The global mobile marketing industry is expected to grow to $24 billion by 2013, and with over 300 million mobile subscribers, it is no surprise that the mobile advertising space is bubbling with enthusiasm. A study conducted by Nokia in partnership with TNS India shows increasing patterns of the use of mobile Internet.
The research highlighted that mobile web users are using their mobile to access the Internet almost as much as the traditional web (2.4 days per week versus 2.7 days.) More users are finding out about new product information via the mobile web (28 per cent) than the traditional web (26 per cent).
The research also highlighted a number of other trends – 84 per cent of mobile web users say they would feel lost without their mobile device. 18 per cent of mobile web surfers said they had noticed a mobile banner ad, while 56 per cent of those who noticed a banner ad went on to visit the mobile site of the advertiser and 29 per cent of those that noticed a banner ad discussed the campaign with someone else.
The TNS study was based on a sample of 3,500 consumers across 15 metro and Tier I cities.
It is widely believed that the success of mobile advertising will directly depend upon the penetration and the success of mobile Internet. Currently, the mobile market in India according to estimates is around Rs 50 crore, and in India, mobile advertising is still at a very nascent stage. exchange4media speaks to some of the industry stalwarts on the growth opportunities of mobile advertising in India.
Tom Henriksson, Head of Nokia Interactive Advertising, Nokia Services and Software, pointed out, “It is all about making advertisements relevant to consumers. The future of potential of mobile advertising is high and big brands will have opportunity. Rich opportunities and experience are enabling even better targeting of consumers and brands. We are getting richer information about consumers and therefore help us target more consumers at the right time. I believe the slowdown has created great opportunities for mobile one reason is because it is measurable.”
Sanjay Gupta, CMO, Airtel, said, “The cost of interaction of mobile is low, there is a huge cost efficiency to use mobile for interaction, low cost of transaction and, therefore, there are big opportunities for advertisers to leverage the use of this medium.”
Chhavi Bhargava, Executive Director, TNS, observed, “The online digital space is the most active. Once people click through those advertisements, they also go through it, therefore, people engaging in this medium are much more involved. The younger people in rural India are more inclined to mobile advertising and to most people’s surprise, it is the Tier II and III cities that are leading the way for mobile.”
Opportunities for mobile advertising in India
Abhijit Saxena, CEO, Netcore Solutions, noted, “Mobile advertising this year will definitely grow and print, radio, television and Internet in this will be only other mediums that will grow on mobile. Even individuals or companies will look at how is it the most effective way of reaching the consumers on the mobile, so for sure in the next couple of years mobiles will grow significantly.”
“I believe all the opportunities that mobile provides, whether it is WAP advertising, SMS advertising, and once 3G comes in there will be more involved advertising and I believe all the aspects of the mobile will be used by advertisers to create innovative solutions,” he added.
Viren Popli, Senior VP - Mobile Entertainment, Star India, observed, “Mobile in India is still at a very nascent stage in terms of numbers. Right now, there are no premium sales happening and it is all about bulk sales. This is largely still WAP banner sales, so there is still a lot more to advertising than just WAP banner sales. So, there is still a lot more to be done both in terms of technology and customer experience and advertising options.”
He further said, “Opportunities are abundant, and as you go forward, you will see more and more interesting models open up in terms of advertising. 3G and mobile video will add significant opportunities, GPRS will allow richer videos and advertising and all of them are in the pipeline.”
Prasad Narasimhan, Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Mobile India, opined, “Opportunities in mobile advertising are immense, but marketers are not leveraging this medium. However, going forward, I believe a lot of advertisers like me would like to spend more and more money in this medium compared to our current level of spend.”
Things to do
Netcore Solutions’ Saxena was of the opinion, “Clients need to use more and more of this medium, and if people who understand mobile medium and who can work alongside with clients on their requirements, for them we create specific solutions, which is something that will help grow mobile advertising. Therefore, it is very important that both of us work hand in hand and in a 360-degree kind of solution.”
According to Star India’s Popli, “If anyone is creating trends in mobile advertising, then it is only in this part of the world and not the West. The things we need to learn from them are their technology features on customer targeting, customer focus and so on, but as we go forward, we will have to create our own metrics and systems to both create and sell advertising.”
Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile’s Narasimhan asserted, “The question is whether the money put in the medium is good enough, either for it to become big or the industry to become much stronger. My view is that it can happen only when a more result-oriented approach that both advertisers as well as the suppliers take. So, only when you prove success over small steps will advertisers have the guts to take large steps.”
So, will 2009 be year of the mobile?
Saxena of Netcore Solutions said, “I believe 2010 will be the mobile year, because that is the year when people would include mobile as part of their budgets. While in 2009, people will still be experimenting with some innovations, but 2010 is when mobile will be part of clients’ budgets.”
Popli of Star India felt, “This is a great year of opportunities, this is the year when you will see a lot of breakthrough products and services happen. This year will be an interesting year filled with opportunities for some and sadness for a few.”
Narasimhan of Virgin Mobile said, “I would like to see a lot of one to one targeted advertising and brand building practices. I would like to see practices that show that they work hard for advertisers to building some form of results to agree upon and why it is an important medium or else how do advertisers like us focus on brand objective. I believe many of the platforms do exists, the question is how do the advertisers like us as well as the suppliers of the brand focus on brand objectives and deliver campaigns that would work in measurable way to achieve those objectives.”
Mobile advertising in India, which is still at a nascent stage, still has a long way to go in India. 3G once rolled out will add much value to the growth of mobile advertising. Every year it was said that it is the year of mobile and every year ended up a disappointment in this aspect, however it is clear that mobile is the future and a lot many brands will find mobile as a medium for growth.
‘Mobile Internet active users to surpass that of traditional Internet users’