India. It sits in South Asia, tantalizing you with its 1.18 billion people. You know that with a growing service economy, decent Internet access and a ton of English speakers, there must be opportunities you can cash in on. It turns out you could be right.
This past quarter, January-March 2010, has sent signals that the online advertising market in India is starting to recover after nearly three consecutive quarters. Advertisers in the Finance, Education, IT products, Electronics among categories who had stayed away or reduced their online budgets during the past three quarters are now back. This is reflected in our India Online advertisement revenues for the quarter increasing 29% on a year-over-year basis and 15% on a sequential basis. This increase in revenues is despite us foregoing all ads on our home page.
To be fair, part of this increase in revenue can be attributed to a 15% increase in Rediff’s registered users. Still, this could be good news depending on your perspective.
From a publisher’s point of view, increases in overall ad spend mean that you could be more likely to monetize ad supported Indian-centric content. Of course, most of us would actually need to create Indian-centric content, but if you’ve been eying new markets you could make worse choices than India.
From an advertiser’s point of view, I think the signs are less clear. Are the increases in ad spend a sign that lucrative traffic is being exploited by savvy advertisers or that not-so-savvy advertisers are blindly dumping new found cash without seeing tangible results? While I like to believe that most advertisers are ROI focused, I know that experiments, branding campaigns, and just plain bad ad buys can misrepresent the value of traffic as it relates to actual conversions.
Regardless of your take on the increases Rediff is seeing and its reflection of the current online advertising market, India represents a solid long term opportunity. Many Indians are seeing huge increases in standards of living and disposable income. Indian Internet infrastructure is very strong, offering many citizens speeds Americans can only dream of. With the world’s second largest population India has huge potential to be an online marketing powerhouse.
The only question left is if you have the time, ability, and methods to monetize it.