Bootstrapped 3.14 Digital is putting companies on the digital path

Bootstrapped 3.14 Digital is putting companies on the digital path

Thursday August 03, 2017,

5 min Read

Delhi-based startup 3.14 Digital is taking responsibility for every rupee spent online and aims to deliver highest ROI by enhancing brand visibility, generating leads, working on mobile and marketing, and optimising conversions.

The heart of every business’ success lies in marketing. The evolution of digital devices is one of the main factors influencing the marketing world these days. Going forward, digital marketing seems the only way.

Almost every company sets aside a considerable chunk for marketing and expects a good return on Investment (ROI). That’s where Delhi-Based startup 3.14 Digital comes into the picture. The digital and mobile performance marketing company promises to help customers get the highest ROI. The ad-tech and performance marketing affiliate ad network works with more than 5,000 active publishers on desktop and mobile globally and takes responsibility for every rupee spent on online marketing.

The startup was founded by Dinesh Kumar, 24, who heads the DSP Platform Development and Client Delivery, is a tech graduate, and Ashish Kumar, 30, a NIT Jalandhar graduate who looks after overall Operations and Sales.

3.14 Digital works on the business model of optimising CPA (cost per acquisition), which could include charging per enrollment for an education client like NIIT, a holiday sale for a travel client like Thomas Cook, a successful test drive for Tata Motors or a sale for an e-commerce client like Myntra.

Down the digital road

In early 2013, Dinesh and Ashish were working in a digital agency. While interacting with a client (NIIT) to understand more about their digital marketing needs, they began to think. The duo realised that although clients were spending on mediums such as Google and Facebook for clicks, it was not lowering the Cost of Acquisitions for them.

“We were told by the client that if we could help them lower the digital cost of acquisitions by as much as 35 percent, It would make sense for them to shift budgets to digital from print,” says Dinesh, adding that digital used to be only 5 percent of the marketing spend for the client as compared to 70 percent now.

The idea of performance marketing was born and they started 3.14 Digital in June 2013. NIIT, but obviously, was their first client.

The 3.14 Team

Optimising the client’s campaign

3.14 Digital has developed an in-House DSP (Demand Side Platform) that integrates with most global ad exchanges like AppNexus, Google Ad Exchange, Mediamath, Smaato etc.

Using data, the firm tries to bid on CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions) and optimise a client’s campaign. The founding duo collaborated with Sahil Chalana, who runs Collegedunia for mentorship, and built a SAAS-based Learning Management System (LMS). To increase lead conversion rates, they set up an internal call centre for operations.

“We managed to generate leads at 30 percent lower price by using international ad exchanges. The DSP validated the leads and only then were they passed on to the client,” Ashish says.

He adds, “Since programmatic advertising was unheard of during those days, we were the early adaptors in the Indian market. By using a very closed loop - having tight control over creatives which convert, buying quality inventory at lower prices and validating leads before sending to client - we were able to lower costs by as much as 50 percent.”

The challenges and overcoming them

The biggest challenge for 3.14 Digital while scaling has been acquiring the right talent, people who understands clients’ needs and are able to deliver ROI better than others.

Dinesh says, “We have realised over time is that it’s not brands and pedigrees, but sheer passion for the ad-tech space and sense of ownership that should be taken into account while hiring people who could help us scale to the next level.”

Currently, 3.14 Digital has a team of 50 employees.

The team works with CPL (Cost per Lead) for their banking, auto, travel and education clients, including top firms like Ford Motors, NIIT, American Express, Mahindra Holidays and Sobha Developers.

For ecommerce companies, they work on CPI (Cost per Install) and CPS (Cost per sale) models and have worked with clients like Amazon, Flipkart, MakeMyTrip, Zomato, Jabong, Tata Cliq and Ajio.

Focusing on lowest Cost of Acquisitions

3.14 Digital, which made revenues of Rs 2.4 crore in their first year of operations, clocked revenue of Rs 16 crore in the last financial year.

The founders believe that the one thing which sets them apart is their relentless focus on delivering lowest Cost of Acquisitions (lead, sale or install) and higher Life-time Values (LTVs).

3.14 Digital has been bootstrapped for the last four years.

But with the focus on programmatic and native advertising solutions, the startup is planning to invest in affiliate tools such as fraud detection, remarketing capabilities and browser notifications, and is keen to raise funds.

The company is also going international with their business model.

“We are working with Middle Eastern advertisers such as Souq and Namshi and South East such as Tokopedia and Grab Taxi. Our pitch to global brands is simple; not only do we reduce Cost of every install, we also deliver higher Sales/Install,” Dinesh says.

The market

According to a IBEF report, India’s digital advertisement market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.5 per cent to cross the Rs 25,500 crore (US$ 3.8 billion) mark by 2020.

Digital spends are currently 11 percent of the overall advertising market, and it is estimated that by 2018, the share of ad spend in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be around 0.45 per cent.

Quite a few ad companies have entered the online space. Some stick to offline methods while others are pure digital. The list includes iCubesWire, Langoor Digital, Pinstorm and WatConsult to name a few.

But the focus that 3.14 Digital puts on delivering creative strategies and approaches to help clients reach the right customers is sure to stand it in good stead.