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Rewind 2015: A Good Year: Pancham Endlaw

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Rewind 2015: A Good Year: Pancham Endlaw

Transparency and programmatic advertising will become even more important in 2016 and those digital companies who have not jumped on to the wagon in 2015 will have to put in extra work to stay relevant, writes Pancham Endlaw, Head (South Asia) at Opera Mediaworks…

It has been a good year in the business of mobile advertising—for the trade in general and for us at Opera Mediaworks. All trends say Indian mobile advertising more than doubled this year and we have almost tripled in revenues. There has been recognition of Indian mobile ads.

Here are some key trends that crystalized in 2015 and will be amplified in 2016.

Integration of mobile ads into mainstream advertising track:

An year ago, most mobile advertising was thematically divorced from mainstream advertising. In most cases the objectives of mobile and non mobile campaigns were very different. The realization is now in that TG time-share has significantly shifted to mobile and so the same campaigns that are there on TV and print media need to be there on mobile too. Of course there are some old school folks with separate digital and mainstream ad managers, but they are just waiting to get their ears boxed, sooner than later.


If there’s one breakout trend in 2014— it’s the growth of video in mobile advertising. Better speeds and fast spreading connectivity (mostly via growth in users of 3G and Wi-fi hotspots) and new cutting edge technology, e.g. AdColony ( have made video ads available to even feature-phones users. Today video provides significantly richer, warmer and positive brand experience at a sustainable scale already and is the fastest growing vertical within mobile advertising. 

Quality deliveries: 

There is a marked shift to pure merit driven deliveries. By this I mean a better mapping of campaign needs to audiences that we expose them to. In turn this cries for better Data Management Platforms (DMP). The broader and deeper the DMP’s source pool— the better will be campaign efficiencies to both the advertiser as well as publishers. There is also a realization that all users of a publisher are not alike so there is a shift away from ROS bombing on select publishers to DMP led multi-publisher approach.

Rejection of poorly designed campaigns:

The pressure on brand ROIs and performance ROIs will only increase in the coming year and a big part of the ROI is getting the right creative. Poorly designed creative or mismanaged flow will kill ROIs for one and all. On flipside, great creative will stand out among the clutter and will also do wonders to ROIs. There is a demand for such good creative teams and most digital agencies offer this service in house


Advertising by nature has been disruptive – TV shows have ad breaks, newspaper ads vie for inches with news stories, etc. But there is an increasing pushback and recognition for advertising to be less disruptive to user. On mobile, this means ads to be less intrusive and be more native. As a company that has roots in browsing, we have been native (via Opera browser) for over 10 years and continue to provide a healthy blend of user experience and monetization to Opera browser users.


After video, the next big trend globally is programmatic buying. Most agencies and big volume buyers have already set up their own programmatic desks. 2016 will see the programmatic buys share of mobile advertising pie to grow significantly. Companies like Opera are already linked with majority of DSPs and so we are ready to unlock our volume and scale on programmatic buys. If this last line sounded Greek to anyone, then they have already missed the starter’s gun on the biggest trend in 2016 and will have to put in extra effort to keep their skin in the game next year.


Mobile VAS went through this cleansing cycle in 2014 and mobile advertising is waking to it now. Its high-time publishers dropped questionable practices leading to false clicks and wrong accounting on video and banners. End clients are smart. They have read through publisher’s definition of views and clicks and will start demanding price-revisions. It is time to end ‘thin blue line’ practices and be completely above board on viewablity and transparency of spends. It is time for the rest of the publishers to do this or start using a partner who is already certified and genuine.

So how does 2016 look like? Short answer: I predict mobile advertising alone will be doubling revenues and share of overall ad-pie. But then this would only happen if the eco-system followed the above trends in letter and in spirit.

Happy 2016 to everyone.

The writer is Head, South Asia at Opera Mediaworks.

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