Andrew Newman, Global Senior Director of Insights, Tribal Fusion talks about ‘Insights’ and ‘Deep Dive’ and how they are fighting misconceptions about audience discovery data in India.
Q] Can you tell us more about your products Deep Dive and Insights in India and what scope they have here?
Let me talk not just about India Insights, but about Tribal Fusion and our Data Assets. We’ve been building our information for about 10 years now. We have different information sources that help us target and optimize ad campaigns and make them perform. The greatest of those assets are in social networks through which we reach the majority of Internet users in India. We reach around 70-80% of the online audience in some of our larger western markets, and 61.5% in India. Through the relationships with publishers, not only do we serve ads but also look at content of pages that those ads are served on. Our logic is to first understand that content. Then, we look at the user’s profile. If we see that user again, we look at their interests online. For example, we see that they are interested in cars or holidays or they might be in the market for credit cards, etc. Now we build up all of that information. That allows us to sell ads against audiences, rather than against sites. And that is why we are doing really well. At Insights, we take all data that we’ve accumulated against users and use it to describe them. For example, you might say a group of people who signed up for Ford Test Drive. Regardless of how they were targeted and how we served ads to these people, we can look at some of the other activities that these users had across our publisher network. We can see which of their activities are statistically significant and can certainly tell a story about these people. We can tell you what they are interested in beyond buying a car. That is the core of our Insights analysis.
Q] And what is Deep Dive? Is it part of Insights?
Insights for Tribal Fusion is actually a suite of products and services. So on the services side, I have a team of data-driven marketing consultants based in various countries around the world and they mine that data in raw format. They work in close partnership with marketing directors and with top agency people to understand how they can get the most out of their marketing activities and answer their burning questions. We found that through the process of doing that kind of work, there is a lot By Dipali Banka of thinking that is really fascinating. There were certain findings of the analysis that pretty much every agency and every marketer wanted, every time. By definition, if something is conceivable, you need to make it gettable and that is in word, a product. This product is called Deep Dive. Deep Dive is a web based window into Tribal Fusion’s data assets which enables smarter decisions about advertising. There are a series of really intuitive interfaces. Anyone can go into it and just draw conclusions about their ads, their campaign and about their target audience.
Q] So you’ve been providing these data to marketers and media agencies in India?
Yes, we deployed Deep Dive formally almost a year ago to all of our top managers. And we have been feeding information to agencies and advertisers. Sometime later this year probably we plan to give the tool directly to the advertising agencies.
Q] So how does it work? How can agencies access this data?
Any agency, within reason, that is doing business with Tribal Fusion can have their very own Deep Dive access. A part of our strategy is to keep an open source situation. We believe that data should be free and Deep Dive will be more valuable to us if everyone uses it. You can even see data on advertisers that aren’t running media on our network. All you need is a pixel on their landing or conversion page. It is done by instrumenting our site. There are just two key points. A landing page and a converging page and that works nicely with all major container tabs. We are not talking about bar-coding and stuff. We look at data flowing in for about 30 days, then we have some numbers that get in and that is how it starts.
Everyone has a lot of data out there and these are what we are competing with. What we are interested in is not making direct money, but becoming a standard in audience discovery. To do that, we want everyone to use the product.
Q] Are people open to audience discovery in India? Where does India stand as compared to other regions in which your product is already established?
I made a few rounds in India a couple of weeks ago, talking to advertisers and agencies and found that Indian users within our space are pretty sophisticated when it comes to this stuff. They do it very quickly. India is a market that has a lot of technical sophistication. It is pretty right territory for us.
Q] OMD UK has signed up with Deep Dive analysis, I think.
Yes, OMD UK and one of the subsidiary agencies Manning Gottlieb OMD were our first pilot customers. Direct access to the application started about a month or so ago. We should probably sign in around 6-10 other agencies in the US and UK. We are talking to a couple of agencies in Australia as well. I am actually in the process of simplifying the leger framework around Deep Dive so that I can give it to just about anyone I want, anywhere.
Q] What is the kind of competition that you face across the world, and in India, specifically?
There are a lot of misconceptions. If you look at data and people trying to make sense of data, there are many who do things in a very different way. Some are pretty good and some are fairly mediocre and there is a lot inbetween. So we hear ourselves compared to panel-based information providers like Comscore, Omniture, Webtrends and Google analytics. A few of our competition companies are ironically our partners and they feed into Deep Dive in other markets. Panel-based information is OK for audience measurement. If you want to know the reach of an ad, you go to Comscore. But when you get into the realm of understanding what kind of people are responding to your ads, panel-based measurement is very limited. For example, for a branding campaign, on Comscore’s panel you get to know that your basic media plan offers a group of people that could literally be sitting and pressing the tab. In contrast, when you are looking at Deep Dive’s information, even the most lead behaviours are identified. We have softer metrics like awareness or purchase intent. It is robust. As for analytics, we look at rich profile information which can be used for planning and targeting.
Q] In India, Internet advertising is still very small, although it is growing at a very fast pace. How do you see it as compared to other parts of the world?
It is equally good. When I first came and saw the numbers here, I was shocked at how few Internet users there were in a country this big. That is going to change very quickly. I started my career in South America in the 1990s and I watched what happened in Brazil and other South American markets. Each of these markets have similar distribution, large population and a lot of people investing in infrastructure and education and all the modernization stuff that you need. So we are at very early days. The other nuance in India that has accelerated it over other markets is that from a user basis, India may be small from a sheer Internet penetration perspective, but then we find India at the heart of the IT industry and it is at the heart of Tribal Fusion. Every product that we take to market globally, sells in Delhi. As the infrastructure becomes better and as access to technology becomes democratized a bit more, you will have a really strong base with people who can afford it and help develop it. So India is, in that regard, probably privileged amongst emerging markets.
Q] Mobile penetration in India is also growing at an exponential pace. How does your tool help in terms of Internet access on mobile and tablets?
We are certainly watching mobile very closely. We are in fact launching a new business unit at Tribal Fusion with regard to mobile. It is at a pilot stage right now. All I can tell you is that Insights and Deep Dive will be a part of what we will do on mobile.
Q] What is going to be your next step in India?
We will progress on two points: One, keeping an eye on adoption and making sure that people use the tool and it gets established as a standard for customer knowledge and media planning. We are fighting a lot of inertia. We are also making lots of improvements to the tools. A couple of months ago, we introduced several new models allowing time-based reports. We are also streamlining the back-end processing and introducing a new feature on Insights in April, which will track traffic of any site anywhere in the world and be processed immediately. It will be done systematically and not on an ad hoc or request basis. It will always have updated information for every client.
Q] If you were to define your key challenge in India, what would that be?
The biggest challenge is to get people to instrument their sites. There is a misconception that when you put a pixelated tag on a site, you are doing various things with that information. But we are not. We don’t share any advertiser data. We won’t use one advertiser’s data to optimize a competitor’s campaign. The architecture in our system doesn’t allow this. So the biggest barrier for me is to get people to understand what is to their benefit and understand that we have data safeguards around the Internet.