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1. Wedding sites woo India's marketers........................................................................................................... 1

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Wedding sites woo India's marketers


Author: Jang, Bina Publication info: Media [Hong Kong] 23 Feb 2007: S22. ProQuest document link Abstract: In India, the mouse has replaced match-makers, giving an age-old tradition a Web 2.0 vibe, a shift that has turned online matrimonial sites into highly targeted advertising platforms. Matchmaking portals are attracting a local as well as global audience, who are largely made up of educated, working young people or their parents, chiefly non-resident Indians living in the West or Middle East, and resident Indians. A growing and targeted user base will provide the sites, which have traditionally focused on subscription revenues, with the means to go after advertiser dollars. As online competition for ad dollars heats up, matrimonial sites have had to think beyond banner ads and the one-offs, to offer long-term deals, micro-sites and made-to-order ad sites, based on degrees of sponsorship. Full text: Headnote With their grip on a targeted and elite user base that runs into the millions, India's matrimonial sites are pursuing the online marketing dollar. But more marketer-friendly advertising options are needed first, reports Bina Jang In India, the mouse has replaced match-makers, giving an age-old tradition a Web 2.0 vibe, a shift that has turned online matrimonial sites into highly targeted advertising platforms. Matchmaking portals are attracting a local as well as global audience, who are largely made up of educated, working young people or their parents, chiefly non-resident Indians living in the West or Middle East, and resident Indians. For advertisers looking to connect with a userbase that is international, internet-savvy, has buying power and is ready to spend for the start of a new life, the sites present a perfect match. Shaadi.com says it has 8 million registered members, while BharatMatrimony.com claims 9 million. Times of India Group affiliate SimplyMarry.com has more than 700,000 "active" online users, or 33 per cent of its registered members. Explains Rajat Gandhi, SimplyMarry's business head: "Other portals may claim higher figures for registered users. However, those are based on the total number of registrations since the inception of their sites and not the actual number of active users." Be that as it may, the leading sites expect to greatly increase their user base this year. Business is flourishing and expected to grow exponentially. Online portals have only taken a US$15 million bite out of India's estimated $9.4 billion matrimonial market, underlining the immense upside potential for further growth. A growing and targeted user base will provide the sites, which have traditionally focused on subscription revenues, with the means to go after advertiser dollars. For now, the sites have attracted the usual advertiser suspects - wedding-or lifestyle-oriented suppliers of jewellery, clothes, wedding planners and venues. But with Indian families spending an average of RS1 million (US$22, 700) on a wedding, the sites are increasingly attracting brands from a range of related categories. Travel agencies now use the sites to advertise "marriage travel" packages for friends and family to visit India for a wedding. And there are items a young couple starting out would need - household goods, electronic equipment, a car or a home, and loans for these big ticket items. Indian banks ICICI and HDFC have advertised their loan products on Shaadi and Jeevansathi, respectively. As online competition for ad dollars heats up, matrimonial sites have had to think beyond banner ads and the one-offs, to offer long-term deals, microsites and made-to-order ad sites, based on degrees of sponsorship. Says SimplyMarry's Gandhi: "Our advertising is customised to suit the advertiser, subject to maintaining the integrity of our style, look and feel." Similarly, Shaadi creates ad packages to meet the specific needs of clients in different categories. For example, banks prefer long-term deals, but with specific promotions. Vinesh Nair, the site's business head for media and 06 August 2013 Page 1 of 3 ProQuest

advertising, says creative strategy teams ensure that ads are kept innovative, subtle and fresh. An ad is changed once 300,000 impressions have been reached. What does the future hold for these portals? Ghandi is convinced the future can only get better, citing the inherent advantages of the web - interactive, customisable and targeted - over conventional media. Vishal Chinchankar, MindShare Interaction's Singapore head, agrees. He says agencies now include the sites in their planning because "the stickiness [factor] is very high". But he says the sites could offer greater flexibility and sponsorship options to advertisers. "Matrimonial portals have a huge potential for growth [in advertising revenue] but they have to show flexibility to a certain extent." Sidebar Digital connections... matrimonial sites are bullish about their growth prospects Sidebar Match-making gets a facelift * India's online matrimonial sites present a highly targeted audience of young, educated people with disposable incomes, and the willingness to spend on a wedding and related purchases. * India's online matrimonial business is estimated at USS15 million, and set to expand exponentially. It forms roughly one-tenth of the overall matrimonial market of $9.4 billion. * India's online population is estimated to reach 100 million by 2007-08, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI). Subject: Weddings; Web sites; Competition; Target markets Location: India Classification: 9179: Asia & the Pacific; 8331: Internet services industry; 7000: Marketing Publication title: Media Pages: S22 Number of pages: 1 Publication year: 2007 Publication date: Feb 23, 2007 Year: 2007 Section: analysis Publisher: Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. Place of publication: Hong Kong Country of publication: United Kingdom Publication subject: Communications, Business And Economics--Marketing And Purchasing, Advertising And Public Relations ISSN: 15621138 Source type: Newspapers Language of publication: English Document type: News Document feature: Photographs ProQuest document ID: 206300008

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Document URL: http://search.proquest.com/docview/206300008?accountid=26511 Copyright: Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. Feb 23, 2007 Last updated: 2012-04-04 Database: ABI/INFORM Global

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