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Decoding the role of fintech in shaping digital marketing in 2023

Speaking on the sidelines of India Digital Summit 2023, organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), various industry players from the domains of fintech, D2C goods and services and telecom segment shared the belief that there is headroom for growth of fintech platforms so much so that it can also become the third leg of advertising in the country

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Decoding the role of fintech in shaping digital marketing in 2023

Moderated by Sameer Kapoor, SVP- Head of Business, Paytm Ads, the panel discussion on the role of fintech in shaping Digital Marketing in 2023 saw industry players emphasise the fact that there’s a need for fintech platforms to educate the marketers as to what propositions or creatives can work in their favours and break the predetermined myths as the marketing fraternity is willing to experiment.

Commenting as to how fintech platforms aid in the marketing initiatives of brands, Sameer Jain, VP & Head D2C e-commerce, Max Life Insurance, stated that sometimes what happens is that while creating brand awareness or consideration, 60-70% of the marketing funnel is wasted marketing dollars just because the signals weren’t right or sharp shot at the target group.

“Getting deterministic signals is key for us and as of now, there are very few platforms which do offer this kind of capability. It’s actually a three-way street for us as we need the right audiences, right signals and the right ML models to be able to optimise for the business goals that we’ve identified for us,” he said.

He also went on to add that fintech does provide a lot of deterministic signals because of the wealth of transaction data that most fintech platforms are today sitting on and that’s something that needs to be leveraged upon.

Touching upon the challenges of brand safety, the right attribution and lifetime value (LTV) for consumers, Archana Agarwal, VP- Media, Airtel stated that the telecom company already invests a lot in brand safety tools over the past two years and has done an entire landscape assessment to identify what platforms can be tied-up with in the long term.

“It’s not just brand safety, but also viewability and ad frauds that we look at and we’ve identified platforms which provide solutions for either all the three challenges or some of them which is why it is not a big of a challenge,” she said.

She also stated that from a performance standpoint, Airtel looks at both cost per acquisition (CPA) of offline and online sales because at the end of it, there are budgets going into both and in terms of driving sales in the end, it all narrows down to what gives better ROI, not just from CPA standpoint but other parameters like LTV, decay rate, etc.

Similarly, Anuja Mishra, Chief Marketing Officer, Mamaearth, stated that every brand puts in a disproportionate amount of effort, time and resources to ensure the issue of brand safety, fraud, etc are minimised.

“Every incremental platform that you look to engage with, there will always be learnings around the same and when consumers transact on marketplaces, there is a degree of trust. But when you’re bringing them to your platforms, you have to ensure that the loop is completely closed from a safety lens and that is something we’re consciously cautious about and look at all the time,” she said.

Mishra also pointed out that LTV is extremely critical, especially for every D2C brand as the start of the journey is towards the acquisition and that the CPA is a cost that not too many businesses are able to bring down in the brand’s journey.

“The real meat lies in the LTV and for us at Mamaearth, it essentially means how do you build the cross-sell and up-sell strategy over a period of time while continuing to engage with the consumer because we also have got a house of brands, so the question that arises is how do we also look at engaging with our consumers through other new-age brands like BBlunt, The Derma Company, etc. through first-party data,” she emphasised.

Therefore, in the opinion of Mishra, every platform that one evaluates is not just from an acquisition lens but from a lens of whether is there longevity to engage with the consumer.

Upon being questioned as to how critical is couponing, promotion deals, sampling, etc. for brands in the D2C space, she replied that all these propositions have a role to play in the life of a brand and in the journey with the consumers.

“Over a period of time, it is very important that you start to connect with the consumers as a brand and your values connect with them beyond the deals that you put out there. Therefore, everything has a role but most importantly it is essential to know when one should start, stop and continue,” she added.

Commenting as to how the category of insurance can leverage the penetration and knowledge of digital currency even in Bharat, Max Life Insurance’s Jain stated that most insurance companies in India focus on the top 50-100 cities just to ensure that they don’t spray and pray but ate rather sharp with their investment, time and energy.

“However, our TG doesn’t just live in these cities. We’ve seen that the long tail continues to grow faster than the top 50-100 cities even if we talk about affluent and aware audiences. Hence there is a need for getting deterministic signals and going outside these top 100 cities to reach the larger Bharat, but we need to be sharp in doing so or else marketing monies would be burnt in a jiffy,” he said.

Sharing her views as to how Fintech data helps in providing value for various SKUs and businesses, Airtel’s Agarwal said that the value that the marketers see in fintech data is that it is holistic and provides for a lot of intent within the market cohorts.

Citing an example to support her statement, she stated that when the telecom service provider had launched their ad campaign- Airtel Safe Pay, for digitally transacting consumers for one of their key cohorts that was on target and that if one wasn’t transacting digitally, the product was not meant for them.

“From a brand awareness standpoint, the campaign drove media metrics for us but at the same time, we’ve also seen the business grow at the middle and the lower funnel with fintech brands wherein we disseminated scratch cards and that has actually worked very well because people do scratch those cards to see what they’ve won,” she highlighted.

Later on, she also went on to list down a number of challenges that come along with fintech platforms and stated that one of the big challenges is that of limited video inventory, limited attention span along with the fact that a lot of the brand safety tools are not integrated with the Fintech apps which leads to frauds, viewability issues, etc.

“Airtel as a brand spends a lot on videos as compared to display. Also, when people come on fintech platforms, they come in for a short span of time as they’re login on to the platform just to make a transaction and not surfing through. Therefore, given that the attention span is low, the ads could potentially become a blind spot,” she stated.

Striking a similar tone to Airtel’s Agarwal, Mamaearth’s Mishra also pointed out that the entire coupon-ing exercise has brought in fairly strong CTRs for the brand but has not actually tried the top of the funnel on fintech.

“I think the platform does bring in digitally savvy consumers, but one of the barriers on such platforms is that the viewability or attention span is low, therefore if you’re putting video inventory, it's crucial to ensure that your view through and viewability are positive,” she stated.

Later on, she also pointed out that what’s happening today is that marketers are graduating from intra-space targeting to more intent-based targeting and in the scheme of things, how does fintech help the brands in closing the loop with the end consumer is preferably through building the brand through more video content and engagement.

Additionally, Max Life Insurance’s Jain also shared the belief that engagement is a key factor and emphasised that one should essentially look at offering something more and new to the consumer than just helping them get the transactions done on the platform on a daily basis.

Moreover, Mamaearth’s Mishra pointed out that what’s required from fintech platforms is building a clear role of what the platform can do for the brand in its journey and engaging more with the marketing fraternity in terms of building use cases, educating the marketers, etc.

“The marketing fraternity is willing to experiment, now more than ever, but there is a need for you to show us a way on experimentation to scale and not just leave it at the experimentation stage,” she stated.

Airtel’s Agarwal also shared a similar standpoint on the matter and stated that fintech is here to grow and go upwards which is why it is essential to break the myths that the marketing fraternity carries in their minds regarding such platforms and even though the brands would spend on these platforms, the budgets will be low as the predominant belief in the industry is that it would only work for an ‘x’ or a ‘y’ as results.

“It is also essential for fintech brands to educate marketers as to what kinds of creatives will work and what’s the right of doing things on their platforms,” she added.

Similarly, Max Life Insurance’s Jain also denoted that increasingly everybody is realising that the growth appetite cannot be satiated by just two platforms- Google and Meta, and that spreading one’s self too thin also doesn’t work, which is why there is an opportunity for the fintech to grab and become the third leg of advertising.

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