Over 77% of Indian MSMEs have embraced online advertising, diversifying their marketing strategies in the digital age
A significant 80% of SMEs acknowledge that online advertising has been pivotal in driving increased profits, according to the report
Women-led MSMEs see a staggering 100%+ revenue increase with online ads
Primus Partners Pvt. Ltd. (Primus) – a leading management consulting services provider, has launched a report titled “Online Advertising by Indian MSMEs – Insights, Impact & Way Forward”, in collaboration with EGROW Foundation & India SME Forum supported by Institute for Competitiveness (IFC) and Business World. As technology evolves, advertising has transitioned from traditional methods to the dynamic world of online advertising, with a notable impact on India’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). More than 59% of MSMEs have found online advertising to be instrumental in achieving diverse business objectives & goals. The report launch saw participation from key government officials, Indian business owners, digital advertising platforms & think tanks.
Shri Narayan Rane, Hon’ble Union Minister for MSME, who delivered a keynote address virtually, said, “Today, we stand at the crossroads of a technological revolution. Digital technologies such as online advertising can help MSMEs reach new markets and become globally competitive. In particular, online ads can prove to be a boon especially for MSMEs that are run by women who put in their own hard labour and management due to budgetary constraints and are unable to get market access despite their products being reasonably priced.”
The MSME sector, contributing almost 30% to India’s GDP, has been able to harness the power of digital marketing to enhance market competitiveness and drive success to a large extent. Key findings indicate that a substantial 80% of SMEs acknowledge that online advertising has been particularly pivotal in driving increased profits.
Speaking about the power of online advertising to transform businesses Mr. Nilaya Varma, Co-founder & CEO, Primus Partners, stated, “Technology is reshaping the way Indian MSMEs operate and compete. Our study highlights that in addition to traditional means of advertising, MSMEs are adopting diverse forms of digital marketing such as online advertising to connect with their customers in an increasingly dynamic digital era, and yet this use is limited by the capacity in MSMEs.”
Ms. Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM at Google who was also present at the event, said, “At Google, we are dedicated to helping businesses, especially MSMEs, succeed in the digital economy. The findings of this study reaffirm the significance of online advertising in driving growth and visibility for Indian MSMEs. We are proud to be part of this journey and are committed to providing tools and resources to help businesses connect with their audiences effectively.”
Speaking about her journey as an entrepreneur, Ms. Chitra Gurnani, Founder & CEO, Thrillophillia, noted that, “It is imperative to identify where your target audience spends most time online – their most preferred social channels and their most searched keywords and then adapt your advertising / marketing strategy accordingly.”
Throwing light on Prasar Bharti’s contribution to MSME growth, Shri Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO, Prasar Bharti, added that, “Having stepped into the digital space through its websites and apps, and currently engaged in developing an OTT streaming service platform, Prasar Bharati would be happy to work with the MSME ministry to develop a platform to offer customisable hyper-local to global ad-placement solutions to entrepreneurs. This solution can also be offered to platforms other than the Prasar Bharati network to expand the reach of the MSMEs.”
Online Advertising: Instrumental in shaping MSME success in India
The report delves into the multifaceted landscape of online advertising and its impact on MSMEs in India, aiming to bridge existing research gaps and shed light on the implications of online advertising for both businesses and the broader industry. The findings of the report underscore how Indian MSMEs are on a transformative journey, embracing online advertising to bolster their marketing strategies, alongside traditional advertising methods. Key findings of the survey indicate that:
Among all the MSMEs surveyed, 77% of the MSMEs have leveraged online advertisements to scale their business prospects.
Of the 23% of the MSMEs who have never used online advertisements in their business; the reasons cited for non-adoption include lack of funds, awareness or knowledge of what online ads entail, or an inclination towards traditional advertising routes.
MSMEs have focused on different objectives and business goals while using online advertisements – an increase in profits, increase in website traffic, product awareness, reaching target audience, improving sales, brand visibility, or to better compete in the market.
About 59% of the MSMEs using online advertising acknowledged that all the above business goals were being addressed. An increase in profit was the most notable goal for 80% of the MSMEs using online ads.
For women-led MSMEs, 21% of them saw their revenue increase by a staggering more than 100% after adopting online ads.
On the frequency of running advertisements, 33% of the MSMEs have run online ads on a weekly basis while 42% of them run monthly advertisements.
Return on Investments (64%), Assessing impressions/reach (39%), and online analytics tools (34%) were some of the most preferred metrics used for assessing the efficacy of online ads.
About 21% of MSMEs hold the opinion that the online route is the most effective form of advertising. Furthermore, 41% of other MSMEs believe that online ads are at par or even better than traditional advertising tools.
The study found that social media advertising (65%), email (46%), targeted ads (27%), video-based (24%), and pay-per-click ads (22%) are the most used options in online advertising by Indian MSMEs.
Some of the prominent operational challenges in the adoption of online ads by MSMEs include:
55% of MSMEs agreed that they lacked adequate techniques for further optimising their online ad strategies.
51% of MSMEs faced the challenge of precisely targeting the right audience (potential consumers).
Sustaining the online ads is also a challenge, with 37% of the MSMEs stating budget as a constraint and 45% admitting to other non-budget resource crunches.
The way forward for MSMEs in India involves embracing digital marketing, ensuring inclusivity, addressing infrastructure challenges, promoting diversity, and leveraging the global potential of the sector. MSMEs in India can harness the potential of online advertising while addressing the following key aspects:
Multi-stakeholder Collaboration: A collaborative approach involving industry, government, researchers, and civil society is crucial. Forums should be created where stakeholders can address knowledge gaps and align policy objectives to foster a digital-friendly environment for MSMEs.
Inclusivity and Accessibility: To ensure that all MSMEs can benefit from online advertising, platforms need to be optimised for user-friendliness and accessibility. Regardless of their geographic location, scale, or technical proficiency, MSMEs should be able to effectively utilise online advertising tools.
Infrastructure Development: Infrastructure disparities need to be addressed, and efforts should be made to enhance internet connectivity, extending the reach and scope of online advertising opportunities. This is particularly important for MSMEs in rural and remote areas.
Diversity and Empowerment: Initiatives should be tailored to assist minority-owned and women-led MSMEs in accessing online advertising avenues. This promotes diversity within the sector and empowers underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Global Relevance: While the study focuses on India, it highlights the “glocal” potential of the MSME sector. Recognising this global impact, the findings can inform similar initiatives worldwide, facilitating the growth of small businesses.
Online advertising has significantly opened up access to online users for MSMEs across the country. Notably, online advertising provides a cheaper and more effective alternative to traditional advertising. Through online advertising, MSMEs can quickly engage with their target audience using online ads, even on a limited budget. This enables small businesses to invest their limited marketing budget to reach relevant audiences.