Digital advertising is the buzzword with brands and ad tech platforms building various performance metrics to engage customers through video ads and target purchase intent. With India being a key growth market in this space, it didn’t take much time for the News Corp-owned video ad tech company Unruly to launch here. Unruly’s Vijay Kunduri talks to BrandWagon’s Chandni Mathur about the company’s plans for India and how the digital advertising landscape is changing. Excerpts:
What opportunities has Unruly identified in India and have you thus, customised your offerings?
We have been working in India remotely and were prepping ourselves for over a year before the launch. By 2018, APAC will overtake the US as the world’s largest ad market. It was estimated that $7.4 billion would be spent on digital advertising in India in 2016 and this will go up to $10 billion, so it’s a big market. But having said that, the challenge that we see is infrastructure. The market may be growing but it’s also fragmented.
Products that have worked in other markets may not necessarily work in India. According to our research, Indians want control of their content consumption journey and of ads they see. 62% of Indians said they like seeing ads for products and services they like, rising to 66% and 66.7% respectively for older millennials and generation X. Indian consumers are most likely to share which is 74.2% versus the global average of 8.3% and our offerings have thus been worked on.
What solutions are you bringing to India? Will you have an integrated ad approach with media titles from the News Corp umbrella?
We have plans to scale up our resources and team in India, and roll out more products such as the viewable video SSP UnrulyX — a programmatic video platform to transact on viewable impressions and Unruly Custom Audience — our emotional targeting capability. We have recently launched Unruly Pulse — a dashboard that allows advertisers to track the emotional trends in video ads in India. As a market, India is very important to us and we will increase our presence here. All media titles from the group have Unruly’s ad formats, so it does give us access. In other markets where News Corp has a bigger presence, we do have an integrated approach but we are still new in India. But definitely the synergies will come into play.
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Tell us about your programmatic distribution offering for brands and agencies.
Our ad stream formats are to engage the audience, not to enrage them, and give the control back to the user. We have four formats — Unruly In-Article, Unruly In-Stream, Unruly In-Feed and Unruly In-Page. These help brands to give better user experience, increase brand frequencies and increase revenue for publishers. We also have a tool on product testing called Unruly EQ to help brands understand the emotional intensity of their video ads. Some of our clients include Unilever, Toshiba, Tata Salt, Coca-Cola and Chevrolet while our agency partners include Ogilvy, Reprise and publisher partners include News18, Zee News, India.com, BGR, India Today, DNA India and Anandabazar Patrika.
Unruly’s survey mentions that 83% Indians would consider using ad blockers. What does this say about how consumers perceive digital ads?
Ad blockers happen because the sheer glut of poor quality content is making people disconnect. The global average is a 1% share rate for online video ads. Therefore, a two-pronged attack is needed — better content and responsible video ad units. People are fed up with slow load times, intrusive ads, poor creative quality and too many ads following them round the internet. We need to clean up the UX of serving ads to people surfing the net and make it less painful.
Advertisers are shifting dollars from traditional to digital, with performance marketing being the key. But can present digital ads deliver the scale that mass brands seek with no uniform measurement system in place?
We need to clean up our act of how we are serving ads to users. With ad dollars shifting, it also shows that they expect better RoI and user interaction. Engagement is one of the KPIs which should be looked into, as once you have engaged the user other things will follow. There is a fragmentation of metrics and it has been a bit ambiguous for brands on what KPI to go for. You will have greater accountability and measurement coming in, when you start cleaning up the act. But we will see more robust metrics and companies adopting a common currency.
One of the major benefits of digital ad versus TV is that it’s much easier to measure. You can track performance indicator KPIs such as views, shares and CTRs easily.
However, advertisers need to look beyond the view and measure how their content impacts business metrics. The smart brands get this and apply post-viewing studies. Campaign metrics are a good benchmark for success and allow advertisers to optimise a campaign within the first few hours of launch. Measuring the emotional intensity of a campaign is the best indicator of its success. Most importantly, it drives sales.
Do you see video ads becoming a bigger growth driver than native and display ads?
We have seen video ads increase and with dollars shifting, it is definitely going to happen. The likelihood of someone clicking a banner ad is very less. The average click through rate of display ads across all formats and placements is 0.06%. We are moving to a stage where people are consuming a lot of video content, so maybe certain formats have to reinvent themselves. But video advertising will definitely rise — we have seen an increase from 12% in 2014 to 17% in 2015.