‘In one year, not a sin­gle ad­ver­tiser re­fused to buy pro­gram­mat­i­cally’

True­caller took the rad­i­cal step of go­ing com­pletely programmatic with the launch of its in-app ad­ver­tis­ing plat­form. One year since the launch, True­caller app ad­ver­tis­ing has reg­is­tered a 300% growth. Te­jin­der Gill, Vice Pres­i­dent Sales & In­dia Op­er­a­tion

Impact - - FEATURE -

Q] True­caller went 100% programmatic last year. How has it been so far?

Programmatic was one of the three op­tions we were look­ing at. We took a 30-day win­dow and met the lead­er­ship teams of a few top agen­cies in the coun­try along with 10 mar­keters and also partners like Google, who have been evan­ge­liz­ing programmatic. We re­al­ized that there was no other in-app player in the mar­ket that is 100% programmatic. We also re­al­ized that most of the top agen­cies have sep­a­rate programmatic teams in place, a sign that the mar­ket is mov­ing to­wards programmatic. Look­ing at the ben­e­fits of programmatic, from a publisher’s point of view, we were get­ting bet­ter yield, which meant we could max­i­mize our in­ven­tory and get more dol­lars per in­ven­tory, per CPM, which was the first big­gest ad­van­tage. Se­condly, you get guar­an­teed deals through programmatic. Thirdly, the op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency is very high. Cur­rently, we have one per­son run­ning the show na­tion­ally. On an av­er­age, we book around 30 deals in a month. Also, cash flow is an im­por­tant part of our busi­ness, and so is get­ting timely pay­ments. Programmatic gets all th­ese as­pects right. You don’t need to worry about billing or re­port­ing.

Q] Why has In­dia’s up­take of programmatic been so slack?

I would not say it’s slow, it’s all about evan­ge­liza­tion. In the past 10-20 years, there was dis­play, then came so­cial me­dia which was fol­lowed by mo­bile.

Now there is mo­bile plus programmatic. The next few years will prob­a­bly get bet­ter. The only chal­lenge is the lack of ed­u­ca­tion. But once they get into it, they start en­joy­ing it. Programmatic gives you bet­ter con­trol while fi­nal­iz­ing the tar­get au­di­ence. Through programmatic, one can tar­get any de­vice in the world, as long as it is con­nected to the In­ter­net. You can bring in tons of op­ti­miza­tions, get bet­ter in­sights,

change de­tails by the hour, de­pend­ing on what is work­ing and what is not.

Q] Are ad­ver­tis­ers open­ing up to the idea of programmatic?

Yes. Around 70% of our cus­tomers in the last one year are re­peat cus­tomers. This hap­pened be­cause of two rea­sons – firstly, they are get­ting value out of the prod­uct and se­condly, they are happy with the ex­e­cu­tion piece. The top 150-200 ad­ver­tis­ers in the coun­try are ready to experiment with programmatic.

Q] Be­ing a publisher your­self, what are you do­ing to give programmatic a push?

Glob­ally, we hire talent from the best com­pa­nies. Our global ad op­er­a­tions head is a for­mer Google em­ployee and was part of the team that worked on DSP and DBM four years ago. Now he is the per­son who trains our peo­ple. We just hired our sec­ond ad op­er­a­tions per­son and sent him to Stock­holm to get trained. We ask our teams to at­tend all the cour­ses that are avail­able on DSP and DBM. We push them to spend 3045 min­utes once a week on the mod­ules to keep them up to date.

Q] How do you see the fu­ture of programmatic play out in In­dia?

In the past one year, we have not found a sin­gle ad­ver­tiser who has re­fused to buy pro­gram­mat­i­cally. When­ever a new wave starts, the first year is a lit­tle shaky when peo­ple are still try­ing to fig­ure out whether some­thing will work. Over­all, some guid­ance will help peo­ple get more ex­cited. The ecosys­tem has to be evan­ge­lized by pub­lish­ers, mar­keters and agen­cies. I am fully programmatic and al­most 90% mar­keters want to buy pro­gram­mat­i­cally. The 10% who are not yet there are will­ing to learn and try. Slowly, it is this 10% that will keep mov­ing the bar up and bring­ing more peo­ple into the ecosys­tem.

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