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JustDial would like to become a query and answer platform: VSS Mani

JustDial has reported a net profit after taxes of Rs 57.3 crore, up 100.5% YoY and 18.5% QoQ for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 (Q3FY19). Its Cash and Investments stood at Rs 1,441.6 crores as on December 31, 2018 as compared to Rs 1,085.3 crores as on December 31, 2017 and Rs 1,358.5 crores as on September 30, 2018.

In its earnings call, CFO Abhishek Bansal and Founder, MD and CEO VSS Mani explained the company’s current status and outlook.

General notes:

  • JD Pay will get UPI in the coming weeks
  • Abhishek Bansal: Listing count is at 50% in Tier 1 cities, rest 50% in Tier 2 and 3 cities

On advertising, revenues and growth

  • Advertising expenses for the quarter were at approximately Rs 19 crore. For first three quarters of this fiscal year JustDial has spent about Rs 40 crores on advertising.
  • “Out of the 15% top line growth, 10% came due to volumes or say paid campaigns, rest about 5% impact was due to pricing,” Bansal said. ‘…. going forward I think revenue growth should be a function of both campaign’s growth as well as realization growth,’ he added.
  • Bansal: Out of the total money that we receive from our customers, about 65% comes in upfront payment plans and rest about 35% or so comes via monthly payment plans.
  • Tier 2 and 3 cities contribute to about 26% to top line and about 46% of campaigns. In terms of revenues, they are gaining by about 1.5% of the quarter and in terms of count of campaigns about 1% per quarter.

On engagement, Bansal said that searches for the quarter were at about 750-800 million or so. The company tracks repeat user rate, how is the time spent per particular session, among other older features.

On monetisation of new features

Bansal said that while these verticals were primarily for a better user experience and increase user engagement, some monetisation on these had already begun. “The key promising one that I see is the home page feed… In fact, we have had interest from a couple of brands to get visibility there because considering the sheer amount of traffic that we get on a daily basis… So on the home page feeds we are planning to introduce other features such as products or services related items where there could be interest from brands on new launches of their particular products. So we’ll see how monetization pans out for that,” Bansal said.


  • 79% of the total traffic is from mobile platforms, and in mobile traffic, 90% comes from the mobile website
  • Mobile site and app traffic growing similarly
  • Users spend most time on Search for most of its traffic
  • They also spend most of their time browsing “Category” and “Company” pages
  • Bansal said, “Once they come to the platform to consume information for those type of pages and they discover other products, they end up spending time on other particular products. For example recently we have added feature such as online movies, the approach in all these particular verticals is that we continue to remain enabler and all the content etc. that you see are automatically powered through various feeds etc.”
  • Two thirds of its traffic comes from service-oriented categories, such as packers and movers, pest control services, real estate agents etc.
  • Abhishek Bansal: Of the total traffic broadly, one-fourth comes directly and three-fourth comes via other search engines.

VSS Mani added that JustDial was looking to become a platform where users could query and get answers for queries: “Then we introduced sections like Movie Online.. if a person wants to watch a movie online, it’s difficult to know which app has that particular movie… Just Dial’s Movie Online section… is just a single box search. You just name that movie, we’ll tell you where you can watch it. It could be more than one destination you can watch it.

With this, it will learn about a user, their behaviour, the user intent and with deep learning, it can monetise the user pattern and serve them with “the right kind of content,” Mani added.

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Mani added that a “leading online player” was spending about Rs 10 lakh monthly advertising in these sections. “So the potential is huge actually and the local businesses can target that eas(il)y locally with their offers, sale… information that they want to target. They can do geo targeting, PIN code targeting, specific area targeting. We allow all of those,” Mani said.

How a listing quality is checked

Abhishek Bansal said, “One, our particular feet on street.. actually click pictures of these particular businesses. These pictures act as a sort of verification check. Second they also help us gather geocodes which is the physical latitude, longitude of these particular businesses. Secondly, there is a database of 91 million mobile verified ratings and reviews that we have.

So even if there is a business who is not providing adequate service, even if they were to pay to Just Dial, they would end up getting weak ratings which would result into users not actually availing services from them. There are filters and sorting options that are available for users for easy use. In any case, today 92%-93% traffic comes on our internet platforms where it is very easy for a user to scroll down in case they find ratings of particular listings are not appropriate.”

He added, “….In case there is consistent… user complaints about any particular problems with any vendor, we do take off those particular listings post our internal evaluation.”

On new hires and feet on the street

  • The company has added 1,300 people in the year so far, where 300-400 are added per quarter.
  • Bansal said, “It takes time for those new hires anywhere between three to six months to materially start producing results.. In the last couple of quarters, we added about 18,000 paid campaigns, December quarter about another 14800… this helps us in two ways. Obviously, one is more number of customers. Second, these customers obviously have great potential to get upgraded to higher value contracts in future.”

VSS Mani said that previously, users would only look at search and categories, but now through the different verticals, they are actually leaving footprints which can be utilised through deep learning, and monetised as well.

Download: Transcript

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Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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