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What does The Trade Desk have in store for Indian marketers?

Open Internet, walled gardens and the future of marketing

The Drum speaks to Tejinder Gill, the recently appointed general manager at The Trade Desk, India on the global tech company's plans to increase its footprint in India and its playbook for Indian marketers.

The Trade Desk recently launched its operations in India. The USP of The Trade Desk is that it works as an omnichannel platform in enabling marketers to reach relevant audiences across different devices and engage with them along their entire digital journey. With digital consumption having increased manifold in the post-pandemic world companies are looking at markets like India with a renewed consumer lens.

The India journey for the company has just begun shares Tejinder Gill, general manager, The Trade Desk, India in an exclusive chat with The Drum about the platform’s relevance to marketers in India. Gill has worked previously in tech-enabled companies like LinkedIn and Truecaller.

Close on the heels of the India launch, the company also unveiled its overhauled platform Solimar recently pegged as the “biggest release” in The Trade Desk’s history. “Solimar is being launched so that marketers can fully embrace those opportunities on the open internet,” says Jeff Green, co-founder and chief executive officer The Trade Desk on the rollout.

Open Internet, walled gardens and the future of marketing in India

When it comes to allocating advertising budgets, India’s advertisers tend to invest in search and social media channels that they are most familiar with.

Gill says: "While these channels tend to be easy to use and have massive scale, the fastest-growing parts of the internet, however, lies on the open internet which includes OTT, streaming audio, online gaming, mobile in-apps just to name a few."

According to a study by Global Web Index, while online content and OTT streaming grew 28% and 16% respectively, social media grew by a mere 1%.

The interesting piece here is that even though Indian consumers are spending 70% of their time on the open internet, almost 80% of India’s digital ad revenue still goes to the big tech platforms, which sit outside the open internet. The Trade Desk aims to help India’s digital marketers capture these fast-growing opportunities on the thriving open internet, adds Gill.

The Trade Desk USP: “be platform agnostic”

“The Trade Desk only represent the advertisers and that allows us to be objective when evaluating and measuring marketing opportunities,” says Gill, when asked about the key USP of the offering. The company has always had this singular focus because it believes that there is a fundamental conflict of interest when you choose to represent both the buy-side and sell-side, he adds.

Time ripe to make marketers help the right choices

The Trade Desk plans to help the marketers by deploying the company’s cloud-based platform, where they can access a marketplace of premium ad inventory on the open internet and reach relevant audiences across different devices (including computers, mobile devices, tablets and connected TV). They can engage meaningfully along their entire digital journey, shares Gill.

With the official launch in India, the brand is fully committed to the business, says Gill and while the on-ground situation is fluid, it claims to be focused on driving awareness and connecting marketers to fast-growing opportunities on the thriving open internet, as per Gill.

Navigating the challenges of the Indian market

The Indian market has seen exponential growth in digital led segments on the open internet like OTT, internet advertising, online gaming, music and podcasts which has led brands and marketers to adopt programmatic faster since it gives them access to premium inventory, measurement, targeted advertising using data-driven marketing.

However, according to Gill, one of the key challenges is around conveying the advantages and workings of programmatic advertising to marketers while driving wider adoption of the same.

"The market for programmatic buying for advertising campaigns is still evolving in India with marketers and agencies just starting to truly appreciate the benefit of the open internet and programmatic advertising", he adds.

Task as the first employee of The Trade Desk in India

Gill has his task cut out as the first employee of The Trade Desk in India. It includes “strengthening the company’s global client and partner relations, spearheading the expansion of programmatic across the landscape of the organization and ensuring strong visibility and market share for The Trade Desk through effective marketing strategies for advertisers, agencies and clients.”

The learning from his stint at the Stockholm-based ad tech company Truecaller is that “people love a great product which can solve a problem for them” has led him to work with The Trade Desk. He hopes to “simplify the digital advertising world for markets with the solutions that we provide.”

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