Vodafone Idea joins adtech race with AI-powered Vi Ads

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Image credit: Sammby | Shutterstock.com

Vodafone Idea, India’s third largest telco has officially forayed into the $10 billion advertising segment with the launch of its AI-powered adtech service, Vi Ads.

With the launch, Vodafone Idea will be competing with bigger rival Airtel, which launched Airtel Ads earlier this year.

Reliance Jio also has its own adtech platform called JioAds. However, the telco hasn’t officially announced its plans for the segment.

Vodafone Idea is trying to build its digital business to support its overall business. While Jio and Airtel are developing their digital businesses by themselves, Vodafone Idea is going the strategic partnership route. The third-ranked telco has so far entered into edtech, mobile gaming and music streaming segments through partnerships, and is now exploring more areas to enter.

Vodafone Idea said that its adtech platform is powered by (AI/ML) and will enable advertisers to directly engage with its 243 million subscribers through various channels.

The adtech platform has been built in partnership with TorcAi, a global provider of audience infrastructure and programmatic solutions.

In the last 10 years, digital advertising expenditure (AdEx) has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 27%. Even during the pandemic, when all other media saw a decline, digital AdEx witnessed significant growth. Programmatic media buying has firmly taken root in India and its share has been increasing year on year, now standing at 42%, according to Madison Advertising Report 2022.

Vodafone Idea CMO Avneesh Khosla said in a statement [PDF] that with Vi Ads, the telco will address two of the biggest challenges faced by marketers today: authentic insights and enhanced reach.

“Firstly, it offers marketers the benefits of unique audience segments, interest groups and targeting parameters derived using Vi’s deep insights of our consumers built on opt-in data,” Khosla said. “Secondly, it allows advertisers to not only reach their chosen audiences over Vi’s own Digital Media like Vi App and Vi Movies and TV app, but also on external third party programmatic media and traditional channels of SMS & IVR calls,”

One of the key differentiators of Vodafone Idea’s adtech platform is that it will be media agnostic and empower marketers to engage with Vi users on external media channels and publisher partners of Vi Ads, the company claimed.

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