By Mukul Kumar, Co-Founder & Senior Vice President-Engineering, PubMatic
Founded in 2006, PubMatic is the marketing automation software company that powers the advertising strategy of premium publishers.
Looking at India now, it’s hard to imagine just how slow initially the country was when it came to adopting the internet into daily life. It took 10 years for India to reach 10 million users and another decade to hit 100 million. This may sound like a lot, but when you bear in mind that India has a population of 1.252 billion, the slow pace of web adoption is clear.
However, between 2010 and 2013, the world saw India truly enter the internet age with another 100 million people becoming connected. In short, India has found its online stride. With an online adoption rate of almost five million new users per month – a growth rate that’s set to take the user base to 500 million people by 2019 –India is becoming the country with the second largest online population in the world.
The Growth & Impact of e-Commerce
The rapid growth in connectivity and shift to a digital first approach, has in turn drastically affected India’s e-Commerce industry. As the demand for online retail continues to grow in the region, many online retailers are looking at India as a possible destination for global expansion and we are seeing market trends moving towards offerings that are more instantaneous, simple and that have 24/7 online availability.
Take for example global online retail powerhouses like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. While Flipkart currently holds the lion’s share of the market, each company has recognized India for the potential scale of its e-Commerce and are fighting for share.
It’s not just connectivity that has driven growth in India’s e-Commerce industry. The increased ownership of smartphones, the growing middle class and the purchasing power of young consumers has also revolutionized the way we shop. This has naturally impacted other industries linked to retail including advertising. The ability to target users with tailored ads has sparked even more of an online boom with both businesses and their customers able to experience the direct benefits of the advertising.
The Magpie Effect – Learning from Retail & Driving Digital Innovation
This competitive market amongst online retailers translates into a fact that we are seeing a rapid growth in the emergence of new, innovative digital offerings for consumers. For example, small retailers like kirana shops and pharmacies throughout India are using WhatsApp as a platform of communication with their customers. Pharmacies are not only utilizing the social app to notify customers when prescriptions are ready, but also use it for two-way open communication allowing consumers to ask questions via the app.
Google is also set to change the face of retail through the introduction of a Buy Now button, allowing internet users to purchase goods directly from its search results. While Amazon India offers Cash on Delivery – a payment type not offered by Amazon in any other country. Additionally, other online retailers also provide instalment payments or have created their own secure payment gateway, similar to PayPal.
Why India Matters to PubMatic
India is at a truly fascinating and exciting point in its online evolution. No longer a nation falling behind its more connected peers, India has the potential to take the lead. We have seen our earnings in India increase at a tremendous pace within the last year, and have equally seen a huge interest in our latest programmatic products, Native advertising, Analytics Premium and Audio.
Highlighting innovation as a priority for PubMatic, we recently held a global “Hackathon” event where 150 participants across three PubMatic locations – spanning engineering, product management, client services and user experience – were challenged to develop innovative new ideas within 36 hours. Nineteen out of 35 ideas have actually been added to the product roadmap and will soon go into production. It’s interesting to note that the majority of these new ideas came out of the India office, clear evidence that our focus on creating a hub of best in class engineering in our Pune office is a winning formula.
A large dynamic market recognized as a hub of innovation, India is providing both advertisers and publishers with numerous opportunities to engage with consumers in relevant and impactful ways. India is poised to grow in programmatic way, the same way it has evolved in other areas of digital such as online retail. Looking ahead, we believe India will be a leader in the delivery of digital advertising – delivering the right content to drive business revenue and sector growth.