TECHNOLOGY

Meet the AI Start-up Used by Southeast Asia’s Top Tech Companies

How Appier helped Indonesian e-commerce firm Tokopedia boost transactions

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 06 Dec 2017

Meet the AI Start-up Used by Southeast Asia’s Top Tech Companies

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When considering artificial intelligence solutions, Fabrizio Caruso noticed how many companies regarded AI as a silver bullet that can solve their every problem.

“AI is based on mathematics, science, and engineering and thus abides by the rules of logic. AI can only solve problems that are logically predictable and that have data with sufficient quantity and quality,” he says.

Caruso is the Chief Revenue Officer of Appier, an artificial intelligence start-up founded in Taiwan, and now has operations and clients across most cities in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh.

These markets were chosen on the strength of their business promise.

“We’re still quite a small company and have to prioritize our investments in the places which have the most potential for our business. We are growing quickly and will expand this footprint as our business grows,” says Caruso.

Early this year, the company raised $33 million in Series C funding from a pool of investors that included Softbank, Line, and Naver.

Appier offers two artificial intelligence solutions. The first is their CrossX platform which disrupted the advertising programmatic industry five years ago by leveraging AI to provide deep insights on cross-screen behavior of Asian consumers. Clients for CrossX total more than 1,000 brands and agencies and span the industries of retail, gaming, and e-commerce.

“While a wide range of brands and companies have taken advantage of our AI-driven technology, we’ve seen a lot of interest among Southeast Asia’s vibrant start-up scene that use our platform to deliver specific objectives such as number of installs, downloads, and other calls-to-action (CTAs),” says Caruso.

Caruso cited the case study of Tokopedia, the Indonesian online marketplace and one of the biggest Internet companies in Asia. Tokopedia wanted to achieve three goals: retain loyal customers, identify new high-quality customers, and reach these groups across every screen they own to drive better business results.

CrossX helped Tokopedia achieve all of these goals. CrossX Remarketing targeted users who had already visited the Tokopedia website and downloaded the app, and CrossX App Installs boosted the number of Tokopedia app downloads.

Appier also helped Tokopedia increase overall conversion ratio (CVR) from 17% to 29% by remarketing to consumers who used a personal computer (PC) as their first screen.

“In Indonesia, the PC plays a critical role in driving action among all cross screen paths. Regardless of which device was used as starting device, most conversions came from PCs. Smartphones and tablets played an important role in enhancing the impressions of brands and products during the cross-screen journey,” Caruso says.

He added Appier’s Dynamic Creative ad format allowed for tailoring product recommendations and ad creatives to each user’s cross-screen behavior, cross-screen browsing history, and purchase journey.

Appier was able to boost Tokopedia’s transactions on both a total and per-customer basis, by 202% and 27% month-on-month respectively.

Caruso is bullish on how artificial intelligence can transform business in Southeast Asia. He had a few words of advice for entrepreneurs who may also want to enter the space.

“The AI space has definitely heated up over the past few years and there are many large technology players investing billions of dollars in AI. It is still possible for start-ups to thrive. [They must] find a business problem that they can solve and focus on building the best solution. That’s the way they will stand out, just like our founders did five years ago,” he says.