India continues to maintain a high growth curve, fueled by the continuing high adoption of devices and connections being encouraged by the low cost of entry, according to results of a study carried out by mobile media marketer BuzzCity.
According to Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, Freemium was a word people working in the mobile space needed to get used to quickly, and the other word was service. “Unless you can actually give the user something he needs, something he does not already have, you will not catch his attention,” Dr Lai cautioned content providers. However, despite a late start, the mobile market in India has been reacting very positively, and should continue to do so at least in the short term, according to BuzzCity’s market research.
The year 2010 saw a huge growth of mobile Internet as more users took advantage of cheaper data rates and much improved handsets. According to BuzzCity, not only has their network grown as a result, advertiser campaigns too have increased. In India in particular, the growth reflected over 200 per cent on a year-on-year comparison, but the CPC rates remain the lowest worldwide.
According to Dr Lai, there had not been enough innovation in the mobile space in India yet. He observed, “In India, the supply is very high, and a lot of advertisers coming in have a lot of options to get their message across and that is what is fueling this early growth, but what is important in the long run is innovation. The low prices and free content which is on offer is the key to growth right now, specially outside the major cities, but long term growth will require that you identify how you can give the customer better service. The technology is now in place, and some industries, like banking and entertainment, have understood that they can do more than just sell ringtones over mobile, but others still need to catch up.”
One issue is the fragmentation of the mobile space into apps and mobile Internet. While Dr Lai believed that in a few years the distinction would become superfluous as technology improved, he also felt that both approaches were equally valid, depending on the needs of the message. According to him, one had to consider how the user would interact with a brand, and serve the message accordingly, instead of trying one-size fits all solutions, and stressed that an integrated mobile and online strategy was crucial for success.
He further said, “The year 2011 has started well and we believe that the driving factors for the growth of mobile advertising will be the continuing price wars amongst mobile operators and the increasing use of cheaper and better phones. Furthermore, the improving economic conditions here (India) will continue to push forward the uptake of mobile advertising.”