Wavemaker India launched the inaugural edition of ‘Spotlight 23’, a report highlighting top 23 strategic focus areas in digital and emerging technology for the year 2023. The report was curated by the team of digital experts at Wavemaker India.
Vishal Jacob, Chief Transformation & Digital Officer, Wavemaker India, noted that every single sector will see a legacy brand driving growth, before a disruptor comes onboard. This disruptor would typically have an organisational structure where technology is right at the very centre, giving legacy brands a run for their money, he contended.
“Clients have a lot of expectations from us, the go-to partner to solve some complex problems. The way we have seen our organisation grow is, we need to have right kind of specialists to solve some of these problems,” he said.
“If you look at addressability, there are some seven to eight skills that need to come together to provide a solution to the client. Agencies need to have those kinds of domain expertise and specialisations and we have managed as Wavemaker to put that kind of structure through the organisation in that direction,” noted Jacob.
“Spotlight essentially talks about some of these areas, addressability is one of them; the linkage to marketing might not be very evident right now, it would be a huge disruptor in the next two to three years,” he added.
Sairam Ranganathan, National Head – Digital Services; Chirag Galundia, National Director – Ecommerce; Ronak Parikh, Head of Data and Tech Strategy; and Peter Nadar, General Manager – Digital Strategy reflected on how this industry is getting disrupted and what remains unchanged.
All eyes on Jio
Ranganathan said, “While globally most of us might have read that Meta revenue has declined, the Indian story is completely different. We know that Google or Meta are all growing significantly from the kind of revenues they generate using digital marketing and ad monetisation. Facebook today is a platform for moms and dads, so kids no longer want to be there. They have found new platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. If you look at Meta overall, what Facebook was is Instagram, Whatsapp is growing really big and that happens to be one of the entry points for the internet in this country. Similarly when we look at Google, the users have not drastically grown given the size and scale at which they operate, but from the consumer’s standpoint nothing seems to have changed. Typically a Google and Facebook (together) from an Indian digital pie perspective will be anywhere between 55 to 65pc. Thus it doesn’t show any sign of these giants coming down from their ad revenue perspective.”
He noted that Netflix is looking at multiple models, having started globally to monetise inventory through video ads, already live in some countries including US and Canada.
Jio seems positioned at a ‘very beautiful intersection of having multiple signals from an audience understanding perspective’, noted Ranganathan, with telecom, content, broadcast and retail presence – online and offline.
With scale and technology at its disposal, the Jio universe could challenge the internet giants of today, observed the speaker.
“The commerce line is very interesting, especially Jiomart, because no big platforms like Google or even Meta, none of them have access to purchasing power or wallet equivalent kind of info and anyone with that kind of info will be a force to reckon with in the coming years,” added Ranganathan.
Social and live commerce
Galundia pointed to how social commerce has evolved in the East, primarily China, and live commerce adopted.
“It has not yet taken off the same way in India because of the lack of capabilities that we have at the platform level. Attribution is a very big challenge, not all brands are on D2C today, not all platforms are integrated with external live commerce enablers. We have had a couple of enablers but none of them have the end-to-end capability of driving purchase right from discovery of the product to finally the consumer actually buying it,” he explained.
He referred to ‘discovery commerce’ and the case of Instagram deciding to remove the ‘shop’ button, and stating that social commerce was meant to discover the product that the influencer is selling, while the sale will happen eventually.
CRED is now driving a massive amount of commerce transactions for Digital only brands, he observed. CRED is not a shopping app but has become a default digital discovery platform, he substantiated.
“The WhatsApp-Jio partnership has taken a lot of share of voice in terms of people talking about WhatsApp Commerce but digital-only brands are really using Whatsapp channels effectively for commerce. There are so many enablers who can get you up and running with your WhatsApp shop and actually drive that purchase not only from a CRM standpoint but also purely from pushing communication, discounts, offers. WhatsApp has changed their policy globally, you can now push promotional messages, it is not restricted to air ticketing or CRM. For India it is better because we are a more WhatsApp-driven consumer base than live commerce sort of enabled consumer base,” he added.
Neutral Data Clean Rooms
Parikh highlighted that as per a study done by Statista in 2021, more than 60pc global internet users have expressed discomfort in terms of information going out. Privacy is a huge concern where the end-consumer is concerned, noted the speaker.
“Marketers are investing in privacy-centric technologies such as Data Clean Rooms (DCR) and Consent Management Platforms (CMP) in response to the demand for consumer privacy. In CMP, the legal teams at the client side are getting extensively involved in the way the data is collected, stored and structured,” said Parikh.
“The new trajectory in DCRs is Neutral Data Clean Rooms. There is one report that says that clients who have more than $1 billion spending annually at the global level will embark Neutral Data Clean Rooms. Why it becomes critical for advertisers and marketers is they also get in a lot of collaborations. Data partnerships that will have to happen in a very secured environment,” she explained.
Third party audits for AI platforms?
Nadar stated that all AI systems use data and there could be biases at the stage of data being fed itself, leading to misinformation.
“Technology grows at a much higher rate than regulation, so there are still conversations on how to regulate, there are frameworks that are getting framed. There could be calls for third party audits for some of these AI platforms,” he explained.
“Brands are questioning how many users are there in the Metaverse. They may do pilot product launches to see what is the update or how the response would be. Some of this gets too amplified but there is a lot of potential and things could really scale up. People actually don’t necessarily need to understand the underlying technology; if they see value people will come on board,” he added.
In April 2023, Fujitsu is expected to come up with a 64-qubit quantum computer, noted the speaker, adding that people could use quantum computers to decrypt current encryption methods. Hence, companies today are planning how they will improve their cyber security, he noted.
Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) was referred to by the speaker as another interesting trend.
“Synchron as a company sometime last year they already embedded a chip in a US citizen who is a paralysed patient. Elon Musk’s Neuralink is planning to do this in the next six months. Similarly there are a lot of companies also planning this,” added Nadar.
View the report here.