Abid Hussain BarlaskarPublished: 25 Sep 2019, 11:45 PM
Media

Do websites use data well to sell?

Digital advertising is all about data and targetting. A large data pool coupled with precise audience targetting and awesome content is the recipe for perfect digital advertising. But, are publishers milking their data pool well? Is it good enough to drive precision? What role do media agencies have to play? And where do advertisers fit in the fray?

This panel discussion at the Digipub World 2019 revolved around these questions along with some to and fro of information between the panelists. Panel members included Gaurav Arora, vice-president and chief revenue officer at Jagran New Media; Junaid Hakim, general manager, Mediacom; Karan Jaitapkar, executive vice-president, Technology, iProspect; Varun Mohan, head of digital revenue, Republic TV. The discussion was moderated by Sandeep Amar, founder, Inaaj.

Amar initiated the discussion by asking the panel about the level of understanding of the data at hand and how far is that data showcased?

L-R - Gaurav Arora, Junaid Hakim, Karan Jaitapkar, Varun mohan and Sandeep Amar
L-R - Gaurav Arora, Junaid Hakim, Karan Jaitapkar, Varun mohan and Sandeep Amar

Stating that iProspect works on a CPS (cost per sale) model, Karan Jaitapkar said that tools such as Google Analytics did not help in activations. “So publishers have to take ownership of data. The publisher has to own the cookie pool, track users and try to create a segment and then create a value proposition of the product (ad offering). Once you have proper ownership of data, you can activate data well,” he said.

Karan Jaitapkar, EVP Technology, iProspect
Karan Jaitapkar, EVP Technology, iProspect

Adding his views, Republic TV's Varun Mohan said that as a publisher it’s important to understand the type of data that’s available. “Advertisers look at demographics, interests and intent. Unlike news publishers, e-comm websites have deterministic data about consumer's intent and interests. News publishers don't have access to such data," said Mohan.

Varun Mohan - Head of Digital Revenue - Republic TV
Varun Mohan - Head of Digital Revenue - Republic TV

Gaurav Arora from Jagran said, "A publisher is always judged on what comes out from the data. Jagran being an open site without logins, we try to get as much out of the user personas that we can get. Individual publishers will always have challenges.”

Gaurav Arora, VP and Chief Revenue Officer at Jagran New Media
Gaurav Arora, VP and Chief Revenue Officer at Jagran New Media

Adding agency perspective, Junaid Hakim from Mediacom said, "It's the existing ecosystem needs to evolve so we can utilise data well. You can't isolate an agency, client or publisher when it comes to driving sale or scale. Even clients are not using their data well. Not many clients are using their CRM data." Hakim mentioned that it is difficult to target when the internet user base is over 500 million. It’s even more tough when the advertiser category has very low penetration, say 10 per cent. "How does one identify 10 per cent within a base of 500 million? When advertisers are not using their data, how can publishers be expected to evolve further?” Hakim asked.

Junaid Hakim, General Manager, Mediacom
Junaid Hakim, General Manager, Mediacom

Responding to why DMP (data management platform) private auctions are not prevalent in India, Hakim said, “Globally, clients have realised that technology is key, it's an investment not a cost. Indian clients are yet to get to that stage. The cost of the tech is to be borne by the client and not the agency.”

Sandeep Amar, Founder, Inaaj
Sandeep Amar, Founder, Inaaj

The panel further went on to discuss the possibility of robust data with the beginning of digital TV. However, the pains of TV, identifying who is actually watching, might still remain.

Moving over to Comscore as a platform for evaluating media, Inaaj's Amar mentioned that there are flaws there too. “At a dictionary level, you can put a cricket site and other content sites such as Tik Tok under 'news'. So how does this affect media buying and selling?" He asked.

Jagran's Arora said, "We are purely ranked by reach. In the pure news segment, our rankings would be quite high and that's an advantage we lose when the categorisation is not right even among various types of news publishers. It has to be reworked.”

Mohan mentioned that, "Unlike previous years, when only the top publishers on Comscore would make up the media plan, today there is demand for specifics such as audience profile, etc. Today, agencies would be more concerned about what kind of audience each publisher is providing to.”

Amar said that one of the biggest upcoming playgrounds for digital monies will be video and the benchmark here would be YouTube and successful case studies of a certain publisher.

Jaitapkar said, “Programmatic advertising is taking more space there. For measurement and segmentation we are based on the Google Programmatic console. We also use the YouTube console. From a CPS perspective there might not be a drive for video but it is a good route for creating brand awareness.”

Hakim added that for YouTube or digital video to grow, monies have to move out of TV. Jaitapkar maintains that a TV ad gets more searches than a digital ad.

Speaking about Jagran's partnership with YouTube, Arora said, “YouTube takes care of the distribution cost. We are happy scaling up, but the challenge is with monetisation. Most of the video views happen on YouTube and not on our pages, so we cannot sell that inventory and there is not much data.”

Speaking on Republic's heavy presence on OTT Mohan said, “It is about the strategy of the publisher. Our focus is to build the platform at a larger level and OTT was an unexplored space. We are available across 14 platforms.”