05 June 2020 21:14

LEADERSHIP TALK

Rohit Sharma. CEO and Founder POKKT

How are things shaping up with POKKT?

POKKT is doing extremely well. We have been growing at an average of 60% y-o-y with a widening scope of work with brands from across the world. Currently we operate in 18+ markets – India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, UAE,  Oman, Jordan, Taiwan, Australia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan and Malaysia, and we intend to expand further geographically. Thanks to our Big Data and AI capabilities, we have been a leader in the APAC, Japan and MENA markets for brand video ads in mobile gaming. With over 700mn+ registered devices and 30bn+ ads requested per month, POKKT has grown to 100+ employees across these markets in our seven years of existence. With mobile infrastructure maturing and growth in content consumption and digital advertising, there has been rapid growth in POKKT.

We will continue to focus on the Asian markets and India is key to our growth. We still believe there are a lot of opportunities the Asian markets present. Asia is where growth is happening and we would like to continue strengthening our position in the market.

What differentiates the POKKT brand from your competitors?

POKKT is a specialised mobile in-app advertising platform. We focus on the gaming genre of apps and have the most comprehensive gaming supply in India and South East Asia. On top of this supply we have over the last 4 – 5 years developed a very strong data and analytics layer. So what we are able to offer is comprehensive supply, direct and brand safe apps, 3rd party support on multiple tools like “viewability”, “IVT” etc. Since we run on gaming which doesn't have user generated content and published on google play store or apple iOS store, they are all “safe” content to consume. Google and other ad platforms are looked at as a “high fill rate, low cpm” partner which loosely translates to high filling inventories but low engagement. POKKT on the other hand, is a “high rate, low fill” premium monetizing partner, which means we give our clients a higher engagement rate.

Our Software Development Kit (SDK) is a highly evolved monetization platform built around the gaming ecosystem, which results in higher monetization  of even our non-paying users for our clients. Another differentiating factor is how we use personalisation to create campaigns that gamers are more likely to engage with.

In-app Advertising is being touted as a lucrative medium for brands. What are your thoughts on this?

We would like to say, mobile advertising is by default In-App. Also substantial advertising on digital is mobile-driven. India was never a desktop / PC market, all the growth in digital usage has come from mobile. Also for tracking, monitoring, measurement criteria etc, In-app is much cleaner and an efficient medium and thus most large brands / advertisers insist on In-app advertising when it comes to their digital spends.

What is the Road Ahead for Mobile Advertising. Your comments?

The key focus for advertising would revolve around measurability, targeting, transparency and efficiency. With burst in OTT and Gaming content consumption, we believe Mobile advertising would soon become the biggest component of advertising. According to App Annie Mobile Trends 2020 Report, mobile is the go-to device, capturing 3 hrs 40 mins per day. Consumers spent 35% more time in mobile than 2 years prior and mobile-first emerging markets like Indonesia, Brazil and India continue to spend the most time in mobile each day. Mobile games in 2019 saw 25% more spending than all other gaming avenues combined. Mobile has democratized gaming, and that largely translates to the way brands are investing in mobile ads at large.

What are the major monetising challenges faced by game publishers globally today?

Today the only model for successful games in the app ecosystem is the Freemium model. However, games on a standalone basis cannot just survive by ad revenues. In-app purchases or users paying have to kick in. The industry today has resolved infrastructure challenges, which hitherto was the biggest challenge. We now need to fix the monetization challenge.  The biggest trap a publisher faces is, he / she is hesitant to spend marketing dollars for user acquisition, if he is unsure that the user will eventually pay, making ROI as the biggest question mark. This doesn't mean, the core issue of content isn't important. We definitely need international quality content to come from the domestic developers. Users today are exposed to global gaming content, so compromise there isn't acceptable. In my opinion, everything else (user acquisition models, funding, retention, etc) is resolved / at least templatized. There are set methods to be followed.  Content and Monetization are the 2 big challenges. 

What does the merging of technology and marketing mean for marketers?

A portmanteau combining the words marketing and technology, martech describes one of the greatest paradigm shifts in the history of marketing: the arrival of data-driven technology platforms. Over the past two decades, tech went from playing a peripheral role in marketing to becoming an integral part of all marketing processes. In essence, marketing today is martech. Martech helps marketers address audiences that are more informed, tech savvy, and connected than ever before.

Marketers today have access to a more detailed, wider pool of data than ever before. It is the future of marketing. And that future is digital, connected, responsive, and personalized. Data is set to become the cornerstone of Martech. Over the next decade, we expect firms to leverage data-driven martech approaches that speak to each and every one of their customers. At the same time, challenges and conflicts centering on data privacy and regulation will need to be addressed. In the coming time, every firm, regardless of scale or industry will need to look towards martech. The challenges are immense, but the opportunities are greater. 

The Best Businesses Are Built Around Passion. What are your thoughts on this?

“Without passion you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing” This quote from Warren Buffet is so true across businesses. Passion is the one thing that makes you go the extra mile and be persistent. It’s the biggest motivator, even more than money. Only when you go the extra mile, will you stand out. 

How do you see POKKT transforming itself in the next couple of years?

We would like to maintain our rather positive growth trajectory. POKKT is also investing a lot behind Machine Learning and Analytics engine. We hope this product will mature significantly this year. We also intend to open shops in a few more countries apart from the markets that we are already doing really well in, and we want to go out and experiment with new ad formats and see how we can up the game for our clients.

 

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