Geo-targeting eliminates ad wastage says Amagi's Subramanian

MUMBAI: The biggest chink in the armour of Indian advertising, which is also celebrated as India’s unique trait, is its heterogeneity. Its diverseness creates differences in dialect and lifestyle ever 110 kilometres. If taken in the right stride, it also opens up a range of opportunities for businesses.

If a product is meant for a particular state, only the big companies can afford to conduct pan-India advertising. Smaller businesses that don’t have such deep pockets have an alternative in an upcoming technology of hyperlocal advertising. It lets you target people sharing a neighbourhood or ethnicity.

During an interaction with, Amagi Media Labs co-founder Baskar Subramanian broadly discussed the advantages of regional and hyperlocal advertising. Soon turning 10, Amagi has grown from its modest base in Bengaluru to hold offices in New York, London and Hong Kong boasting of clients in 40 countries with 80 feeds.

How do pan-India ads lack when it comes to regional areas?

While pan India ads do convey what they should regionally do, but they never connect with the audience, as regionalisation today is the way forwards for the brand and consumer bonhomie i.e. If there is a Lalitaji endorsing Surf Excel in Haryana, there needs to be a Lalitaamma selling the same Surf Excel regionally across Udupi.

Dhirubhai Ambani once said, “Money is lying in every street of India. One must know how to collect them!”, and so what really matters here, is going “To the bottom of the pyramid” by ensuring to go regional, and creating prosperity by pricing not the product but the customer, his aspiration and affordability (i.e.FMCG sachet’s or JIO’s offers).

Would you like to share some successful regional ad campaigns?

When you look at few of the award-winning regional campaigns from various national brands such as the “NaakaMukka' of the Times of India, the 'Ella okay, cool drink Yaake?' campaign of the United Breweries, the Allu Arjun redBus campaign or the ‘my first train ride’ by Paper Boat, it takes us beyond the thought of just dubbing or adding regional subtitles to make things seem regional.

The example of Dhirubhai Ambani strongly applies to brands advertising product categories and regions across, i.e. Tata Tea deciding to run the “Alarm Bajne Se Pehle Jaago Re” nationally, while it goes on a price war with Wagh Bakri in Gujarat or Frito Lay holds a national campaign during IPL while decides to target Balaji Bhujia in Maharashtra and Gujarat. On the other end, we also have regional brands like Medimix and Cavinkare expand towards the northern market with value propositions suiting a region across Punjab or Haryana. Also, look at Horlicks, which promotes itself as a supplement to milk in Kolkata (perceived as a milk-deficient market), while in Chennai, it promised nutrition from wheat based drink, as the intake of wheat in the southern state is lower compared to the North. At the bottom, the real nationalisation of brands is now happening hyper locally across India.

What are your thoughts on bringing cohesiveness in regional marketing spends by giving importance to local television?

The regional channels’ advertising revenues are ascending with an increase in viewership year on year as compared to national channels. With the regional spread across DTH and cable, the plethora of regional platforms is on the rise. As per data from BARC India TV measurement system - regional GECs comprising of regional movies and regional music accounted for 38.99 per cent viewership share over a particular period(TG: All 4+, Market: All India, Period: Wk 41 to Wk47, 2016).

Similarly, in Hindi speaking markets (HSM), GECs are the leading genre in regional markets as well with 29.6 per cent viewership share followed by regional movies with 6.6 per cent in 2016. Among the regional markets, Tamil channels occupy the biggest share with 25.7 per cent share in viewership and Telugu market is the second largest with 24.4 per cent viewership share.

What are the factors to consider while customising budgets for regional targeted ad spends?

The ad spends for regional advertising should focus more on tactical executions rather than intensive brand building activities. Though the increase in brand awareness cannot be neglected, the focus has to be on festival promotions, regional discounts, dealership level sales push and test marketing avenues to name a few, need to adequately have their share of targeted television expenses. In fact, brands like Patanjali and Reliance Jio have stabilised their ground through regional advertising across tier II and III cities. They are expected to increase their ad spends considering new product launches and price wars in the current and future.

Has geo-targeted advertisement become the disruptor in television advertising ecosystem?

Geo-targeted television advertising, is a new phenomenon in India which is disrupting the current television advertising eco system. Television, a medium with one of the highest penetration across India, suffers from limitations as being expensive and lacking measurability. With associations such as BARC, the share of reach and voice can be determined for brands advertising across categories, but the actual conversion of campaign effectiveness are miles away. Also with India’s diverse heterogeneous market coupled with varied regional preferences, TV was unable to singularly address this diversity. There were limited options for brands to target a specific market using TV, until today where platforms like Amagi Mix ensures a collection of channels, which helps advertisers decide their targeted television advertising, measure the effective reach and modify campaigns accordingly based on national or regional business requirements. By eliminating the spillage and wastage, geo-targeting justifies television spends.

What opportunities exist for the collaboration between digital advertising spends with regional television advertising?

The average young Indian spends around 2 hours 20 minutes on digital platforms every day. This is vastly expected to go up, considering the exponential rise in OTT viewership. Today over 300 million Indians commuting to work and back use OTT platforms on mobile phones, and while this audience is set to increase across rural and urban India, it has currently already crossed the population of United States of America.

Hence, television advertising (comprises over 40 per cent of advertising viewership) coupled with personalised OTT and digital communications (12 per cent) together as a combination gives formidable marketing opportunities to brand managers of various sectors. These ensure targeted, high impact reach, bring in measurable results, and cost effectiveness for hyperlocal brand marketing.

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