Saturday, July 14, 2007

Perform or Perish

Following article written by me on the Voices section of AgencyFaqs:

From the perspective of an advertiser’s objectives, there are two broad genres -- one is advertising for brand saliency and the second is advertising for generating business or acquiring customers. Performance marketing refers to the second genre of advertising. Marketing managers are increasingly allocating more monies towards advertising for performance and the internet is the only medium that is truly capable of specific measurement in terms of ‘cost of acquiring a customer’ or ‘cost of generating a transaction’.

Advertisers are using the internet as a direct response medium. A medium where they can actually specify their objectives in terms of cost per acquired customer. It is estimated that almost 70 per cent of the online advertising in India is happening for ‘performance’. Google alone enjoys close to 25 per cent share of the total online advertising in India. It is also estimated that 50-60 per cent of banner advertising is also happening for performance.

However, advertisers have still not exploited the true potential of Internet as a medium that can increasingly deliver ROI objectives of advertisers. It is very fashionable to talk about ROI, but the fact is that the offline agencies are still grappling with understanding the Internet and most of the online agencies are still using primitive tools and technologies..............


You can read the full article here:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is: "web publishers/ affiliates generating registrations/ leads/ sales for merchants/advertisers, in return for a bounty / commission each time they do so".

Advertisers don’t buy this advertising, they simply pay them when people click through and perform the action specified by the Advertiser - sign up, transact, fill in a lead etc. Affiliate marketing networks like the link between the merchants and affiliates, they provide the advertisers with technology and track end-to-end performance across various defined performance metrics / parameters like registrations, transactions, referrals, leads etc. while acting as a gateway to large numbers of individual affiliates / publishers. It also allows third party tracking and certification which is crucial when the quantum of referrals are huge.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing to Advertisers / Merchants
  • Expand reach : More traffic > More registrations
  • Brand exposure: Free benefit, since you do not pay for advertising.
  • Drive revenue: Well-run affiliate programmes can generate terrific returns
  • Inform marketing activities: Learn from affiliates about what is working in terms of pricing, offers, products, propositions, landing pages … and what is not. For example, you can watch the best performing affiliates to see how they write their Google ads for the best response. These skilled practitioners can help you improve other areas of your business.
  • Reduce costs/financial risks: Affiliates offer merchants a virtual sales force without the need to worry about staff salaries, overheads, sick pay etc. The CPA (cost per action) performance model is very cost effective in this respect.
  • Measurability and accountability: Affiliate networks have lots of tools to help you track your campaigns. Combine this information with your web analytics and sales data to see the big picture and measure ROI.
  • Easy draw for merchants with good products but no monies to commit upfront.
Benefits to Publishers
  • Get an instant alternative monetising opportunity beyond Ad Sales & ad networks
  • Affiliate Marketing can act as a platform to drive in monies with unused inventory.
  • Cookies set up for 30,60 days ensure sales incentive for publishers
  • Complete control of merchants they wish to promote, unlike the situation of an Ad network.
Benefits to Consumers

Consumers use Internet to seek information about products - their features, pricing etc. Primary need of Internet Customers is 'comparison shopping' where buyers can see in “one-view” offers from multiple merchants for the same SKU/ product and then with a click proceed to buy the same.

This becomes easily possible for Web Publishers to achieve through the help of Affiliate Networks, since the networks pick up 'live feeds' of all products and services from Merchants. The Affiliates in turn pick up those feeds, aggregate & display them on their respective websites the way the consumers would want to see them. Few examples of top global affiliate sites:
  • Kelkoo (Yahoo shopping)
Comparative shopping is a huge growth driver for online leads/commerce. & eBay have been able to scale up largely due to their Affiliate programmes. Huge monies are globally going on to comparison shopping / affiliate marketing. is considered as the best comparative portal for Financial products and has become a Billion Dollar company in UK. .

e-commerce in India currently driven by Individual deals & bargains. Customers are exposed to a single proposition of a “Deal” at one point of time and hence they can respond to only specific stimuli. I fee that this can be one of the major reasons for the low commerce activities in India. The only exception is the 'Travel' category where we anyways see all online travel portal giving comparisons between various airlines, hotels etc.

Affiliate Marketing: Important channel for customer acquisition

Affiliate Marketing is globally becoming an indispensable channel for advertisers looking to acquire customers online. Globally, affiliate marketing already contributes to almost 25% of the online spends. Sample these:

  • Affiliates worldwide will earn $6.5 billion in bounty and commissions in 2006 [Source: Marketing Sherpa]
  • Market for UK affiliate marketing to grow to £2.16 billion: [Source: E-consultancy – October 11th, 2006]
  • UK market for this marketing segment will record a growth of 60% this year to about £2.16 billion, compared to the £1.35 billion in 2005 [Source: Traffic Junction – October 11th, 2006]

Affiliate Marketing in India

Start has been made by by being the first credible Affiliate network in India. I expect over a period of next 18-24 months Affiliate Marketing becoming a very important channel for online customer acquisition and contributing to almost 10% of online advertising.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Launched dgm India

I apologise for the long silence but I had been very busy setting up operations for dgm India.

dgm India, is part of dgm Holdings Plc. The Company's principal activity is the delivery of ROI through affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, display inventory and email, either as individual channels, or as a complete solution. Globally, dgm provides services to more than 250 blue-chip clients and agencies with over 100 staff. Utilising powerful software, dgm has the ability to trace a consumer's activity online to a specific advertisement placed on a specific channel. Therefore, regardless of the pricing model or channel used, dgm can report on the direct correlation between advertising spend and consumer response.

We formally launched dgm India on 6th June 2007. You can read more about the launch here:
Delhi Events

DD News

We have launched dgm India with 3 initial solutions:

dgm Performance: First credible & interntional Affiliate network in India.

dgm Search Lab: Cutting edge Search Marketing (PPC & SEO) solutions using state of the art Web Analytics & completely automated Bid Management & Optimisation tools that talk to the search engines through APIs.

dgmeMail: Our managed email solution system.

dgm's DNA is delivering better ROI to online advertisers using cutting edge technology, channels & solutions. We have been doing this for close to 8 years in markets like UK & Australia.

Seeing the state of Indian online advertising and the solutions that exist here, I am very sure that dgm India, with its superior solutions will be able to raise the bar significantly and will help in taking the online advertising to the next level.

More about the state of Indian online advertising in my next post.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Indian Online Advertising Market

I estimate the following size of the Indian Online Advertising Market during the year 2006 (Jan-Dec basis)

Display Advertising Revenues

  • Rediff 15.0
  • Yahoo 12.0
  • Indiatimes 6.0
  • Web18 Group 3.0
  • MSN 2.5
  • Sify 2.0
  • Naukri 1.3
  • WebDunia 0.8
  • Others 5.0

Total Display 47.5

  • Search Advertising 15

Grand Total 62.5

Key trends that have emerged during the last year:

- Search accounts for almost 24% of the total Ad Market
- 90% of online advertising revenues go to Top 8-10 portals / portal group sites.
- Growth in Online advertising over 2005 is close to 100%.
- Most of the advertising is being sold directly by the Publishers. Ad networks still do not enjoy a noticeable share
- Almost 30-40% of Advertising is happening through Direct deals between Advertisers & Publishers.
- More and more advertisers are using online medium
- Almost 70% of Online Advertising is happening for "performance"
- Largest categories are Internet players & Financial services. These two together would account for close to 60% spends.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Online Advertising: Advertising Units & Options

Following up on my last post where I had explained the terms used in buying of Online Advertising. In this post I am attempting to explain the Advertising units, sizes & Options.

Advertising Units

A digital image is made of basic units called pixels. Advertising Units on the Internet are called "Banners" and are measures & expressed in the same standard measuring unit - pixels. This is also the same unit that measures resolution / screen size of any Computer Monitor. The most commonly used resolutions in India are 800 x 600 pixels and 1024 x 768 pixels. The first number always indicates the number of horizontal pixels.



Indiatimes Home Page - 230 X 250


Advertising units can be placed in various sections of a Website – like Homepage, specific section pages etc.

ROS(Run of Site): This refers to placing ads across different sections on the site on a random basis. Websites take ROS ads for non premium sections / pages of their websites.


Publishers offer use of various high impact & innovative advertising units in addition to the normal ad banners. Few such innovative options are:

Site captures / Interstitials: Ad formats that interrupt sequential content, forcing exposure to the advertisement before visitors can continue on their content path. Interstitials are a form of interruption marketing. This quality appeals to advertisers who feel Web advertising needs to be more like a broadcast medium to be effective.
Few Indian sites that allow Site captures are Indiatimes, MoneyControl, Exchange4Media etc.

Pop ups / Pop unders

Expandable Banners: See the following image for example of expandable banner. In this the banner loads as 4 times its contracted size (180 X 150 pixels) and then settles down back to 180X150 after playing the advertisement.

Shoshkeles / Floaters: Browser driven, platform agnostic, sound enabled, free moving forms. These do not require plug-ins, and there is no discernable download for users.

Click here for an example of Shoshkele on

In the absence of any standards each publisher is deciding their own sizes. As a consequence, there are just too many sizes of advertisements floating around. There is a need to have few standard sizes to make life simpler for Advertisers & Agencies.