At the recently concluded Tech Manch Digital Conference 2017 in Mumbai, the Cheetah Panel fiercely debated concerns about a digital ecosystem that is primarily centred around the tech giants—Google and Facebook—and how to think beyond these two technology companies.
The panel comprising Himanshu Agarwal, Marketing Manager (Digital), Reliance Mutual Fund; Molly Kapoor, Head of Marketing, Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund; Pankaj Parihar, VP & Digital Marketing Head, Godrej; Shamsuddin Jasani, MD, Isobar; Vednarayan Sirdeshpande, Head of Audience Development, Discovery Networks; and Vinod Thadani, Chief Digital Officer, Mindshare was moderated by Morden Chen, GM APAC, Cheetah Mobile.
Opening the discussion with the panel, Chen posed the question everyone wonders about: why do advertisers head to Google and Facebook for the majority of their digital advertising requirements. Jasani felt that the dependence on Facebook and Google is driven by advertisers who feel that the two tech giants provide easy answers to their advertising plans. “They have strong data products and that works in their favour.” That said, he admitted that other publishers are adding value and clients now want to know if their ads are truly reaching the right audience.
Parihar said that being first-movers, Google and Facebook have a massive advantage over other players. He added that because a majority of consumers and users are either on Google or Facebook, it is easy to reach out and communicate with them on these platforms. That said, he felt that in the last two years there has been a proliferation of publishers beyond Google and Facebook like OTT platforms, applications, etc. “We have consciously started moving beyond these two big platforms,” he added.
Saying that in India the share of digital advertising that goes to Google or Facebook is not as high as 90–95%, Thadani noted, “Clients don't want to put all the eggs in one or two big baskets.” He added that the Indian digital ecosystem now has multiple publishers or OTT players that agencies partner with for advertising solutions. “With the growing rate of programmatic advertising it is no longer true that abig publisher has the biggest share of the pie. He also explained that India being so diverse, advertisers cannot completely rely on Google and Facebook alone. In tier-II and tier-III cities, we partner with other companies,” he said.
Sirdeshpande said that the dependence on Google and Facebook is a function of the ecosystem. “The default innovative digital solution is almost always to do with Google or Facebook. And that’s how the creative agencies also thinksubconsciously.”
Kapoor and Agarwal both felt that using solutions based on innovative appsand partnering with existing digital advertising solution creators could be one of the ways forward for digital advertising.