Keeping a razor-sharp focus on the customer’s wants is the best way to play the game
- The adtech market has been notoriously volatile. While acquisitions are still surprisingly low during the past two quarters, there is bound to be serious consolidation among the players.
Kavita Shenoy, Founder & CEO of Voiro writes how 3 C's Consolidation, Convergence & Collaboration have become essential for survival.
The digital advertising industry is as dynamic and logistically complex as the airline industry. In a world where an army of people and systems are needed to get passengers successfully to their destinations; there is an equal amount of action to ensure safe passage and delivery of an ad from creator to consumer.
This journey from content creation to consumption can take on so many different paths, right from storyboarding and conceptualizing an ad (or branded content) to licensing, aggregating, acquiring, distributing and ultimately consuming and paying for a view OR have advertisers bring in revenue and serve content for free. It boggles my mind how similar these two industries are. When systems break down, contingency plans are already set to make sure that flights take off. The ecosystem works 24/7, 365 days a year, relentlessly focused on customer delight. In a nutshell, this is the ecosystem around which ad tech is built. Not to mention, that the two worst hit industries during our ongoing crisis are the airline and ad industry.
Before Covid & After Covid Trends:
The overall television ad pie has de-grown by 43 per cent in the first half of 2020. The overall AdEx in 2019 was Rs 67,603 crore, while the first half of 2020 saw the steepest ever drop of 39 per cent (Rs 21,298 crore) compared to the first half of 2019. The Madison report expects the overall AdEx in 2020 to fall between Rs 55,000 crore and Rs 58,000 crore, a 14-18 per cent dip over last year.
The Indian content industry saw a boom in terms of consumption and conversely saw a decline in ad spends. This cemented the need to have a multipronged strategy of monetisation and drove a flurry of activity with content companies. While there is always a tussle between profitability and distribution, Covid certainly amplified the friction. In order for a user to pay for your content, they have to sample it. While sampling the content, it can’t be left fallow and is subsidised by ads.
With dwindling ad spends, large amounts of content were relatively light in terms of ads. The push to shift the consumer to pay to consume content is front and center of all companies in the content landscape. From local digital news publications and large players streaming live sports, everyone brought their subscription models to the fore, hoping the consumers would bite.
Data Centricity as an Ethos
There is a substantial and fundamental change in the way we as a civilization are consuming data and content. This change is resulting in new age media and OTT companies. Everyone wants in on this slice of the pie and old world media companies are going to have to adapt to this new world order.
The ability to access and harness data at a granular level to drive effective targeting for monetization and personalization of content will be a huge moat for content companies in the near future and the victory will depend on data democratisation.
Shoring up of Technology
This is the theme across the board. Within content companies, shoring up the technology stack, building moats for monetisation and getting their data engineering in place is a theme that will persist into 2021.
Consent is Key for Advertising to Succeed in the Long Term
Consent on our content viewing and data preferences is key in today’s world. This is the way modern society is moving. The way we are thinking about dating, parenting, or our worklife.
The idea that everyone has a say on how they want to be treated is novel. It moves against the concept of mass communication. Everyone hears the same thing, what resonates with you is yours to keep, but hear it you must!
If we had to cater to this individuality that we are promoting it is a problem of scale and constant change. How do you listen to everyone at the same time? How do you ask for their consent every time?
This is where technology plays a huge role and cements its place as it does in modern society.
The Mantra is always ROI!
Brand advertising today has no money to waste. ROI is of ultimate importance and provable ROI is the order of the day. Ad Technology continues to be leveraged to be transparent, efficient and to bring the right consumers to advertisers. A common theme we have seen in some of the larger players is to build portions of their own ad tech to control efficiencies both in targeting as well as costs.
The 3 C’s : Consolidation, Convergence & Collaboration is essential for survival
The adtech market has been notoriously volatile. While acquisitions are still surprisingly low during the past two quarters, there is bound to be serious consolidation among the players.
- Embracing the concept of being screen agnostic yet device aware is the order of the day for ad tech players.
- Pulling large broadcasters into a new age way of content monetisation across Connected TV will be a big focus.
- The ability to drive a meaningful change in this market will again lie with the leaders in space: Facebook, Google & Amazon.
- OEM providers like Samsung will also aim at cornering a sizable chunk of the ad tech market purely through their connected TV business.
- Making TV advertising addressable will be a big wave that will change the way traditional TV buying is measured and priced.
The walled gardens created by FAANG includes consumers, advertisers, publishers, tech and data companies that draw a large audience that is looking for various content - gaming, music, sport, reality TV and more. Ultimately, whoever owns this audience intelligence will set the ground rules of pricing and even influence the regulatory policy around the ad ecosystem. The ability to mine data and drive impactful decisions using analytics will determine who wins in this space. After the global COVID-19 crisis, convergence, consolidation and collaboration will be essential, not only to survive, but to thrive.
If ad inventory is a living and breathing entity and is ephemeral, we must ensure that data and technology ensure that safe passage is granted to ads and that they are viewed by the right audience, at the right time and in the right space where the consumer feels the benefit and has access to free content in exchange for watching ads. The larger goal of technology has always been to solve human problems and the ad tech industry should attempt to understand a viewer as opposed to being seen as a collection of breadcrumbs to drive ad dollars. The rules of how we can monetise content is going to constantly change. Ultimately, it is the consumer who is going to pick that product off the shelf and fill their shopping cart. And keeping razor sharp focus on the customer’s wants is the best way to play the game.