MarTech Interview with Saurabh Bhatia, CEO at Chocolate Platform

Saurabh Bhatia, CEO,Chocolate Platform

“With real-time reporting and optimizations, the performance of digital advertising has improved significantly.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What galvanized you to start Chocolate Platform?

I am a Co-Founder at Chocolate and currently serving as the CEO. I oversee the complete company strategy, operations, and short-term and long-term objectives. Chocolate originated from the need to offer a technologically sound and robust advertising solution that transcends traditional advertising. We started by offering digital Video Advertising technology way back in 2007.

Our brand advertising solution enabled advertisers to scale the reach of their campaigns using engaging video ad formats. As industry and consumers moved from desktop to mobile, we emerged as one of the leading mobile-only Video Advertising platforms. Currently, we offer a global mobile Video Advertising marketplace and a monetization platform for brand advertisers and publishers.

How do you see the mobile programmatic landscape evolving with better ad performance and bidding analytics?

Companies are investing heavily in the latest tech stacks and third-party partners for viewability, brand safety, and fraud detection. With a majority of ad buying happening programmatically, I see buyers and publishers becoming more confident of transacting on a platform that guarantees 100% transparency and ad quality. Programmatic ad spends are set to reach approx $100B by 2020, growing 15-20% annually. As advertisers show confidence in this medium, the industry will slowly converge to the point that in the next 3-5 years nearly 80-85% of all digital ad spend will be programmatic.

How much have Programmatic Operations changed since you first started in the industry?

We have been in business since the time Insertion Order /I/O based operations were mainstream and driving nearly all digital ad buying globally. That process worked well, but with advancements in mobile technology, the rise of global brands on digital mediums — it increased demand for a more sophisticated, transparent and measurable form of Digital Advertising.

Programmatic came into the fray in early 2013 and has been steadily dominating the entire Digital Advertising market since then. The ability to automate media buying process led to efficient utilization of resources so that marketers can focus on the important elements.

Now with 65% of all global ad spend happening programmatically, we will see this.

What are the most important trends in advanced ad tracking analytics that you could recall from the last 12 months? How do you think the Chocolate Platform could improve these analytic standards for customers?

If I am to highlight the most significant trends, which shall continue to shape the future, I would say they are:

a. 100% Viewability Measurement
b. Fraud Detection
c. vCPM (Viewable CPM)
d. In-App Ad Measurements/SDKs
e. Improvements in eCPM by Yield Optimization
f.  Improving Render Rate and Reducing Latency

We constantly work with our reporting partner to customize, optimize dashboards for our demand partners and publishers. It is very easy to throw a lot of data points and graphs, but we work with our partners to share actionable insights relevant to their objectives.

Tell us more about your latest report on app monetization? How does it impact the mobile Marketing ecosystem?

For our latest report, we analyzed top 1,000+ publishers and 1,700+ free apps across Google Play and iOS store using the Apptopia platform and found:

  • In-App Video Ads are Booming: More than 80% of top free game apps are monetizing with video ads.
  • SDKs are the backbone of every app: On an average 28 SDKs are integrated into every top free app.
  • Game Apps are fond of SDKs: 79% of game apps have more than 20 SDKs integrated.
  • Ad Mediation is picking up: 23% of top free game apps have embraced ad mediation for monetization.
  • In-Game Ad Revenue Leaders: Action (32%), Arcade (22%) and Casual (9%) games contribute maximum towards in-game ad revenues.
  • Top Game Development Platforms: Unity, Cocos2d, and Cordova are top 3 game app development platforms preferred by app developers.
  • Key Revenue Generating Secrets: Latency, Render Rate, and Yield Optimization play a critical role in ensuring high fill rates and revenue.

How do you help publishers with app monetization and mobile advertising?

We offer mobile app/game developers the Chocolate Ad Mediation platform, which is a comprehensive end-to-end monetization solution. There are many publishers creating fabulous apps but they aren’t able to leverage their advertising potential to build a revenue base. Our goal is to enable such developers to get the best value for their inventory and to boost their ad earnings. Especially as ad monetization is becoming the most important source of revenue for developers, it is important to offer a solution that enables them to monetize effectively by having greater control over their advertising strategies.

At its core, our mediation platform is one of the most technologically sounds solutions that combines the latest techniques such as unified auction, access to programmatic exchange and covers all major ad units — including rewarded video, full-screen interstitial, native and pre-roll video.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?

  • Investing in the right technology stack.
  • Using Machine Learning to improve bidding analytics, increase yield and automate processes.
  • Staying ahead of the curve by hiring the right talent pool.

AI has been present in some form in the programmatic world — we need to take it to the next level.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

Technology is at the heart of everything today. I believe by giving proper training and allowing people to experiment with new technologies, we enlighten a curiosity that keeps people hooked to learn something new. Plus, programmatic and mobile video ad tech is itself such a dynamic, fast-evolving industry that it attracts highly talented and self-motivated folks from around the world.

One word that best describes how you work.

Effectuator. Be a doer.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Slack helps us hustle things and improve efficiency.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Working in an agile environment as ours sometimes calls for a trade-off between quality and implementation. Accepting this is better than having things never get done.

Thank you, Saurabh! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Saurabh Bhatia is the CEO and Co-Founder of Chocolate, a leading mobile video advertising firm. He has over 12 years of Sales and Business Development experience. Prior to Chocolate, Saurabh held CEO/Executive positions in Maxcellence Peak Performance Solutions and SCORE Insurance Claims Management SW. Saurabh’s undergraduate degree was from IIT Delhi.

Chocolate Platform Logo

Chocolate is a global leader in mobile video advertising. Chocolate offers two core products, Chocolate Marketplace, a global programmatic buying and selling platform for mobile video advertising and Chocolate Mediation, an end-to-end monetization solution for app developers & publishers. Chocolate Marketplace integrates top technology partners from across the spectrum to give a unified one-stop platform for complete planning, buying, and measurement of mobile video ad campaigns. Vdopia’s clients include Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, McDonald’s, Intel, Microsoft, Ford and hundreds of other leading global brands. Chocolate Mediation is an end-to-end mediation platform that creates sustainable business revenues with industry-leading CPMs and Fill Rates. The platform offers universal auction technology, combined with unified reporting, single-point billing, MOAT viewability reporting, branded video demand and support for all major video ad formats & ad networks.

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The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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