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Airtel enters advertising business, launches ad tech platform Airtel Ads

Bharti Airtel Ltd has launched an advertising platform that will connect brands to customers, the Sunil Mittal-led telecom operator said in a statement on Wednesday. The platform, Airtel Ads, allows brands to curate consent-based and safe campaigns for subscribers of the telco, it said. Airtel has over 320 million customers across businesses – mobile, direct-to-home (DTH), and homes.

Airtel Ads has already enabled campaigns for over 100 brands across categories, such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), digital startups, among others. It has collaborated with PepsiCo, Zomato, CRED, Tata AIG Insurance, Lenskart, Apollo 24.7, Cars24, Gameskraft, Vahan, and Harley Davidson.

Airtel’s data research and analytics will help identify and connect target customers to brands selling products or making offers on the platform, the telco’s chief product officer Adarsh Nair told Mint. Customers expressing interest in certain products or offers will enable Airtel understand their preference, Nair added.

“For instance, let’s say you come on Airtel Thanks app for a recharge, and you see Zomato’s offer of a 40% discount. We take that Zomato offer and present it to you while you are doing the transaction. Airtel’s research is dependent on what you do next,” Nair said. Based on such interests, Airtel Ads will be able to make relevant future offers and avoid unwanted campaigns that could spam a user’s apps, he said.

These ads will feature only on various Airtel platforms. Given the size of Airtel’s customer base of 320 million subscribers, with 190 million using the company’s music streaming app Wynk, over-the-top (OTT) video content Xtream and Thanks, while about 17 million avail the DTH service, the telco does not plan to cater to customers from outside.

“We will also be able to tap customers via our 1 million mass retail stores and we have many super premium stores. Besides, we can connect with users using voice as well,” Nair said, adding that, “The reach is so big that we don’t envision to go outside Airtel”.

Nair said the investment to build this adtech platform was minuscule as Airtel has been developing its core businesses, and such digital assets are being mounted on them. He did not share the investment amount.

“Through Airtel ads, we ran a focus digital campaign on the Wynk music app for the launch of new packs of 7UP and Mirinda. The outcomes of the campaign were really impressive given the customizable ad formats and quality audience base,” said Om Jha, associate director of media, PepsiCo India.

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