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May 04, 2013, 05.29 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Personalising ads further, challenge to advertisers: Google

Emphasising on the vital role a marketeer plays in any given business, Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer, Google says given the change in consumers' perspectives, a marketeer's fundamental task is to relate to the consumer and know where the consumers are.

Emphasising on the vital role a marketeer plays in any given business, Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer, Google says given the change in consumers' perspectives, a marketeer's fundamental task is to relate to the consumer and know where the consumers are.   

With evolving technology, compact devices getting smaller and better and an excessive importance on consuming media, marketeers are constantly looking for ways to evolve marketing tricks. Arora believes the challenge to marketers today is to figure out ways to make advertising more individualised, more personalised.

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Anant Rangaswami, senior editor, Firstpost and Durga Raghunath, vice president products and executive news producer, Firstpost.com interviewed Arora on Story Board on CNBC-TV18.

Below is the edited transcript of the interview. 

Rangaswami: To begin with I am trying to look at things from the marketer’s point of view and just when they think they know they think they know everything that the internet has to teach them and ready for the next step you come out, you as in the internet or Google with something new and you got to start all over again and you suddenly feel like an idiot.

Arora: One thing which is constant even though stories change. Before we think at marketing you have to look at consumers and what consumers are doing. In that regard we could learn a lot of from what is happening in different parts of the world. I was in Korea last week and the US. There are things happening with consumers which are very interesting. If you look at consumers today they pretty much live their life on the mobile devices as opposed to sitting and watching TV. I grow up here and you look forward to that two hours in the evening where you could watch TV and it was compact programming, not 500 channels and you know there were two channels that you had to watch and today I cannot keep track of the number of applications my 16 year old uses. She said something interesting to me the other day, she said, dad e-mail is for formal communication. The perspectives of consumers have changed and fundamental task of any marketeer is to relate to consumer so they have to be where the consumers are.

Raghunath: Interesting point about mobile. When you were talking to ATD perhaps this year you made a statement where you said we limit ourselves by calling mobile, mobile. I would love to hear more about what you mean when you say that?

Arora: One of the fascinating thing that has happened as technologies evolved is we have been dealing with devices in isolation and that made sense a few years ago when your television was your television and it never talked to your computer. Your computer was your computer and your phone was your phone and none of these things talked to each other. But today if we think about it you are slowly beginning to see devices talk to each other. I can go like my music on my PC off the internet and I can use my phone to play it. Suddenly your phone is starting to talk to your PC.

There are many applications which I am sure you use on your PC and on your phone and if you see there are instances where people have put their televisions online as well as I can take a YouTube video and play it on my television. So, one is beginning to see devices talk. When devices talk, what happens in the future is that one has a multitude of screens around you. Your watch could be your screen. Your TV could be your screen. Your tablet, your computer, your phone all these are screens and over time services are going to become thing that you want to use across all these screens. So, the mobile becomes a context. It becomes your geospatial context. If I am sitting waiting for somebody in the meeting, I am more likely to read Firstpost, newspaper or something else. If I am sitting at home waiting for something or sitting at home I might watch a video and if I am at work I might search. So, certainly what happens is wherever you are becomes your context and that becomes your screen of choice. So, it is no longer mobile. When I am mobile I will always use my mobile screen. What if I use my tablet? What if my computer with me is WiFi? Suddenly, when I am mobile I can actually have access to multiple screens. As long as my screen knows where I am it can be more useful to me.

Raghunath: The consumer is constantly faced with making choices. Perhaps desktop is becoming almost passé. You have a tablet. You are moving to your mobile phone and a lot of us have completely deserted even a laptop for various reasons. This is hard for the advertiser. We have readers who are moving from a website classic format to the tablet format to the mobile format and each in a way is in terms of the old rules of impact probably diminishing in terms of strength. So, for advertising to remain hugely powerful on digital across these devices, how would you approach dealing with multiple devices, multiple attention consumption patterns?

Arora: There are just lots of interesting places we could take this to. Content and making money is important. Historically, as you have seen changes in media, there has typically been two or three ways money has been made by advertisers as content has been funded. If there were newspapers, it is a combination of advertising and subscription. Some people pay some money and some advertising comes in, that is how newspaper makes money, that is how television makes money.

There was a combination of some function of cable fees versus advertising on television and there are some channels which do not take advertising, for which you have to pay more. So, somewhere in that spectrum or continuum you pay for content or content gets monetized by advertisers and that is still true in any media that you can come up with.

Content will get paid for because consumers interact with content and it is going to get paid for either directly by the consumer or if the consumers are not willing pay, but they are willing to take advertising instead.

The question is what form does that advertising take on when you start interacting with a smaller screen or different sizes and different context. There what becomes very important is the big transitional shift. In the past we had very little idea on who the user is or was. Take a newspaper. You have no idea who is reading the newspaper. You can make up demographics of who the newspaper reader is. Take television. We kind of know there are households involved. There is some agency or some third party measurement services who could figure based on household samples to know who is watching it, but one really did not know.

However, if one looks at today’s technology, one has a reasonably good idea of who that person is. You have a lot more data about them because of the applications they interact with or what they do. You have a lot more data about their physical context, you have a lot more data about their social context and that makes advertising three to five times more powerful. So, the big challenge for advertisers or marketeers is how do you leverage the information that you have about individuals and how do you go from a mass market broadcast type advertising concept to a more personalised, more individualised concept of advertising because if it is very useful for me I am willing to accept it if it is interesting and probably you end up making more money. 

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