Top 5 Trends: Ad tech industry in India

MainAd made its first impact at ad:tech Delhi with our Indian venture ProfiliAd. Following on from the buzz of the event, we take a look at 5 top developments and trends that we think will ignite the future of ad tech in India.

A changing market

The ad tech industry in India has recently seen a more prominent shift towards a digitally conformed culture. The approach by media buyers with the increase of budgets is becoming progressively sophisticated towards mobile and digital; with a more prominent focus on the role of quality ads over quantity. Changes, such as the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes in late 2016, have surely proved a setback for the Indian economy. Nonetheless, the ad industry is continuing to grow, with ad spend predicted to exceed $1bn this year. Advertisers can draw on ample opportunities and trends, like the ones outlined below, to help boost growth in emerging markets.


Ad-blocking tools are growing, especially on mobile devices, to cut the spike in the excessive amounts of garbage ads. More than 60% of smartphone users in India are using such tools. This is a pattern we’ve observed in emerging markets where data plans are limited, and therefore not ideal for ad-render times.

‘Banner blindness’ is another major challenge, which India’s ad tech industry is a victim of. There is an element of the ‘conscious vs. subconscious’ mindset, with consumers subconsciously overlooking and ignoring ads displayed to them; resulting in over 50% of users not clicking on banner ads (ComScore*).

Having the knowledge to understand these challenges are an elementary step to distinguishing growth of an emerging to mature market. As an ad tech company with a decade of digital expertise, we are adept at appraising our approach into local territories, a reflection of our confidence with our Indian venture ProfiliAd,

ProfiliAd – our Indian affiliate network

ProfiliAd comprises a dedicated team of experienced professionals from the affiliate network, backed by MainAd’s own management, finance and technology in its initiation phase. ProfiliAd’s deep marketing knowledge of the ad space offers advertisers customised solutions, and a bespoke consultancy service on performance marketing with an international outlook.

Utilising MainAd’s global insight and experience of detecting trends in the most advanced western markets, enables ProfiliAd to strategise and influence the Indian market. Advertisers across all sectors, such as retail and ecommerce will be able to utilise our expertise, to help them capitalise on the opportunities of the market.

Our established experience in the Indian market allowed us to have a clear vision on the many dos and don’ts in the region. Some recent developments that we have observed are outlined below:

Trends & Opportunities:
  1. Rising purchasing power for consumers

Increase in disposable incomes and global consumption, which is expected to more than double to 5.8% by 2020 as suggested by a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute (*).

  1. Demonetisation

Digital payments are becoming more common in the Indian consumer markets due to the “cashless digital economy” (ExchangeWire*). This has subsequently increased the need for smartphones for efficiency in purchases; more people are buying smartphones. Therefore, there needs to be a wider adoption of digital revenue models in correlation with the rise in smartphone usage.

  1. Mobile consumer base growing

India is currently the third largest market for smartphones. The consumer base for smartphones is to rise by four-times in the next five years, to 820 million (Livemint*). This proves as a crucial opportunity for the ad tech industry in India to heavily invest in mobile ads and drive digital engagement.

  1. 4G-enabled smartphones and boost in data consumption

The internet has been made more accessible due to the emergence of 4G-enabled smartphones. This is expected to completely turn around the Indian telecom landscape as “data costs will decrease while bandwidth increases” (exchange4media*), which would have a knock-on effect on the amount of content that is absorbed on mobile. This easy access of the internet will inevitably lead to an increase in mobile consumption and purchasing through mobile, offering brands more reason to invest in the Indian market.

  1. ‘Digital India’ initiative

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, initiated this move to bring the country closer to the digital world, and the government has allocated Rs 10k crore for the ‘Bharat Net’ project in the 2017 budget (ET – India Times*), earlier this year. This push towards a digitally focused nation with improved connectivity in rural areas, will encourage further digital transactions, and drive digital savviness.


With these recent opportunities evolving, MainAd foresees a booming future in the Indian ad space for advertisers. The growing use of smartphones and access to data would give consumers more reasons to expect more effective and customised ads to be served to them at the right time and place.

With a tailored approach to retargeting like ours, advertisers can ensure real-time ads are served in correlation with a user’s browsing behaviour and preferences.