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Can dailies rely less on advertising?

Rajnish R
(Head, digital marketing revenue and strategic business Windows Live & MSN India)

User-generated content (UGC) is already attracting advertising. In Windows Live Spaces, for example, we run banner advertising for people. There are various blogs in which search keywords are deployed and people are making
money out of those search keywords.

Typically, if I have written about my travel experience to Hawaii, then somebody who’s selling a tour package in Hawaii will actually be saying, ‘Please serve my keyword wherever there is UGC which matches with the word Hawaii’.

Search advertising in UGC will be huge and close to 40 per cent of the world’s search queries will come out of UGC.

Go to any famous blog. Most of them have search keywords deployed and there is a lot of advertising on these blogs. Look at MakeMyTrip, eBay and naukri - they are all advertising on blogging sites.

Right now close to about $3 million in India is going into UGC. The maths is very simple. The share of page views UGC will have of the total page views in the market is the share of revenue it will have. If there are more pageviews on UGC there will be more ads served on UGC. In the online world, the share of pageviews is like the Holy Grail. If you don’t have page views then you cannot monetise.

Manish Agarwal
(Vice president, marketing, Rediff.com)

Online advertising is moving towards ‘contextual advertising’ as manifested in growth of P4C (pay for click) platforms enabled by content and context sensing by service providers like rediff.com. UGC does not change the principles of online advertising. It only leverages on

collective creativity and wisdom of the crowd. It enriches user experience as the content is by real people, for real people and in real time. Brands will need to pay critical attention to ad copy while designing online ads and incorporate words which match the most frequently used “phrases” and “tags” used to describe a particular category in user generated postings.

UGC also opens up blogs and message boards as an alternative channel to reach out to a highly opinionated, yet very influential group of users and customise their proposition to these guys. This set of audience will spread the word in their posts and influence groups provided, that the brand has made a very unique and fresh offering to them.

Faisal Farooqui
(CEO, Mouthshut.com)

The concept of UGC is not new to India. Mouthshut for example, has been doing it for six and a half years. It is only now that we have come up with the name UGC. For an advertiser this may not seem like a separate segment on the internet, but from a publisher’s perspective it

was always a separate segment on the internet.

I think advertisers will be excited. Our experience working with advertisers on Mouthshut has shown that people on UGC are more focused as opposed to an audience that is visiting a portal to chat or for emailing or to read the news.

In UGC there is a central focus. On Mouthshut we are building a community which wants to talk about products and services. On a social network, the chances are that you want to find out people. If the audience is reading a review about cellphones, the chances are that the advertiser will get a focused audience for his cellphone advertisement than in say, Rediff, where he goes to check his e mail.

The concept will definitely grow because ultimately people like to read about peer contribution rather than what an expert reviewer thinks about a product. Tata Sky, ICICI and Citibank have advertised on Mouthshut. There are some instances where users s have started making money with search keywords etc. but that number is not very large in India right now.

Naveen Athresh
(Project Manager, Aapkavideo.com)

UGC can cover myriad aspects. Consider the advancements in web 2.0 with concepts such as blogging. Then we have user experience coming into media websites with concepts such as citizen journalism with people posting videos of their experiences to share with others.

Youtube’s acquisition by Google for $1.65 billion made all the headlines because here was a company that really did nothing more than just post user generated videos and yet was raking up a lot of interest with millions of subscribers and hits alike. Suddenly everyone – consumers and advertisers - was interested.

We, at aapkavideo, have always believed that convergence in media is touted as being the next big thing that will happen in Web 2.0 parlance. This convergence is a paradigm shift in the way people communicate as it essentially plays into the hands of the advertisers. As this concept gains traction, this change will be visible in the way people communicate and the way they share experiences - user experiences – regular text blogging or video blogging or a combination of both.

Who knows, the next time an individual purchases a product/service, you could have the individual posting the feedback on what the pros and cons of that particular product are. What does this mean to the company selling that product/service?

In the broad sense, it will be increasingly careful about the quality of the product and the ‘after sales’ service since the entire scene has shifted dramatically and transparency has been brought in.

Advertising and marketing believe in user involvement to seek user attention and what better way to do it than to have this involvement and an instant feedback mechanism?
Reported by Chumki Sen