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ZenithOptimedia launches Performics in India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | September 12, 2011
ZenithOptimedia, the media planning and buying arm of Publicis Groupe, has brought the performance marketing agency, Performics, to India.

ZenithOptimedia, the media planning and buying arm of Publicis Groupe, in a bid to provide a further push to search marketing, has launched its global performance marketing agency, Performics, in India. The international roll out of Performics began early this year, making India the 14th country where it has been launched.

Speaking about the launch, Andras Vigh, global managing director, Performics, says, "We have been planning to launch Performics for the last three-to-four years in India, and feel that now is the right time to bring it in India, with the market for online search growing rapidly."

Gareth Mulryan, digital director, ZenithOptimedia APAC, says, "The Asia-Pacific region has 0.8 billion consumers, which means 42 per cent of netizens are living in this part of the world, making it an important market."

In India, the digital division of ZenithOptimedia, known as Zed Digital, will be merged with Performics and will be headed by Rajat Gandhi, who currently heads the digital division.

To start with, the company has recruited a team of 15 members to work for Performics, of which 14 will be based in Delhi, while one member of the team will be based in Mumbai. India is said to be one of the most important markets for the company. In France, it has 183 people working for it, followed by the United States with 180 people, and 60 people working for the agency in China in the Asian market.

With the launch of Performics, the agency also brings in the concept of One Search into India. One Search, the agency's main tool, allows to check paid search (SEM) and natural search (SEO) results in an integrated and embedded way. The agnostic approach of One Search pairs third-party platforms with proprietary technology, including Bench tools, Global Analytics tools and Social tools. The results of One Search help in creating joint strategies, sharing learnings and increasing awareness.

Mulryan explains, "About 42.4 per cent of consumers globally use online search to find brands, while 38.2 per cent rely on display ads and 32.9 per cent consumers use consumer opinion websites to locate brands. Also, 30.5 per cent consumers opt for instant messengers to look for brands and 27.9 per cent use brand websites. And, only 3.6 per cent consumers prefer branded walls to hunt for a brand."

Vigh adds, "While in India it is true that advertisers spend more on traditional media, with time that is surely going to change. With traditional media becoming expensive, advertisers will have to focus on digital and categories such as information technology (IT); automotive; banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), e-commerce and FMCG will invest heavily in digital."

According to industry estimates, the size of the search marketing industry is about Rs 500 crore, and is largely dominated by Google.

With the launch of Performics in India, the agency will work in collaboration with Google. However, the agency has to deal with many challenges on its route to success. According to Vigh, the agency faces various challenges like getting the right resource and talent on board, apart from educating the market, which is still at a nascent stage.

Talking about the evolution of search marketing, Vigh elaborates, "With Yahoo!, one saw the power of people building a search engine, that is, through editorial reviews and indexing sites, while Google followed the path of algorithm. And, Facebook brought in the concept of friends being used to answer questions. In the next five years, Google will turn into a more efficient friend with the development of algorithm."

Going forward, Vigh is optimistic that the concept of search marketing will change drastically with the localisation of search, as search will get hyper-local. Device and mobile proliferation will also play a role -- as the price of mobile phones and smartphones reduce further, there will be a convergence of search taking place -- with multiple platforms providing search solutions, along with changing privacy, since European countries have raised a concern about privacy.

Some of the international clients that Performics works for are HTC, Reckitt Benckiser, Nissan Motors, American Express, HP, Chevrolet, BBC Worldwide, Clearasil, Nestle, Hertz, Whirlpool and PayPal, amongst others.

For the record, Performics, then Dynamic Trade, was founded in 1998. The company later launched its CPA/CPL-based affiliate network that focussed on web traffic monetisation via direct response vehicles. It further launched paid search (SEM) practice in 2001, and natural search (SEO) practice in 2003. In 2004, Performics was acquired by DoubleClick, which later became part of Google in 2008. In the same year, it was acquired by Publicis Groupe.

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