“Bad ads are spam but good ads are content”: Moloco India’s Siddharth Jhawar

“Bad ads are spam but good ads are content”: Moloco India’s Siddharth Jhawar

India is a small yet fast-growing market and an emerging innovation hub for Moloco.

Siddharth Jhawar

Mumbai: Ad personalisation isn't just about tailored ads, it's about transforming them into engaging content for enhanced user experience. Moloco, a multinational adtech company pioneering machine learning, is at the forefront of this revolution. In a strategic partnership with Viacom18 and JioCinema, Moloco's advanced capabilities are reshaping the landscape of Indian advertising.

From combating ad fraud to leveraging 5G for programmatic innovation, Moloco is driving tangible results for advertisers while prioritising user privacy. With success stories like Zupee's 5x growth and significant user jumps for Rummytime, Moloco's vision for India extends beyond market growth—it's about fostering innovation and empowering businesses to thrive in a dynamic digital ecosystem.

Indiantelevision.com caught up with Moloco India general manager Siddharth Jhawar to talk about growing concerns about ad fraud and privacy in the Indian market, the future of programmatic advertising in India, and much more…

Edited Excerpts:

On Moloco addressing growing concerns about ad fraud and privacy in the Indian market

We believe that complete transparency, constant vigilance, & working with trusted partners are critical to ensuring that advertisers and customers are protected from fraud and privacy concerns.

Moloco ads reports advertising spends to the most granular level, which empowers advertisers to pressure-test the quality of their traffic for any suspicious activity. For instance, we capture timestamp data and then analyze whether the time taken between viewing an ad, clicking on it, installing an app, and making a purchase are coherent with expected customer behaviour. It certainly helps if an advertiser works only with reputed channels, because it minimizes the risk of fraudulent activity.

First-party data is critical for a machine learning engine to become intelligent in identifying high-value users of an advertiser. Hence it becomes even more important to adopt the highest standards of safety and privacy to help companies grow while ensuring their customers’ privacy.

On Moloco envisioning the future of programmatic advertising in India, with the advent of 5G

Moloco ads processes seven million requests per second. We take 14 milliseconds to make a deep neural network prediction. Building this kind of infrastructure has taken us more than a decade, and it helps that network speeds are improving. The advent of 5G will support the nature of innovation that we do in terms of speed and efficiency of computational infrastructure.

On Moloco's approach to ad personalisation and its impact on user experience

Bad ads are spam but good ads are content. If an ad can be hyper-personalised to a user and their context, it improves the customer experience and also gives better returns to an advertiser.

The trends we see today are that customers want great but inexpensive service without being bombarded with ads, advertisers want maximum returns on every rupee spent, and platforms want to grow fast while also being profitable. Personalized ads address these needs by enhancing the customer experience, delivering measurable outcomes to advertisers, and boosting advertising revenue for platforms. But this is easier said than done. There are almost five billion internet users in the world today. We can not expect any two customers to be exactly the same. But when the scale is massive, 1-1 targeting becomes computationally tough. This is when companies need world-class machine learning systems to support them. Moloco uses machine learning that works on an advertiser’s first-party data and helps them show hyper-personalised ads to users while also optimising bid prices and probabilities in real-time - that is tough, but when done right, can be valuable to both advertisers and customers.

On the strategies that Moloco employs to effectively integrate in-game and mobile advertising for maximum engagement

Showing relevant and hyper-personalised ads to a user on a gaming app improves their engagement levels on the app. India’s gaming industry makes about one-fifth of its revenue from in-app advertising, and this trend is expected to grow further.

On Moloco's approach to operational machine learning and its significance in optimising ad campaigns

Operational machine learning is special in four ways - it is autonomous, it involves real-time predictions, it can work at massive scale, and it is highly adaptable to the context. While machine learning and artificial intelligence have become household terms now, building an operational machine learning system at scale is a problem that very few companies in the world have effectively cracked.

We use this operational machine learning system to train on an app’s first party data, identify high-value users, and efficiently bid for them on the open internet - this helps the app acquire more high-value users which can grow their revenue and profitability.

On Moloco's partnership with Viacom18 and JioCinema exemplifying its commitment to revolutionising the ecosystem in India

Viacom18 is building one of the largest streaming platforms in the world and we are proud to be their ad-tech partners. The platform has immense scale and saw 32 million concurrent users during IPL 2023 - we use Moloco’s machine learning and ad-serving capabilities to serve relevant ads at astronomical scale on JioCinema.

On any success stories or case studies where Moloco's solutions have driven tangible results for advertisers in India

Within a matter of 18 months, we have created a measurable impact on several industries and digital platforms in India. Moloco ads works with nine of the ten largest gaming apps in India and we have driven high-quality user growth for them. Our partner Zupee attained 5x growth and 3x return on ads spend targets using our ML engine. Rummytime from the Gameskraft group saw a significant jump in their high-value users. We also used our monetisation solution for CityMall to help them build an in-house advertising business and increase ROAS by 900 per cent. There are over 40 apps who have benefited from Moloco’s machine learning in India.

On Moloco’s plan to further expand its footprint and partnerships in the Indian market moving forward

India is a unique region for Moloco. Not only is the India market a small yet fast-growing region, India is also emerging as an innovation hub of Moloco. The entrepreneurial activity and scale in India make it an exciting place to develop machine learning products. For this reason, we are also building a global engineering centre in Bangalore, so that we can build products in India that can be scaled to the rest of the world.