Native will continue to play a key role in driving the end goal for businesses: Rohan Mehta

Rohan Mehta Kinnect

In conversation with Outbrain Digitalks, Rohan Mehta, Founder, and CEO, Kinnect sheds light on the native advertising trends to look out for in 2021, the digital opportunities expected to expand in the future, and a lot more.

Established by Rohan Mehta back in 2011, Kinnect has proven to be one of the successful digital agencies. Commencing as a young businessman, Mehta shares the benefits of having an early start in the industry. In the years since, his entrepreneurship has been the talk of the town, especially because it continues to have an edge in the extremely competitive advertising space. He turned a social media ‘upload’ into a business opportunity at a time when Indian folks had just begun to create their profiles on social media.

The pandemic created an entirely new set of challenges for leaders, and the hardest was to maintain and build morale within their teams and employees. There was a lot of energy, innovation, and the focus required to overcome these challenges. Quickly adjusting to changing conditions and attuning to the needs of their businesses and the staff enabled Kinnect to sail through the challenges of the pandemic, reveals Rohan.

Co-founders at Kinnect – Rohan, and Chandni – were deeply committed to their careers and to their relationship. Even so, they agreed to place their careers on an equal footing to establish the company. The stress of starting a business is inevitable. Because their working lives and personal lives were so deeply intertwined, the need to have a comprehensive approach for managing the moments when commitments and expectations conflicted was extremely important. The best decision ever made by the duo was to understand this at an early stage. Thus enjoying the benefits of pursuing their passion, together.

Years ago, what started as a space for people to connect, later became an ideal landscape for advertisers. In any case, the current advertisers have had to adjust many of the conventional tactics for promotion in order to better suit changing consumer behavior and innovative developments. One such newer trend that is here to stay is Native Advertising, and many advertisers are using it to better engage with customers. As a result of the pandemic, we saw a growth in ad spend flowing online. Native formats have made significant inroads and since it is now at the center of essentially every marketing and advertising strategy, it drives the final KPIs of any business, believes Rohan.

Kinnect and Outbrain had a successful collaboration for various advertiser campaigns. In the time since, Outbrain India has built a strong publisher portfolio with premium publishers, such as Network 18 and Hindustan Times. Speaking from broad experience, Rohan shares, “Native has a proven track record of achieving performance for Finance, Real Estate, and Auto categories. And next in line are industries like Electronics, CPG and Fashion, which expect a lot from native advertising.” According to him, the newer Smartad formats introduced by Outbrain – Carousel and Video – have given a greater variety of ad types for branding campaigns based on engaging storytelling.

The power of native programmatic is increasingly understood by leading agencies like Kinnect, and 95% of their spending is currently handled programmatically. It’s an exciting time in this space as this new standard has opened up the future of advertising. The automated media buying format gives better control over audiences and placements than any other tool.

Also read: Authenticity is one of the biggest things that a brand can own: Rohit Ohri, FCB India

An increase in viewership of OTT platforms brought about a big shift in ad budgets from TV to Digital videos(OTT). Rohan is confident that with the acceleration of digital, there will be an increased adoption of these platforms by brands. And even more so because of the pandemic, advertisers have understood the value that digital brings to their advertising campaigns, thus resulting in newer brands moving from mainstream advertising to digital.

Completing a decade of working in the industry, Rohan has overseen several changes in the digital ad space. Fast forward to 2021, we asked Rohan about his predictions for the  game changer for the industry in the coming years. In his opinion, first-party data will be an asset for advertisers to drive the future course of digital advertising. What’s more, there will be a rise in action-inspired formats like “swipe up”. This will provide a much more interactive experience for the audience and will inspire them to engage further with marketing campaigns.

According to Rohan, a key prediction of the digital future is Video. “Video will always drive high spends because it is a wonderful way of storytelling to the consumers.” However, he also states that it can only act as a catalyst for performance. For direct performance action, he agrees that formats like Native work better than the rest. 

So what’s next for Kinnect?

“The next few years are going to be extremely exciting. We have grown through the pandemic with a true growth mindset”, shares Rohan. The agency is looking to expand its business domestically as it continues to move forward with sustainable innovation.

You can watch the complete interview with Rohan Mehta, here.


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