A major factor for the growth of digital advertising across India is the rapid penetration of mobile devices along with internet connectivity. India has the lowest rates for mobile data across the world, while also catering to the second-largest smartphone market in the world. Naturally, Indian advertisers are leaning more towards digital with each passing year. In 2016, traditional media had an 88 percent share in the ad expenditures across the country. Two years later, this share fell to 83 percent and was estimated to drop further to 71 percent by 2021, highlighting a steady change in the advertising landscape.
Even then, India is still at a nascent stage for digital advertising. As of 2018, about 82 percent of all digital media ads were bought through direct manual channels compared to programmatic purchases. Programmatic advertising uses a software or algorithms to purchase ad inventories instead of the traditional route of human negotiations usually involving ad agencies. It was expected that by 2021, programmatic ad purchases will account for 31 percent of all digital advertising in the country. Despite this progression towards going digital, India saw the highest ad fraud rate worldwide in programmatic advertising as of 2019. Improvements in audience analytics, along with a better focus on ad fraud detection and data privacy is the need of the hour in order to propel digital advertising in the country.