The year 2022 has been exceptional for the Mar-Tech industry as consumers’ behaviour and buying journey evolved and today they use multiple channels to research and engage with brands before making the final purchase, said Siddharth Dabhade, Managing Director, MiQ India.
With a client base of over 200 brands in over 30 countries - in addition to partnerships with several agencies - MiQ aims to solve the issue of integrating all the platforms’ data and utilising it to meet the customer goals of several businesses, he added.
“In a very short span of time, we have scaled in such a way that we are poised for becoming quite big in India and the journey has truly been amazing and enriching,” he added.
How does MiQ provide a quick fix for CTV Measurement?
Commenting as to how MiQ helps businesses overcome the ‘measurement’ challenge posed by CTVs, Dabhade stated that currently, CTV has an audience base of over 80 million viewers in India.
“Since modern marketers don’t want to limit themselves to running ad campaigns only on linear TV and miss out on a big chunk of the cord-cutting audience, thus one needs to have a more data-driven marketing and targeting plan for CTV,” he said.
Dabhade also went on to add that it is for ensuring this success of data-driven targeting and marketing plan that MiQ’s Automated Content Recognition (ACR) technology helps the marketers to do the planning of CTV ads and then do seamless activations in an audio-visual format while taking constant signals to determine the audience behaviour and patterns.
“In addition to this, the ACR also helps the marketers to identify the IP address, size, etc of the CTV which further helps in determining the income levels and other demographics of the audience base,” stated Dabhade.
As a programmatic marketing partner, MiQ has been investing in ACR technology to obtain relevant data which not only improves planning but strengthens its multi-platform capability which together helps in rolling out successful CTV campaigns.
The programmatic effect on Digital OOH medium
“DOOH will gain huge momentum owing to the increased digital transformation of OOH, coupled with the growth of programmatic solutions,” he said.
In the views of Dabhade, programmatic was not the main channel for marketers up until two years back, but today it is becoming the main channel as it allows one to have multiple devices and manage the frequency in the right manner.
“With the 5G rollout in play and all devices getting connected under the same, Digital OOH might register a 5x growth in 2023,” stated Dabhade.
Elaborating as to why players from categories like FMCG, BFSI, Automobiles, etc. are increasingly opting for programmatic ads, Dabhade stated that the simple logic is that a marketer can use multiple channels for display, video and the entire open internet while using multiple formats such as CTV, Digital etc.
“Post such ads, the marketers get an idea of where their audience is, how can they reach them on multiple touchpoints, etc while saving cost because they are using all the channels for a given frequency and maximising the reach in their target groups,” he added.
MiQ’s measurement metrics for both CTV and DOOH
Owing to the increasing popularity of CTV and DOOH in India, despite both of them being at a nascent stage, a major challenge posed to most marketers is to identify how many viewers are consuming what genre of content and also in what numbers.
Upon being questioned as to how the programmatic marketing partner segregates whether the cord-cutters are consuming content individually or with family, Dabhade stated that what has eased the task for MiQ is that they already have data points such as IP addresses and location data coming from smartphones.
“We then build our graphs keeping in mind that these IP addresses and these mobile devices are in the same location and then decode the patterns of individual households in addition to their content viewing patterns,” he stated.
Keeping in mind the increasing privacy concerns of the masses, Dabhade emphasised that it might not be completely pin-pointed information, but with constant tracking of location signals and content signals, MiQ is able to paint a picture of the trends or consumption patterns of audience households.
He also went on to add that the measurement function for DOOH is also similar to the one adopted for CTVs - with a small addition of mobile signals as the whole idea is to collect data from multiple channels and then build a comprehensive picture.
“Because the DOOH and CTVs are fixed, it is easier to find the anchor in terms of location and then map it to other audiences who are passing by and thereby build a graph and find details of the impressions generated in a specific time duration and profile of the audience amongst other statistics,” stated Dabhade.
How will the third-party cookie phaseout impact the data functioning of MiQ
As per Dabhade, the impact of third-party cookie phaseout would not be very significant for India as compared to the rest of the world, including the US, UK, etc.
Sharing his reasoning behind the same, Dabhade stated that while ads are being served on cookies globally - owing to the fact that people consume a lot of content on their laptops - but in India, a vast majority of the impressions are on smartphones which in turn have specific device identities.
“The cookie part is only 10-20% in India and that will get affected, which is why we are also advising a lot of brands to build their first-party data and use data sources to enrich other channels as well since they are not dependent on cookies,” he said.
He also went on to add that MiQ is also building a lot of contextual signals in their data lake as well so that they can replace cookie-based signals with contextual ones and thus be able to target audience cohorts in the right way possible, he said.
It is also to be noted that the programmatic marketing partner had recently released a study report on the state of CTV ads in India and how they help boost awareness and lead to an uplift in purchase intent with Havas Media and Samsung Ads.
Concerns regarding brand safety in the programmatic atmosphere
While programmatic advertising is picking pace, ad frauds have also grown substantially which is why brand safety is becoming a viable concern for marketers, in the views of Dabhade.
“Initially, we faced a lot of difficulties in rolling out ad campaigns in India because herein a lot of campaigns were being run without brand safety and there was a clear price difference between our prices and that of the other players owing to our comprehensive brand safety measures,” he added.
Dabhade also went on to add that MiQ’s founders emphasise a lot on brand safety and have pledged to not show any ad that breaches brand safety in any manner, even if that leads to business losses.
“We run all our campaigns with utmost consideration to brand safety and collect lots of contextual signals along with our white list and black list. If at all we find something objectionable while placing an ad or even after we’ve won the bid, we serve a black banner to protect the clients’ interest,'' elaborated Dabhade.
He further also went on to state that if the team finds that the impressions don’t fall in line with the standards for brand safety, even if it is 0.05%, a refund is initiated for the client.
Dabhade also emphasised that MiQ can make real-time adjustments in crucial times to ensure that any possibility of the ad being shown up with incorrect or provocative materials does not arise.
Prevalent market trends in 2022 and upcoming trends for 2023
One of the biggest trends of 2022 is the rise of CTVs, followed by programmatic becoming a mainstream advertising platform, stated Dabhade.
“The earlier paradigm was that there was direct selling of the ad inventories and that continues to happen, but there is a lot of inventory which gets filled by programmatic ads, and thus it is growing to be a mainstream media that it globally is,” he added.
Moreover, he also added that the usage of data and data sciences is increased because marketers today have realised that they need to answer fundamental questions like who is their consumers, where are they located, etc. because a lot of things have changed in the post-pandemic world.
In his opinion, the digital transformation momentum which was induced by the pandemic will continue in 2023 as well, but at the same time, India will also be impacted by the macro conditions that have pressured the western markets.
“The acceleration of digital will continue to happen but at least in the first six months of 2023, the market might be a bit more cautious. As a result, programmatic and data-driven approaches will gain more prominence in such times as they help marketers get more ROI even in limited budgets,” he added.
Furthermore, Dabhade also went on to point out that the world is now recognising that marketing is not about offline versus online, data versus creativity, but it is all about how you integrate it all together for meeting your objectives.
“Marketing is also looking at integrating all the departments like data, technology, etc. because a more holistic picture creates better outcomes,” he added.
He also went on to state that he would not be surprised if the cumulative CTV growth is more than doubled in the next year because all the TV devices that are now being sold are internet-enabled and the cost of data also goes down with the arrival of 5G tech in the country.
Throwing light on some of the objectives that he has set out for MiQ in 2023, Dabhade stated that the programmatic marketing partner wants to double its revenue in the next year while strengthening and scaling its partnership with the largest of the agencies.
“We want to continue to innovate on CTV and keep bringing in more and more data and data science angle to all the marketing campaigns which we are doing so that we are able to integrate and provide those insights to the marketers which are currently missing in the market,” he added.