Programmatic advertising drives personalisation, automates media buying: Bharat Khatri

Khatri, Country Lead, Xaxis India, shares insights on programmatic advertising, AI and the change in the Indian advertising industry

by Noel Dsouza
Published - Jul 9, 2019 8:32 AM Updated: Jul 9, 2019 8:32 AM
Bharat Khatri

The advertising landscape in India has seen noteworthy changes in the recent times in digital advertising and the e-commerce sector. Generating data and personalising content for consumers to garner their attention has become key factors for brands. 

According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India is the fastest-growing market for e-commerce, driven by a significant improvement in connectivity and the growing ease of making online payments and transactions.

Talking about the fast growing digital space, Bharat Khatri, Country Lead, Xaxis India, says the number of consumers who shop on the Internet has increased exponentially.

“This has led to e-commerce companies accumulating valuable consumer data, collecting information on which products and categories consumers are browsing and buying. With this data, advertisers are now able to create highly-targeted ads and only engage with the people who would be interested in buying their specific product,” he explains. 

Khatri expects this trend of generating data to continue over the next few years, which in turn will bring a lot of opportunities to those in the digital ad space, as advertisers will look to reach audiences by promoting their product on e-commerce websites.

Advertisers are also evolving, and so, transparency, accountability and campaign measurability are all becoming a more important part of the advertising conversation as there is a shift towards creating campaigns which lead to outcomes that can affect a company’s bottom line.

Khatri shares, “Disappointingly, trends show that advertisers in India are still hesitant about changing their methods, preferring to buy clicks and leads, which produce low-quality outcomes for brands. Indian marketers need to move towards creating measurable outcomes to avoid getting left behind.”

eMarketer recently released statistics which showed that ad spends in India will increase by 64% in 2019. Programmatic is now everywhere. With the advent of digitalisation, new channels such as digital OOH and audio are going to play a key role in helping advertisers and marketers reach new audiences and drive better engagement, opening up opportunities for marketers to implement multi-channel strategies to re-target the same consumers.

But how does programmatic advertising work? Explaining the ad tactic, Khatri says, “To put it simply, programmatic advertising is about automating buying and selling of advertisements with the use of any sort of data.” 

“In programmatic, using a combination of data and technology enables the buyer to make a decision in real time about the advertisement and message they want to deliver to the consumer. It also helps drive personalisation and gives the advertiser the ability to automate media buying in a way which drives better ROI for brands,” remarks Khatri. 

Speaking about programmatic advertising and how it enhances brand value, Khatri says, “Programmatic advertising plays a vital role across the consumer funnel for brands. In the early days, programmatic was seen as a channel or medium to run lower-funnel marketing campaigns, or in other words, performance campaigns. However, we’ve seen a shift over the past two years as brands have evolved and advertisers have started using programmatic to automate their digital media buying and activate full-funnel campaigns. Programmatic enhances the brand’s overall value by helping to engage the same consumer at different stages of the purchase journey and enabling advertisers to carry out full-funnel campaigns across several channels at the same time.”

Apart from programmatic advertising, Khatri says, that there is a digital duopoly which is now being challenged by Amazon and the launch of its demand-side platform (DSP) in the Indian market. “Amazon had launched the platform in the US and UK earlier this year, challenging Google and Facebook for market share. We expect that Amazon’s new platform will follow the same trend in India, and predict that it will become the third largest programmatic channel in the world,” shares Khatri. 

Even Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has reinvented media spends and have also steadily infiltrated the advertising industry. It’s hard to imagine that people used to think of AI as science fiction when it is now such a big part of everyday life. In reference to AI and advertising Khatri says, “Streaming platforms like Netflix simply wouldn’t be as enticing if they didn’t have AI recommending content to watch. Using a mobile phone with your hands full would be impossible without the AI voice assistant. In a similar way, AI is becoming indispensable for ad campaigns. I strongly believe that making the most of data and technology is key to achieving real results, and am always proud of the work we do at Xaxis, where we take advantage of AI and ML to accumulate, aggregate and analyse data to drive high-impact programmatic for clients.” 

Speaking about his own agency Xaxis and where it stands on a digital level, Khatri remarks, “At Xaxis, we help global brands achieve outcomes they value from their digital media engagements. Our campaigns drive results that directly align with our clients’ business goals. We achieve this by jointly defining a success matrix based on clients’ real-world objectives, so that every campaign delivers measurable, valuable results.”

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