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Exclusive: How Bonzai is changing the digital advertising industry

Fri, 22nd Dec 2023

In the realm of digital advertising, Bonzai, an India-based creative tech platform, has made significant strides. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Bonzai, under the leadership of founder and CEO Rahul Pandey, stands at the forefront of innovative digital display solutions.

Bonzai's essence, as described by Pandey, is "a self-serve platform for scaling your creative needs seamlessly without any code." This approach has not only streamlined the creative process but also democratized it, allowing users from various backgrounds to engage in digital advertising.

Primarily operating across Asia-Pacific regions, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Southeast Asia, Bonzai's impact has been profound. Pandey, reflecting on the company's journey, said, "We've learned, unlearned, and relearned – it’s been a fascinating journey." This adaptability and continuous learning are at the core of Bonzai's ethos.

With a lean team of 30 employees, Bonzai has managed to maintain a significant presence across its operating regions. The team's composition primarily focused on product development and support, is strategically distributed to optimize both innovation and customer engagement.

The company's recent triumphs include the launch of BrandStory, an innovative product responding to the growing trend of mobile advertising. This product, offering extended real estate for ads on mobile platforms, is already showing promising results. "It's getting 2.8x visibility numbers and allows brands to seamlessly transition from awareness to purchase," Pandey explained, highlighting the product's ability to enhance brand storytelling.

The customer feedback for BrandStory has been overwhelmingly positive, with users appreciating its increased viewability and requesting even more expansive formats. This enthusiasm signals a growing demand for innovative and efficient advertising solutions.

On the technological front, Bonzai is cautiously yet optimistically exploring artificial intelligence. Pandey emphasized the focus on automation to enhance customer efficiency, hinting at future AI-driven developments designed to streamline ad campaigns and creative processes.

The most successful facet of Bonzai’s offerings has been its appeal to media publishers. These entities have seen a significant increase in ad revenues through the use of Bonzai’s premium ad formats. The integration of first-party data by publishers has further enhanced the effectiveness of these formats, leading to a substantial uptick in CPMs.

Addressing market trends, Pandey notes the dual focus of Bonzai’s products. One caters to publishers seeking to enhance ad revenues and leverage first-party data, while the other supports native brands in efficiently launching and scaling campaigns across platforms.

The COVID-19 pandemic, while challenging, did not deter Bonzai. The shift to hybrid work models and the temporary loss of in-person customer interactions were met with resilience and adaptability. Pandey expressed the importance of in-person connections, saying, "We're human beings at the end of the day, and that's what drives us."

Regarding Bonzai's niche, Pandey likened the company to "Canva for display ad," emphasizing the simplicity, effectiveness, and integration of workflow and technology that Bonzai offers. This niche is continually growing, and Bonzai is positioned to power the initial stages of ad campaigns, a critical point in the advertising funnel.

As for customer challenges, Bonzai excels in assisting media publishers in navigating the duopoly of major advertising platforms. By offering innovative ad formats and strategies, Bonzai enables these publishers to enhance their value proposition to customers and drive higher ad revenues.

Bonzai's technology partnerships, primarily cloud-based, include collaborations with Amazon and other software services. This backend infrastructure supports the scalability and flexibility of Bonzai’s solutions.

Pandey's vision for Bonzai is clear and ambitious. "It's not everything under the sun but exactly what you need to get there at the right economical value," he stated, emphasizing Bonzai's commitment to delivering targeted, efficient solutions. The positive trajectory of Bonzai is evident, with Pandey noting the company's significant momentum and the confidence gained from the adoption by major organizations like News Corp and Nine Digital.

As Bonzai prepares for global expansion in 2024, its journey reflects a blend of innovation, customer-centricity, and strategic growth, poised to redefine the landscape of digital advertising.

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