Succeeding in India’s Mobile Market an Interview with Manish Singh Rajawat

We recently opened an office in India, where the advertising industry is projected to be the second fastest growing market in Asia after China. However, despite being part of a rapidly growing mobile app market, Ad Tech companies continue to face several challenges in India.

We sat down with Manish Singh Rajawat, General Manager of Appnext India to get inside information into the ad-tech world there. Here’s what he had to say:

What would you say is the absolute biggest challenge for app developers in India?

The foremost challenge app developers in India face is to create something that gets traction. It’s important that developers know if the app really has a market. The app development market has immense competition, and it’s actually over crowded so they must focus on something that stands out in the crowd and gets noticed. Monetization is also a challenge. Developers should choose an ad network that has the right kind of technology that can segment users accordingly and then serve the most relevant ads.

How do you find the right balance between supply and demand?

The demand side has moved from the typical conventional media buying model towards a more performance-focused model. Most of the focus is on ROAS, KPIs such as Cost Per Transactions, Cost Per Sales, and Cost Per Order and are being considered as quality measures by all agencies and advertisers. However, publishers continue to demand Cost Per Mille, minimum guarantees and fixed prepay kind-of-pricing structure for their inventory. On top of that, Ad Tech is dealing heavily with the growing fraud issues in the ecosystem.

Why is fraud increasing?

With the commoditization of performance-focused Ad Tech systems such as Hasoffers, and Affise, it has become pretty easy for anyone to raise a white-labelled arbitrage system that segments supply into distributed smaller chunks.  This has been the case in India for quite some time as hundreds of such arbitrage homegrown ad networks have mushroomed up without the right kind of customized, relevant technology that is measurable and can detect fraud. This has created a lot of confusion and fraud, as well as attribution and transparency issues in the ecosystem.  

We’ve heard that good tech can help advertisers reach their KPIs. Is this accurate?

Although the market is growing rapidly and the numbers show great promise, having the necessary technology is crucial for success.  It can strengthen the measurability funnel and enable fraud detection. The right kind of data science will provide relevancy in order to meet advertisers’ expectations at KPI levels.

What are some of the challenges developers should keep in mind when creating their apps?

At an operational level, app development comes with several challenges. For example, right from the designing phase, it’s important to ensure that screen real estate is optimally used and that messaging is simple and clear.  Benchmark performance against battery life, and have a powerful user engagement strategy keeping the app interactive. It’s also important to choose and use the right mobile content management system in order to solve a lot of problems such as frequent connection drops that make the delivery of rich content difficult. Also, stores such as Google Play require you to bundle all your rich content into expansion files so anytime you have to update the content, the app will require a new release and republishing.

What are some tips you can share with developers when it comes to launching an app in India?

Even after an excellent app is created, its success depends 90 percent on marketing and 10 percent on the quality of the app. It’s of vital importance to have an appropriate promotion strategy in place. Apart from just depending on organic app store optimization techniques, I highly recommend using superior tech and algorithms to determine ‘who & when’ will constitute the most relevant and active subscriber base for you and help you acquire them.   

What is the future of Ad-tech in India?

India’s digital advertising market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.5 percent to cross the $3.8 billion mark by 2020. There are a lot of recent developments giving a boost to digital ad spends in the Indian market, such as growing penetration of smartphones, digital India initiative, demonetization, rising purchasing power, etc.

 

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