The ₹459-crore initial public offering (IPO) of the Indian mobile marketing company, Affle opened on Jul. 29, 2019. In this exclusive interaction with MarTech Advisor, Anuj Khanna Sohum, CEO and managing director, Affle, shares the company’s business plans, lessons for peers in the adtech space, and his notes to enhance customer experience (CX) using marketing automation data, post the IPO.
As an adtech player in India with strong global presence, Affle’s omnichannel platform is built to help marketers drive consumer acquisitions, engagements, ROI and more. With the help of data-driven targeting and retargeting algorithms, marketers can grow their audiences and improve customer experiences. Anuj explains how marketers can personalize consumer engagement models and reduce digital ad frauds. As the head of Affle, he manages the company’s technology products and platforms-based businesses.
Here are some excerpts from the exclusive conversation with MarTech Advisor:
MarTech Advisor: Your initial public offering (IPO) debut in the adtech industry was quite successful with the script being over-subscribed. Given the overwhelming response, in what ways can investors expect you to enhance returns on marketing spends, improve delivery of contextual mobile advertisements, and reduce digital ad fraud?
Anuj: Affle has a 14-year track record of successful tech innovations and data science-led consumer acceptable ads on connected devices. We have built our platform backed by consumer intelligence that delivers acquisitions, engagements and transactions through relevant mobile advertising.
Fundamentally, our platform enables advertisers to:
- Acquire new users on mobile
- Engage existing users for repeat conversions on mobile
- Drive footfalls at offline retail stores through mobile ads
We strive for marketing ROI through our integrated consumer platform propositions across the conversion life cycle powered by our mDMP – data management platform. We minimize ad fraud powered by our mFaaS (fraud analytics platform). Our mFaaS platform detects & blocks fraudulent non-human activities through various algorithms in live as well as historic campaigns. The platform detects and flags potentially fraudulent conversions and transactions on several reason codes, which include click spamming, conversion hijacking, app version frauds, BOT/simulator activities, and many IP-related fraud types.
MarTech Advisor: Can you describe Affle’s path to the IPO?
Anuj: I have been a tech entrepreneur for over two decades and my first venture was acquired by a public company even before I graduated as a Computer Engineer. Nurturing the aspiration that I must build my own startup into a successful public company, I started Affle in 2005.
Affle has delivered consistent profitable growth for over five years now and our successful IPO has established us as a long-term player in the eco-system. Affle has a strong foundation of corporate governance since inception with quarterly shareholders reports proactively issued at our Singapore holding company level to our global investors like Microsoft, D2C Inc., Bennett Coleman, and Itochu Corporation. Our focus on consistent tech innovations, growth based on financial fundamentals, and foundations of corporate governance enabled us to achieve 86.5 times oversubscribed record-breaking IPO in India with cornerstone anchor investors like Aberdeen and Templeton.
MarTech Advisor: The highly competitive adtech space is expected to grow exponentially. What business lessons would you share with new entrants to the space?
Anuj: Any fast-growing competitive industry has multiple opportunities for new innovations with evolving tech and consumer trends.
My advice to any new entrant is to place a disproportionate focus on three core areas:
- Aligning the core product propositions to fundamental consumer needs
- Aligning the core business model to the advertiser’s ROI
- Building a core team with shared commitment and values
MarTech Advisor: How do you plan to use your CRM and marketing automation data to enhance personalization and customer experience (CX) post the IPO?
Anuj: Our goal is to enhance personalized consumer engagement models with deeper tech focus on voice, video, vernacular experiences across omnichannel touchpoints powered by data science and deep learning capabilities of our platform. We will invest in both organic and inorganic innovations in these focus areas to fuel our growth and strengthen our market leadership across emerging markets globally.
Affle is a global technology company with a proprietary consumer intelligence platform that delivers consumer engagement, acquisitions, and transactions through relevant Mobile Advertising. The platform aims to enhance returns on marketing investment through contextual mobile ads and by reducing digital ad fraud. While Affle’s Consumer platform is used by online and offline companies for measurable mobile advertising, its Enterprise platform helps offline companies go online through platform-based app development, enablement of O2O commerce, and through its customer data platform.