Technology shift: Google encourages shift to online advertising

Company reps talk about strategy to enter Pakistani market.


Aroosa Shaukat September 13, 2012

LAHORE:


The government must understand that the use of internet has increased in Pakistan, said Badar Khushnood, the Pakistan country consultant at Google.


Khushnood was speaking to The Express Tribune at an event organised on Wednesday by Google to encourage online advertising. During the event, Google experts held sessions with marketers, bloggers and developers.

Khushnood, who has been with Google for six years, said the penetration of the internet has increased in Pakistan but steps were needed to assist the advancement of technology. He said regular trainings and refresher courses would help individuals understand the role of technology in their profession.

With Google yet to launch in the country officially, Khushnood said there was a need for clearer regulatory laws. He said the company was working closely with the government for the purpose, an example of which was the Plan9 Tech Incubator in collaboration with the Punjab IT Board.

Google recently hired two Pakistanis in Singapore to concentrate on sales in Pakistan.

“The recent hiring means we will now have resources to carry out training and workshops in Pakistan and educate the market about online advertising,” said Jana Levene, speaking to marketing professionals at one of the sessions.

Levene, from the emerging market development department for Southeast Asia, said with 22 million internet users in the country, Pakistan was one of the biggest markets in the region. She said Google does not just look at internet usage statistics but also the size of the total advertising market and its long-term feasibility.

Speaking about the possible launch of YouTube in the country, she said it depended on the regulatory policies of the government. However, she said Khushnood was working with various political parties to facilitate policy-making in the required areas.

Anand Tilak, the regional manager of agency relations and sales development, said that in Pakistan search queries had risen by 6 per cent in the past few years. A quarter of all those search queries were made through mobile phones. “That shows how important mobile phones are in the country,” he said.

Tilak said YouTube was the second largest search engine in the world. “Advertisers must complement offline advertising campaigns with online ones,” he said.

Speaking about Google tools and search strategies, emerging market sales representative Marc Warburton said around 80 per cent of buyers search for products online before buying them.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2012.

 

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