Along with TV, crypto platforms hit pause on ad blitz on digital media

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Cryptocurrency (Representative image)

After pulling out television spots cryptocurrency platforms have hit pause on advertising on digital media as well.

Cryptocurrency brands have not just reduced the quantum of ads but also become more cautious, Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and co-founder of digital marketing firm White Rivers Media, told Moneycontrol.

“There is much better and tighter control on every ad and the same are being self-regulated. The current discussions have disproportionately increased the want to self-regulate,” he said.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 30 said the government would introduce a new crypto bill in Parliament after Cabinet approval.

Speaking during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman also said that no decision was taken on banning crypto advertisements. “However, steps are taken to create awareness through RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India),” she said.

While there’s no ban on crypto ads, Madhura Moulik, CEO and co-founder, Skilfinity, a digital marketing firm, said the budding sector must be cautious not to damage its image in the eyes of the authorities. “In India, the crypto ad business has flourished, yet mass advertising for an unregulated sector remains a dubious subject,” she added.

When it comes to ad spends on digital, Gandhi said, “The war chest of digital marketing which cryptocurrency brands have in India can be estimated over Rs 800 crore to Ra 1,000 crore a year.”

He noted that spending on advertising by crypto platforms has tapered off due to the discussions around regulations on cryptocurrency in India. “Once regulated and once there is clarity, expect a blitzkrieg in the next quarter,” said Gandhi.

Moulik also said that when legislation is created and all stakeholders take a consistent approach, the segment will become a top spender. “This category has the potential to be one of the biggest spenders and contributors to total adex (advertising expenditure) if all goes according to plan,” she said.

While Gandhi said cryptocurrency ads have not yet been the most important category as it is very difficult to replace the traditionally big categories, they certainly have become the most sought after and a sunrise category. “It has grown this fast because of its easy acceptance in the digitally aware audience,” said Gandhi.

He added, “One in seven ads during the IPL (Indian Premier League) was of a cryptocurrency brand. So, the share (of cryptocurrency ads) has scaled up since last year’s IPL.”

Moulik said crypto trading platforms have been aggressively targeting the digital and mobile-first user audience in the 25 to 40 age group living in tier I and II cities.

She added that crypto exchange platforms have been “spending huge amounts of media money on user acquisition through search, social, leveraging influencers and even over the top (OTT) platforms. The IPL matches on Disney+Hotstar had mostly crypto ads endorsed by celebrities,” she pointed out.

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