Geo-targeted advertising: The time has come

  • On July 16, 2019
  • Published by Television Post

In the last ten years, the world of advertising has made huge strides, has seen disruptions, and has created many challenges as well as opportunities.

The world has gone digital and disrupted the way we view entertainment. It also created a huge opportunity to reach out to new customers with products and services like never before. New geographical markets opened up as well. Digital delivery through the World Wide Web (WWW) also meant that advertising was being used as a gun blindfolded.

You just shot an ad and hoped the customers and potential new customers would watch it. There was more spillage than intended. Instead of getting maximum returns, advertisers were getting conjectures. But crossing your fingers is not how you would want to advertise. Self-taught experts sprung up and made a quick buck at the expense of those working with real data.

This presents real challenges when it comes to making a real difference and offering real, tangible results. Advertisers want to target potential customers in markets where the yield is highest. But they are aware of the growing costs of reaching these customers and want to make sure that there is little or no spillage.

That brings us to a fabulous innovation: Geo-targeting.

Geo-targeting means reaching the right audience with relevant advertising in a language they understand when they are consuming content of their choice. With an environment of choosy customers, advertisers cannot take a chance of putting everyone in compartments as before. They just cannot take blanket media decisions as before.

Geo-targeting is a science that at first glance seems simple, but it takes number crunching to a very different level. It is precision targeting advertising that is backed up by data.

India is a diverse, unique market, not just geographically, but culturally as well. We may be divided technically into 29 States and 7 Union Territories with Hindi as a National language, but we cannot reach everyone with one message. Hindi itself is different. For example, Awadhi and Bhojpuri are both Hindi dialects, but so are Bundeli, Rajasthani, Chhattisgarhi, and Magahi. Punjabi is as different from the Mizo language as are Tamil from Telugu or Tulu. How do the advertisers reach the message to the right people? And what if the product itself doesn’t sell in one region? Should the consumers then be forced to watch those ads?

The people who figured out how to reach these consumers spread across the mini-continent were the original media entrepreneurs: the Cable guys. They know their consumers. What they want to watch, and when they watch it.

As per market studies, the estimated homes connected to cable delivery systems (CDS) is 12 crores which means an estimated TV audience of 60 crore Indians! Given the new scenario post the TRAI pay channel mandate, our research shows that on an average the number of pay channels subscribed for over and above the 100 FTA channels is only THIRTY. In this order, lies the fact that TRAI has earmarked 25 channels of the 100 FTA channels for cable Narrowcast channels!

These Narrowcast channels are by definition FTA and therefore available to each and every home served by CDS. Therefore, we can say that the delivery and reach of the Local cable channels is 100% of the cable homes. These channels as explained above show the latest movies catering to the local language and taste, cover local news and event live and relevant to the audience. Music and Devotional content -including live coverage – which are relevant and relatable in the local language and idiom ensure that they have a very strong local stickiness. Therefore this connect ensures great viewership.

CPRP is the measure that defines cost-effectiveness in the media business. We say that is cost efficiency and not cost effectiveness! This is because if you wanted to cover only say UP, you would have to take a bouquet of satellite channels which would have a high spillover in other Hindi speaking markets but may look good on CPRP.

But the moment you convert this to Cost per thousand homes or individuals, then the cable channels will exhibit its cost efficiency over the satellite channels and also will be effective as there will be no spill-over to any other market!

(Sharad Alwe is Managing Director at UPDATE Advertising. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of