Over half (52%) of the 307 hours that the average consumer spends on digital media per month is on the open internet, according to a report by global advertising technology company, The Trade Desk and data analytics firm Kantar. The  finding is a shift from walled gardens, which include social media, user-generated content platforms and live game streaming. However, the report notes that despite this, walled gardens continue to take the lion’s share of digital ad expenditure, about 5.5 times more than the open internet, which gets a mere 15% of India’s digital ad budgets.

The open internet reaches almost 600 million consumers in India, which is around 62 million more than the closed ecosystems of the walled gardens. Brands that are on the open internet are therefore likely to have better ad recall. The research observes that consumers are 19% more likely to find ads on news, websites, and blogs less intrusive than social media. The open internet, which includes news and general websites, over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV), music streaming and online gaming saw increased consumption by 80% of consumers. As many as 45% of Indians prefer to consume professionally produced and premium content, which lives on the open internet. OTT, CTV and music streaming platforms are most associated with premium and credible content.

The research further highlights a clear preference for Hindi and local language content, with 77% choosing Hindi among OTT and CTV viewers. It records that on an average, people in Delhi reportedly spend 57 minutes on a one-way commute to work, during which they browse news and websites. As a result, between 5 and 9am, activity on news and general interest websites exceeds the average usage across all channels by 72%. Around 40% of OTT and CTV content consumption takes place between 7 pm and 12 am.

Putting the report’s findings in perspective for advertisers, Tejinder Gill, general manager, India, The Trade Desk said, “The open internet is becoming an integral part of the Indian consumers’ lives. Our message to advertisers is that the open internet is the future.” Gill also shares insights from his conversations with marketing heads and CMOs in the country, whose biggest pain point is that they cannot independently measure the performance of their advertising monies within walled gardens.

The fact that social media and search platforms control their data and consumer information make it challenging for marketers to get a clear indication of their marketing success. “In the many years I’ve spent in this industry, I have never heard of a brand lift study that was bad on Google or Facebook. When these platforms share feedback with brands, it’s almost akin to grading their own homework. Marketers also want control of their own customer data and are demanding greater transparency that walled gardens usually do not offer,” Gill pointed out, noting that the advertising industry in India needs to gear up for the future, when third party cookies will be phased out.

The disconnect between the consumer’s time spent and ad spending on the open internet demonstrates a significant opportunity for today’s marketers, according to Gill. Advertisers would do well to look at opportunities to advertise on the open internet where they can reach a more engaged audience.

Together with Kantar, The Trade Desk surveyed 1,500 Indian respondents between 16-65 years of age in September last year for this report. The report also includes interviews with APAC agencies and marketers.

2023-03-18T05:44:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd