Straight Talk with Salil Shanker -Amnet India, Denstu Aegis Network
BY: Yohan P Chawla
Salil Shanker is the Vice President at Amnet India, which provides programmatic solutions from Dentu Aegis Network.
He has been with Denstu Aegis Network since 2010 when he set up the search and ad operations team for Isobar India. In this Straight Talk he talks about Amnet and its performance.
1. How did you pioneer the Search Engine Marketing era in the Indian digital space?
I started my advertising journey as a Search Engine Expert in Group M interaction in the year 2006. I was always very keen to explore technology and tried to create a unique proposition on Search Engine marketing. The learnings from my role in Group M helped me in creating a foundation for my journey towards Dentsu in 2010.
Isobar India launched its first regional office in Delhi, and that is when I was allowed to be one of the frontrunners in setting up the team for Search and ad operations in India. Isobar being a transformational, creative, data, and measurement led driven agency, appealed to my aspirations. I was the 3rd employee of Isobar Delhi, and it was a challenge to set up a new entity when you have big giants to compete within the industry. From no accounts on Search business to more than 24 accounts within a year is what we had grown after I joined Isobar along with my team of 1 to 25+ pan India.
Pioneered the Search Marketing and constructed the best SEM/SEO practices within Isobar, we launched the first ever real-time counter on Google Search engine for brand Chevrolet in India with the use of API in Real time which won many awards.
This completely changed the concept of using API across search platform to run campaigns. With the AI-powered SEM management tool, we have been able to create a portfolio of multiple bidding schemes for our clients, which transformed the manual work into API.
2. How has been Amnet's journey since launch? Which has been some of the key achievements for Amnet? Also what is the brief team structure at Amnet?
Amnet is part of Dentsu Aegis Network. At Amnet, we create Programmatic architectural solutions crafted to drive value for our clients through the use of technology, insight, and creative thinking.
Amnet has led the tech space to look beyond the shackles of only digital and successfully delivered Industry first solutions by integrating other media channels as well. The launch of India's first programmatic Radio, programmatic content creation service, and programmatic digital Out of Home was delivered by associating with brands like SBI, Microsoft, DS Group, Maruti Suzuki and JK Tyres. With the likes of such innovations, we continue to defy the gap between the physical (offline media) & digital world and challenges advertising faces across channels.
To leverage programmatic, one needs the right people and Amnet's team is the best in the business. The energy at Amnet is genuinely contagious - we're a batch of problem solvers, and we thrive when given a good challenge. We have a different team structure, and we believe that it's the people who drive the business; hence a lean mean team of happy, talented people can outperform anyone, leading to successful business growth at Amnet. We started with a group of 2 and now have 21 tech geeks who are responsible for Business Development, Planning, Trading, Creative, Big Data and Analytics. All the elements in the team come together to deliver disrupting tech ideas that bring value to the brands and business.
3. What is your role at Amnet India? And how has your journey with Amnet been?
Currently, I am leading the Programmatic business as Vice President at AMNET India, where my principal responsibility is formulating Programmatic strategic direction and devising business development initiatives consistent with the overall strategy in DAN. My core responsibility within Amnet is to support and lead Programmatic business for Dentsu Aegis network clients.
I was given the opportunity to set up AMNET INDIA - Programmatic agency for DAN 4 years back, and it's been a fantastic journey ever since with many opportunities to experiment and grow at the same time.
4. Being from the mighty Denstu Aegis Network what sort of support do you receive from other agencies in the network? How does that help?
Dentsu Aegis Network is 'Innovating the Way Brands Are Built' for its clients, through its best-in-class expertise and capabilities in media, digital and creative communications services. With high DAN values, which drives our behavior and binds us together, beyond individual brands and geographies. Dentsu Aegis Network has a bouquet of agencies from online to offline with many individual USPs. Unlike many other big agencies, DAN has a very open culture, and with one P&L policy, it's a great support and coordination from across agencies. This culture helps us share our talent and expertise across different agency groups within DAN.
5. What is the client portfolio of Amnet India?
Amnet works with the entire DAN portfolio of clients across verticals. Our practice has always been to advocate Programmatic strategic solutions with the importance of data control to brand. We deliver solutions from the data lens to enhance brand experiences for consumers and hence, higher returns on investments for brands. We work majorly with all brands from Auto, travel, Tele communications, consumer electronics, BFSI, Health, FMCG, Education & co-working spaces categories.
6. What are the challenges in the programmatic advertising space?
The biggest challenge and conversation commence in Programmatic space is on Brand Safety and transparency. We aim to obliterate wasted media spends for our clients and ensure we are delivering best-in-class solutions across every pillar of their businesses.
The ad quality space evolves daily, and brand safety concerns arise from every viewpoint. We are focusing on Blockchain technology to create a standard for Brand safety measurements, supply path optimization (SPO), Unified Pricing, Universal ids - content delivery, and comprehensive fraud management strategies.
We aim to continue leading in the Programmatic space by bringing in new technology solutions and creating new partnerships with players who align with our thinking around a transparent media supply chain.
7. What are the growth plans for Amnet?
Our focus is to move ad tech to 100% digital and 50% on Programmatic by 2020. Given that programmatic advertising involves a plethora of data to shift through and analyze, AI will play a crucial role there in the coming years across channels and mediums, which is where our focus will be.
It will not only facilitate quicker and better decision-making, but also help and offer personalization and predictive capabilities to increase clients' ROI.