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Guest Column: Increasing relevance of commerce advertising as ad blockers usage grows: Prakash Sikaria, Flipkart Ads Group

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Guest Column: Increasing relevance of commerce advertising as ad blockers usage grows: Prakash Sikaria, Flipkart Ads Group

As ad blockers create much buzz around the world, India has also jumped onto the ad blocking bandwagon. Today, online consumers in India are very much aware of ad blockers, and use them to have a seamless online experience by avoiding ads altogether.

A series of ads that follow us like ghosts, apparently based on our searches, has haunted most of us and soured several people’s online experiences. They are intrusive, irrelevant and in-your-face. In such a scenario, ad blockers brought a sigh of relief for online consumers. However, for marketers and publishers it has become a worrisome woe. After all, a major chunk of revenues sites earn comes by running ads.

In India, nearly 122 million people take aid of some ad blocking software to surf the internet without having to view any ads. In fact, India is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets for mobile phone ad blockers. Given the statistics, it has become essential for marketers to find a middle ground with the online consumers.

Truth be told, it is not that consumers cannot stand the idea of any ad meddling with their online experience. It is the irrelevant ads that unnerve them. “Why am I watching something I don’t even need to buy? This product/service that means absolutely nothing to me is taking so much of screen space, time and data bandwidth!” – are generally the thoughts of an exasperated online consumer who just watched a barrage of ads that contribute nothing to his life.

Luckily, for marketers, there are other channels and means to connect with the online consumers in a more contextual manner. One of which is called commerce advertising. Since commerce advertising is native in nature, the ads shown are not sourced from third party affiliates and hence do not get blocked. Also, this way, the marketers are not wasting their money displaying ads to consumers who are not their target audience.

What sets commerce advertising apart is the fact that it is weaved into consumers’ purchase experience. This results in complementing rather than disrupting the content consumer is already engaged with. With the increasing number of consumers saying “No, thank you” to online advertising, commerce advertising actually enables marketers to get ROI (Return on Investment) on their marketing initiatives.

Additionally, commerce advertising offers an all-inclusive assessment of consumer’s purchase journey after ad interactions, while highlighting the advertising campaigns’ efficacy. It is a solution that works for both marketers and consumers as it is based on intelligent data insights and genuine purchase intent of the consumers. Therefore, for the marketers it results into ROI, and for consumers it means seeing valuable and relevant ads, on which they can actually make a purchase decision.

Commerce advertising allows marketers to target and engage with qualified commerce audience at the right time for the right intent. This leads to stronger possibility of the ads being clicked, while giving better impact to the marketers. Also, rather than tying up with any and every website, marketers stand to gain much more by advertising on commerce platforms. This is because consumers accessing commerce platforms have a more definite intent to purchase than those who are not on commerce platforms.

Add to this the advantage commerce platforms have over publishing websites. Unlike other publishing websites, commerce platforms benefit from having all the important information about consumers’ demographics, preferences and past purchase history. This information translates into more targeted and relevant advertising! To top this is the scale commerce platforms brings to marketers. There are millions of consumers spending time on e-commerce platforms and this is only growing year on year. The number of online shoppers is expected to grow to 175 Mn by 2020.

As marketers progress into the dynamic online advertising arena, commerce advertising will play a big role in overcoming severe challenges like ad blockers. It is also good news for consumers as they will see ads that bring them value and help them make better purchase decisions. At the end of the day, it is amalgamation of the convenience of shopping and speed, while being offered a highly personalized experience through targeted and relevant ads that counts for the consumer. It is time for marketers to understand that efforts towards commerce advertising are sure to provide them a great blueprint for the way forward in online advertising.

(The author is Business Head, Flipkart Ads Group)


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