Reliance Jio looks to shake up digital advertising market with JioAds

Given its slew of in-house digital properties, the company can beckon brands to promote ads on platforms like JioChat, MyJio and JioMoney

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Aug 19, 2021 3:15 PM  | 6 min read

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Mukesh Ambani-led telecom giant Reliance Jio, which boasts of 427.6 million customers, is rapidly scaling up its digital ad platform JioAds. As part of its serious effort to grow the digital ad business, the company has roped in former Disney+ Hotstar SVP & Head, Advertising Gulshan Verma as the CEO of JioAds.

As per available information, advertisers can promote their ads on JioAds' in-house digital properties like JioChat, MyJio, JioMoney, Jio4GVoice, JioNet, JioHealthHub, JioCloud, JioSecurity, JioMags, JioGames, JioNewspaper, JioVideoCall, JioCinema, JioXpressNews, JioTV, and JioSaavn.

MyJio, which is a carrier app for All Account Services/Recharges, has a reach of 250 million+. The advertising options on the app include half screen notifications and customised tech-enabled solutions.

With a 200 million+ reach, Jio TV has advertising opportunities like half screen rich notifications and notifications at predefined time slots. It also offers targetting on specific time slots and specific channels.

With an installed base of 100 million+, JioSaavn offers a lot of advertising and branding opportunities to brands. These include half screen rich notifications, audio ads, branded playlist, brand caller tune, native impact spot, brand channels, original programming sponsorships, editorial property sponsorships, brand studio & brand voice, and display impact sponsorships.

Apart from this, the Jio Phone offers an array of options to brands to reach audiences across India. Jio Phone's audience includes NCCS B, C, D consumers in rural and semi-urban areas. On Jio Phone, advertisers offer up to 30 seconds video ads on app exits.

Just like digital advertising platforms, JioAds allows advertisers to set up campaigns and control total advertising cost by setting campaign start and end dates. The targeting options on JioAds platform include Location, Gender, Age, IAB based User categorization, Platform, Operating System, Device Brand, and Device Price Range.

The JioAds platform supports ad formats such as Image Rich Media, Native, Audio, and Video. JioAds has various pricing models like Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Mile (CPM), Cost Per Action (CPA), Cost Per Complete View (CPCV).

According to Jio Media sales deck accessed by exchange4media, 80% of Jio's base lies in the age group of 18-40 years, while 50% of Jio subscribers have handsets below Rs 10,000. Further, 70% of Jio subscribers have handsets below Rs 15,000.

A Jio user consumes 17.5 hours of video content per month on an average. Further, the rural subscribers of Jio primarily use the internet for consuming content/entertainment purposes.

JioAds and its likely impact on digital advertising

The Trade Desk GM India Tejinder Gill said that the entry of Internet service providers (ISPs) into the digital ads business is good news for the digital advertising industry. “India resides not just in the cities, but also in Bharat, where there is a huge untapped consumer base that is now getting access to content through the open internet. This is made possible thanks to high-speed internet and affordable smartphones brought forth by the ISPs. Through the power of the open internet, marketers can now reach a whole new universe of consumers that have never been tapped by the walled gardens.”

AdLift Co-Founder and CEO Prashant Puri said that his agency will start testing the Jio Ads platform with select advertisers and brands. “We will be running tests in the coming 30-60 days. It (JioAds) looks definitely worth testing out because they have 300 million+ reach and tonnes of different apps,” he stated.

After testing out the platform, AdLift will take a call on deploying a certain percentage of client spends towards JioAds. Since Jio has a large subscriber base in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, brands that are looking at mass reach can use the JioAds platform.

“JioAds has different models. Depending on whether you want to do a brand buy which is more on the CPM side or a performance buy which is CPC model. Based on the models, one can create a campaign and run that campaign for the client. They have also put tracking parameters and analytics in place, so a brand can know how the campaign has performed,” he noted.

For Puri, the ease of use of the platform and transparency are the key factors that will determine the success of JioAds. “We also need to figure out how transparent Jio Ads will be with its data. For example, if I am doing a mass buy, how much can I dive into to figure out which apps did better and which didn't do well and where did my placement go. Depending on what is performing, if we get that level of clarity and transparency, then whichever platform is doing better we have the benefit of tuning that up and apps which are not performing can be reduced,” he explained.

ProfitWheel Co-Founder Vivek Bhargava said that the companies that have first-party data have huge advertising opportunities, and Jio has a lot. “Since they have so much data about consumers, telcos can become effective advertising engines and platforms. Jio will be an effective advertising platform for a lot of companies. They have users who can be monetised in multiple ways. They have done some advertising-related initiatives in bits and pieces, but now they have a full-fledged offering.”

An industry source concurred by saying that Jio is building an ad platform as they have a fair amount of data about their customers. Having a large media property is of paramount importance for scaling up the ads business. “It makes sense for them to build an ad platform since they have so much information. They have been trying to build it for a while. Very few companies have genuinely succeeded in creating an ad platform because it is a difficult business.”

The source further stated that most of the inventory offered by JioAds will be static and not video. “They don't have too much of video inventory where they can run ads because most of the video content is the linear feeds of TV channels. So they can't show ads in that content. They will start off with static banners and then figure out how to go about it. In terms of pricing, video ads are 3x-4x of other ad formats.”

According to a senior executive from a digital media agency, JioAds will find a lot of traction among brands that are looking at rural reach. “Jio Ads will keep testing because they have so many products. Eventually, they will get into 100% monetisation. Right now, the JioPhone and JioSaavn are highly monetised. Most of the inventory is on JioSaavn and Jio Phone.”

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