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Naveen Tewari

Chief Executive Officer and Founder | 24 Apr 2012

Mobile advertising has come a long way and its future is bright. Adoption of smartphones and tablets in emerging countries will drive its reach tremendously. Large brands are increasingly dedicating bigger portions of their digital advertising budgets to mobile as there is now a better understanding of the platform and its benefits.

Naveen Tewari, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, InMobi is responsible for the overall strategy and vision of the company. His view on the growth of the mobile ecosystem was the foundation stone on which InMobi was built. In this interaction with exchange4media’s Rahul Dubey, Tewari speaks about his India plans and the opportunities and challenges that lie before the mobile advertising industry.

Q. You compete directly with Google and other global internet and mobile giants. What has been your key area of focus and strategy so far?

We have a three-pronged approach towards our strategy, which is to establish global scale, reach along with continuous technology innovation. Initially we started off by establishing ourselves in emerging markets of Asia and Africa and then entered the developed markets of North America, Japan and Europe. We have ensured deep penetration in these markets and today reach close to 500 million users across the globe. This reverse market strategy has already differentiated us from our competitors.

Further, as we are primarily a technology company, our focus will always be on technology innovation. We have developed rich expertise in data utilisation, with over 50 terabytes (TB) of data analysed per month to target users across multiple dimensions such as behavioral, contextual, location based information, etc., thus ensuring higher engagement with users. Through our engaging, rich media ad units created on our mobile advertising platform, Sprout, we ensure superior user experience and high interaction.

Q. Which industry verticals are aggressively looking at mobile advertising? Who are your major clients?

With increasing adoption and reliance on smartphones and tablets, iOS and Android-based game developers have become very active mobile advertisers. Large brands from sectors such as CPG, automobile, telecom and retail have started spending a sizeable portion of their marketing budgets on mobile. Some of our major clients are Amazon, P&G, Macy’s, Samsung, Ford and Audi.

Q. Mobile advertising is highly underpenetrated. What is the current market size for mobile advertising in India? Where is it expected to reach in the next three to five years?

Mobile advertising, especially display advertising, is a new concept in India but its adoption has gone up considerably in the last couple of years. India is a $35-40 million market for mobile marketing and is only growing. The global mobile marketing industry is expected to reach $60-80 billion by 2014.

Q. What is your major source of revenue among different mobile ad formats available?

Currently, a major part of our revenue comes from standard MMA (Multi Media Ad) banner formats as well as rich media advertising or HTML5 formats, which is growing rapidly. We have a huge focus on developing innovative rich media ad formats specific to industry verticals which embed components such as location, lead generation, coupons, etc. into their ads. These ad formats will also drive revenue in the future.

Q. How is the Indian mobile ad business shaping up for InMobi?

In India, we are a leading ad network even though mobile advertising is still quite nascent here. The adoption of new technology and use of smartphones and tablets is growing rapidly here. India is also now on the map as far as global brand advertisers are concerned. Although India has been playing catch-up in the past as far as developers and apps were concerned, the scenario is fast changing. This holds tremendous potential for us.

Q. What are the key challenges for mobile advertising in India?

Majority of Indian users are still on feature phones that have limited capabilities. However, mobile users in urban areas are rapidly adopting smartphones and tablets. So while currently there is a big challenge in smartphone penetration and the reach of ad campaigns through them, it is something that will not be so much of an issue in the future.

Local brands today are not aware of the potential of mobile advertising. To increase awareness, we will have to educate potential local clients. Another challenge that affects scaling up of ad networks is the technological capabilities required to process and analyse the massive volumes of data that is captured every second.

Q. Going forward, which areas will be the key growth drivers for the industry and InMobi in particular?

Mobile advertising has come a long way and its future is brilliant. Adoption of smartphones and tablets in emerging countries will drive its reach tremendously. Large brands are increasingly dedicating bigger portions of their digital advertising budgets to mobile as there is a better understanding of the platform and its benefits.

Apart from this, what will drive growth for the industry and InMobi are innovative technologies that can effectively segment, target and track users, engage rich media ad formats with scale using our Sprout platform and provide advertisers, app developers and publishers the right tools and platforms to help drive growth in the future.

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