February 25, 2016

IAB Fireside Chat Blog Series Part 1: How to win over Asia’s ‘Next Billion’ users

As part of our fireside chat series, we’ll be releasing weekly keynotes from the fascinating interviews between leading IAB members.

The sold out crowd packed into the Comic Sans room at Google Singapore as former IAB Chairman and MD of LinkedIn APAC, Olivier LeGrand, got up close and personal with Google India and SEA’s Vice President, Rajan Anandan. The LinkedIn leader quizzed Anandan on how digital companies can truly connect with markets that are getting online for the first time.  


Key questions by Olivier in this topic included:

  • What are the key needs for the next billion users, and how do you predict them?
  • How do you get ‘thinking big’ going into a culture, leadership, and your team across the region?

To answer these questions, key comments from Rajan Anandan included:

1. Adapt your product to connectivity

“Most products built in the US, Europe or even Japan actually don’t work very well in India because the network is slow. You have a 2G connection, then it comes off.

My view of these next billion markets, starting with India and Indonesia, is that we are actually going to see the world’s first offline internet. More than 60% of research in India is offline because of two reasons – affordability and no big data, and slow networks.”

On launching YouTube offline in India:

“We launched ’YouTube offline’ first in India and Southeast countries, in emerging markets. You pick the videos you want to watch while you are connected and you take them offline. Then for 48 hours, you can watch as many videos as you want. You don’t pay for any data, not that you [in Singapore] care, but you know in these emerging markets, people are very, very conscious about it.”

2. Cater to a single device

“As brands or as digital marketers, I think what’s important to understand is these new users are only using one device. They are spending three to four hours per day on these devices, and everything they are doing is intent driven.

There is some browsing that goes on, but a lot of it is intent driven and we think those are the most important types of commercial activity – the consumer based commercial activity for brands and digital marketers, right?

We’ve categorised these moments of intent into ‘I want to know’ and ‘I want to buy’ moments, so it’s just basically e-commerce which is exploding across Southeast Asia.

I think second screen [marketing] is a real opportunity in countries like Singapore or Malaysia, or Australia or Japan, and you know, with Android, we do a whole bunch of things.”

On the difference between developed markets and emerging markets:

“It’s the first time these consumers have a personal entertainment device. All of you grew up with multiple televisions in the house and so forth. Most of these new users coming online, the only device they have ever had is a smart phone and one television at home, and that television is usually watched by either mom or dad.”

3. Shoot for the moon when fostering a culture of innovation

“[Thinking big] starts with a culture that says, ‘we really want to do something much bigger’ and then that culture permeates. You have to build a track record of showing the teams that it can be done.

Moon shoot thinking is basically 10x and not 10%. So how do you boost something 10x better as opposed to 10%?

The simple thinking there is doing it 10% better requires you to just do few things slightly better, but if you want to do something 10x better, you have to radically change the paradigm.”

On the time Google set to provide Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations in India:

“We had one team member [at Google India] who said, ‘why don’t we give free access to 300 million people?’ Seriously, how are we going to do that? That was the whole Wi-Fi in Railways beginning, and actually one person just focused on it for two years to get all the basic things done – and then boom! Now we are going live next week in our first station. So that’s at the core of our culture.”

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