Watch: Consumer data is the new currency in new model marketplace: Akash Banerji, Voot
Akash Banerji, Head Marketing and Partnerships, Viacom18 Digital Ventures- Voot shares his thoughts on content marketing strategy
With time not only have the consumer or brands evolved, the marketing strategy too has changed but the rules of the game are still the same. The target audience, their needs, what they want to consume, the whole content marketing strategy revolves around the same.
Akash Banerji, Head Marketing and Partnerships, Viacom18 Digital Ventures- Voot in a conversation with exchange4media, shares his thoughts on content marketing strategy and why traditional form of advertising will remain the choice of masses.
A detailed content marketing strategy is essential for the success of most organisation. Your thoughts?
The entire world has changed in last couple of years with the explosion of devices and with abundance of content pieces for the consumers. But what has fundamentally changed on the advertising front is that the traditional models for mass media market where an advertiser and brand would go out there and talk about how unique they are and how greatly they are going to change your life is no more relevant. Consumers now know their favourite brand that Google informs them at that point in time. Now in this new era, brands and advertisers have increasingly started combining data and technology with impeccable story telling not just to buy loyalty from consumers but to earn it every single time. Hence content marketing very clearly is the new forefront for advertisers trying to seek, to leverage, drive long term brand loyalty with the consumers.
What according to you are the key aspects of a good content marketing strategy?
The further we go away from the old the more we realise that the rules of the games are still the same. Hence, even on the content marketing side the first biggest cornerstone is to know who your target audience is. And everything first and foremost needs to revolve around that because once you know who your target consumer is and their needs, your content needs to cater around that. Secondly, now with the explosion of the data, the consumer data has become the new currency in this new model marketplace. In this new world, fortunately or unfortunately, the only way you can win is to be strategically focused on the sweet spot where data, technology, audience and content meet.
How media has evolved around content marketing, given increased consumer engagement and how brands are using this as a measurement medium.
Brands have very clearly realised that the world of media has changed faster than any time in the history. We all are at some level, whether it's a platform or consumer we all are fighting a battle of attention, to win hearts and minds of the consumers. In that process, advertisers have realised that the only way to win that battle through a simple rule which is to create more riveting stories and rest everything else is pure noise.
Do you think that traditional content marketing is being left out in the digital push?
Absolutely not, TV is not going to die anytime soon. TV penetration in this country is still hovering around 60-65 percent. TV very clearly continues to see, a massive growth in next few years because what they end up doing is delivering massive reach to a huge set of consumers. While the messages can be micro targeted which is corollary to what digital offers but for meaning to be established you need mass media and traditional form of advertising. Traditional form of mass media is not going to die.
exchange4media Group Service
Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder & CEO of Twitter, speaks to Nandan Nilekani of Infosys about his vision for Twitter and the significant role that India plays in the growth of the platform.
On his maiden visit to India, Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder & CEO of Twitter, spoke to Nandan Nilekani of Infosys about his vision for Twitter and the significant role that India plays in the growth of the platform.
Speaking about his initial journey, Dorsey said he always wanted to make technology work for greater good. “I went to San Francisco at the crash of the internet bubble. I was not an engineer, I was a self-taught programmer. My parents had a computer when I was a kid and I always wanted to understand how to make it work the way I want it to work.”
Dorsey accepted that the evolution of Twitter was being led by the people who use it and that Twitter was making serious investments to understand what all it could become.
“Everything that has made Twitter is actually invented by people who are using it, and that is still the case today. We could do a great job if we could recognise what people want Twitter to be. We have spent a lot of time in the past three years to understand what Twitter wants to be,” said Dorsey.
When asked about the growing polarisation and proliferation of fake news and the fact that there has been a transfer of responsibilities from individuals and communities to social platforms and how he handles it all, Dorsey said, “When it comes to using technologies, it takes time to understand what they are and where they can be used. Any technology at the end of the day is just like a tool. Nation states have become less and less relevant and I think we should not burden nation states or communities with things which we are able to understand. And one of them is increasing the health of public conversation.”
Talking about censorship and social media, Dorsey said, “We have to consider the expectations that people come to Twitter with because it's a public square; it's a place where people gather and they can talk and they can fight, and all these things are expected. What I expect in a public square, I expect that on Twitter too.”
“However, the problem with that is if you let everything run, some people may not feel safe to be at this public square and they may not feel safe to speak up, and then you cannot see the benefits of having this public square in the first place,” he added.
“In any public square there are concerned citizens; you may see some sort of police force that imposes certain rules. We are also looking for opportunities to encourage people into healthier debates and healthier outcomes. Our number one priority is to increase the health of this conversation,” said Dorsey.
With India becoming the new engine for digital growth, the role that it plays for platforms such as Twitter cannot be understated.
Speaking about the growing significance of India in terms of driving growth for Twitter, Dorsey said, “Well, that's one of the reasons I am here. I have never been to India and this is my first time here. I am fascinated by this country not just because it's just the biggest democracy in the world, but also because of the diversity of this country. I have always felt that Twitter is a perfect fit for India. It has a very public culture. It has a very transparent culture. It has a culture of sharing and we have won the hearts of people who are comfortable expressing themselves to the entire world.”
Mazhavil’s digital platform has been planned keeping in mind the Malayala Manorama groups strengths & leadership in each vertical - TV, print, online and radio
Mazhavil Manorama, the leading entertainment channel, owned by Malayala Manorama group has gone digital. With audience accessing TV content at their convenience on personal devices the content team felt necessary to address their needs.
In the month of August this year, a Digital First' approach was adopted on mazhavilmanorama.com with a video friendly facelift. A well-planned launch with ‘Mazhavil Digital Premieres' wherein exclusive premiere of seven blockbuster movies (which was bought by the channel as World Television Premier movies) was made available for free viewing, on the website much before the same movies were to be telecast on the TV channel. This not only helped drive traffic to the site but also created a huge salience for the destination. Byju’s saw value in the digital premiers and associated through branding and sponsorship and the association paid off.
Mazhavil Mango Music Awards 2018, a leading music awards event in Kerala was the next exclusive content to feature on the website.
With the success of Digital Premeirs & Music Awards there was no looking back and in September 2018, 'Mazhavil Multiplex' was launched - a complete treat for movie lovers with wide range of movies and watching it anywhere anytime. Over 200+ movies will be featured in the platform. The launch has Spinz a fairness cream from Cavincare as the brand partner.
Mazhavil’s digital platform has been planned keeping in mind the Manorama groups strengths and leadership in each vertical - TV, print, online and radio and would run on each of one of them.
MMTV is all geared up to build a sustainable platform and plans are on to launch an OTT soon. The content will range from TV shows, events, movies, and original web content.
The marketing team has started approaching brands and agencies showcasing the possibilities for brand associations, collaborations & placements and thereby creating TV + digital packages for advertisers.
Film by Supari Studios highlights the importance that stories hold in our lives, through the eyes of a grandmother and granddaughter
Supari Studios has taken Diwali advertising a step further by integrating creative storytelling in its commercial for Amazon Prime Video.
The film highlights the importance that stories hold in our lives, through the eyes of a grandmother and granddaughter. We see a young girl in her mid-20s narrating a magical story, using quirky props and interesting story telling devices. At a point in the story, she goes back into her memories, remembering how it was once told to her by her grandmother, on yet another Diwali day, many years ago. The film ends with the realisation that the tables have now turned and the listener has now become the storyteller, trying to rekindle old memories of a grandmother, whose memories are slowly fading away. To enhance the impact of this storytelling, the Supari team very uniquely blended live-action with animation, along with seamless camera movements and transitions, transporting its viewers into a different world altogether. This heartwarming film, filled with ample doses of nostalgia and heart, aims to stay true to the Diwali spirit of family bonding and simple pleasures.
Link to the video-
Misha Ghose, Director of the film, said, “For us, this film was an exciting journey that we were allowed to take with our protagonists. The film is about bringing alive the magic of storytelling, which we wanted to be as creative and memorable as possible; so we used puppets, animation and cardboard cutouts and then tried to weave it into the story as seamlessly as we could. Of course the process was quite complicated; we had to sync a ten-foot movable backdrop with lights changing and a puppet reacting, and get all our match cuts that allowed us to move into the animation world perfectly. Getting the whole timing right was crucial and extremely challenging. Overall, our hope was to be able to take the viewer through a journey that was both magical and heartwarming. I think Diwali is a great time to remember how important some memories and relationships are and I’m glad we got to make this kind of Diwali film.”
Manoti Jain, Executive Producer, Supari Studios, said, “The advertising sector has become increasingly cluttered in the recent past, and brands are looking for fresher and more creative routes to connect with their target audiences. For their Diwali campaign, Amazon Prime Video wanted to steer clear from the cliché Diwali advertisements, and instead emphasise upon the joy that storytelling brings into our lives, which is symbolic of their brand. While conceptualising the film, we decided to retain certain integral elements of Diwali, such as the ‘good versus evil’ narrative and family bonding, while showcasing them in a more unique manner. With storytelling being our primary focus, we turned a simple exchange between a grandmother and her granddaughter into a magical, larger than life experience, by integrating a variety of distinct treatment styles into the very same story. Working with Amazon was a great experience, since they were looking to push the boundaries of creative storytelling, much like we were, and we're looking forward to more such collaborations with them in the future.”
Aditya Tawde, Head, Post Office, said, “The most interesting aspect of working on the film was amalgamating live action, 2D animation and storytelling with a puppet seamlessly into a single narrative. While conceptualising the characters and backdrops for the animation portions, we had to ensure that they could be well replicated in the other forms of storytelling as well. We also designed our frames in a way that gave them an international feel, while retaining Indian characteristics and elements in the design. The animation was given vintage filters and made with a colour scheme that invoked a sense of warmth and nostalgia, keeping in mind that it was an exchange between a grandmother and her granddaughter. It was great to finally see all these aspects come together so beautifully in the final film.”
Conceptualized and Produced by Supari Studios
Client: Amazon Prime Video
Director: Misha Ghose
Executive Producer: Manoti Jain
DOP: Siddharth Vasani
Creative Team: Akshat Gupt & Mohit Bhasin
Writing Team: Sanmik Cardoz, Richa Rungta, Ankush Salaria
Creative Producers: Ria Concessao, Richa Rungta
Sr. Associate Producer: Madhura Bhasker
Associate Producer: Saloni Dukle
1st Assistant Director: Sanmik Cardoz
2nd Assistant Director: Feroz Ahmed
Line Producers: Karan Hinduja, Kunal Gurnani (Shutterplay Media LLP)
Focus Puller: Gagandeep
Assistant DOP: Nitin Dhar
Art Director: Viveka Banja
Art Assistant: Shivani Shilotri
Casting Director: Swapnil Mishra, Neha Bhatter
Costume Stylist: Mansi Patel
Assistant Stylist: Rozy Agarwal
Hair & Make-Up: Tarsha Khorana
Assistant Hair & Make-Up: Angela
Camera Equipment: 1 Stop Cine Digital
Lighting: One Stop Services
Post Production: Post Office
Creative Head: Aditya Tawde
Animators: Harsh Sharma, Shikha Sharma, Pratik Satam, Hiren Gamre, Neekhil Dighe, Shanel Moraes
Illustrators: Pankaj Gole, Adarsh Panicker
Editor: Sarang Aigalikar (Noise Studios)
Colour Grade: Daniel Schmid (Nube Studios)
Music: Rahul Pais & Nariman Khambata (The Jamroom)
Musicians: Joell Mukherjii, Jitendra Harisingh Thakur, Tapas Roy
Sound Engineer: Richard Francis
Sound Studio: Island City Studio
Voiceover: Sneha Suresh
Spot: Ilyas Bhai, Mane Ji, Aarif Ji
Actors: Padmini Sardesai, Anandita Pagnis, Zenia Shastiker
Asad Khan and Vishal Shah join as Senior Directors of SEO Practice
iProspect India, the digital performance agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has appointed Asad Khan and Vishal Shah as Senior Directors to lead SEO practice at the agency.
With more than eight years of experience, Khan has chiefly been responsible for expanding business for the Southeast Asian & Oceania markets and leading strategic planning for e-commerce portfolios. His core strengths lie in formulating data driven integrated search strategies using an agile marketing approach.
On joining iProspect, Khan, Senior Director – SEO, said, “I’m happy to join the iProspect family. The agency’s belief in maintaining an open and transparent work environment, unrestricted access to knowledge and collaborative approach towards decision making is what gives them a competitive advantage and a clear path to continued growth. I'm eager to work with the team and help them grow the business.”
Shah, who has worked across domestic and international markets for more than eight years now, has been instrumental in strengthening core organic search offerings as per technological advancements and market evolution. His ability to plan, execute and deliver in complex brand ecosystems has helped him successfully play the strategic lead on several enterprise clients.
“With a worldwide presence, iProspect has been successful in driving digital performance in every corner of the globe. 20 years of rich digital experience has led the agency to the position that it enjoys today. I look forward to the new set of learnings at iProspect,” said Shah.
On the new appointments, Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect India, said, “Reinvigorating the team with new talent is crucial in driving business performance. Both Asad and Vishal have rich experience. With them leading the SEO teams, we hope to strengthen our service suite and accelerate our growth in the next phase.”
Prior to the move, both worked at Performics.Convonix as Associate Directors.
In the second State of the Video report, GroupM delivered many valuable insights into the industry-wide changes that are shaping the video ecosystem
Google has opened up its doors to agencies in light of increasing brand safety concerns, GroupM has said in a report.
In the second State of the Video report, GroupM said that “Google, for one, has become more open in the last 12 months - as it had to.”
Concerns about brand safety peaked in 2017 and the topic continues to remain one of the hottest topics of conversation between client and agency. In the report GroupM said that the agency has always asked that media partners allow true third-party verification via a tag on the page. “Our most concerned clients demand it and direct investment to partners who comply. Resisting independent verification creates doubt among planners and clients alike as to what’s really going on.”
The report delivered other valuable insights into the industry-wide changes that are shaping the video ecosystem. The highlights:
Modernising TV Advertising
The report that studies the trends in the world of video content, mediums, and advertising drew attention the perils and procedural quagmires of addressable television advertising.
Ad buying ecosystem on television is “complicated” the report said. “In 2018, we are in limbo between the traditional and the modern. We have a choice: Force-fit digital video into linear mechanisms, systems and pricing structures, or modernise television to look more like digital – targeted, automated and optimised,” the report states.
Explaining the paradox of modernising television advertising with addressability the report said: Television’s core function is still reach. Data adornments are welcome only if they make that reach more intelligent and more intimate, expanding television’s relationship to sales and downstream financial and performance metrics, as any advertiser on earth would hope to achieve.
A Prime Platform for Advertisers?
Amazon Advertising encompasses tools for buying, search, and display formats. The Amazon advertising suite offers both pure branding and aids to sustain awareness over time through retargeting. Amazon has multiple tools for advertisers from Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, Amazon DSP, and Advertiser Audiences.
But Amazon’s Video OTT platform is not primed for advertisers the report suggested. Amazon Prime is almost entirely free of spot advertising, but Amazon does offer ad inventory in Twitch and IMDb, as well as natural breaks in NFL games on Prime in the US and on its website and app.
“Video advertising is scarce, so Amazon Prime should not be viewed as a significant competitor in the supply of ad inventory,” the report said.
Amazon video’s potential to complement its proven strengths in product search and e-commerce excites advertisers. But Amazon is dispensing with ads on Prime “to preserve its user experience, but may develop free and themed channels where advertising sits more naturally,” the report said.
Crystal ball gazing
As the ecosystem gets more and more complex it is “better to get back to basics,” GroupM said in the report. “The purpose of advertising is to create demand and then harvest it. All channels have the potential to contribute to both. They do that best when they create a great user experience for both viewers (users) and advertisers.”
Finally the report advised advertisers to get used to making video that is relevant to the user and the platform use case. “This is essential if they are to benefit from a data-rich, multi-platform world.”
The agency further predicted that linear viewing of ad-supported TV is not going to grow, the economics of ad-funded OTT are questionable and that subscription fatigue is eventually inevitable. The undeniable truth that the report concluded is that: It is only going to get harder to get audiences to sit through interruptive ads.
exchange4media Group Service
The ZEE5 app will now be available on all NetRange’s platforms across its global network.
A month after announcing its global soft launch across 190+ countries, ZEE5 on Friday announced a strategic partnership with NetRange, a provider of global Smart TV and OTT ecosystems. The ZEE5 app will be available on all NetRange’s Smart TV platforms across its 100+ global network.
ZEE5 offers multi-genre and multi -language content across 12 languages - English, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi. Available across platforms, ZEE5 comes with 1,00,000 hours of on-demand content, including Indian movies and TV shows, music, cine-plays and health and lifestyle videos along with a slew of exclusive Originals, across 12 languages. It also has a Live TV offering 60+ popular Live TV channels.
Speaking on the partnership, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer – ZEE5 Global, said, “Our partnership with NetRange is a natural progression in our vision of bringing the best of Indian language content to audiences globally on any device of their choice. NetRange is one of the pioneers of Smart TV and OTT ecosystems, and we are delighted to partner with them to make ZEE5 available to their users around the world.”
Jan Wendt, CEO of NetRange, said, “As a global content company, ZEE has always been at the forefront of bringing the best of Indian entertainment content to audiences around the world and it is a great moment to have ZEE5 on NetRange connected TVs worldwide.”
Accepting one of the major demands of the employees, Google has announced that it will no longer force employees with sexual assault or harassment claims into arbitration.
Taking note of the mass walkout and protest of its employees across the globe over the handling of sexual harassment cases, Google has reportedly announced a number of internal changes in the company.
According to media reports, CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday sent out a mail to all employees in this regard.
“Google's leaders and I have heard your feedback and have been moved by the stories you've shared. We recognise that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It's clear we need to make some changes,” reports quoted Pichai as saying in the email.
Accepting one of the major demands of the employees, Google has announced that it will no longer force employees with sexual assault or harassment claims into arbitration. Arbitration will now be optional under the new policy.
"We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you," Pichai is said to written in the mail.
Reportedly, Google has also decided to provide more detail about sexual misconduct cases in internal reports available to all employees. The details will include the number of cases substantiated and the list of the types of punishment imposed, including fines and pay cuts.
Further, Pichai said the company will update and expand its sexual harassment training, and employees are now required to complete training annually instead of every two years. It will also overhaul how it deals with employee concerns.
Google has also taken into account the need to control alcohol consumption, which is often associated with harassment complaints.
The company reportedly specified, "harassment is never acceptable and alcohol is never an excuse." Leaders at the company are "expected to create teams, events, offsites and environments in which excessive alcohol consumption is strongly discouraged," the memo read.
‘Electronics’ is top seller, fueled by demand for smartphones and headphones; Indians between 25-34 lead shopping frenzy
Oath, a Verizon subsidiary, today announced its findings on online shopping trends during the festive season in India. The study uncovers surprising insights into the Indian consumer’s choices and behavior during the country’s main online shopping season, during which top e- commerce brands go to battle with massive discounts and innovative sales.
Oath has several popular media brands in India, including HuffPost, Yahoo Cricket, Tumblr, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Mail. The findings are based on data points across these brands and an in-depth understanding of consumer behavior based on content consumption by users. Globally, Oath sees more than 200 billion data points every day and reaches one billion people around the world.
The online shopping season in India is thought to begin with Dussehra around October and go all the way up to Christmas and New Year. However, Oath data reveals that the online shopping burst begins as early as mid-September, when Indians actively begin filling their shopping carts.
Huge momentum in the festive season continues to catalyse the explosive growth of online shopping in India. Sales increased 29% year-over-year in September 2018, setting a record high for India’s festive shopping season online.
Indian online shoppers love to buy Electronics online, bargain hunting for festive season discounts. 42% of shoppers bought an electronic item, making it the top selling category. Smartphones and headphones were the most popular items they checked out. In a growing trend, online shopping is becoming a part of “daily life” for shoppers. FMCG comes in second after Electronics as a best-selling category, with shoppers buying their everyday products online, from sugar to shampoo.
“The huge volume of data points across our brands gives us a comprehensive understanding of consumers in India and their behaviour. These deep insights in turn are helping our advertisers to make sense of audiences’ preferences and market trends at a very strategic level, to put in place data-driven marketing strategies during this crucial season,” says Erin Chao, Head of Platforms, APAC, Oath.
India’s online festive shoppers are predominantly male, at 79% -- in line with the ratio of men and women online shoppers in India. Tech-savvy Millennials between 25-34, with greater purchasing power, tend to shop more online during festivals. They come in ahead of other age brackets during this season.
2018 key insights and online shopping trends during India’s festive season, based on Oath data:
- Online festive shopping begins as early as mid-September. Sales increased 29% year-over-year in September 2018 -- a record high for India’s online festive shopping season.
- Gen Y leads shopping frenzy: Tech-savvy Millennials between 25-34, with greater purchasing power, tend to shop more online during festivals. They adapt easily to new technology and are bargain hunters who zero in on the big discounts during the festive season.
- At 42%, Electronics leads as the top-selling category online, with smartphones and headphones as top buys. Popular smartphone brands in India include Redmi, MI, Samsung and MOTO.
- At 12% Baby and Toddler products come in second after Electronics. Indians are heaping their carts with diapers, pants and wipes.
- FMCG is a best seller: Shoppers are increasingly buying everyday products online, like sugar, shampoo, salt and toothpaste.
- Indian online shoppers pay attention to hair care. Hair conditioner and hair-fall defense shampoos are both popular products. Shoppers also buy beauty products like whitening creams, face-restoring creams, body lotion and UV protection products online.
- The top growing product category online is ECommerce prime services, with 4X growth YoY. More and more online shoppers are purchasing ECommerce prime services, which signals they not only care about the price, but also the service quality and guarantee.
- Online bestsellers are well-known brands, implying price is not the only factor, but brands matter to Indian online shoppers.
Designed to provide dance lessons to enthusiasts, the new channel will bring together the best of choreographers along with Madhuri Dixit
Dance With Madhuri (DWM), a dance based online platform by Madhuri Dixit Nene and Bharti Airtel’s DTH arm, Airtel Digital TV, has announced the launch of an exciting Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) channel – Let’s Dance.
With festivities just around the corner and everyone gearing up to get their dance moves right, customers can now ace their dancing skills with India’s dancing icon, Madhuri Dixit herself right in the comfort of their homes. Available on channel no. 113, Let’s Dance has a large bouquet of over ad free content of over 150 hours with 2200+ lessons taught over 170+ classes.
Designed to provide dance lessons to enthusiasts, the new channel will bring together the best of choreographers along with Madhuri Dixit. Bollywood’s most favorite dancing queen, Madhuri Dixit who is known for her legendary dance moves, will be joined by dance gurus such as, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Saroj Khan, Terence Lewis, Remo D’Souza and a host of renowned choreographers from the industry to teach different dance forms to customers.
Commenting on the association with Airtel Digital TV, Madhuri Dixit said, “Our vision for Dance with Madhuri is to take the expression and passion of dance to everyone. With Airtel Digital TV’s reach, we do believe that millions of people can now learn how to dance right in their living rooms. So excited to launch this service!"
Adding to which, Neeraj Kumar, Business Head-RnM Moving Pictures Pvt Ltd. said, “With detailed courses and well-structured dance lessons, viewers can learn more than 25 different dance forms like Bollywood, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Jazz, Salsa, Hip Hop, and many more, on this service. With Airtel Digital TV’s in-roads, now, everyone will have the access to learn from the best choreographers of the country.”
Announcing the launch of the channel, Richa Kalra, Product Manager - DTH, Bharti Airtel said, “As a customer obsessed brand, we are constantly innovating for newer ideas to enrich their lives. Launch of Let’s Dance in partnership with India’s most popular dancing icon Madhuri Dixit is one such innovation which is aimed at enabling customers to learn dancing from the best of dancers and choreographers in the country. We invite all our customers to make the most of the new channel.”
In an introductory offer, the channel will be available for Re.1 the first 15 days, post this, customers will have to pay Rs. 45 per month for the SVOD. Customers can subscribe to the channel with a simple missed call to 9109121282 from the registered telephone number of their Airtel digital TV account.
Burke was in India to launch the Outbrain Academy for Clients in India
After bringing the Outbrain Academy for Agencies to India in 2017, the native advertising platform has introduced the Outbrain Academy for Clients in India this year. The first session was held in Mumbai recently for a select group of clients.
Explaining the need for a programme of this kind, Andrew Burke, APAC Managing Director, Outbrain, said, “The dynamic of the industry is such that it moves so quickly. Demand on agencies and publishers is such that we have to continually be in the marketplace helping our partners understand how to leverage the platform to get the most out of it.”
“So conducting these sessions is a great opportunity to not only showcase all that Outbrain has to offer as a platform but help all those who leverage it to get the most out of it to deliver the sort of performance that they are trying to achieve. We want to present a transparent understanding to the clients,” he added.
In the APAC region, native advertising marketing is estimated to be worth around USD 50-60 billion. Burke said he is seeing slower growth in India than in other markets. “But it seems to be picking up. We think India is a huge opportunity for us,” he said. Although native advertising is still a small part of the market, Burke believes “the reason we exist and we are successful is because marketers are looking for options.” He adds, “We certainly do not feel that a digital marketing strategy is complete with just Outbrain. What we want to move into is to be an always considered part of any marketer’s plan and to work in conjunction with other players.”
Burke spoke to exchange4media on the sidelines of the launch of the Outbrain Academy for Clients.
What was the necessity to launch this academy?
Educating the market is a very critical role for us to play. Whether clients are buying the tools themselves or not, we want the clients to understand what they have at their fingertips and what they can do for their brands. Some advertisers are taking parts of their media initiatives in-house.
Once equipped with the Outbrain Certification for Clients, do you expect more clients to take the Outbrain function in-house?
To each his own. I feel if there is a specific reason a brand wants to take a particular part of their marketing strategy and manage that in-house because that works better for them, we want to be sure that we can support that. At the same time, it is a good option for these businesses to have.
Because there may be some elements of their marketing strategy that they do want to control in-house. And for others, they can rely on their agency partners. These academies and sessions give clients the choice to truly understand whether in-housing is truly an option for them.
What do you think is holding clients back from investing in native advertising?
In some ways, native advertising is still misunderstood. It is still nascent and is a rapidly growing part of the overall marketing activity. What we are seeing though is more success which is coming out of native advertising, particularly at the performance level. As brands and businesses get better at pinpointing exactly what it is that they are trying to derive out of any activity or any dollar they spend, native is becoming more and more reliable platform to execute on.
Why do you say native advertising is misunderstood? What do you mean by that? And what’s next?
We are continually battling a display mentality. For example, brands mark viewability as a metric that defines success for them. At a display level, viewability is a high and important metric, but it is not so important for native. That’s why these academies are so important because we need to educate the market as to why viewability is not as important in native while other metrics are significantly important to us.
What’s next in native advertising from Outbrain?
Non-social feeds are coming up. Outbrain’s Smart Feed turns the web page into an endless stream of content. The publisher integrates direct-sold campaigns into native ads while mixing it up with editorial and video content. The reader continues to scroll, instantly delivered with targeted native ads that match their interests.
The beauty of the Smart Feed is that it integrates native ads with the scroll experience, which has become an integral part of the way people behave online today. Most of the time online is spent on a mobile device. The screen is small, and we touch-scroll to get the information we want. In fact, 22 per cent of mobile users scroll to the end of the web page, no matter how long it is.
Once, we would mindlessly flip the pages of a magazine till something interesting caught our eye. Today, we scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll…until we find content we love. That’s the genius behind native advertising on the Smart Feed – the scroll that goes on and on.
What are the metrics that are important to native advertising?
Engagement for one; it is a very important metric for us and we are focusing on attention as the new currency. We are very focussed on delivering a great experience for consumers so that it enables us to help support our publishers whether they are trying to drive subscriptions or deeper engagement into a publication or another publication within the network or whether it is simply them trying to bolster revenue.
There is a great role for us to play in delivering highly engaging content/promoted ads/other recommendations that enable users to come into a property and have a great discovery experience.
And finally, please tell us why are online marketers increasingly turning to native advertising now?
Native advertising works. Consumers look at native ads 53 per cent more than display ads. Native ads create an 18 per cent increase in purchase intent, and the visual engagement with native ads is the same, and even slightly higher than the original editorial content. Native advertising fights ad fatigue.
Ad fatigue is what happens when the audience gets bored with seeing ads. After a while, they simply stop paying attention. Native ads are brand exposure cloaked in editorial content, so they don’t tire out the audience. As long as the content is relevant and interesting, native advertising engages the audience.
Consumers know that native ads are a form of advertising, but they don’t care! In a recent study at Stanford University, researchers found that native advertising fools nobody. Consumers are well aware that they are viewing a form of advertising. However, native ads still have a significant effect on purchase behaviour.
Principal Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Susmita is a digital marketing reporter at exchange4media. She writes on latest developments in the ever-changing world of digital media and in-depth stories on all things advertising.