Sandeep Amar , Chief Executive Officer , India.com Web Portal Private Limited
Sandeep Amar is the Chief Executive Officer at India.com Web Portal Private Limited, where he is responsible for managing the P&L, strategy, sales, editorial, product management, technology, UI/UX, marketing, finance, admin and general operations of the company.
He has spent close to two decades in the industry and is a senior digital leader in the Indian digital space today. Apart from holding leadership positions in top internet firms, Sandeep has been an entrepreneur, speaker and a leading blogger on Indian digital ecosystem.
In a candid interview with India Digital Review, Sandeep talks about the future plans for India.com and how the digital industry in India will grow in next 2-3 years. Excerpts;
Q. After assuming the role of CEO, what goals that you have set for India.com and what is your vision for India.com? Where do you want to position it in terms of focus? The new age content focus will continue as the maximum readers are from the age bracket of 15-35 years?
- The goals are the same as earlier, we want to grow revenue and traffic at a rate of 70-100%. The vision is to do an IPO is 18-24 months, post we close the funding in next couple of months. Yes, our focus has been youth and it will continue to be our focus area. We are planning to start some new verticals in fashion, real estate and personal finance.
Q. In last two years India.com has had many new launches; from apps to data management platform to number of new websites in verticals like health, cricket, tech, travel etc., and of course international partnerships with mashable.com and others. Where are these initiatives in terms of set goals (of reach, revenue)?
- I think we have done very well in terms of achieving our goals. For most of the above mentioned verticals, we are number one in India. Mashable partnership is doing very well and we are well ahead of targets.
Q. What is India.com per page realization including ads and third party content promotion?
It is tough to give a number in public domain, but I can say it is north of $4 per thousand impressions (i.e., RPM of $ 4) for all ads on the page.
Q. Looking at the existing scenario for content based portals which area/s do you see as growth engine for future?
- I think trending and social viral kind of sites will do well. Vernacular and video content will also do very well.
Q. What is your personal take on the future of mobile app development in India apart from content apps?
- I think future of mobile apps is really big and it is the future of digital. Digital content, commerce, entertainment and services, everything will happen on mobile apps.
Q. There has been lot of buzz in India around video and vernacular to be the next growth opportunities? How do you weigh this with current consumption and future estimates?
- Mobile, Video and Vernacular are the 3 big opportunities. These opportunities are going to grow 5x in next 2-3 years. We are betting big on all three opportunities.
Q. Which metrics do you use as a publisher for insights? Any proprietary tool/s that India.com has or uses only third party?
- The key metrics for us are visits(sessions), UVs, PVs, bounce rate and time spent. We also measure various other metrics from usability perspective. For social viral we use Spike and Velocity. We do not have a proprietary tool - we use all third party analytics.
Q. What are the third party key metrics you would recommend to a marketer as you have been at the both sides? What should a marketer look for apart from reach and relevance as two key parameters for a campaign? Any tools that you would recommend for them?
- I think it depends what you are looking for, in terms of metrics. The key parameters for a campaign are views and view-thru traffic on the site.