Ad:Tech 2023: The future of the open internet seems to be as promising as chaotic and complex
The panel comprising Archana Aggarwal, vice president, brand, Airtel; Atique Kazi, president, data, performance and digital products, GroupM India; Mike Fein, vice president, strategy marketing and Rahul Singh, director, business development, The Trade Desk spoke about the open internet and what it could mean for advertisers
Mar 15, 2023 08:32:00 PM | Article | Eularie Saldanha Share -
The first day of Ad:Tech 2023, saw Archana Aggarwal, vice president, brand, Airtel; Atique Kazi, president, data, performance and digital products, GroupM India and Rahul Singh, director, business development, The Trade Desk talk about how advertisers can leverage the open internet to their benefit. The panel was moderated by Mike Fein, vice president, strategy marketing, The Trade Desk.
The openness of the open internet
Setting some context prior to the panel discussion, Fein told the audience a little about the open internet and why it matters.
The open internet is anything that comprises websites, OTT streaming, audio streaming, etc.
He stated that 90% of India engages with the open internet, which reaches 600 million consumers across the nation.
"Consumers spent 52% of their time on the open internet in India, which is a huge opportunity - since advertisers are ultimately going to chase consumers."
Fein then asked the panellists what they use the open internet most for. Aggarwal shared that she used it to watch news, listen to music, and listen to podcasts. Kazi too uses it for OTT apps, news and other information across the web. Singh, on the other hand revealed that he is an avid user of Spotify and listens to music even while running.
Importance of advertising
When asked about the importance of ads on the open internet, Singh stated that it supported a lot of premium broadcasting content, which is crucial for advertisers. “Without ads, consumers would have had to pay a lot more for subscription costs,” he added.
Kazi revealed that at GroupM, it's becoming very important to ensure that every single ad impression is an opportunity. “Open internet for me is an ecosystem where everybody gets to collaborate to make advertising better for users and for clients. How we make the most of it is by making it addressable,” he said.
Kazi explained that this was possible with the right usage of technology, data, context, content and more importantly, the whole idea to augment and transform the creative to create a maximum positive impact for the client.
Growth of the open internet
Speaking about her observation from the past few years and how Airtel is looking at driving its use of the open internet, Aggarwal shared that the digital statistics of the open internet have increased and improved. She said, “The kind of decision that we make on the open internet is on platforms that are accessible and have all the digital users. However, brand safety is very important because consumers are the core.”
Kazi, too, agrees with Aggarwal and highlights that the opportunities are amazing since there's a massive shift of consumers to CTV. “Consumption of OTT is high and retail media is hitting the roof. There's a lot of action happening and the message to the open internet is also increasing. Clients are looking to diversify their investments. There's so much scope for open internet to grow, provided they make the entire advertising experience more simple in nature. There are also many bad actors in this space that need to be cleaned up,” he added.
Benefits of picking the open internet
Singh listed three things that he felt would make the open internet the best option for an advertiser.
According to him, the first is technology, while the second is transparency. Decisioning is the third most important aspect stated by him. “A lot of advertisers care about transparency. It's about making the open internet safe for everybody. It's an old marketplace, where advertisers and partners choose the best resource. They can also choose exactly what they want. You take only what you want to eat and pay for just that. Decisioning comes into play because in the advertising world, no two interactions are the same. There's duality.”
Consumers are already subconsciously and consciously clear in their head, as to where they want to go to get their source of information, according to Aggarwal. However, she points that they make these choices based on how easy it is to access the platform and how authentic the data is.
Speaking about why smaller and niche audiences and platforms with very niche audiences could be a better option sometimes, she explained, “The audience first and the platform second. Today, marketers are only looking at directing their communication to the consumer. These unique audiences are the ones who can give you that incremental reach, which the larger systems might not be able to give.”
For Kazi, the future seems to be as promising as chaotic and complex. He said, “The open internet has moved towards the privacy era. Consumers have already started to push a lot of brands and agencies to focus on first-party data. A lot of clients are now becoming publishers - be it e-comm players or anyone in this space. As all media starts becoming digital and all digital becomes programmatic, eventually the right programmatic strategies will make advertising more welcome.”
“I'm hoping for a unified protocol between the larger ecosystem, where advertisers can move seamlessly", Aggarwal surmised.