Popularity in Search Leads to Acquisitions

Tue 12 March 2013 15:45, Seema Sanghavi

It's practically common knowledge that India has one of the fastest growing economies today. The country’s SMB sector alone is worth over 100 million USD and is growing at a rate of 40%. Within the sector, companies are increasingly looking for more cost-effective marketing solutions. In India, search marketing is gaining popularity each year and as a result, the amount spent on search had grown over 40% in 2012 and is expected to increase this year.  In fact, the advertising industry in India is worth 5 billion USD and 900 million of this represents digital marketing.  By 2015, this share is proposed to grow to 30%.

Popularity in Search Leads to Acquisitions

So what are online marketers in India doing to deal with the increase in popularity? Well one thing is for certain, the marketing agency landscape in the country is definitely changing.  Within the last few months alone, many companies have merged together or have been acquired.  Similarly, many are investing in creating more search solutions to their clientele.

An example of this is major player Ogilvy & Mather India, who has been looking for acquisitions in the Indian search marketing sector.  The purpose of this is to meet their target of doubling their business in 2013. The company has already invested in tools, processes and manpower.  Currently, Ogilvy & Mather’s clientele consist of IBM, British Airways and The Economist.

Another major player taking advantage of the growth is Google. Google has already already started projects to tap into various segments of SMBs in the country. The search engine leader has expressed its interest to educate Indian SMBs on the benefits of online advertising and search will be a main part of that. Google has expanded their sales team, entered into partnerships with advertising agencies and is reaching out to SMBs who do not advertise.

Just announced this week, one of the first SEO organizations in India, Convonix, was acquired by the Publicis Groupe.  Publicis plans to align with Starcom MediaVest Group in India to provide search solutions to its impressive list of clients. This is not the first acquisition for Publicis Groupe, in fact, this is one of several acquisitions announced to validate the company’s position as India’s largest digital marketing operation.  This is a major move for Publicis as Convonix employs over 200 digital advertising specialists and has clients including Taj Hotels, Reliance Industries and Aditya Birla Group. The company is also responsible for developing IrisTrack, an in-house brand monitoring and social listening platform. The platform makes it possible to gather relevant marketing research on a company’s products and competitors. Publicis Groupe plans on continuing to expand in India and hopes to double its size between 2010 and 2015.


Also announced this week, is IPG Mediabrands’ takeover of Interactive Avenues.  Interactive Avenues is one of India’s largest independent full service digital agencies and with the company under its belt, IPG hopes to solidify its position as the second largest media holding company.

Besides acquiring other companies and growing inorganically, some companies have chosen the organic route and aim on expanding their marketing solutions.  SEO.co.in is a leader in online and web marketing solutions in India. The company has recently launched an array of advanced SEO services for its clients. Keeping Google’s search parameters in mind, the company has devised strategies to help with keyword ranking. The company explains that it does this through a perfect mix of on and off page optimization techniques.


So whether the growth is done by acquisition or by creating a new suite of attractive search solutions, search marketing is gaining popularity in India and many players are trying to ride the wave.  This year, more changes on the playing field are bound to happen.  What will be interesting will be to see which players are still standing at the end of the day.




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