AI will not make the agencies redundant: Sahil Chopra, iCubesWire
Founded in 2010, iCubesWire had started with performance marketing operations, providing robust platform to advertisers and publishers where they mutually grow and maintain long-term relationships. The company today has morphed into a leading Digital Marketing Solution and concept provider in India, providing a 360-degree environment to leading brands for their digital marketing needs.
Operating from Gurgaon, Mumbai, London and Phoenix, iCubesWire works with more than 400 brands ranging from Ecommerce, Automobile, Technology, Financial Institutes, Travel, Hospitality and many more.
In September last year, iCubesWire had announced an innovation fund of $3 million to support early stage start-ups. The Digital Innovation Fund is aimed at helping start-ups in technology vertical who are embarking upon artificial intelligence, progressive automation, while heading towards futuristic multi-channel marketing and aiming to create monopolist businesses.
iCubesWire has also launched an artificial intelligence enabled digital innovation, called Instatalk, which provides instant solution to the end user, thereby bridging the gap between the brand and the user. They followed it up with the launch of a unified digital suite – Delta, a tool that lets advertisers build their entire Influencer Marketing Program from scratch till delivery. Delta powers fast, secure, and scalable digital experiences in a unified platform.
In conversation with Adgully, Sahil Chopra, CEO and Founder, iCubesWire, speaks at length about the Delta platform, how brands can leverage Artificial Intelligence, growth of m-commerce, the road ahead and more. Excerpts:
How has Delta been performing? What are the cost benefits it offers the marketers?
Delta was launched 7-8 months back. If you look at the entire digital ecosystem now, it’s totally scattered into different sub-ecosystems. There are dozens of ecosystems which come under this main digital ecosystem. These days this is the main challenge for marketing managers and corporate to assemble the data and put it under one ecosystem. So, we have put all of that together and come up with an in-house solution called ‘Delta’. As of now we have no competition.
There is convenience and a lot of data that comes in. The cost benefit may not exist because right now nobody is doing something like this; you are moving to a new platform. In the beginning, I think the cost will increase because at this moment they are not using anything like this, but going forward once the entire ecosystem gets built up, it will generate a good amount of revenues rather than cost.
It’s a pure thought based product. Since, we believe there is no other solution in India that provides this kind of facilities. All the brands and the marketers with whom we have worked in the past, we have discovered that there is a need for something like this, which we have tried to address through Delta. As of now, we have not made much noise around Delta because it’s a very deep dive product. We want to get a few integrations sorted out with a few clients and then launch it on a much bigger scale with supporting campaigns.
iCubesWire, along with Metropolis have launched AI-enabled solutions. How does AI actually benefit the brands and marketers? In the long run will it make agencies redundant?
There are a lot of discussions going around AI. At iCubesWire, we do chatbots. If you look at the chatbots, these are very rule based, without any kind of intelligence. Secondly, we have AI-based chatbots, which come under NLP (Natural Learning Process) that learns and has the sense to take the decisions.
What we have done with Metropolis is that we have designed a rule based chatbot, because no one has been able to reach till the NLP stage in India, which makes life easy for the brand as well as for the end user to make communication viable between them.
AI will not make the agencies redundant. AI will have its own space. It will benefit everybody in its own way and will create a lot many jobs instead of killing them.
With so many digital technologies coming in, don’t you see data privacy as a major threat?
Yes, of course. With AI and other technologies being exposed, I think the next question that will come in is Data Security. Data Security is the next big challenge and I think nobody till now has discussed this seriously. But for me, Artificial Intelligence will always remain artificial and it will take forever to take its own decisions.
While digital advertising is seeing a robust growth, what are the newer innovations seen in this space?
AI is making a lot of noise, but I don’t think it has created disruption in Digital. I don’t think there have been too many new ways seen in the last couple of years, but AI is the thing around which people are talking a lot these days. But, overall, I think brands are still identifying the source from where they can get the ROI.
How open are advertisers/ brands to adopting these new technologies?
They are very open. Delta for example, has got enormous responses from the brands. I think brands that are smart enough and have an end objective to define something new and are very open and optimistic about it.
How do you view the growth of m-commerce in India? What is driving this growth?
It’s a lot more affordable now. Now if you see, the cost of smartphones and the cost of data have almost come down to negligible. Brands being smart enough have now understood that the penetration of mobiles has increased and thus they have started creating apps and a lot many things on mobile phones. 70 per cent of the traffic now for major brands comes through mobiles and I think it should reach 80-85 per cent in the near future.
I think m-commerce will definitely grow more in the coming days, thanks to Jio, which has given data almost for free.
What are your views on the implementation of programmatic in the long run?
It’s not something new. It has its own share in digital spends. It has become a lot easier for publishers. There are certain sets of advantages and disadvantages pertaining to it. It will always have its limited share.
There have been several innovative ads on mobile advertising. What’s that one innovation that comes to your mind which you would want to share?
We had done a great innovation for Amazon last month, wherein Amazon had an exclusive tie-up with Xiaomi phones during the launch of their latest offering. In this innovation, whenever you saw the Xiaomi phone on the screen you had to simply scratch the screen in order to feel the phone. This innovation garnered 10X better response as compared to a normal digital ad.
What is iCubesWire’s growth strategy for 2018?
This year, we are going to open some offices internationally. We are also focusing a lot on Delta. We have grown our client base significantly and have a lot more account wins that we will announce soon. We have done enough to stabilise ourselves for this year.