Three and a half years ago Rohit Sharma, CEO & Founder of the mobile video advertising platform POKKT (pronounced as pocket) set out on his entrepreneurial journey, leaving behind his corporate hat to explore the then budding, digital start-up ecosystem. Today, after adding a couple of pivots to the business model, POKKT has emerged as one of the leaders in India and South East Asia and the company claims that it has a reach of over 100 million unique users in the region.
THE MONETISING CHALLENGE
A big challenge for game publishers globally is in-app purchasing, which currently is less than a fraction of the daily active users. POKKT’s solution to the monetising challenge is ‘rewarded video ads’. “Globally in-app purchase for the most popular games is not more than 1%-2% of daily active users. In India and South East Asia it is literally zero. With ‘rewarded video ads’ the customer watches a video ad of an advertiser and progresses to the next level. Therefore it’s a win-win for the customer, publisher and advertiser at the same time,” says Sharma.
RELEVANCE MAKES ADS LESS INTRUSIVE
While gaming ensures a high rate of engagement with video gamers, it is imperative that ad insertions are done tactfully to avoid disorienting the player. “Rewarded advertising is seamless since it creates touch points within the gaming experience itself. For instance, when a gamer is playing a game and loses a life or a level, the player is seamlessly asked to consume a video ad making it less intrusive and more rewarding. No other environment does it.” He adds, “Relevance is another aspect that is key to the success of in-game branding. If I am playing a Chhota Bheem game, and you show me an ad which is relevant and targeted, it automatically becomes less intrusive.”
DATA CAPABILITY WILL DETERMINE FUTURE GROWTH
For most tech start-ups today, it’s their data optimisation capabilities that will charter a successful run for them. POKKT’s area of focus is no different. With a big chunk of its investment going into the development of data touch-points such as analytics and machine-learning, Sharma is confident about his company’s plan of building a robust data metric system for future growth. “Over the next year our tech team based in Bangalore will be totally focused on building data by mapping user behaving on our platform. Our focal point is to build reach and ensure effective targeting for brands. That’s innovation for us!”
THE EXPANSION PLAN
POKKT currently has its operations spread across seven countries and looks to expand its reach in mega markets like the US, Japan and China. Working with billion dollar enterprises such as P&G, Pepsi, Coke, and GSK has boosted the start-up’s confidence and vision like never before. “We recently opened up an office in the US and we are now also planning to launch in Japan and China in the coming few quarters. As a start-up, we have today created a success story of an Indian ad platform going global. Our numbers prove our growth as our revenue has been growing almost 40% to 50% quarter on quarter,” says an optimistic Sharma.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START
Sharma may have started his entrepreneurial journey later than most of his millennial counterparts and he believes that the secret to connecting with the core youth TG is to put oneself in their shoes. “Young audiences are the biggest consumers of mobile gaming, and to meet their expectation it is necessary to keep reinventing yourself. That’s exactly what drives us and doesn’t make us complacent,” concludes Sharma.