GUEST COLUMN: Changing Winds – The Rise of Online Services in India

Mumbai: The online services industry is on a continuous upward trajectory. This industry now contributes 8% to the GDP of a rapidly growing country like India. Online services have always been present in the market, but over the past couple of years they have massively expanded into other sub-categories.

The hybrid working model and the growing need to get the essentials at your doorstep is driving the demand for online services. Some of the major categories that have been found to fall under individuals in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities are online education, software, OTT and entertainment platforms, food delivery, groceries, services cleaning and many more.

Over time, various initiatives have been taken to educate consumers about the user-friendliness of these services, which is rapidly pushing this industry to become profitable and efficient. In a time of regular technological disruption, the need to upgrade and learn new technologies has become a top priority. The online services platform saw 70% growth in 2021 – Rs 46 crore GMV on the Admitad platform. The main categories contributing to this growth are software programs, educational programs, OTT programs and many others. We see that consumers favor these services and integrate them into their daily lives.

Let’s dive into the two main categories of online services we’ve seen this year.

Software programs

Not surprisingly, software is one of the key drivers of success in the digital world. Whether you focus on B2B or B2C, or both, there’s no denying that you’re on a lucrative playing field. 2021 has seen the emergence of software programs as more and more end users have started using different software and apps to help them with their daily work from home. Norton, BigRock, GoDaddy, HostGator, Namecheap, Tenorshare, Mcafee and Easeus are some of the best online software platforms to name a few. The growing need to secure cloud platforms, amid the growing incidence of cyberattacks and hacking, is driving the demand for security software. With more exposure in this category, publishers saw their traffic convert to revenue with an overall 12x growth.

Online learning programs

The rise of the online learning space has created a lot of buzz this year. To advance in their careers and add value to their knowledge, working professionals in India focus on skill development. After the pandemic, 2020 saw the rise of online education and e-learning as a service, but it exploded in 2021. We saw an immense amount of traffic being redirected to the programs of education. More and more loyal partners, banks, telegram operators have concentrated their traffic on the conduct of online education programs. We saw an overall growth of 4.5x in the Education category. This category provides an opportunity for publishers to thrive as we have seen more and more educational programs go live by the end of the year. Brands like Edureka, Unacademy, Harappa, Udemy, Skillshare, Top rankers have been the top competitors in the E-learning segment and have offered the best to their users.

Affiliate Channel Impact on Online Services

Looking at the market demand and trend, these brands try to find profitable channels to reach end users and create and execute strong growth strategies in order to get ahead and stand out from the competition. To take advantage of these marketing strategies, companies have started adapting performance-driven channels. Apart from targeting more audiences, they are mindful of their ad spend and to maximize their ROI, they spend heavily on the profitable channel – “Affiliate”. It allows brand marketers to capture the maximum market and use the various affiliate inventories to target all audiences. The online service programs generated GMV worth 46 crores through the Admitad platform. The main partners contributing to this growth are Cashback 43%, Social Affiliate 36%, Coupon 5% Content 10% Email 2% and 4% others in the current year.

The online services market has enormous potential now and surely in the near future and with the increasing use of the internet, businesses are creating more unique opportunities to reach every region and every potential customer. Even during the pandemic, we have seen how they have created excellent services and reached out to every person to meet their needs and demands.

(Neha Kulwal is Country Manager at Admitad India. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and may not endorse them.)

Veronica J. Snell