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Digital marketing is constantly evolving. With millions of people around the world now spending more of their time online, this enables advertisers to target consumers on social platforms. But there is more to digital marketing than just advertising.
Aitarget, an international marketing company, understands the technicalities involved in digital marketing. In this exclusive interview with Business Insider Africa, VP of Product, Nikita Rvachev, discusses how Aitarget’s software optimizes digital marketing tasks across social platforms.
B.I. Africa: Nikita, describe your position at Aitarget.
Rvachev: I am the VP of Product at Aitarget. I’ve helped our brand reach award-winning status through my expertise in marketing, growth, and international expansion of digital products and AI services. In my position, I direct marketing and expansion, as well as oversee our teams of product managers, marketers, engineers, and designers. These teams work to plan and execute branding campaigns on behalf of our clients, including L’Oréal Paris, La Roche-Posay, IKEA, and Nike.
For example, we delivered personalized video advertisements for La Roche-Posay’s customer base, and developed further digital activations for the brand. We implemented the Aitarget video tool, which allowed La Roche-Posay to easily create many video ads, each targeting a different niche audience. This way, we were able to pair relevant ads with their target customer.
This project was immensely successful, as the campaign lowered the cost per 10 seconds video view by two-thirds, and decreased CPC by 25%. Plus, it helped our client save time and management costs.
B.I. Africa: How did you come up with the idea for Aitarget?
Rvachev: Before Aitagret, my partners and I worked for other digital marketing agencies and faced many different challenges. We agreed to unite together and face these problems, and help other agencies solve similar issues as well.
B.I. Africa: What makes Aitarget different from other advertising companies?
Rvachev: Our software connects with different ad networks, including Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat. If you advertise on these platforms, you can use our software to make your ads more relevant and increase the performance of your marketing campaigns. Typically, this optimization is done manually, but we do it 24/7, automatically, with the help of our software.
Often, small businesses do not have time to create campaigns and ensure that they are relevant and performing well. We provide help by taking care of the optimization, so they can focus on the merchandise and client-relations aspects of their businesses.
B.I. Africa: How has advertising evolved to include technology?
Rvachev: In the past, people would advertise their products by simply displaying them in public spaces. Then, newspapers became a source of mass communication, and marketers made the switch. Then came TV and radio. Everywhere the consumers’ attention goes, the marketers follow.
Today, people’s attention is on their phones and laptops. With the internet, ads can be targeted to very specific audiences. Basically, each user has ads designed specifically for them.
Every Facebook profile page is different. Advertisers study these differences to better tailor ads to target users. This can be a little difficult, but when done right, very powerful, because ads become more relevant to users, therefore achieving the marketers’ goal.
B.I. Africa: Talk us through the strategy behind your video-focused business model.
Rvachev: Videos are more entertaining than images or texts. So that’s where we focus our attention, to make sure that the ads that we generate are interesting. One of the reasons that video advertising is possible right now is because of improvement in the speed of the internet. Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to promote video ads, as it took much longer to download video content.
The speed of the internet has become so fast that people are able to instantly download and stream videos. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to showcase their products to customers. But it also means that brands need specialized skills and resources to be able to create video content—where in the past, all that was necessary was text and logos.
Video production costs are hefty. That’s where Aitarget comes in—we automate the production process. In other words, we use AI solutions to generate videos. That’s a really important aspect for eCommerce brands whose inventory and stock is constantly changing at a fast pace.
It’s important for our clients to be able to generate videos fast and inexpensively. With our software, we can generate videos based on information we have about the products. For example, there is a new dress being sold. We know the sizes, colors, price, description, and name of the dress. We combine all of this data and create videos for META (Facebook) and Instagram. There is no need for our clients to concern themselves with doing any of this work on their end.
B.I. Africa: Are videos the only form of advertising that companies should focus on?
Rvachev: I believe it depends on trends, market goals, and what audiences’ attention is drawn to. At the moment, audiences prefer short, entertaining videos over texts and images. Two good examples are Instagram Reels and Tiktok, which are really conquering the market. But this trend likely won’t last forever. In the next few years, we may be speaking about videos the same way we are about images and texts. There may be a new trend that will take over users’ attention.
B.I. Africa: What do you think the future of advertising will be in the next ten years?
Rvachev: There will be huge opportunities. We must pay attention to the customers, especially with the emergence of metaverses and virtual realities. It’s still in the early stages, but we’ve already seen an increase in VR-technology sales. If customer attention continues to shift to VR, marketers will definitely follow.
In the next five to ten years, I believe many people will begin spending most of their time in the metaverse. Brands will follow and try to reach them. Advertised products will change as well. Right now, the majority of purchasable assets are physical—things like sneakers and dresses. But in the coming years, we will see advertisements for virtual products. Metaverse memorabilia will be necessary if this is where people allocate their time. Some brands have already come up with their own virtual reality objects. Soon we will begin to see these virtual items being promoted.
B.I. Africa: Will advertising ever enter the realm of virtual reality?
Rvachev: I believe the whole world will embrace virtual reality, eventually. History shows that when mobile phones were first invented, they were really big, really expensive, and not very easy to use. But over time, they became cheaper, more available, advanced, and user-friendly. Right now, nearly everyone in the world is using these phones. I believe virtual reality and the metaverse will progress in the same way. And I think it will be a good idea for companies and countries to quickly adapt to this trend.
However, I have observed a number of challenges with the current state of VR and the metaverse. Right now, they are a bit inconvenient to use. But like I said, we need more time to further develop the technology. Before long, people may prefer virtual reality to reality. And that goes for brands, as well. Brands follow their customers wherever they go, and will eventually follow them into virtual reality.
B.I. Africa: Do you have plans of expanding your business operations to other parts of the world?
Rvachev: Yes. As a matter of fact, our technology is available for use worldwide. Our software works the same, both in Africa and the United States. We are currently focusing more on African countries, because we’ve seen that the adoption of new technology is really growing fast there. We believe that our expertise is relevant, and can assist in aiding that growth with the help of our technology.
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