Best way to buy & sell any channels that go digital is through programmatic: Bharat Khatri, Xaxis India

Bharat Khatri, Xaxis WPP

In conversation with Media Samosa, Bharat Khatri, Xaxis India sheds light on OOH advertising during COVID-19, ways to leverage programmatic ads to help achieve optimum campaign results, and more.

With COVID-19, many industries came to a standstill. As they move towards the road to recovery, Media Samosa gets in a candid conversation with Bharat Khatri, Country Head, Xaxis India (WPP Group) to understand the current scenario of OOH media landscape, methods to leverage programmatic advertising for brand campaigns and the way forward for the A&M industry.

Edited Excerpts:

How has OOH been impacted by the lockdown?

Overall, the industry is badly impacted as people are not able to move out. However, many screens are active on programmatic. The momentum seems to be coming back in- hospitals, airports, and corporate brands.

As per our observation, social messaging is also back because programmatic is one of the media channels that can drive a wider reach. Hence, we see the traction coming back especially from DOOH in the coming months.

How does programmatic advertising work during times of crisis?

Programmatic advertising can be leveraged to drive efficiency and effectiveness – Brands are attempting to understand how to use programmatic for data-driven marketing initiatives at this time. For example: When a consumer is playing games, he’s also watching content on OTT and reading news on websites. Brands are trying to gauge how can they leverage programmatic to connect with these consumers that are present at multiple touchpoints. This involves varied messaging by the brands, & even leveraging their location data to understand & engage the customers.

When brands incorporate such methods, it becomes a combination of data-driven strategy as well as programmatic that offers you real-time insights in terms of the performance. This, in turn, helps them to optimize their campaigns towards the best performing channels.

Hence, for both efficiency & effectiveness of campaigns, programmatic can be like a boon for advertisers. Since the medium isn’t dependent on multiple stakeholders, the advertiser just needs the platform to run the campaigns.

What is Xaxis doing to combat the current scenario?

  • People remain the key priority for us, across the globe. As a comeback, we are looking at building our strategy but we aren’t in any hurry to open offices anytime soon.
  • Our culture is something we have been able to hold on to. We are going to continue working from home as per the guidelines of our parent company, WPP, in the coming days.
  • Building relevant solutions for the advertisers in trying times would be another key focus area for us. For example: As advertisers, creating more shoppable pages for brands as most of the consumers are moving online to purchase products from e-commerce platforms.

Which are the ongoing campaigns at the moment, if any?

In the essentials category for brands, the major keywords have been around the immunity & health benefits of the products in the case of the health sector. For the automobile sector, the communication has been around contact-less delivery, updates on dealerships getting opened, and in case of gadgets and apparels’ category, the communication has mainly been around brand recall on how to remain people’s brand at the moment.

For the brands in the non-essential category, the communication has been majorly around educating the consumers, telling them what is happening in the market, and aiming to generate thought-leadership. 

Other brands in our portfolio have CSR messaging. That’s the flavor of the campaign communication strategies at the moment. 

Also read: Percent of people listening to radio an hour+ daily has increased:…

Can programmatic advertising be the change-maker during the ongoing pandemic in A & M industry? Please share insights on this.

Programmatic advertising has been beneficial in numerous ways in the past 2-3 months with people tying themselves through the platforms. It has especially been in the cases when programmatic helped people to manage their workflows- creatives, QC, payments, etc..

Also, according to me, the best way to buy and sell any channels that go digital is through programmatic.

What are the key measurement metrics in programmatic advertising?

The measurement metrics in programmatic are evolving. Initially, people used to track the number of clicks & conversions for the same. Now, the medium is moving towards customized outcomes for brands.

For example – If a car manufacturer is using programmatic to measure the number of test leads, the brand would now want business outcomes for store visits. Here, mapping the target customer, who is visiting the store after viewing the ads, becomes the business outcome.

To sum it up, programmatic measurement is now moving ahead and attempting to bridge the gap between media outcomes & business outcomes. The transformations are happening with new tools & technology that are coming in place.

What is the role of data in creating content through Programmatic ads?

One of the vital elements of programmatic ads is driving personalization.

When I say personalization, that can only happen when the brand selects enough first-party data and aims to understand what people are watching by analyzing the log-level data.

For example, if you are watching the news on a website, the brand should be able to understand the website you are reading the news on, the device you might be using, the network on your phone. Hence, by using all of these data, there should be sufficient information for us to drive personalized ads.

3 tips for marketers aiming to do programmatic advertising in these challenging times 

  • Be focussed on the location as one of the variables. It is because we, as advertisers, have the historic location data available across the programmatic landscape.
  • Don’t try to run campaigns in silos. Use location data & try to run omnichannel campaigns
  • Run personalized ads for the target audience

The way forward for Xaxis & tips for marketers in the post-COVID-19 period 

  • We are very keen to understand how this market sentiment will boost digital growth, considering a few of the media channels will have a challenging time post-COVID-19. 
  • We are also excited about some of our product launches that are lined-up. Once the market gains momentum, we will be able to accelerate some of the product launches in the future. 
  • Presently, there are two focus areas for us – first is e-commerce and the second is short-format videos.
  • We look forward to the new normal. But we should also be braced up for the new-abnormal & be prepared in case of the worst of the scenarios.

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Aishwarrya Chakraverty
A storyteller and a narrator by heart, vocalist by genes and a thesaurus-bee. Also, an explorer, traveler, and trekker, Aishwarrya has myriads of interests with love for music and movies. Writing is not just a hobby but her first love with a Facebook page on perspectives, channelizing the passion. Got her research paper published with IGI Global US on music. A maverick by nature and a feminist by choice, to challenge stereotypes.

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