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We will soon bring our cross-media measurement technology to India: Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO, Aqilliz

BestMediaInfo.com caught up with Gowthaman Ragothaman, popularly known as Gman in the advertising industry, the former Global Client Lead and Head of Blockchain Practice at WPP to talk about Metaverse, his company and challenges associated with the measurement of the effectiveness of ads

Gowthaman Ragothaman

50% of media planners and brands are not able to optimise money across the platforms as they don’t really know exactly if a particular platform is targeting the ad to the right audience. 

To solve this challenge for planners and brands, Gowthaman Ragothaman’s company Aqilliz is building cross-media measurement technology in the Middle East and will soon bring the technology to India as well. 

Ragothaman told BestMediaInfo.com that they are already in talks with a few people in India. 

There have been conversations in the past about implementing EKAM, India’s own proposed unified digital measurement system, but that too didn’t materialise because of opposition from multiple platforms.

But Ragothaman believes that this is what the industry wants. He said, “Globally, the World Federation of Advertisers is pushing cross-media measurement as the most important requirement in the industry. WFA has formed a global body where Google and Facebook are members. They have accepted that in the interest of the industry, they will volunteer to provide this data to a neutral body that can be allowed to verify the credibility of the data. Advertisers can use our technology to verify if the ads are targeted to the right audience or not.”

Ragothaman launched Aqilliz in October 2019, created in collaboration with Singapore-based blockchain developer Zilliqa, to provide the infrastructure for secure and scalable futuristic solutions for enterprise clients.

In an exclusive interview with BestMediaInfo.com, Ragothaman spoke about technologies that are going to have a big impact on the advertising, marketing and content industry in the days ahead.

How has Aqilliz grown since its inception? What are the near and long-term plans for the company?

Aqilliz is a SaaS platform. It is a distributor ledger technology. It took a lot of time to convince an enterprise to build it because, by virtue of it being a distributed ledger, we are not building it for only one company. It should have at least a buyer and a seller. We spent 8-9 months to get the technology certified and approved that our data protects consumer privacy.

Airtel is now using our technology. Through our technology, brands can place ads on the Airtel ads platform matching their own customer data with similar customers on Airtel. Like this, Airtel is able to deliver targeted ads as their data matches with the brands’ consumer base. It is accurate because data is on a ledger and shared. With our technology, publishers can get better yield, brands can measure ROI accurately and consumer data is safe as well. Now we want to scale our technology by partnering with other publishers. Our journey has just begun. Since it is a SaaS platform, there are no limitations to geographies. We are already working in a similar fashion with a few publishers in the Middle East and Singapore.

We are also working on a similar platform to provide measurement. Each platform claims its own database and what works, but the planner is not able to optimise money across the platforms. We are building cross-media measurement solutions in the Middle East. We will soon bring the technology to India as well. We are already in talks with a few people in India.

For example, if a brand Z wants to target a certain audience X on a platform Y. Platform Y will tell brand Z that they have audience X on their platform and will charge them for targeting audience X. But how does one verify that platform Y has found audience X? Brand Z will have to rely on platform Y’s claims. Evidence indicates that 50% of platforms are wrong because the ads are not being served properly. Through our technology, we get data from all the publishers and verify the credibility of the data.

But most of the platforms won’t like this technology then? There have been talks in the past about implementing EKAM, India’s own proposed unified digital measurement system, but that too didn’t materialise because of opposition from platforms.

It is what the industry wants. Globally, the World Federation of Advertisers is pushing cross-media measurement as the most important requirement in the industry. WFA has formed a global body where Google and Facebook are members. They have accepted that in the interest of the industry, they will volunteer to provide this data to a neutral body that can be allowed to verify the credibility of the data. Advertisers can use our technology to verify if the ads are targeted to the right audience or not. After US, UK and China, India has the largest digital advertising market. India is identified as the third-most important market for cross-media measurement. We have presented our technology to similar bodies in the Middle East. They have approved our technology.

Is decentralisation the answer for brands to prepare for the cookieless world in the future?

Yes. Decentralisation is a distributed ledger. If brands, platforms and publishers will have to exchange value with each other, it can only be done in a decentralised manner. No one central authority can have authority on data. If data has to be shared, it can only be done in a decentralised distributed ledger.

Can a brand survive without Web 3.0 interventions?

Brands cannot survive without Web 3.0 intervention. That train has already left the station. Anyone can create content, post it and make money out of it. The ability for creators to create content and put it on any platform is already normalised. But the question is how many people go there. It’s now all about communities, i.e. which destination attracts more people where brands can get access. Now brands have to decide what role can they play in this exchange between the consumer and the creator.

What is better: brands building their own Web 3 communities or becoming part of other established communities?

It is not advisable for brands to build their own communities because they will only be serving their own needs in their web 3 communities, which dissolves the whole purpose of Web 3.0.

What does Web 3 marketing association do? Who all are part of it from India?

This association is formed by four like-minded people: Suresh Balaji, CMO of HSBC, Asia-Pacific, Cary Tilds, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer at Frameplay, an in-game advertising company, Dave Wallace, Founder NMD+ a digital enrichment and engagement company, and me. We were just jamming about Web 3 and found the need that the industry needs a platform that helps people in bringing awareness, building capabilities, training, guidelines and framework around Web 3.0 revolution. We are at four locations in the world, which makes us a truly global organisation. We are now looking to set up local chapters. We are looking for an Indian resource to look after Indian operations.

What should brands keep in mind before stepping into the world of Metaverse to maximise ROI?

Metaverse is going to be on trial mode for a foreseeable future. It is not yet scaled. The consumer needs to be reasonably tech literate to even login into a metaverse. It limits the Metaverse to technological understanding. Brands are jumping into Metaverse if they have some loyalty programme or a good amount of consumer base, which can help them to retain loyalty and continue to give consumers something. D2C brands may have a fair idea of what they can do with Metaverse than a Consumer Packaged Goods brand where one doesn’t have signed up consumers. Brands must have single sign-on features, have email ID logins for Metaverse and should continue giving content on Metaverse. In a market like India, it will take at least five years for people to understand Metaverse. We are in phase one where the brands and publishers are first attempting to incentivise consumers to sign up.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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