Flipkart has launched, what it calls, a ‘brand story’ ad format. This will be a new native advertising solution for brands available on the company’s mobile application. By adopting this approach, Flipkart is promising advertisers more relevant and contextual ads to reach the right audience. Interestingly, Flipkart’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Ravi Garikipati, said that this transaction-based advertising would provide advertisers with a more robust platform than search or social advertising.
“Our way of looking at brand advertising is different. When we were researching our advertising strategy there were some key things that emerged in terms of the gaps that are seen in today’s method of advertising—reach, translating it into impact and transparency. Increasingly, search and social advertising are being questioned, so commerce advertising will be the way forward,” says Garikipati.
He adds that the solution has been designed to enable brands to target consumers at any level of their product campaign while driving them down the funnel. “It is carousel-like in its design, which can then take the consumer to the branded page. It does not come in the way of the shopping experience,” he explains.
The company has also developed a retargeting solution to track consumers after they have left Flipkart. Digital advertisers are usually charged on the basis of CPM, CPC or CPL. A more premium rate is usually applicable if a brand takes transaction as a key metric for its campaign. Flipkart says that it will provide advertisers with complete visibility on transactions. However, Garikipati did not elaborate whether Flipkart would be charging brands only on basis of completed transactions. “Our value proposition is very different and the proof is in the pudding,” he said, while adding that at the onset, their rates would be “competitive”.
The new platform is currently getting ready for pilot tests with some of Flipkart’s existing first party brands (brands retailing on it) and will see a general launch in February 2016. The platform would be open for all brands, irrespective of whether they are retailing on Flipkart or not. When asked whether Myntra was also part of the offering, he said that “eventually” Flipkart’s fashion sibling would be included too.
Since buying ad network AdEquity around six months ago, Flipkart has been working on building up its advertising solutions. A similar approach is being taken by many other e-commerce companies, including the likes of Snapdeal, Amazon and Ali Baba. On one hand, this reduces their dependency on Facebook and Google, while also providing the company with an alternate revenue stream. Some reports even suggest that Ali Baba earns around half of its entire revenue from advertising alone.