Uma Shankar Bhardwaj – Founder &CEO, iAvatarZ Digital
Q) What kind of services does iAvatarZ Digital provide and throw some light on your expansion plan?
iAvatarZ Digital is a 12-year-old Digital marketing company. We started back in 2008 as a small team based out of Noida. Over the years we have transformed and have created different digital marketing blocks that cater to the specific demands of an advertiser. Today we have broadly categorized our solutions as per below – Display Advertising, Custom Rich Media Solutions, Contextual Advertising, Social Media Marketing, Mobile Marketing, and Performance advertising. We started from a small team based in India and have now expanded our business to the Middle East and South East Asia as well. We can say today we are catering demands for global advertisers using our solutions and help them achieve their marketing goals. We are reaching a stage where our business is stabilized in these regions and we look forward to expanding operations in new marketplaces like – Africa and other SAARC Countries.
Q) How has Covid19 affected campaigns/business? Is it a boon as organizations now preferring more Digital/Online Campaigns?
COVID 19 has resulted in postponing some of our expansion plans but also has given unique opportunities to work with new segments of clients who were not aggressively spending on Digital. In the last 4 months, we have seen few categories picking up their game and have seen tremendous growth due to new structure in place. We have seen growth in – Gaming, OTT, and Online Education. Due to the pandemic lot of Industries are hit – Travel, BFSI, Handsets, Auto as they were facing supply issues and had to halt their operations/manufacturing units. Hence there was a steep decline in the business. Due to COVID 19 people started to work from home when offices were shut. People had more time to spend at home than ever before. Hence there was an increased demand in consumption of OTT content and Gaming. Since schools were shut this lead to a shift towards online classes, which lead to many online education companies started seeing upwards in growth trajectory – Byjus, Unacademy, Upgrade, and many more. Hence at the same time, a lot of traditional media spends also shifted to Online due to the paradigm shift towards online content consumption. So companies like us since we had solutions to cater to the demand for these categories of advertisers, we saw things picking up. We also saw spends declining on Radio, Newspapers, and some of the other mediums due to COVID which led to increase in demand for Digital.
Q) These days, very often a new Digital Agency/Ad Networks is being created. And clients are also looking at ROI’s. Does this make the survival tough, why so?
Today technology has changed the advertising landscape altogether what it used to be 10 years back. There are many new agencies/ad networks opening up nowadays and want a share of the pie. The reality is still majority of Advertising spends are on Google, Facebook, and Youtube, also a lot of display advertising spends has moved to Programmatic. Hence whatever is left is not huge enough to fulfill the demands of 100’s of companies opening up. Hence yes survival is tough in today’s market as compared to the old days. But going forward only those companies who can evolve themselves with new adoption of new technologies and can create disruptive ideas by bringing more effective ROI for clients shall survive in the long run. Because most of the companies still today have short term vision with no focus on product and technologies which can provide value add to clients.
Q) How is your overseas business doing, especially after acquiring “The IN Things” (a few years back)?
The Acquisition of “The IN Things” happened around November 2018, almost a couple of years back. This was a strategic decision for us as we wanted to expand operations in Singapore and SEA Markets. “The IN Things” is focussing on Moment of Truth advertising using IoT. So basically they are creating data sets of consumers who are connected on the Internet via different Internet experiences – starting from Mobile, Smartwatch, Smart TV, IOT based consumer devices, and so on. We creating this layer of datasets for marketers to leverage via impactful insights and customize advertising depending upon the consumer behavior. That is the future and we wanted to invest in building such technology that can be leveraged for clients. Secondly, post-acquisition we expanded our business in Singapore and created a hub for us to open SEA Market for our advertising solutions. Today we are working with some of the biggest tech, gaming, and travel clients based out of SEA. So the acquisition has definitely helped in creating a brand image for us and multifold growth options.