers.
Content-specific advertisements have become a rage on networking sites like Orkut, TechTribe, LinkedIn, Ryze, Flickr, MSN Live Spaces, Blogger, and Facebook, which are a compelling buy for advertisers seeking to target the active lifestyle set the sites cater to.
In short, content-specific networks are riding a wave of popularity and newer networks seem to be springing up every day.
Rajnish, head (digital marketing revenue and strategic business), MSN India, explains why marketers want to be seen on social networking sites: "In Asia, email and instant messaging take 40-50 per cent of the time we spend online. Blogosphere is doubling in size every six months and an average Indian user spends anywhere between 40-60 minutes daily on social media sites. Little wonder, banks, automobile companies, FMCGs, and even IT firms want a virtual advert that's both engaging and innovative."
Social media advertising has been taking the online advertising industry by storm. The total marketing spend on social media is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 106.1 per cent from 2005 to 2010, reaching $757 million in 2010, according to a report from PQ Media.
Some social-networking communities focus on vertical markets with a narrowly-defined audience, such as business-relationship sites like and Their ad revenue exceeded $20 million in 2006.
"There has been a recent 'change of guard' online with social networks "" from being a 'push' medium to a 'pull' medium," remarks Rajnish, "MSN is using people's attention to engage users with advertisers through contextual advertising and desktop television."
The audiences, in return, generate revenues each time they click on a banner, keyword or a floating advertisement on a webpage. While online rate cards are not exactly cheap, averaging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2 lakh, the prices are expected to get spiked by another 20-25 per cent by the end of 2007.
Social-networking sites entice users to spend considerable time and view many page views, and many sites are seeing those numbers increase.
Nielsen/Net Ratings reports that users' visits to YouTube grew in duration from about 17 minutes to 28 minutes (64 per cent) over the first six months of 2006. Page views grew 515 per cent during the same period. Members of communities spend hours looking up friends' profiles and following paths of interconnected relationships. These long visits and high page views directly correlate to ad revenue.
Blog advertising, worldwide, totalled $25 million in 2006, which includes blogs, podcasts and RSS advertising.
"By the tail-end of 2007, even Indian bloggers (the well known ones) would be making money out of advertising on their blogs, podcasts, videos, personal webpages and other forms of user generated content," claims a media buyer.
Anil Kaul, CEO, AbsolutData, a research and analytics firm, has helped websites and advertisers look beyond popular targeting options like geography and demography "using complex targeting options on networks, like behavioral and contextual and domain-level targeting. We have shown clients how to get the most from an online advert."
Where brand initiatives are a focus, agencies and advertisers are increasingly using social media networks to extend reach to their target audiences, he says.
There's one problem though "" not every social media site can provide a bulletproof picture of the potential reach that it can add to an advertiser's campaign.

First Published: Wed, January 24 2007. 00:00 IST