Meet Narayan Murthy Ivaturi, Global VP at FreakOut and an internationally recognised expert on the mobile-first native space

1. Mobile advertising is growing leaps and bounds with latest technologies breaking ground every day. What are some of the biggest advancements that we can expect in mobile advertising in the coming years.

NM: Yes, mobile advertising has certainly come a long way from the days of small invisible banners, many involuntary clicks, bad user experiences to richer media and highly engaging ad solutions. This has happened due to multiple technologies like better screens, HTML5 and higher internet speeds. There are many more developments occurring in the world of mobile advertising that are going to have long lasting effects on it. Some of the key ones that are definitely going to make an impact are as follows:

  1. AR & VR – With better and efficient cameras in phones and higher data speeds, the virtual and augmented experience for users is growing very rapidly today and this ushers in a new wave of content producers to feed AR and VR devices and apps and as a result, more advertising opportunities.
  2. Voice Search – One device that is constantly present with the user is his/her phone. With SIRI, Google Home, Amazon Alexa getting more and more popular, people are often using voice to search and interact with devices. This trend again is going to see a lot of opportunities for brands to become more relevant in the user journey. We believe there will be a rise of audio ads in the days to come.
  3. Chat Bots – With more data available for brands about their consumers, chat bots are going to grow more with a higher level of personalization, especially in areas like customer care, feedback and grievance redressal.
  4. Mobile will also see an unprecedented growth in programmatic advertising that would be enabled by technologies like header-bidding and better data availability.

2. In era of 4G & 5G networks, user attention span is dwindling at an alarming rate. How does FreakOut help brands achieve the right amount of attention and engagement to grow their products?

NM: FreakOut’s approach has always been to deliver more engaging formats like Native and Video. Our primary product across the 3000 odd publishers that we work with is Native Ads. With CSS customization, our ads look and feel closest to content layout and color scheme, hence delivering a seamless user experience and higher engagement. Even in video, our outstream video solution delivers a rich experience and higher completion rates. Many global brands work with us on these key deliverables and continue to increase their association with us across the 19 global markets that we are present in.

3. Mobile marketing is largely skewed toward performance-based advertising. Do you think this phenomenon is killing or harming the brand building exercise?

NM: Performance marketing is not a “mobile only” phenomenon. In fact, every dollar spend has some Key Performance Indicator (KPI) attached to it. We believe in delivering a better user experience and user journey. Every campaign, whether performance or brand, starts with an impression and ends with an action, and we have to make sure each step is taken care of along the way. Performance marketing done right can work wonders for brands, but the roles and responsibilities need to be shared across the spectrum from publishers, media houses, agencies to clients. It cannot be skewed to any one side that creates problems and becomes untenable over time.

4.Multichannel marketing is a big buzzword now, but mobile is definitely the most important marketing channel for most brands now. How can brands build the most effective mobile campaigns, and also ensure these complement all other campaigns.

NM: In the digital era, it’s hard to distinguish mobile and non-mobile channel. Social is mobile, display is mobile, video is mobile, content is also mobile, etc. Mobile is no longer planned as a separate channel but rather as a “sauce” that blends all the elements in the “curry” together. Even OOH strategies have a mobile component in them at the last mile to connect the consumer and the brand. In Integrated marketing, mobile plays the most important role of connecting all the different channels and integrates the user experience into one unified communication or destination, or action.

5. Programmatic marketing has seen a lot of flak in the past year but is still the Hero product of the digital marketing world. How is FreakOut positioned to provide differentiated experience to their client?

NM: Programmatic advertising / buying or selling is just an automated way of doing the same thing that advertising professionals have been doing for many years. It’s not a strategy in itself. The access, control and ease of operation it provides make it the “hero” right now. We, at FreakOut, believe that this would be the future of all advertising - not just mobile or desktop, but also DOOH, OTT and TV. We have been investing in technology and companies that provide a differentiated approach and deliver a better experience to our clients. Some parts of our Native and Video inventory are already available through programmatic and this year we are aiming for 100% of access through programmatic either through PMPs or Open RTB channels.