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Rico Chan

Creativity in content marketing is not just art but also science. Brands can tell compelling stories only if powered by right data. Rico Chan, Managing Director, Oath, Hong Kong, India and SEA, believes that as part of the content programme, brands need to ensure they place their content in the most heard/followed places to make the most impact.

Chan said, “Brands don’t need more data, they need trusted, actionable data. With the right partner, data transforms content and advertising into experiences that are more personal, engaging and relevant.”

Oath isn’t insecure with the dominance of Google and Facebook and sees a huge opportunity for growth with the increased mobile phone consumption in India. Chan said, “There are huge opportunities in India’s mobile consumer economy. This one device is increasingly controlling the entire experience — how people search, shop, communicate, and consume information, news and entertainment. Given our proven experience, we are well positioned to win in mobile content and ads, driving experiences that work extremely well for small screens.”

Chan thinks that the advent of AR/VR and 360-degree video technology will help enhance content consumption experience for the consumers.

Oath Inc is a subsidiary of Verizon Communications that serves as the umbrella company of its digital content subdivisions, including AOL and Yahoo!. Verizon acquired AOL on June 23, 2015 and Yahoo!'s operating business on June 13, 2017. Within Oath, AOL and Yahoo! maintain their respective brands.

Oath is serving its consumers in India through brands like Yahoo Cricket, HuffPost, Yahoo Mail and Tumblr.

Excerpts:

How does data analysis help drive the creation and distribution of good content?

Creativity of content marketing isn’t only art, there’s a science to it too. Reaching audiences at the right place, time and with the right format is critical, and brands can achieve this by having clear goals and informative insights. To do this, you need to leverage data.

Less than half of marketers use data to produce content that appeals to their audience, yet 3.4 billion people are online each day. This means most marketers aren’t taking advantage of the countless pieces of information that offer new and impactful opportunities to reach and engage consumers. By looking at consumers habits, you can determine which creative strategies will allow you to successfully break through to your target audience. Keep in mind that in order to make meaningful data-based decisions; you need access to enough of the right data.

Hence, the first part of every content programme is to understand the audience, their needs and what they care about. By placing the audience first, the chances of the content resonating with the audience are higher. And once the data and insights are in place, the next big step is to capture the audience’s attention.

Without compelling stories, data means nothing, but as equally important, without data, brand stories are based on speculation. Hence, here, context is the key. Brand love grows when the messaging is integrated seamlessly into a consumer’s life. As part of the content programme, brands need to ensure they place their content in the most heard/followed places to make the most impact. It’s proven to work.

Brands don’t need more data; they need trusted, actionable data. With the right partner, data transforms content and advertising into experiences that are more personal, engaging and relevant.

We recently introduced Oath Ad Platforms, a simplified suite of intelligent advertising and publishing solutions globally, that combines the best assets from BrightRoll, ONE by AOL and Yahoo Gemini into a set of solutions that make it easier for advertisers and publishers to drive growth. The suite activates Oath’s trusted data, high-quality inventory, innovative ad experiences and industry-leading programmatic algorithms.

How big is the India market for Oath? How do you see the scope of content marketing growing in India?

We see the shifts in India’s digital media landscape unlocking a world of opportunities. There’s the strong growth in mobile internet usage, a phenomenal rise in online content consumption, especially video consumption on mobile. Digital advertising is expected to grow by 30% (YoY) in 2018. This is an exciting canvas, where Oath is already giving Indian online consumers the content and experiences they love and trust, across our brands like Yahoo Cricket, HuffPost, Yahoo Mail and Tumblr. We are already seeing users relying on our brands for trusted, engaging content.

We want to reach two billion users by 2020 and India is a fertile ground; we see many of our new users coming from here. With Verizon — a Fortune 16 company and one of the largest mobile companies in the world — as our parent company, we are uniquely positioned to go after the opportunities and engage India’s digitally-empowered audience. Riding the massive platform shift to mobile, we aim to put our brands on every mobile screen here.

AR/VR is still at a nascent stage in India. Is India ready for the consumption of content of brand using AR/VR?

While consumers want content that’s personalised and meaningful, they also want content that’s delivered in innovative and interesting ways. By using emerging formats and technologies including artificial intelligence (AR), virtual reality (VR), and 360-degree video, you can create a more creative and impactful campaign. With many of these formats already a part of consumers’ daily lives — thanks to a rise in mobile usage and AR becoming more common in advertising — immersive experiences are a seamless way to capture consumers’ attention, enhance their environment and reinforce your narrative.

Take for example 3D ad formats, which can create an interactive experience that allows people to explore objects from any angle to help them make an informed purchase decision. Or AR ad formats, which can help consumers try out products. Wouldn't you want to see how that sofa looks in your living room before you make that purchase?

We are already seeing XR-enabled campaigns gaining ground in India. Quite recently, Amazon India had set up VR zones across various malls to help customers experience the products before buying them online. So customers could see a dress modelled in 3D or open a microwave placed on the kitchen countertop to look inside. This is a sign that brands in India are ready to experiment and adopt XR technology for immersive experiences.

Our youngest users will be XR natives and the mass market will have a wealth of XR content experiences at their fingertips, which will spike adoption. Innovations in visual positioning, 3D scene recreation, and other XR advancements will enable endless marketing and advertising experiences. And the advent of 5G will support these experiences. Imagine watching a movie trailer unfold on the street as you walk by, then skipping the ticket line by choosing your seats through a virtual kiosk. By enhancing everyday activities, these technologies will be a driving force for commerce, sports and entertainment.

Wouldn’t it be an uphill task for Oath in India in terms of its ambitions to challenge Google and Facebook by becoming the third biggest player in the digital advertising space?

Not at all. We see the white space in digital marketing today as huge and the spaces are differentiated. There is so much opportunity both on the consumer side and on the advertiser side. Most Indians coming online today are accessing the internet for the first time on mobile — think of the shift this represents, the evolving needs of this audience. There are huge opportunities in India’s mobile consumer economy. This one device is increasingly controlling the entire experience — how people search, shop, communicate, and consume information, news and entertainment. Given our proven experience, we are well positioned to win in mobile content and ads, driving experiences that work extremely well for small screens.