Pranav Chimulkar: Hello guys and welcome to the MOV podcast, Mad over videos by guch, today completes 25 episodes. So it’s very interesting for us as a journey, it has been awesome from starting this during the pandemic, turning our offline flagship conference into an online property, and then getting amazing guests this year across the globe, not just from India. So with that trend, today we have someone from a company that everybody looks up to when it comes to marketing or look for anything. I think that’s the first website that you open. And that is Google. So we are joined by Sandeep Ramesh, who is the head of partner marketing for Google in Latin America and South America. I would like to add Sandeep to the stream and continue the conversation. So please welcome Sandeep.
Sandeep Ramesh: Hi. How are you?
Pranav Chimulkar: I’m doing really well. Thank you so much for taking our time and joining us on the podcast.
Sandeep Ramesh: My pleasure.
Pranav Chimulkar: So Sandeep, I think you’ve spent 15 plus years in sales and marketing. You spent time at CPG brands, you’ve done b2c and b2b, both you’ve coached high-performance teams, right? You’re also an angel investor. So there are so many dimensions. And I couldn’t cover everything in the introduction. So if you could give me a brief about your journey to date and how these years of magic have been your life.
Sandeep Ramesh: Thank you for that introduction. Okay, I’m just going to make it quite simple in the way that I can do describe the journey. I started my career with Unilever, which was quite some time back. Like I said, 15 years ago. So as a business management trainee, business leadership trainee, and then I was there for the first eight years of my career and ended up a bunch of roles there as most people do there, you say, then you do marketing. And even within marketing, you do brand building brand developed in two kinds of different roles, and then led multiple brands and categories within those roles. After engineers, then I shifted to a completely different industry, from CPG to tech, but essentially, it was in the revenue space. So This means that I worked with Google in the CPG Vertical which was partially responsible for going and evangelizing digital at that point in time to companies for Unilever. So it wasn’t that much of a stretch, it wasn’t that difficult, it was hard to go back and convince people like myself, why they should invest more in detail, very interesting. Then I let the median interval vertical in Google after that, again, quite a shift. And then it was at the inception point of the OTT ecosystem in India. So again, it was quite an experience to go and convince OTTs is why the need to invest with Google and want to connect this competition to actually improve the performance or switch or have acquired consumers. Um, that since then, now my current role is in the US. I lead partners marketing for America, North America, and Latin America. This is totally different. This is not b2c marketing. Neither is it sales, it is marketing, but it is fundamentally ads marketing. So it is about convincing or building programs that scale to a large number of small agencies in the US to why they need to invest in digital and how we can help them do that. The US is a far more evolved digital marketing ecosystem. So they’re in a slightly different state and India is right now. But the challenges are fairly similar in that you still need a large number of agencies to be supported as well as they need to be in the loop for what’s the best way they can go and pitch Google products to their, their clients. So that’s our intro right now. I also do a bit of investing. I’m not a prolific angel investor, I do a bit of investing, I only work with startups and indices that I understand. So I work with b2c, which I feel I have a good head around because of the fact that I understand brand marketing in the way that initially it used to happen in CPG. I also understand digital and I need to see sort of something that needs to straddle both of them. I understand media, of course, I understand OTT. So these are some of the industries that I dabble in terms of investing, and I help these guys out.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. I think when you define your journey with Google and digital the ecosystem that Google owns, there are so many aspects to it. But in particular, I’ve seen you being very passionate about the medium of videos. So I want to ask you the question, why is Sandeep mad over videos?
Sandeep Ramesh: Ah, that’s a good question to ask, why shouldn’t anyone be mad over videos is my thought to that. Over the years, the best way of telling a story is in person, right? You go to someone you tell them a story, that is the best way to build a message from Person A to Person B. Now, you can’t do that at scale, the closest that you can do at scale one to many is in the form of video, any other form of messaging is a diluted experience. And it’s not going to be as effective. So, which is why you would see that since the time video has come on the scene, and I’m not talking about an online video talking about TV itself. Since the time the video medium has come on the scene, it’s sort of dominated the way we communicate. And I can’t in the foreseeable future, see a format and we could be proved wrong that could be even more immersive than this, but it will be involving some form of the video itself. Because it is the closest to simulating real life. And in this dosage, simulating real life will be the most effective in sort of communicating a message or telling a story which is probably why I’m mad over videos.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome, because you just mentioned the time when videos and advertising were about television. And today, you are seeing brands target their consumers on handheld devices. And with like immense accuracy, because you have so much data around it. Being and watching this from close quarters at Google. What do you think? How is the evolution been from the TV era to the digital era?
Sandeep Ramesh: It’s been quite a journey. And I can tell you from the prism of large advertisers in India, that’s because that’s the prism I have been closest to. And I remember, when I was a brand manager in marketing, there was literally like, there was no digital disc, 2009, 2010 there was no digital, I went to search for some of the old ads that I had done. And it’s not even on the YouTube channel of the brand. It’s with some printer, etc. So it is disorganized, I would say in hindsight at that point in time, it was very relevant. And I remember the first beginning of the movement, from TV to online media happened primarily because the reason to shift to an online video medium was from a creative standpoint, for the first time, we’ll find that they didn’t need to be constrained to a 30 second version of the videos, and then could explore the creativity and the art directors, the creative directors got really excited that this was a medium where they could make long-form ads and long-form content. And they got really excited about that. And for maybe 2011, 2012, 2013 a lot of if you see online video advertising was, at least with the large companies was long-form creative videos that were not essentially in line with their mainstream TVC campaigns or in their mainstream television campaigns. It was very different. It gave them a canvas that is much longer at the starting point.
Pranav Chimulkar: Briefs variably different. The Briefs that were also given to the creators were also very different.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yes, absolutely. The briefs always used to be making something for PC go viral. Yeah, go viral. Make it emotional. Make it long. And some really good work did come out. But it was not. It was very different from the mainstream advertising strategy, which is a big difference. I mean, we can pay one of those if you pay the life boy was one of the first ones that that was the long-form you can see that explained to that brief.
Pranav Chimulkar: Yes. Let me play that video before you.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yeah, so if you look at look at this, obviously, it’s an award-winning creative, I don’t have to comment on the quality of the creative and the message that is calibers. But you can see that the objective that was used was to build brand love. And overall the brand favourability for lifebuoy. Or if you look at potentially life voice, core television, as it was used to build the differentiation on hygiene or germ kill would be very different, it would have you know, five seconds faster hand wash, or whatever else it is. I don’t want to take too many liberties, but I can say from an outside perspective that this was easy to get by using digital to build a brand from a different agenda. I think a lot of the experimentation at that point in time when digital goes that can be used this to be something different, that television could not do, which is the longer format, engaged with the creators, even more, two-way communication, all these things were at that point in time, to buzzwords, right? Two-way communication, you can engage with your users, even more, you can get feedback, and a lot of that, which are all absolutely brilliant ideas at that point in time. And we’ll come to hindsight how it is progressed, I think one of the other things that I remember being closely involved with, from when I was Google, was working with Unilever, on building a site called be beautiful. And of course, a bunch of bloggers, and at that time, the beauty creator ecosystem was just starting out, right. Some of the people that you would see now in the campaign in the beautiful were the first time vloggers on YouTube, and it was just one of those things where you said that can be try and and become a beauty publisher itself. And you know, we can sustain that and not be forced push advertising, we did a case study with them, you can play that. And you can see how the beginnings of digital, started on YouTube.
So like I said, that was again, the beginnings of, can FMCG advertisers become publishers and creators themselves, and the entire phrase of content, we need to start making content and continues to be engaging. And that’s the only way to make advertising. Now, of course, at that point in time, that was the prevalent thought that advertising has changed completely. And what used to be said in 30 seconds now needs to be said in long form. And we need to start making these kind of creatives now. Obviously since then, we’ve now moved on to a situation where, it was still not core to the strategy of the brand. It was still something that you did outside of it. I would give this analogy that you know, let’s say there are two trains going in equal speeds, right. And the only problem is, you know that one train is going to have a longer runway, the train that we’re in, is going to have a shorter runway. So the track is, you can see that the end is somewhere in the horizon. But you can see that they are between, is going to go faster and is going to keep going longer. But you know, you don’t see the end inside. So you think this is perfectly fine, there’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing. And what the right time to jump is only when the track has come to an end in this train. So you jump at the right very last moment. The mistake that many people make when they jump in the last moment, is that the people who have jumped earlier have gone to the first compartment of the train, they have learned a lot more about how to be in the train, they’ve sort of built their their credentials on how to be that you trade. That’s exactly what happened in the TV and digital era. Because the people who, at one point in time plus 2012, and 14, it was like, you could make that leap to digital and still be Even Stevens like, in the sense that it would make it will make a big difference to your results, you could make that. And the people who made that leap in the beginning, does that start getting better and better at making digital videos and make more YouTube videos. And even Facebook, Instagram, but the people who waited for the track to end had to jump when Jio happened. And when Jio happened was when suddenly you started seeing- hey, this is medium that is giving me more reach than TV in some three or four cities. First, it started like that, it’s giving more Oh, this is serious. This is now a medium that we now should be using for each. And then, it was a it was sort of all and then it was this avalanche of breach that now you have the biggest companies in the world that are digital advertising. And everybody then jumped ship. But we could have made that shift earlier. They’re far ahead. And people realized that no, it took us 30 years to master TV advertising, it’s going to take at least three to four years to master the digital medium, especially when it’s changing so quickly. So the people who made the shift earlier, obviously are much ahead of the game. And they’ve seen the big benefits of that, I think are very similar to the companies that are ahead of the game, in remote working. When some of the tech companies etc. were already doing two days a week remote working set. And when the shift happened during COVID. It wasn’t that difficult for them versus the companies that had never done remote working where everybody had to figure out how to set up zoom, or Google meet or whatever else it was. So that’s the difference. Like the learning there, if you see a trend that you clearly sees the trend going forward in the future, jump on it right now. Because you’re going to get that benefit of being ahead of the curve.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right, not just digital. I mean, the whole video transformation itself saw the same pattern, right? People were thinking of video as always good to have a kind of asset for their brand. And typically it used to be that one video on your landing page, or your homepage, or like I said bigger branch would have that one PVC. But today you see that video is needed in every business function. You don’t only talk about the video when it comes to marketing or advertising, you’re talking about sales, you need video, we’re talking about a product you need to do Customer Success needs video. So the whole idea that, hey, this is something that we will do when the time comes, time actually came and they’re already behind you, you see that most people are now trying to catch up on whereas most brands which actually invested in video, as one of their primary communication channels have succeeded.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yeah, absolutely right. I mean that the same is true for even people who are not investing in video. I must say that, that some of the blame for that should go to also the folks who are supposed to make it easier to make videos. So I mean, you can take the blame on YouTube itself, or any of the tools that are still it is still much easier to make a digital search ad, display ads, then making a video communication. That is true, it is more difficult. But I think technology especially Tic tok. Tic tok is banned in India right now, but, I use it a lot in the US. And it’s easily growing fast. They have shown that by making it easier to create videos, you can explore it. I mean that that opportunity can explode dramatically.
Pranav Chimulkar: I mean, like that blame is not just with the platform, I think it’s also with the creators like you said. And typically, these used to be larger agencies, the conglomerate of creatives. I mean, traditionally, who always projected that this is an expensive affair. But today, you have a smartphone, which can do so many amazing videos, I think a bunch of videos or ads that even Google puts out on TV, are shot and created using videos that I shot on mobile. Right. So this whole democratization of video creation has changed this particular aspect. And the second thing is, yes, people are also aware of the process now that it is not very expensive and complex, unlike previously, when you needed only large cameras to shoot or say you needed elaborate setups to shoot an ad or whatever today, depending on what you want to create. I think there are easier ways to do that as well.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yeah, so if you were to talk about how the creative aspect of that is evolved, right, so from TV to mobile, look what remains the same when you make me TVC and you’re making a digital ad, is the fact that storytelling, the power of a story, emotional benefit, getting a benefit versus communicating a feature and all of the SEO basics that are required in any format. What changed when it went online video was that A) you had a skippable format. And therefore, you need to get people’s attention in the beginning. The story arc changes, the story arc in a traditional 30 second when you know the person is with you for 30 seconds, is very different. So you start out very slowly set, set the context if you go to any, you know, the big agencies, station agencies, they will tell you that you set up the context, right in the very end, and when you finally go to the climax, and then the product shot comes at the end. Because there’s no common set of the product shot right at the beginning, they’ll swear by this. But that’s changed the story artists change not only because of the skippable format but because people’s attention is much less. The one thing that people don’t realize is that you think that we’re now on a T on television, you have somebody’s attention for 30 seconds.
But the second screen is a big reality people on the phones already when the TV or when the ad comes on. So some of the basics that are required when making an online video or a digital video ad, which is to say that you need to frame a title, the shorts have to be much faster, need to be more close up because somebody is watching it on the phone, you don’t want it to be a distant you want everything to be closer. Things like the fourth wall, which is like speaking to the viewer, like looking at the camera and speaking to the viewer. Now, these are some of the things that were basics that people had to learn to change when they move from TV to video. But now I feel that some of these truths or some of these insights are true even for making a TVC. Like, you definitely need to get the brand. And the most important thing right up front in the first five seconds, even if it’s a TV show because the guy’s not going to be looking at the TV for too long. You need those tighter frames and faster shots and close-ups and everything, even on television. So I think that the creative agencies were the last, have been the last change kicking and screaming, because they’re still in the thinking that, you know, this is the story arc This is what I’ve grown up listening to in terms of the story arc, this is how I don’t represent a TVC. I want a big screen to present the TVC even when I’m showing it to showcasing it to the client, and all of those things. And it’s been quite a journey to change that. And I’m happy to say that some of them, then some of the new-age companies that are coming up, especially the ones that are funded by VCs, they are pushing them to do digital creatives, much faster, and much ahead of everyone else and therefore, the digital, the creative ecosystem had to change and some of the new age agencies that are coming up, they make really good videos. I mean, I like Swiggy for example, they make really good videos that are appropriate. I like Cult, Myntra, all of these ones. The folks that they hire, are very glued on to what’s happening or how to shoot today in a different world.
Pranav Chimulkar: I think we spoke about this strategy expect, but we’ve not touched upon the deployment and the audience, how they’ve been reacting. Because typically when you look at behavior on of audience watching television ads versus mobile ads, or television ads typically used to always be in between, say, if you’re watching sports, if you’re watching cricket, it could be in between overs. And if it was a movie or a daily soap, then it would be again, in between two segments. And the typical behavior of the audience is to use that, take a loo break, or both, if it is someone working, as a house maker, she would go attend to, a food item that has been cooked. And this is how it has been. So today, when you’re looking at Digital ads, you’re going to be inserting these ads while they’re consuming something. And these are very short forms, right? Typically five to 10 to 15 seconds. So the audience behavior itself is different. And you need to target both of these audiences very differently.
Sandeep Ramesh: You know, we’ve done a Google has done a lot of research, meta-research, data analysis and research on you know, what really does it take to go into and to be fair, you know, digital online video is still new, eight to 10 years old. So there is a lot of research as opposed to not 40 years of television data that you have. So there is some data, there are tons of metadata that’s available with Google. And we have this team called unskippable labs that does it. So you should probably play that video, which is a good explainer of what Google has found and insights for more creatives.
Yeah, so like we discussed some of the earlier parts, right, like getting the title printing and stuff like that. But from a creative and media deployment strategy, there are a lot of things that are very effective today. For example, I also worked a lot, with movies, and I find them very fascinating and how I moved from CPG to movie marketing. Obviously, movie marketing’s far more interesting, at this selling soap, so movie marketing has a lot more science to it then, I would have ever thought there was because you think that the job of a trader, a job of making data lies with the director and not to the marketing, folks. But every movie has a certain audience that comes along with it. And what kind of audience it attracts depends a lot on what the trailer is portraying in the movie. Yes. So one of the things that our director will always or rather a market movie marketer will always think of is what kind of genre are the trailers slotting my movie into? Do I want this trailer to be slotting me into a romance genre? Because people will look at the trailer and figure the movie’s for them or not, you know this, okay, this one is too much romance, the guys, the men will be turned away from it and then or this has too much violence and women may not like it, or this is too much horror and a lot of people are not attracted to it and vice versa. So invariably what happens is that if you see a trailer, especially Indian trailers, they have everything you know, and they will try you will have a song, you will have anything because they want to make sure that they’re not putting off any particular type of audience. They want to say know what, this has this for you, this has this, with the census they’re playing everyone. But the advantage is that we saw when we work with movie studios is that especially Hollywood studios, who are far more amenable to experimenting with new strategies, but then you could actually make different trailers for different folks and tailor the main trailer goes out organically, you can’t control who watches it. But a lot of paid marketing advertising can actually control who watches which trailer. So we’ve had situations in the past where I worked on Thor, I worked on some of the superhero movies where they will definitely amp up any romantic angle and target the woman for it and they will amp up the Action angle and target the men for it, you know, because just to say that, this is an action movie, but it’s got enough moments for you would be interested in it, the core of it is a love story. So you are interested in it or you tell the men that you know, there’s enough action in this, it may be a love story where there’s enough action in this for you to come. And that made a dramatic impact on selecting for an audience and tweaking your trailer according to which audiences are looking at it. And that was an example from movies. But you can then imagine how multiple brands and multiple companies can then do look at it, I cannot segment my audience the way I want, I can segment my audience the way I want been created to be deployed to. And you can see that in the metadata if you look at some of the studies that Google has done, there is a dramatically significant uplift when you actually customize your communication for the audience that your targeting. Right. Yeah, that’s a big change.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely, I think the very important point that you brought out was that you cannot change the way the audience thinks. But you can change the messaging from your end. You can create separate messages and as you said, One size doesn’t fit all. These are two very important learnings that I’d like to take away from that answer. Going on to the next question I want to know as per you what is the future of brand marketing in the online video like we’ve seen it evolve. We’ve spoken partly about it in some of our previous answers, but I want to know what is the future.
Sandeep Ramesh: You know, those are my favorite topics to speak about. Because it’s one of those that’s like let’s explore a field. Because even today, I think one of the biggest problems that exist in the marketing ecosystem is that brand marketing and performance marketing still is siloed. So, you will have typically an organization where there will be a CMO who will overlook everything. And they will have someone who leads brand marketing, who is in charge of the building, who is in charge of making “brand marketing creatives”. And maybe do and the obvious definition is that they’re in charge of offline media. And then there is someone using performance marketing, who then becomes digital media. So it’s unfortunate because it’s a misnomer because it’s supposed to be brand and performance. It’s not supposed to be offline and online. And then what happens is that because you’re now hiring people who know offline, for your brand marketing, there is very little brand marketing that happens on online video. And that’s an unfortunate outcome of common structures that we put in place today. But if you look at how this can become even more robust, and how you can make the future of brand marketing is actually online, by looking at some of the basics that are required to be done in terms of getting a good creative going, right. So if you look at some of the examples that I work with, in terms of movie marketing itself, is that let’s take the example of if your final transaction for your business is happening online, then online video marketing actually completes the loop very well, I’ll tell you why. One of the most important quotes that you’ve heard in the past is 50%, of marketing from advertising works, we don’t know which 50%. However, in performance in search marketing, you don’t have that problem anymore, because it’s click-throughs and stuff. So you can actually know who’s doing it. This entire movement from correlation to causality, which is to say that, when I put a certain amount of money, I know I get results, versus I know exactly who is watching mine, and then going and taking an action is now possible, if you take a business that’s online. So I’ll give an example of what we did with the movies themselves. So with the movie is one of the advantages that because a lot of the online of the booking of the movies happens in online, you could now have a situation where you know, the people who watch the trailers did they go and booked the tickets online or not. So you can have a direct causal relationship between your video and, and the booking. And that was an important element to actually say that it’s not like art anymore. It’s an actual science, and you can actually use online video much better than you can use offline. And, even this for us to be able to prove it at a significant scale. We had to do a lot of meta-analysis and data and feeling lazy to say what we did. So you can display the video on the movie marketing that I mentioned earlier.
Yeah, this was something that we went out and he spoke to all movie studios and it was quite stunning data and then we actually developed something called a box office movie predictor where we could actually tell the producers look into how the trailers did so and Trailers come up two months before the movies do. We know what the opening box of his collection is going to be. It’s no indication of how well the movie will do after the opening weekend. This is just your trailers correlate to the opening weekend, it’s not correlated to how the movie is. Because the trailer determines the opening. And then the movie determines what happens after that, you know, the movies are gonna keep doing well. And that’s when we got a lot of traction, we got a lot of attention from a lot of movie studios. And then a picture happened in movie marketing. And if you see it’s covered in the press as well, that will be marketing, if you sort of look at the press screengrab that we have. And they did a brand equity article on many movie studios and how YouTube is becoming the most preferred marketing tool. And then if you look at some of the stats they showed, we actually had a pretty decent, accurate prediction of how the movies will do, some of the movies that you see here were fairly banging on accurate in terms of what the collections would give. So I feel like this cemented this thought that you know, and if this can happen in movies, this is potentially learning for all gun marketers that what, of course, the Nirvana for brand marketers would be if, and this is really, in the future, it’s a hypothetical framework. But in this particular case, the entire outcome is buying a ticket. So you can capture the outcome, and feed it back to the system because it’s an online outcome. But if you’re buying soap or buying shampoo, then it’s not captured online. Right? What happens, because I see that in the future, if you’re running an online media marketing campaign, just build a brand. And you want to see how that is impacting the brand, or that’s impacting sales. If you build robust databases around where your sale is happening, and if you feed it back into the system, you can build the backend in such a way that the data is constantly optimizing, the campaign is optimizing, and it’ll work better and better and deliver to exactly where it’s doing well, in terms of sales. Now that all that’s possible in USD to see companies at legacy CPG companies, it’s very difficult to, to get this IT infrastructure back in case but if you’re a new-age b2c company, and if you have the entire data of your sales happening, you need to plug it back. And you need to start making sure that your campaigns start calibrating according to what the results are. And that’s a beautiful loop. Because then you’re not wanting which 50% of my campaign is working.
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct. I think we’ve elaborated the brand side of marketing, the next obvious thing to do is attend to the people who are like, I know that people who want to measure everything in marketing, and then these are guys who talk about ROI. So let’s talk about performance marketing. How does video affect the performance of any brand?
Sandeep Ramesh: See, I love to talk about the stories of how we exactly worked on this and showed how this can be done. But before that, I want to just talk a little bit about why there is even a question mark, on the videos that make a difference. And it all boils down to measurement. If you have a system, where if you have a format where people are clicking through, and then making an action, it’s not too difficult to measure that. But an in-stream video which is one of the most favored formats, especially for YouTube, where you’re watching the video, and then another video happens. You know, the consumer habit is not to click at that point in time and buy something that’s not the consumer habit. And therefore you have a problem with measurement. I mean, you need a more reward for measurement to know, somebody has watched the video and then from a view through, have they finally converted, it’s more complex. It’s not something everybody can master. So it becomes much simpler to look for formats that are click-through formats because it’s something that you know, is happening. The only thing I would tell people is that you are missing out on a very effective format, just because you don’t have a way to measure that format. And this again happens because of the silos of performance marketing and brand marketing, and if there was one person who is involved in both, and who’s responsible, for delivering sales, and also building the brand, it would be a no brainer to invest in video. Because whatever metrics you have in terms of ROI, the moment I tell you that you want engagement, and you want any to take any business, and if you want a certain number of metrics to deliver, let’s say conversions or subscriptions to your particular service, the moment you say that I want something, deliver me 30 subscriptions this month, you will then go for the format, that’s more click through. But the moment I say, tell me a way for me to deliver 360 subscriptions for the year. Right, and you increase that timeframe, you realize that video performs much better? Essentially, because the idea of a video is that you are appealing to somebody’s emotions, you’re appealing to somebody on a deeper level. And that impact is far higher. The action may not be as quick, right? But it’s going to have a bigger impact. So my direction to everyone who is still doubtful of using video is that don’t compromise on an effective medium, because you can’t measure it.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. Here’s what I understand, correct me I might be wrong here. So I think to click through is very obvious, you can attach it to a metric, there’s your ROI bang. The other one we spoke about was in-stream again. Obviously, there is a lead time between where he sees the ad to where he’s going to maybe purchase. And typically again, this process is also not very transparent, say it might happen with cookies, and you might be able to track for the next 30 days, what are his actions, but then every now and then there is this possibility that he or she might be also influenced by some other external factors which cannot be really counted. And that is the reason why people do not have the faith in this. But if I were to look at it, this is how I would look like if I even say 30 days down the line if I now have the time to make a purchase. And if I have to recollect a particular brand, either the higher chances of me recollecting, based on a video that I’ve watched versus a text that I’ve read or an Image that I’ve seen.
Sandeep Ramesh: Absolutely, we fought this battle. So like I said, one of the things I was involved in is the OTT revolution. And you think that, OTT would look at YouTube as a big threat because they feel that’s the platform that would take most of their revenue day. But we had the unenviable task of going in convincing the same OTTs that you have to please use YouTube and you’ll see results because video is the best way to drive another video platform like what better audience to get for your OTT content than somebody is already on a video platform like so it’s the best and exactly when we set up the system such a way that you can measure view throughs and you can see the impact. We had this meeting epiphany called videotapes video that showed impact for all OTTs and that’s what we’ve measured and in that thing, that Google article that you can see that sharp and this is an article that we published one thing with Google as well as with a lot along with other OTTs where you could use video very effectively to track performance. And you can see some of the numbers with your daily hunt, a lot of OTTs we’ve done that. Yeah, all the metrics improved dramatically as when you started using video. Just by making sure that your measurement wasn’t raised with neutrals.
Pranav Chimulkar: Right. This is not the slide.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yeah, this is other one, the many OTTs which work with us.
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct. And like you said, Now this, lets me also transition into the next segment that I wanted to be talking about. This we’ve spoken about why? Like OTTs found it valuable to advertise on YouTube try and engage our consumers on a possible rival OTT like platform. But it turns out that it’s not a rival platform. My next question and something that is very not obvious in its own way are everybody knows Google, right? I like the first that you open when you buy a computer to check the internet, you open Google. You have a search query, in your mind, you’re going to go hit google.com and search. Why is Google advertising themselves on TV? And this is a question that a lot of people have asked me, like, why does Google have to advertise? Does everybody know Google? So like, you have to answer this for me. Because like when you as Google can spend money on radio and advertising, then definitely other brands need to.
Sandeep Ramesh: Okay, so this takes me back to very simple marketing basics, right? You have users and you have non-users. Your job of marketing could be to attract or retain users, or to attract new users. Most of the time, your job is to attract new users and increase the pie. Where Google is known users, like Google, adds more users from India, like you have 350 million people on YouTube, you have a certain number of whatever that number is for Google search and all of that. And there are lots of services that are not as big as YouTube in India for Google search. Tv is 750 million in India. Right. So if I want to go and get a non-user, I would ask every single platform, that advertising on your own platform is only going to limit you to your users. If you have to go outside and get new users you have to go outside your platform. I mean, that’s basic media logic, right? That’s if you’re talking about delivering a message to its own users, then it’s fine. I mean, and you will see a lot of, and this is the other fallacy that Google doesn’t spend enough on the digital expense, a significantly higher percentage on digital than any other company does, is that when they do anything outside of digital, it gets noticed. But I think there’s a sound marketing logic for that, is that if you have to find new users, you can’t be advertising within your own platforms. Right?
Pranav Chimulkar: Correct. Okay. So, tell me, this is a question that might be diverting from the marketing audience that might be watching. But what is that you have to say, to young content creators? Again, these guys might be creating for brands or for themselves? How do they monetize their content? And also grow their audience? What advice do you have?
Sandeep Ramesh: I can give them advice. They may not like it. So my views on content creation in India. I’ve seen that part of the journey where different people try to monetize content. Here’s the fundamental truth about content creation. Very few companies in the world have made money by making content in history, a lot of people may not like this. But in general, very few companies have made money by making the most the most profitable company in the history of the world making content is Disney. And they make, their business model is to make brands and IPs. Right, so Disney does not work with any content, they work with content where they can, they have the rights to that IP, they build those characters, and they build those brands, and then monetize them to many other channels, much less.
And so the bucks. So here’s the crux of it. So if you are a content creator, in the long term, the only way to have a profitable business is to build IPs and is to build some sort of brand. Right otherwise you’re just in a sea of content. The other way is to make and this is where the Indian content system today, is stuck it is that if you want high-quality content, and if you want to make high-quality content and monetize and high-quality content today, it’s very difficult to do it from an advertising model. The reason it is difficult to do from an advertising model is that today advertisers are paying for audiences. And they have been for the intelligence to figure out whether this person just bought a mattress and can sell him a pillow. That data point is more important, compared to whether this person is watching Game of Thrones, for example, right, that is not as important for an advertiser. So this entire premium on content, while it still is there for like sports and for certain marquee events, you still have a huge premium. It’s coming down on a day to day basis, and it’s moving towards audiences. So I am happier to pay a higher price for somebody whose behavior I know and will be more likely to convert, then you know what high-quality content that person is watching. So that premium is going to go down. But people are still willing to pay for the high-quality content themselves. So from a subscription standpoint, if you want to build a high-quality, content ecosystem, you got to be able to convince the people to pay for it themselves. So that’s why I feel like there’s got to be two diverging or two different sort of business models, where you have high quality, high video production, whatever else you want to call it high-quality content, where people are paying a subscription, and then you have this user-generated content, or where the content creation should not be that expensive. But the value lies in the audience actually, which means it lies with the person who’s distributing it, the tech companies, so and you have a glut of supply in user-generated content, you have an oversupply in that. And therefore, if you are a different independent content creator, who is A) The first thing is that can you make content that people will pay for themselves? Difficult in India because people generally don’t pay for anything online, they expect everything free? The second is that, can you then use online platforms to build sources of revenues outside? Like, can you use the platforms to make, to divert, and to get people for you to be able to monetize them outside of the platforms, which is what most content creators today do? And they use different platforms, like Instagram and YouTube and then Tic Toc in other parts of the world, to make themselves famous, to build an audience to create a brand. The money from that may not be able to sustain you, but you got to figure out how you use that fame or the brand that you bit over there to then monetize it in many other ways.
Pranav Chimulkar: So the bottom line here that I grabbed, from from a strategy perspective, is that behavioral demographic data I think, is going to trump psychographics.
Sandeep Ramesh: You asking us that, what’s more, important to the advertiser, to know exactly what the person is purchased, to know exactly what that person is likely to be doing. Or whether that person has been watching a horror show or whether or the quality of that show, because our audience is an audience and the person who’s likely to purchase, I mean, unless you can show me data that the person is more likely to purchase my band because they’ve watched your show, that you’re not gonna be able to prove that. So there are exceptions like you can say that I’m any famous sportswear brand. And if I take the IPL sponsorship, and over the period of 60 days, somebody is watching me again and again associated with cricket is building brand imagery with cricket. So there are of course many things you could do like that, which is beyond just buying an audience. But those are very few and far in between because there are not many marquees shows on Indian tv today that grab everyone’s attention. There’s a big boss of his IPL. And that’s it. I mean, there’s cricket. Even interaction with that, I guess. But there isn’t a thing that anybody. There’s no Ramayan anymore. Right. So if there was Ramayan, you should advertise on it. But there isn’t any.
Pranav Chimulkar: They did telecast Ramayan during the lockdown. So I think we spend quite a lot of time understanding the b2c side of things. b2c, of course, it forms a majority of advertising, but I’d like to know because there would be people watching who would like to know about the b2b angle as well. What is the role that you see for b2b again, typically, this is the common perception that most b2b marketers have, that they don’t understand that it is the same person who was at home watching Big Boss, IPL, or, for that matter, Superbowl is now in his office and also his buying patterns are going to be similar. I think eventually, you have to take that perception away from that when you get into a place, his buying patterns or the way he thinks I’m going to change. This is the reason why most marketers, b2b marketers are blinded and often do mistakes when it comes to strategy in the video.
Sandeep Ramesh: Yeah, so I would hope that ideally, the difference only lies in the deployment. Because the deployment in b2c and b2b is the user is mostly the same in a different context. But you know, it’s difficult to reach 100 CEOs. For example, if that’s your target audience, if you want to reach 100 CEOs, it’s difficult to reach them in any mass medium, it’s not possible yet. I don’t know if you know if targeting the reaches of next American even targets here. But maybe LinkedIn has something I don’t know, I haven’t advertised on LinkedIn yet. Maybe you can on LinkedIn today. So the only reason I feel the only difference that should exist is in the media deployment strategy standpoint because you have a much smaller audience, and you can reach out to them and you can extend it much more. So you do have a lot of these offline conferences, and you have all of which has been upended by COVID, by the way, and you realize that all of these people can be reached online now, because you have a year of where you couldn’t do any conferences, and you couldn’t do any events. Or you could do any of those things. Nothing. Now a lot of that new learning is there that you know what we could actually reach b2b audiences, even without doing any conference or doing any events. So that is definitely there that learning has come into place. From a creative standpoint, I have no idea why it should be any different. I have no idea why one should be less engaging than the other. I have no idea why one should talk about features only. It eludes me that logic, it can only be because of legacy. And you know, it’d be good if you could play you the Google B2B creative, which is not like I worked on it, so you can play that.
Yeah, that’s an interesting way, this is the kind of business that we want as many people as possible to use Google ads. Well, it’s known to be difficult to understand. You know, it’s not. So that’s why you have a lot of experts who come and tell you that I will do the SEM for you, hopefully, some of this kind of advertising, which, technically speaking to a large number of people, but it is speaking to “businesses”. And therefore, it is still very engaging, entertaining, and it will still take all the boxes that a b2c communication would otherwise do.
Pranav Chimulkar: Absolutely. Very refreshing to see that kind of an approach for business communication put out. So definitely kudos to the person who commissioned it and the person on the creative who happened to execute it. So with that, I think it brings me to the point where I think I have spent enough time picking your brain and trying to understand what how you think, but then I’m pretty sure over the last 15 years, you’ve also spent a lot of time learning from different traits of people that you admire. And I’d like to really know, who are the people that you really look up to, this is the right time to do those shoutouts.
Sandeep Ramesh: But a ton of people, of course, I’ve been privileged to work with most of them, because of the pedigree of the companies that have worked for, just been fortunate to work with some of these books. At the top of the list is my former super boss, Rajan Anandan, who was head of Google India, and I was leading media, he was heading Google India. His passion, his style of speaking is his energy. And, in fact, one of the reasons that I even got into startups and investing in angel investors because he is like the number one angel investor in India, he started very young. So he’s a big inspiration. A big shout out to him. And he’s doing his thing with startups. So a big shout out to him. For sure. Now a person that I admire a lot, haven’t worked with very closely but I have worked with him in Unilever is Sudhir Sitapati. In fact, he’s got a book out, it’s called the CEO factory, which is talking about how HUL is producing CEOs a lot and maybe you guys should all read that book. Maybe he’ll like me, giving a shout out to the book itself. It’s an awesome book and how Unilever in India functions very well. He’s been the architect of many brilliant campaigns. And he sort of some sort of legend within Unilever itself, so shorter to Sudhir for sure. Another simple boss of mine who is quite popular in any case, because he’s a twice bestselling author. And when I was in Huggies, he was leading communication, Prakash Iyer. And he’s also distantly related to me. So I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him and his family really well. He has some of the most amazing insights and wisdom from small stories, he picks up from different parts of the world. And then he condenses them in a very easy to understand manner. And he’s got two best-selling books, and he’s very active on LinkedIn. So shout out to him, as well. And lastly, some of the folks I enjoy recently, off-late enjoyed their work is Spring marketing capital. Broadly know Arun and his team a little bit from their days at low. But I think the work that they’ve done with startups, so if you look at some of the work that they do with Byju’s or some of the work that they’ve done with Muscleblaze. Most creatives are very contemporary, very suitable for digital. And they understand. And they also have the planning pedigree that old agencies have to understand the marketing insight behind it really well. Ah, yeah, I really admire all the work that they’ve done, shout out to spring marketing capital.
Pranav Chimulkar: Awesome. I think these are a bunch of folks that we also look out to look up to. And then I hope some of these kinds of guys can also make it to the podcast and share their insights with us. So we’ll ensure that we put this message out to them, and hopefully, they’ll respond after they see it. But with that, I think I would like to bring this episode to an end. It has been an amazing time, learning from you. Some of the best knowledge gems that have come out of Mad Over Videos. I think a bunch of them are from this episode. So we’d really be thankful for you to have taken out time. And it’s going to be a busy week because you’re right now in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m sure it would have been difficult for you to take our time, but we really appreciate it.
Sandeep Ramesh: My pleasure. Awesome. I didn’t realize how much time had gone by and again, and I’m wishing you guys all the best. And I’m hoping that you will have your 100th episode, and your 200th episode very soon. Thank you.
Pranav Chimulkar: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure hosting you. And I hope this is the start of some awesome people from Google coming on to the Mad Over Videos community, we’d like to host you again on our other initiatives that we are going to come up with soon. So I hope you stick around with us, keep supporting us in our endeavors as well. So with that, we bring this episode to an end and for everybody else who’s watching. I’ll see you soon in the next episode. Till then, bye.
Sandeep Ramesh: Thank you.