Many marketing organisations lack strong first-party data to power their own AI engines: Kantar’s Puneet Avasthi

Kantar’s recent AI findings reveal that 60% of organisations rarely use generative AI, despite its commercial promise. We speak to Puneet Avasthi of Kantar on the explanations behind the lag, how its capabilities in social media are enhancing consumer experiences and the trends.

Shamita Islur
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Kantar's Puneet Avasthi

Despite Gen AI’s commercial promise, most organisations aren’t using it yet. 90% of marketing and sales leaders think their organisations should be using AI often, while 60% said their organisations rarely or never do, as revealed by the recent Kantar AI research findings

Puneet Avasthi, Senior Executive Director, South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, in interaction with Social Samosa, highlights two factors that contribute to organisations lagging in AI adoption. 

“Many marketing organizations do not have strong first-party databases to power their own AI engines for understanding consumer behaviour. The second aspect is having the requisite understanding of how this ecosystem is evolving and the tools and techniques that need to be leveraged to maximize the advantage available to AI in this new age.”

While organisations are yet to catch up to AI technology, Avasthi notes that there are several initiatives in manufacturing when it comes to the usage of AI. It's an area focused on achieving zero-defect manufacturing and faster turnarounds. 

This domain benefits from ample data availability, allowing for modelling and machine learning training to create more effective routes.

“In marketing, the revolution is just beginning. Over the next couple of years, consumers are going to experience brands in unique ways, helping brands significantly in serving their brand objectives,” Avasthi remarked, emphasising the potential of AI in marketing strategies.

The study cites an ICUBE data showing that AI is already touching the lives of nine in 10 internet users in India, powered by the computing capabilities on their phones, connectivity, and cloud infrastructure. Among them, it is expectedly higher among the youth, primarily 19–24-year-olds at 92%, and at a high 81% for the older age bracket, 45+-year-olds.

Adoption in social media

Kantar also found that ‘fitness’ and ‘social media’ apps are driving AI adoption with an average of 2.3 AI-led features embedded in these applications. Sharing how this is changing the social media landscape, Avasthi says that the need to communicate and share experiences is what AI is doing as it is creating more digital experiences, which in itself become memories. 

He cites the example of social media apps like Snapchat utilising augmented reality into their experiences. 

“Instead of sharing real-life experiences, I can mix my real-life experience with augmented reality. These are the kinds of technologies that are going to be used because it creates great memories. It's not just one way, I'm not just creating a memory outside in the real world and transporting it into cyberspace.” 

While social media apps are leading AI adoption with increasing features, interestingly, adoption appears to be slower in the ‘short video’ apps segments, at an average of 1.2 features.


Credits: Kantar


Data by Statista reveals that the short-form video segment saw an increase in active users between 2019 and 2021, with the user base amounting to 290 million during the latter. The figure is further expected to grow to 600 million users by 2025. While India has been sharing content through Instagram reels, there are many more domestic video platforms, such as ShareChat, Roposo and Josh.

Avasthi mentions that the space of short video is not quite as advanced as social media in India and believes that they should be looking at this very closely because the market is moving in that direction.

He goes on to describe how marketers can effectively use short video apps, mainly through recommendations and image and video creation.

From a global context, Instagram feeds or YouTube charts are using recommendation engines that power what needs to be served to the consumer. That recommendation engine is powered by AI, and it's predicting in real time what the consumer is seeking at that particular point in time and sharing more content. 

Avasthi’s second recommendation is for content creators, specifically in relation to creating images or videos that are unique and spectacular. He believes that the influencer economy, AI-led features that allow for better editing and creation of content for content creators on short video format apps or social media apps is crucial for marketers. 

Enhancing experience through virtual assistants

Avasthi notes that AI is not just for one set of people, it is for everybody. It acts as an enabler that various people are using for their respective purposes. He, however, notes that there is an emergence of virtual assistants and smart home devices. 

15% of users in 2023 enhanced their experiences through virtual assistants and the study suggests that it is growing at about 27% year-on-year. 


Credits: Kantar


“When looking at smart homes, tech-savvy South Indian cities and big cities are way ahead. They are clearly leveraging smartphone devices and integrating them with Alexa or various other virtual assistants, which is a lot more prevalent.”

That's something that marketers, both durable marketers and others, need to consider as they continue to develop their brand plans. The last year also saw chatbots being used by brands for communication with consumers. 

“It's important for chatbots to be humanised, to answer the consumers in a language that they are comfortable with and to build rapport. Generative AI features will enable this, and brands that are looking to communicate with consumers will be leveraging generative AI as the underlying technology to power their chatbots and virtual assistants on their websites.”

Trends to note

Puneet Avasthi points out a few trends where marketers will be utilising AI. 

  • Marketers will leverage first-party data sets and integrate them with market research data.

  • The focus will be on building sharper consumer insights through predictive intelligence, leveraging small data from market research and big data sources.

  • Assessing the quality of creatives and understanding ROI across different media channels is essential.

  • Marketers will work to break down silos in data management and analysis for a more holistic approach.

As AI continues to shape various sectors, its adoption in marketing is only beginning. While organizations are yet to fully embrace AI's potential, Kantar’s probe into the burgeoning AI market provides actionable insights for marketers. By embracing AI-driven technologies, marketers can navigate the evolving landscape and enhance consumer engagement. 

Kantar AI in marketing Kantar AI findings AI use cases Puneet Avasthi short video apps AI trends in marketing