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Why remarketing joined mobile & social in Komli’s focus areas

Highlights
  • Komli's three-way product focus of remarketing, social and mobile puts it in direct competition with tech giants
  • Komli plays across the digital advertising ecosystem that includes search, social, mobile, display and video, underlined with RTB
  • Remarketing goes after customers who have already expressed intent & are hence relevant: Ashwin Puri
  • Transparency and control are the two keywords for Komli's remarketing practice

The seven-year old Komli made quite an announcement last month, when it decided to enter the remarketing DSP (demand side platform) space that puts it in direct competition with the likes of Google, Microsoft and other tech biggies. Not that the real time bidding space itself is new to Komli. The company’s Founder Amar Goel is also credited with the setting up of Pubmatic, as a SSP (supply side platform). Even as the two companies found their individual spaces, due to the distinct business and geography focus, Komli’s attempts continued the pursuit of leading the ad tech performance space in APAC.

Komli plays across the digital advertising ecosystem that includes search, social, mobile, display and video, underlined with (RTB) real time bidding enabled targeting and automation. “We are very small in search but that apart, we are probably the only company outside of Google that sits across the entire digital advertising ecosystem,” remarked Ashwin Puri, Vice President, Remarketing and Mobile, Komli Media. From a geo-focus, while APAC is Komli’s market of operation, the focus therein is towards Southeast Asia, India and Australia/ New Zealand. While the company’s growth has been marked with acquisitions and raising investments, one important trend has been that nearly 75 per cent of Komli’s top advertisers engaged with the entire spectrum of the services it offered.

Building on this, the company believes that its next stage of growth would not come as much from being spread across domains as it would by focussing on specific expertise – hence the sharp focus on mobile, social and the most recent addition – remarketing.

Ashwin Puri, Komli

Ashwin Puri, Komli

The price for ‘intent’
In a conversation with DMA, Mr Puri explains that the importance of remarketing comes because of the customer intent it represents. “In my mind, one of the reasons search commands such a premium is because, in a sense, the consumer has expressed intent in that product or service. Remarketing is from the same thought process. It means going after those consumers that came to the site and left in one of the purchase funnel stages. Can you sell them the product they showed interest in or, if they had purchased, can you offer something more to them,” he says.

At present, only verticals that have significant amount of online sales revenue such as ecommerce and travel are investing in remarketing. However, the industry expectation is that more businesses would see remarketing benefits over a period of time and increase the ad spends directed towards remarketing. For any business, after the product and the tech, it is finally about converting to transactions. “The process of discovery is an elongated one,” elaborates Mr Puri, and adds, “When the customer leaves the site, the ad follows him or her wherever they go next online. Users are segmented on the level that they had moved forward on the site from just browsing to putting something in the shopping cart and not buying to actually buying and then perhaps selling something else. The right messaging with an effective creative, and the pricing, is customised on the basis of this segmentation. It is only natural that as more transactions move online, businesses will invest more to follow this structured approach of reaching the right target audience. As a company, we are focused on helping marketers gain deeper insights into their customers by integrating remarketing with their CRM back ends and using the data to show the right ad to a user at the right time. ”

Of transparency and self-serve
However, there are various companies at present that include the likes of global players such as Sociomantic and Criteo, who opened their Asia offices last year, that are already competing very specifically in this domain. Mr Puri is of the opinion that Komli has factored the competition and is attempting to offer a service with a difference.

“When the spends on search and social began to increase from the initial single digital to double digits, companies have started running the campaigns in-house instead of relying on external platforms. We expect the same to come to remarketing. When the spend is 5-10 per cent, which is where remarketing is in right now, marketers are alright with working through external platforms. However, once the spends get over 10 per cent, because every direct marketer believes that they know their consumers the best, they would want more control and eventually run campaigns in-house. We have built a demand side platform that in addition to a managed option, is a complete self-service platform. We have the inventory which gives us access to over 90 per cent of users in all markets, the dynamic creative and other essentials plugged in the platform already. This is a big differentiator for us,” states Mr Puri.

Komli says that its second differentiator is transparency. Most players have stated that transparency is one of the more important factors in the agency-client remarketing relationship. Players such as Sociomantic have taken key steps to ensure transparency. According to Komli however, players in remarketing are still not baring it all with the advertisers.

“When you begin something new, the media cost is unclear but over a period of time, it becomes more of a science than an art, and companies begin making 40 per cent margin. Most advertisers are not clear whether the dollar they are spending is being spent for acquiring the consumer or by the middle person. We are going to be completely transparent. We would show whatever is being spent and then charge a platform fee,” Mr Puri informs.

As per Komli, its initial experience in the remarketing space has been positive. Over 20 customers in India and Southeast Asia are Live on the Komli Remarketing DSP platform including India based ecommerce player Myntra. The question now remains, how much would the tri-product focus of remarketing, social and mobile in its markets, poise Komli for future growth.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.
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