"After 54% YoY growth post lockdown, we’re looking at 2021 as annus mirabilis for OLX"

Engaging with consumers and being sensitive about uplifting and directing the communication in the pandemic times, platforms like OLX Advertising are aiming to build better memory salience.

According to RedSeer report, social commerce will grow to a large share of India’s e-commerce market over 2020-25 – growing from 1-2 per cent of the $38 billion market in 2020 (translating to $0.38-0.76 billion) to 4-5 per cent of the forecast $140 billion e-commerce market in 2025.

The OLX Advertising platform, unlike other services run by e-commerce or social media platforms, helps brands target OLX users who already have an intent to buy. This allows brands to tap into this highly engaged audience on OLX. Being a digital-first brand coupled with the fact that there is a sweeping shift in favour of digital consumption in India, OLX Advertising has continued to grow its digital presence as a primary mode of staying in touch with their users. The Adtech platform has a base of over six million daily active users and their users spend an average over 16.5 minutes on every visit, with a clear intent to close the transaction.

According to Grand View Research, the global social commerce market is projected to hit $3,369.8 billion by 2028. The report further states that the global social commerce market will grow at a CAGR of 28.4 per cent between 2021 and 2028.

In conversation with Adgully, Sunny Kataria, Head of Commercial Verticals, OLX Advertising India, speaks about the importance of digital advertising during the pandemic, OLX Advertising contribution’s to OLX’s overall revenue, why advertisers are bullish on social commerce platforms and more. 

What kind of growth has OLX Advertising witnessed in the past few months, especially after the lockdown?

Our key advertising categories like automobiles, smartphones and e-commerce have seen great momentum in the last few months. We have also witnessed a surge in advertising from brands in the gaming and entertainment space. This can be attributed to the fast switch to digital experiences and the need to be connected with your target audiences in a contactless world. There has also been a heightened interest in the pre-owned auto segment, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, where we have seen an increase in the demand for four and two-wheelers.

How has OLX advertising been different from other e-commerce platforms and how are the brands benefited by investing in the platform?

OLX Advertising is different since users on the OLX platform already have an intent to buy, which may not always be true for many e-commerce platforms. OLX Advertising is a social marketplace that caters to C2C and B2C across various categories like Auto, Real Estate and Jobs. The rich first party data that we have on purchase of high value items in these categories is unparalleled. Our users are extremely sticky, spending over 16.5 minutes on every visit, with a clear intent to close the transaction.

With the rapid shift to digital, we are seeing brands use our platform with great success for brand building and product consideration. Our platform assists brands to customise their campaigns depending on their requirements and objectives. Once the client has decided on their creative brief and messaging, we focus on the campaign optimization and set up to meet the requisite KPIs. In addition, we have an in-house team that can help ideate, support with creatives and facilitate innovation through formats and custom targeting.

What has been the importance of digital advertising during the pandemic, and how is the platform growing in terms of digital advertising?

According to a recent Accenture survey, the proportion of online purchases by previously infrequent e-commerce users – defined as those who used online channels for less than 25 per cent of purchases prior to the outbreak – has increased by 667 per cent since the outbreak in India.

To succeed in a post-pandemic world, brands have had to swiftly adopt digital technologies, combined with a well-defined purpose, to help them not only reach out to their target consumers in innovative ways, but also adapt faster to the evolving market demands.

Brands on our platform can customise their campaigns in line with their objective, thereby maximising the ROI on their spends. The platform has built innovative advertising offerings and rich media formats for brands to leverage to reach out to their target customers. In addition, brands running performance campaigns can measure their success by using our click to visit and lead to inquiry metrics. This has met with great success for brands on our platform and helped establish long term relationships with our clients. 

What kind of response have you seen from advertisers when you compare it to the previous years? What growth trends do you observe in terms of advertising?

In a short time, OLX has been able to partner with many large brands, such as top smartphones brands like Oppo, Vivo Oneplus, Realme, Xiaomi, Samsung and Honour. Moreover, BMW, Volvo, Maruti, Bajaj, Tata Motors in Automotive, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal in e-commerce are joining the tribe. We also have white goods and electronic brands like Whirlpool, Intel TV, Fitbit and LG advertising on our platform.

As per recent OLX Advertising data, 90 per cent of OLX mobile sellers buy a new phone and hence, mobile advertisers have increased over the past one year on OLX. Similarly, a majority of car sellers intend buying a new car, and so auto advertisers, too, have increased over the years.

During the first phase of the lockdown, a lot of people moved online and we saw growth – roughly about 30 per cent more daily active users (DAUs) from our previous pre-COVID-19 peak. That has translated into more advertisers coming to the platform.

The digital advertising business relies on micro-targeting audiences. In the coming times, I foresee leading brands shifting away from executing unilaterally across all channels and adopting a customised omnichannel strategy. You need to understand which channel has a higher ROI to strategically optimise content and programs where it matters most. Hyper personalisation is now mainstream. 

What kind of growth has digital marketing seen in the past few months and do you think this growth will sustain even in the post-COVID-19 world?

Customers have learnt to swipe-search their shopping due to the pandemic. For a majority of categories and people, the purchase journey now starts digitally. Retailers are rethinking how they can drive traffic to their stores, exciting the customer with interesting offerings.

As they minimise stepping out, more and more customers are placing their trust in classified portals, and are willing to pay for value-added services such as quality checks and verifications. The digital switch is unlikely to be reversed. At the end of the day, the customer has to be engaged in an impactful way. 

How much does OLX advertising Aontribute to OLX’s overall revenue?

Over the last year, OLX Advertising has increased its spread of advertisers manifold. Some of the largest categories for OLX Advertising are automobiles, smartphones, e-commerce, crypto, gaming and retail. After a 54 per cent YoY growth post lockdown, we are looking at 2021 as annus mirabilis for OLX. 

What are advertisers looking for in platforms like OLX? What have been their keen interests since the pandemic struck?

Advertisers using the OLX advertising platform are looking at a two-pronged objective. One is to build brand awareness amongst the relevant target audiences. Such campaigns are primarily announcement led, like launching a product or a service. Since the platform has highly engaged users, brands are able to quickly establish recall amongst the targeted users. Brands are also leveraging the platform tools to generate quality leads to fulfil their business objectives. Through the innovative offerings on the platform, brands are able to meet both their objectives successfully.

Since most of the touchpoints today are digital, it has become extremely important to establish deep and meaningful connections with users, which goes a long way in building stronger and more authentic relationships.

We are using survey and behavioural data, powerful tracking tools to mark personalised campaigns, based on a richer portrait of potential customers. You have to be proactive, predictive, person-centred and a pioneer. The enlightened companies have a finger on the pulse of the consumer. One has to think out-of-the box, and break the clutter. 

What makes social commerce a next-generation trend? How is it benefitting the organisations?

This is the era of personalised and relevant campaigns. Innovative solutions, with a deep underpinning of privacy ethics, need to be incorporated at all levels of the product journey, from the production-end to customer-facing departments like marketing and advertising.

Use of social media for brand communication is on the rise and a number of social media platforms are available. And yet, brand messaging must be navigated through creatively and with tact. People can understand when brand initiatives are opportunistic or farcical. Tracking perceptions, market dynamics and consumer preferences will be key to building lasting connections.

In the days of mass-blast campaigns, brands with credibility and truth will stand out.


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