Paid media is a powerful tool, with plenty of metrics to present. But which ones should marketers pay attention to? Clicks and likes do not drive outcome for the business.

When things inevitably go awry, fingers are pointed in every direction and paid media costs are quickly scrutinised.

However many times the real culprit is data access, or lack thereof.

The importance of paid media in the Indian market is unquestionable. However, engagement, relevance and personalisation are key. It can be a complex mix, and one that potentially increases the risk of inconsistent messaging and poor customer experiences.

“Marketers should also expect costs to rise as more brands come online and ad spend shifts to digital”, according to Adarsh Noronha, India Oracle Marketing Cloud Sales Head. It is therefore important to leverage that spend as much as possible.

“Marketers are already talking about owned and earned media, but we also see great interest in a technology like DMP for programmatic. Lots of marketers are adopting DMP to improve their paid advertising strategy and get better return on advertising spend,” Noronha said.

However, programmatic, and paid media in general, means sharing control with partners – a prospect many marketers find challenging, according to Noronha.

The Paid Media Challenge

“One of the core challenge with paid media is that all participants in the advertising value circle (advertisers, publishers and viewers) do not see it as a mutually beneficial ecosystem,” Noronha said.

With marketing budgets quickly shifting to digital in India, marketers here face questions around satisfaction, costs, and ultimately, control.

At one end marketers ‘need’ to invest in paid media to tap the unknown market segments, create continuous engagement with customers and allocate resources to identify audience likely to convert as customers. However, at the other end, returns don’t come in quickly and it can often feel like marketers are surrendering too much control.

But the issue is not one of control. After all, paid media partners are involved because of their expertise and the desired outcome should be a shared one. Rather, the issue is one of access – how can partners be better empowered to deliver consistent, on brand messages.

This is one area where we as Oracle India marketing have been very actively involved – and collaborated with various paid media partners that have access to specialised audience segment pools – with an intent to create value for our customers and prospective buyers.


This is an article in our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further Reading:


For example, if an agency has better access to segmented audience data, the view of the customer is improved and ultimately a better experience is created.

Indeed, identifying and understanding audiences is the “fundamental challenge” of paid media campaigns, according to Noronha.

“While some publishers or paid media partners will give you very granular data about your target audience, they also let you go deeper with the ‘traits’ or ‘attributes’ you would want your target audience to exhibit.”

Noronha argues organisations and partners need the audience data to take advantage of these paid media features and really leverage their digital investments.

But just like the siloed data problem plaguing organisations from within, a poor flow of data between partners and brands can also undermine paid media efforts.

Unlock audience data

To rectify this, it is important to improve data systems and segmentation, including access between brands and their partners. A central repository of audience data can feed other systems and deliver the necessary insights to a partner’s execution channels. The benefits quickly become apparent.

For creative agencies, this could mean a better understanding of audiences, through first party data and segmentation, to better tailor content. While advertising agencies can develop a more rounded campaign and monitor the direct impact at an individual level.

If an organisation can capture audience insights, it is incumbent on them to use that information in paid media campaigns.

Ultimately agencies retain control and execution, with more time to focus on the optimization, execution and other relevant areas of expertise. For brands the end result is an improved, more connected customer experience, and better segmentation.

A piecemeal approach to martech may serve individual organisations or departments, but when it comes time truly unlock the benefits of a connected stack and deliver consistent messages, the use of disparate systems or applications will grind the process to a halt.

If organisations are to be truly customer led, they must understand the interdependencies of people, process and technology, and data, to truly unlock insights into consumer behaviour so that it flows freely to everyone in the ecosystem who needs it.​

About the author

Geetu Bhatnagar is the Chief Marketing Officer, Oracle India. Oracle is a member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights for the benefit of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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