Convenience of use will have to be addressed. An Indian consumer will also be sceptical about data usage, thus brands and the platforms they advertise on will have to come together to enable a hassle free advertising model where advertisements do not take away the entire viewing experience.
I remember eight years ago, we at exchange4media partnered with Raj Singh’s 2ergo, then called Active Media Technology, to launch exchange4media.com’s mobile edition. We did it as a leadership move. Two weeks back, Sandeep Goyal of Mogae took on the mobile advertising rights of Airtel. This in some ways is a turning point for mobile advertising, particularly because mobile advertising is still under-leveraged in India and mobile VAS and advertising and mobile applications are all intertwined.
One may have observed that Samsung is selling Galaxy Note not as a small tablet, but a large smartphone. There is a strong message - mobile or smartphone is the future. Mobile is now a replacement for every gadget you carry, including a notepad! As mobile transcends definition of just a phone, the world on mobile is also changing - and the ones to benefit the most are advertisers. The potential of the medium is known to all, but the irony is that all assumptions claiming mobile as a great revenue generator have doomed year on year. Will this year redefine the game? Well, I would say yes.
Take a look - only 10 million out of 870 million mobile users in India have a smartphone device. The market is set to go up to 100 million smartphones in the next five years. The 3G subscriber base is expected to grow from 20 million to 100 million by 2012-2013. With this data, the future looks enticing. The biggest factor that will take mobile marketing to the next level is inclusion of geography-based information on social networks. Facebook’s thrust on geographical identification will give immense opportunity to local advertisers. Social media and search, which already impact decisions of a large number of net-savvy research-oriented consumers, will become a new hub of locationbased, segmented and narrowcast advertising. Mobile banking is another big opportunity. Nothing can be more convenient to a consumer than transacting on the go. A large percentge of Indian Internet users are still sceptical of transacting online, afraid of hackers who are always on the prowl for passwords or fake platforms who are as real as the real ones. As mobile becomes the preferred mode of transaction, brands can make optimum use of the offering, giving the consumer value for money.
Another great opportunity lies in the rage amongst Indian consumers today - the daily deal sites or the e-commerce sites that reach out to millions of consumers everyday through mobile messages. Known as the hub of small merchants, can big advertisers benefit from these? Indeed. For example, Sony has just come on board snapdeal. com - not for selling products at a cheaper price, but to run a lottery. The lesson here is simple - daily deal sites can take a brand to every household as consumers are open to receiving texts from these sites on best deals. SMS advertising, which has often been seen as intrusive, can be best dealt through associating with these platforms getting a large reach with significant consumer analytics generated on interest and buying patterns.
Smartphones are changing equations for the media and entertainment sector too. Reach of content has scaled new heights with access through mobile. As prices of smartphones shrink, consumption of content will expand, thus giving marketers a much larger window to the eyes and ears of the consumer. HDFC’s Sanjay Tripathy makes a very strong point in our cover story - they are looking for ways to provide marketing solutions to the consumer which is not necessarily perceived as advertising. It is a hard fact that advertising has a wrong connotation in the mind of Indian consumers - while they want brands to communicate to them, they do not want them to advertise trying to sell their products. I feel engaging marketing solutions is the need of the hour and if marketers can crack the code of creating engaging mobile marketing solutions, the future of marketing will be nothing like what we have seen before. India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world and the opportunity is too huge for anyone to give it a miss. QR codes have immense potential to give a new dimension to print advertising.
But, there are certain investments advertisers and advertising channels will have to do together in order to leverage the medium. Marketers will have to be smart enough to develop banners, ads, video content that is light and hassle free. Convenience of use will have to be addressed. An Indian consumer will also be sceptical about data usage, thus brands and the platforms they advertise on will have to come together to enable a hassle free advertising model where advertisements do not take away the entire viewing experience. Google’s latest campaign mobilemoves.in launched in India is a harbinger of the significant thrust that the company is planning to put on mobile in the coming days. It is the first step to widely increase the user base surfing Internet on mobiles and once the numbers are there, the biggest Internet advertising enabler will unleash new ways to reach the audience on mobile.
If I can call mobile a magician that has a trick for everything, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Callertunes, Ringtones, wallpapers, SMS, MMS, video content, handset innovation, carrier innovation, apps customization; mobile is a wonder box we still need to play a lot with in order to understand it fully. One who goes the deepest will reap the most rewards!