Two sides of the Programmatic Sword

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First, about Truecaller, leading utility app making Programmatic work to the fullest.

Truecaller has 150 MN users in India and 250 MN globally.

After Whatsapp and Facebook (both FB owned) Truecaller is the third most popular app. As per AppAnnie’s recent report Truecaller is among the Top 4 apps used in India.

3rd most popular App in India after Whatsapp and Facebook

There are other apps that have sprung up in the similar category, giants like Facebook have also tried their hand at it – Hello. Also the company covered in the previous post IndusOS have one built in their OS.

When I first heard about Truecaller going all 100% programmatic, I wondered how it would be possible for a Publisher or App developer in the Indian market to go all Programmatic. It seemed impossible about 12-18 months back. But they directly plugged into DBM getting their demand via open auction and Programmatic Direct. With a very lean sales team they are among the leading players in the App advertising domain.

Lean sales team. 100% Programmatic

A few questions we asked Tejinder Gill who Heads their India business.

P1x1 – Given the fact that you are 100% available on Programmatic, do you think it is the best idea for Publishers.

TG – From a publisher’s point of view, it is definitely a boon for us. After the launch of programmatic through Doubleclick Bid Manager, we are managing our entire global ad operations with a very lean team. This also makes us operationally efficient and helps us manage payments from customers on time.

P1x1 – Given the Indian market environment, getting timely payments becomes a key advantage for Supply guys to go Programmatic

P1x1 – Talking about the Duopoly, is there a trap we are all getting into by depending on Google and Facebook in the ad ecosystem?

TG – We are currently the third biggest player when it comes to in-app advertising in terms of reach. We believe that working in a collaborative environment is definitely more important than competing with each other.

P1x1 – Viewability, Humans vs Bots, Brand safety. Is all of this bringing in discipline or hidden conspiracy?

TG – As the digital ecosystem evolves, there is an increased awareness around brand safety. We are taking strong steps in the direction of viewability and brand safety. Advertising on Truecaller is a gated community which gives a brand exposure to 150 million verified Truecaller users in India. Brands can be more accurate about where their brand is featured. Regarding viewability, we are working closely with Google and rely on DFP along with IAB standards for viewability in all our ad serving solutions which are in line with industry standards.

P1x1 – Two popular ways brands buy – Audience and Impact. How does Truecaller help in achieving this goal?

TG – Truecaller guarantees impressive reach and returns for marketers in the app advertising space with 100% SoV. Our analytics shows that a user receives 6-7 calls on average a day, giving brands multiple opportunities to connect with a consumer.

By popular demand of marketers, our latest offering on the table is Call Intent targeting and Custom Audience targeting. These features can help marketers reach out to different personas which are built with rich data and analytics. We strongly believe that in order to solve all the marketing objectives across the funnel, we need to have an entire suite of products to offer to marketers.

Brands in India still go by reach metrics before allocating media budgets and some are getting smarter in their planning by targeting the preferred audience segments. Truecaller sits in the sweet spot between both with reach and insights.

We also managed to rope in Mudit Seth who leads the International Business of Tyroo (also Co-founder Silverpush & Angel Investor)

P1x1 –  What’s not working for Programmatic buying today?

MSBrands treating programmatic as instant result generator. Everyone expects transparency at senior level but never gets real picture. Freshers or juniors handling programmatic in agencies and brands are not trained enough. Brands and agencies do not have patience for programmatic to perform. It gets shut down much before. Since nobody sees it, no one believes it. and Everyone treat as if they know 100% of programmatic industry. Brand safety is a big challenge

P1x1 – How can we assure efficient Media Buying correct that?

MS – Initiative inside each brand to learn and teach the marketing and senior teams. Industry standards are required in programmatic and some senior authorities like IAB, Nielsen etc need to standardize things

P1x1 – Too many platforms there. Which to use, which not to?

MS – One should start by testing 3-4 tools in market and based on learning and feedback, accept and adopt any one. No platform in the world is perfect.

Think of audience first and platform second.

P1x1 – Too many metrics – impressions clicks viewable impressions bot traffic. How to solve or simplify this puzzle?

MS – Most of the companies create their own metrics. It can be impressions or installs or brandscore. Make sure to measure the entire funnel of each user and stick to company metrics.

P1x1 – Programmatic does not perform. how to make it successful?

MS – First party integration with DSP is a must. While applying for programmatic make sure to implement DSP + DMP combination at one go. DSP or DMP will never perform alone. PMP is a great way to see initial success

So we know that like most things even Programmatic buying has two sides. The key takeaways –

  1. Evaluate a couple of platforms
  2. Audience strategy (not media strategy)
  3. Invest time in Programmatic, don’t expect instant results

Feel free to share feedback on this or your story on Programmatic buying/selling.


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