Httpool, an IMS corporate company, represents the leading digital media platforms across Europe and Asia. It supports their growth as well as drives business results for traditional and native advertisers across over 30 markets. Based on an innovative set of technology and performance solutions, seasoned vertical teams, and extensive market know-how, Httpool enables advertisers to connect with their audiences in the most efficient and effective ways, consistently maximizing their ROIs.
Sunny Nagpal, Co-founder and Regional Managing Director, Httpool APAC on the journey of Httpool in India, their objectives, core strengths and much more…….
What has been the journey for httpool in India and globally?
Ten years when I look back now were one of the swiftest hours, as they flew, and also extremely productive ones – clearly we have been enjoying what we are doing! Events like these are great opportunities that remind us of what we have achieved, while it also allows us to reflect upon where we are going. We are immensely proud of what we have established both in India and globally. The global Httpool operations are celebrating two decades this year. When founders were setting up Httpool at the group in 2000, they believed that positioning the company well in key parts of the world, with demonstrated complementarity to major global networks, would over time give the opportunity to represent these mega networks, and I’m talking about 2003 to 2005. At that time, Facebook and Twitter did not even exist yet.
The hypothesis from that time proved to be correct, and we were not just focusing on acquiring as markets and representations. The vision behind Httpool is to develop and support the entire digital marketing ecosystem. We set up the technology and we aimed at supporting local businesses to compete globally.
Httpool gathered tremendous knowledge and experience over the past decades. We have a fair mix of developed market economies and emerging market economies. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge that we could share and best practices that we could pass on from one to the other, typically, if you see, there is a trend that one market follows the other from emerging to the developed, and we could get ahead of the curve and bring the market to the anticipated curve at a time, and that really proved beneficial in our time. Today, we are proud that, especially after partnering with IMS Corporation, we have achieved a dominant position in the representation business across our APAC region and in the world.
You are the preferred digital partner for many media brands, and what are your thoughts on this?
If you look at our core values, partnership is one of the fundamental values of Httpool. We practice partnership at all levels, and not just with our media partners but also with our local management, our clients. Therefore, the real success we believe lies in relationships, ownership, and commitment to projects. We have created that ecosystem of trust, efficiency, and of effectiveness through a model of partnership. This model is very co-operational and allows us to deliver on the expectations of all our partners.
Today, together with IMS, we represent over 20 platforms across more than 45 markets globally. Our key partners are major digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Spotify, Tiktok and others. We represent Facebook in 11 countries exclusively, LinkedIn in about 20 markets globally and we are the largest global partner of Twitter, covering over 40 geographies. For our media partners, we deliver and provide local market knowledge access and then, in turn, best practices and service levels on their campus to the local sales process to the agency.
What is the core strength of Httpool?
Httpool is the major partner of social media platforms globally. We accelerate their growth by supporting their entry and access to markets that are not necessarily on their priority list. On the other hand, we accelerate growth of local businesses by providing them direct access to these platforms, exclusive education activities, insights and support from our local teams and local billing possibilities, among many other things. Our teams are trained by our partners with efficiency and undergo a thorough training program; they work closely with these partners and leadership to implement their strategies across all our markets. The same goes for corporate and other partners; this is a real business model; we work with all top large media holdings, agencies, and all small advertisers and businesses.
We also have our own proprietary technology, Wise.Blue. Built to address the needs of major advertisers on Twitter, Wise.Blue has now become the number one Twitter API solution and is used by major brands and advertisers across the world. Right now, we are also in the process of setting up a specialised tool that will support SMB advertisers on Facebook in Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos to make the most of advertising for their small businesses.
In 2017 you merged with IMS Sony; the strategy, and the reasoning behind this move?
In 2015, Sony Pictures had acquired a majority in IMS, a company that has been into similar business as httpool, representing some of the largest global platforms in LATAM and Western Europe. While Httpool has a strong presence in CEE and Asia and presented a very complementary position and natural Geo expansion opportunities with coming together of synergies and economies of scale. It was one of the most strategic M&A and the success can be determined from the fact that we have grown over 12 times in the last 3 years!
This interest from Sony demonstrated that even the largest players in the game have seen and believe in the growth potential of Httpool. Two years ago, we gathered enough funds to buy out our majority stake and Sony is now a minority partner in the group.
The crisis in lockdown and seeing an unusual spike in digital consumption, does this indicate a change of mindset?
The new mindset was already in the making with constant improvements in macro aspects of good infrastructure & access to technology with availability of digital consumption platforms. The consumers were further subjected to increased engagement with digital platforms at various touch points during the crisis, which further acted like a stimulus.
There is clearly more consumption of content happening than ever before. It means people are fed with more information and knowledge to make them smarter and more informed customers that would further contribute to increased demand in levels of service supply. From the perspectives on a macro level, I think the gap for premium and value would narrow.
Where do you see Httpool in the coming new normal, and what is your way forward now?
We will be growing, for sure! In the new normal, there is a significant appetite from all players in the ecosystem to get access to as many resources as possible and we are in the best position to offer expertise and resources. Our role is to offer advice and expertise on how to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency, support with our own technology and best practices. All of these things are entirely complementary to the new ecosystem that will be there in the new normal.
We will be looking to expand to new markets and then further widen our presence. Simultaneously, we are also looking to build new partnerships with new partners. Thirdly, we are looking at new segments in the market. We are now moving our focus significantly to SMB, as it is an evident opportunity.
Moreover, we believe that advertising is a demand generation channel that absolutely contributes to the macroeconomics of any market and we will continue to drive more efficiencies and effectiveness, for the advertisers to reach their target audience in a most relevant way, increasing their ROI and contributing significantly to the economic channels they’re looking for.
How did you keep the morale of your colleagues high and personally what kept you positive?
The communication channel was open at all times, to address all the concerns and, most importantly, to take care of them first even before expecting professional output or even providing motivations. Our initial attempt was to provide them with all the assurances to deal with any eventuality, and I am proud to say that we had no layoffs or salary cuts and stood by our employees.
We also adjusted our business expectations with the macro situation as they defined all priorities. I think that we kept the level of engagement very high, and I was personally speaking to everyone across the markets very frequently. We opened the channels to reach out to anyone personally and then kept lines open. We also did some socialising initiatives, like games engagement activities to keep interactions more informal. Our major insistence was to ensure that we provided employees with the assurance and the comfort that we would stand by them in these times. It worked very well and we were able to turn around very well.
Where is B2B advertising headed?
Data is becoming an integral part of marketing. The need for data has now become an essential aspect of procuring insights on customer relationships and business performance, leading to improving product experience, customer service, and marketing efforts.
We all know B2B marketing was hysterical as a matter of on-ground physical one. We have seen an enormous change in the past decade. Disruptions are happening at every step of marketing. Technology has helped accelerate the growth with small functions such as databases, email, social media marketing, etc. All this dramatically impacts the way we do business and overall in the customer engagement process.
Marketing is no longer just advertising; it is now present at every stage of the customer relationship.