Programmatic advertising, which is already a major revenue stream for digital advertising platforms, is yet to grow to its fullest potential, said Bharat Khatri, Country Head, Xaxis India.
Programmatic advertising currently constitutes almost 35% of the total revenues of most domestic digital advertising platforms and more than 80% for Google and Facebook in India.
Khatri said that while programmatic expands even further on digital, the technology has also started growing in OOH and there’s a massive growth potential in print as well.
Xaxis is the world's largest global programmatic media and technology platform, working with 3,300 brands in 47 markets.
He said the Indian market by the end of this year will end up as the fastest growing programmatic market worldwide.
Programmatic ad spend in India is likely to cross about $15 million in 2019, a 64% jump from 2018. The growth momentum is likely to be maintained next year as well.
Khatri said this growth is not coming just because of moving budgets from one particular pocket to another pocket but because of new channels in India.
“Digital out of home (DOOH), e-commerce and audio data are the new channels driving growth in terms of both ad spends as well as driving more relevancy for brands,” Khatri said.
Khatri said Xaxis has already started making programmatic possible for print and offline.
“Industry needs to have a module of ad exchange where all print or offline mediums can upload their ad inventories so that the agencies or the buyers can directly access that and buy the inventory in real time, whenever the requirement comes in,” he added.
He said that despite automation in media buying, marketers still want to go for traditional buying.
“We are a country where marketers want to advertise to a billion plus population, and still heavily skewed towards traditional mediums. So, the market still required to hand-hold a lot of brands to make them understand about what value programmatic can bring on the table. With a big spike in terms of people using connected TV or the smart TV in programmatic, most marketers would have to transit from traditional ways of buying towards programmatic buying.”
Making marketers learn programmatic
The company via Xaxis 2.0 has been convincing brands how programmatic can help them access real-time data and insights of customers, and further decode that behaviour and drive meaningful insights that can be leveraged in marketing communication and minimise the risk of ad frauds.
“We know that the value we bring for a brand may come from a consultation, like how we can consult a brand in terms of leveraging their first-party data. We really are trying to leverage data and technology and to help the clients deliver a better ROI for their digital investment. The biggest opportunity in media right now is an outcome-based model. And spreading programmatic media outcome is still a relatively new concept for advertisers,” he said.
The company this year transformed itself from four Ps of marketing into four Cs—context, consumer, commerce and connectivity. As the company believes the industry did a poor job in terms of driving accountability from programmatic, it is aiming at changing dialogues with its brands and clients to drive real business objectives.
Talking about the gap in awareness among marketers in understanding data and its importance, he said, “Firstly, brands need to understand how they can use their first-party data and then it's all about driving meaningful dialogue rather than just doing a spray and paint or a mass campaign. But the way the marketing communication or the age is changing in terms of e-commerce, more connectivity and consumers becoming the heart of the campaigns, brands can also leverage first-party data by driving more of a non-intrusive type of communication. They need to learn four Cs of marketing now.”
As not enough brands are trusted in terms of letting any agency access and share customers’ data, Khatri said it doesn’t keep any possible information about consumers. It's just the proxy of consumers and their behaviours that it keeps as an anonymous ID in the form of a cookie or a mobile ad ID.
“We only leverage anonymous ad IDs or cookie IDs to showcase relevant targeted communications. We ensure there is no compromise with the brand in terms of brand safety,” he added.
Apart from that, to market to relevant and right audiences, it does launch certain in-house campaigns that it leverages on the B2B platforms. Plus it uses its presence in media forum to advertise its tools for brands.
Having grown by 60% in 2019 in terms of its billings, it aims at 30% growth next year. As market dynamics get different every year, the growth in the upcoming year, Khatri said, depends on a lot on economic factors because certain industries are not growing both business wise and ad spend wise.
Voice, AI and ML to be key trends
With an objective of leveraging its current expertise in AI and machine learning, the company plans to reach out to more brands to build a custom algorithm for them. While it had already invested in data science and analytics, it plans to soon open a dedicated consultative team, where brands can partner either to drive in-housing of programmatic or to build a relevant business model for their media spends.
On new trends and changes in the mar tech industry in 2020, Khatri said, “Marketers will start adopting machine learning and AI more frequently to drive better ROI and to understand customer behaviour better. More brands will use AI tools to make better selection and decision making and for personalised content recommendation for audiences. That's one of the key trends that we can clearly see happening in 2019 and which will take a big leap in 2020.”
In 2020, he added, India will shift from mobile first to voice first and people will use voice-activated services more. In a voice-first market, people use voice as a mechanism to transact, communicate with mobile phones or tools and technology, and brands will embrace this aspect in advertising.
He added, “D2C economy is coming to India now. Companies are changing the way how products are being delivered to consumers. So, they are eliminating the middleman in the industry. We will see more of these brands emerging in India and disrupting the current market space. Plus, they will also drive bigger ad spends on digital because they will be using digital as the first medium to communicate as well as to deliver products.”
In early 2020, he said, Amazon will come up with its own DSP in India, a demand side platform, leveraging its own ecommerce data to help marketers deliver relevant ads to consumers within the Amazon ecosystem and outside.
Trends in the second half of 2020 will be around cloud computing. So, as the world evolves in tech at a breakneck speed, and every organisation looks for a digital transformation, which becomes a means for their survival in this new age of marketing, cloud computing becomes a catalyst for this transformation. Also, chat bot, which is presently being utilised only in the service space, will come into digital marketing. And the ad format itself will look like a chat bot, Khatri said.