We are all set to launch our new technology, TrackingX: Shaan Raza, Optimise
Optimise is a leading Affiliate Network in India. Recently, Optimise celebrated its seventh birthday in India and turned 18 across the globe. In an interaction with exchange4media, Shaan Raza, Deputy Managing Director, Optimise, spoke about their journey since inception. She spoke about the new technology, TrackingX, which they are planning to launch in India by February end. Excerpts:
Everyone talks about how technology is changing at such a fast pace. What challenges does this create for companies trying to keep up with the digital transformation?
It's true that technology is changing. It's a very dynamic environment and everyday digital marketers are looking for something new and constantly asking for updates on user behavior. The challenge we are currently facing is that by the time we develop a technology that answers the advertiser's questions, it becomes obsolete. To launch a technology, a lot of research is involved. A great deal of preparation goes into planning , development and execution. The challenge with the digital marketing is to keep up with its pace.
How do you think brands are using affiliate marketing to further their reach?
Many big brands are using affiliate marketing to generate sales and increase their revenue. In e-commerce, clients are talking about GMVs. They are paying for sales but are also getting a lot of visits, engagement, word of mouth reach and brand recall as byproduct. Clients in Banking and Finance category are coming to affiliate networks for lead generation campaigns. FMCG clients use this channel for reach and sampling. Education category clients utilize this channel to get admission enquiries.
What are the top three new trends in affiliate marketing today?
In India, it's consolidation. That's because the last two to three years saw a lot of networks coming to Indian. The affiliate industry is a very niche industry within digital marketing and asks for completely different technology and resources. I would say people don't know how to utilize potential of affiliate marketing fully developing countries. Big networks are trying to enter and establish in India by acquiring local smaller networks.
Another trend is that merchants ,networks and publishers are coming up together and standing up against frivolous practices in the market.
The third trend is that merchants are understanding that affiliate marketing is a crucial part of their media mix. They are coming up with proper teams to handle affiliate marketing. They are choosing right networks, right set of technologies and they are going ahead with proper brand guidelines on affiliate networks.
How do we see use of big data in affiliate marketing?
The best part of affiliate marketing is that it tracks everything. If a client, publisher or a network wants, it can dive deep into that data and can come up with great finding. They can utilize that data for the optimization of the campaign. What was happening till now was that marketers were not looking at the power of data the right way and didn't think technology was important. They thought that if the sale or registration has happened, that's work done. They were not thinking of affiliate as their brand and sales partners.
So, now many advertisers have understood the importance of affiliate networks and the technology piece. They are now demanding visibility of their user journey and then monitoring the complete channel. For example, the technology can track when a click or a visit happens on the website or when a user has dropped off from the website, whether a user has used the coupons or not, or if user has left his chosen product on the cart and more. They are now looking at complete sales funnel and then make the next decision. That is how technology is playing a crucial role.
How has the journey been from OMG to Optimise media?
It's a UK based company and we launched in India seven years ago. The brand OMG was formed way back in the year 1999 and I think we are the most experienced network in India as of now. We were launched as online media group OMG. Our legal entity is still the same but we re-branded as Optimise media. Our executive chairman Mr. Richard and the whole team at different geographies brainstormed about what exactly defines us in one word and it was Optimise. We are optimising brand searches, the click, the complete brand sales funnel and their GMVs.
The journey so far has been successful. We are positioned in market as a qualitative affiliate network far ahead of our times in terms of technology updates. Every three to four months we come up with the new technology upgrades. A technology that I want to name specifically is App Button which is mobile specific and a first in India. It is a mobile specific sale tool. Recently we launched audience network. It's a programmatic tool and the idea is to sell first and secondary source of data to our advertisers who want to acquire only relevant audience. So, we are not selling clicks or visits but we are selling audience. I think we are the first one to launch this in India.
What are you hoping to achieve in 2018?
We are streamlining our basic product that we began with and that is affiliate marketing. We are completely revamping our technology. We are coming up with near real time reporting and a new reporting format. Our reporting format is novel and no affiliate network can claim to have it. We are giving deep dive information about categories that work and don't work for merchant and affiliates. It's called TrackingX and we are planning to launch it by February end.
We are also planning to monetize 'TrackingX â€˜ as separate third party tracking technology. till now, it was free for our merchants on different models like CPC and CPS but now , we have decided to capitalize on it.
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