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Guest Column: Mobile advertising cannot be ignored

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Guest Column: Mobile advertising cannot be ignored

Twitter, Angry Birds, Draw Something, Words with Friends, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), WhatsApp…the common thread between all of these is that they are well-established brands – a creation of the mobile internet world. With 59 per cent of online users in India solely going online through their mobile phones (as per OnDevice Research), many more mobile internet brands are bound to get popular and have better recall (vs. offline initiated brands) and this is just the beginning.

Some interesting facts:
• Mobile users in India are 600m +; Mobile internet users in India are 40m +
• Cost of an Android smartphone in India is Rs 5,000 +
• Cost of an Android tablets in India is Rs 10,000 +
• In 2011, globally smartphones exceeded the volume of PCs sold and tablets comprised almost 20 per cent of the PCs sold (63m tablets sold)
• In 2012, smartphones sales are expected to grow by 30 per cent and 100m tablets are expected to be sold (Source: IDC)
• In 2011, Facebook (updates, posts, photos, applications) and entertainment content (videos, video-on-demand, online TV feeds, live TV content, gaming, etc.) were the two largest contributors to new content being created (online page views) globally. Both these categories have already seen rapidly increasing adoption on mobile internet

With 2G and 3G mobile internet packages becoming more cost effective and distribution of broadband through USB dongles and SMB-friendly (Small Medium Businesses) offerings seeing much higher penetration, mobile internet continues to thrive – carrier packets, enterprise plans and WiFi access each taking share.

2011 saw a huge global milestone – India won the Cricket World Cup. It also saw the strong emergence of the mobile applications economy. Applications are well-packaged nuggets of content or entertainment that cater to a particular user need and bring alive the use of finger movements for accessing this content on Android and ioS smartphones vs. the erstwhile clicks as a means of interaction. There are over 600,000 + applications now available on iTunes (application store for ioS phones) and Google Play (application store for Android phones) and hundreds of these get added every week attempting to take user experience and engagement to an all-new level.

The above facts have globally transformed the way content is being consumed online. With the reduction of the screen size (from PCs to smartphones and now tablets), mobile applications have certainly become the favorable means of content consumption on these phones. This is one of the most significant and recent changes in user behavior that brands cannot ignore and need to be intermittently woven into this user experience.

The ability to know exactly where people are located, the affordability of a particular handset and accurate user profiles available through carriers and social networking companies are some attributes that make laser-sharp targeting a specific audience with the help of this medium. Massive and growing reach and high levels of user engagement can be taken for granted.

For example, when a mobile user engages a brand on his mobile phone, he has an urgent need to ad¬dress while on the go. Brands can reach this user, at the specific location to fulfill this well-identified and stated need, making the user even more determined to spot buy. Mobile coupons could only ease this process. This gives a whole new meaning to contextual point-of-purchase (PoP) marketing.

Also, as mostly the third screen for a user, the iPad today makes its users an exclusive set to target – especially for luxury and higher-value brands, niche services, etc. The same could be relevant for iPhones and higher-end Android phones.

With marketers always looking to drive efficiency in their spends and especially in the current economic environments, mobile internet can become a primary avenue to cut the clutter, laser target and actively engage audiences by leveraging overall brand assets such as TVCs, testimonials, infomercials, e-catalogues and more. Rich packaging of these assets coupled with the ability to touch, feel and dictate this experience on the screen is a brand experience that most smartphone users can’t ignore. Bundle this with mobile payments for categories of products and services that have proven prey for ecommerce and this could be the most enriching, informative and engaging purchase that any screen can facilitate.

‘Follow your audience and they will follow you’ has definitely worked for Twitter. And I think it is the eternal marketing mantra.

The author is GM and VP – Mobile and ViziSense at Komli Media

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