'Programmatic allows the right content to surface to the right user at the right time'

Sankalp Mehrotra, Vice President of Monetization, Flipkart, shared valuable insights on ‘Commerce advertising & programmatic’ in a fireside chat session at the e4m Xaxis Programmatic Summit

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Dec 18, 2021 9:13 AM  | 4 min read
Sankalp Malhotra

The exchange4media group hosted the e4m Xaxis Programmatic Summit yesterday, on 17th December 2021, where the e4m-Xaxis Programmatic Report was unveiled followed by a half-day conference. Sankalp Mehrotra, Vice President of Monetization, Flipkart in a fireside chat with Neeta Nair, Associate Editor, IMPACT Magazine shared valuable insights on ‘Commerce Advertising & Programmatic’.

Opening the session, Nair posed a question to Mehrotra about the current digital advertising market and the role of programmatic advertising. Mehrotra shared “Most of these estimated numbers vastly underestimate the real size of the digital market. In the last year, the digital advertising market would have already reached about 30 thousand crores. When we think about digital as an overall opportunity, it is much larger than what is perhaps being reported. As internet penetration keeps rising, the share of digital spends is only going to increase. The entire commerce advertising space is getting active and there is a huge amount of investment that is going into that space.”

Talking about the scope for programmatic, he further added, “The job of Programmatic really is providing accuracy and efficiency at scale. Today, the entire digital universe is pivoting more & more towards performance marketing and I wouldn’t comment if that’s right or wrong. There are sectors that are relying heavily on programmatic like gaming, all consumer tech, fintech, BFSI. The reason is that they want to reach the most relevant consumer at scale. We are already moving in a direction where programmatic makes a lot of sense to a lot of brands and we will see more adoption in the coming years."

Earlier in February this year, Flipkart launched a custom-built Demand Site Platform (DSP). When asked about the reception of the DSP, Mehrotra answered “Users take a lot of action on our platform - they browse through category, add to wishlist, use multiple payment methods, etc. Right now what we are doing is turning that chunk into user insights. What we are essentially trying to do is to understand user intent in some way by taking an account of what a user is trying to achieve/attain. If you think of us as a platform, a job that we do well is hyper-personalisation. Up till now, we use all these insights to show ads on the platform. We are taking the narrative one step forward, the cohorts that we use to target users on Flipkart, or to surface relevant content to our users are the cohorts that we use on our DSP too. Whether you retail today on Flipkart or not, you can use all of that intelligence to surface the right kind of communication to the right kind of user.”

While there are two ways to approach a DSP, one being the scale of the data and the other being the richness/depth of the data. According to Mehrotra, it is the depth of what Flipkart is able to provide to consumers that will remain primary. He added “You can get limitless inventory from multiple supply sources. What makes a difference is the kind of layering that you can do on top of that supply. We understand user signals well, we understand their intent well. Then we are able to personalize depending on what cohort works well on what consumer. All of that intelligence is available today on our DSP. So, definitely between scale and depth, it is the depth of what we are able to provide to consumers.”

The consumer of today is evolved, aware, and digitally savvy. Concluding the session on how Programmatic or the Flipkart DSP is beneficial for the new age consumer, Mehrotra explained, “We think of advertising as a spectrum. As customers, your intent can be perhaps broken down into four parts. There are times when you have strong intent, a latent intent, a nascent intent, or a new intent that has to be created. Someone with a very strong intent will go search for the product, the job of advertising then is to surface the solution that the user is looking for. In the case of latent intent, advertising can do the job of reminding. In the case of nascent intent, advertising can amplify it by showcasing products and services based on their past behaviours or browsing patterns. When it comes to creating new intent, advertising can inspire, you can show them something that they need but do not have. With the customer being digitally smart, it doesn't mean that advertising has no role to play. The need for advertising is announced based on which phase of the intent the consumer is in. Programmatic is meaningful in this environment because it allows the right kind of content to surface to the right kind of user at the right time depending on the intent.”

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