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The 'how' and the 'why' of brand-building on mobile

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The 'how' and the 'why' of brand-building on mobile

Digital Market Asia held the 2015 edition of Mobillion in Mumbai. The event saw some eminent speakers ranging from media planners, brands and digital agencies who debated on various aspects of the mobile advertising ecosystem.

In the Leader’s Crossfire segment, Tushar Vyas, Managing Partner (South Asia) of GroupM and Vikas Gulati, MD (Asia) Opera Mediaworks face off in a discussion on “Where are the brand building examples on mobile”. The session was moderated by Ronita Mitra, SVP (Brand & Insights), Vodafone India.

Starting off proceedings, Mitra stated that with 75 per cent of digital spends happening on search, what was the obstacle coming in the way of integrating mobile with larger marketing campaigns that included TV, print, etc. “Why are we just focused on app installs?” she asked.

Vikas Gulati started off his argument by opining that consumers spend more time on applications than the mobile web. “It is just not games, consumers are spending time across content types, whether it is news, music, etc. Mobile advertising has been growing. This year we expect to see it reach $50 billion, growing 5 times faster than desktop,” he said.

According to him, among the main advantages of the mobile medium is that it enables real-time targeting and provides more rich data than any other medium. “One of the most powerful parts of mobile is proximity. It also drives engagement rate. Mobile is also far less intrusive,” he said. Speaking more on the non-intrusive aspect of mobile, Gulati said that standard banners see 0.35 per cent CTR, while rich media see 0.4 per cent CTR, however, native ads see much better performance with almost 1.4 per cent CTR. “Create TV-like experiences on mobile. You now have a device that can provide the same sight, sound and motion of TV. Today, you have technologies that allow you to instaplay videos, there are different formats available to engage customers,” he said.

Tushar Vyas countered Gulati’s opinion by stating that the question is not about why mobile is now important but how to move to the next level. “Everybody agrees that mobile is needed but the question is what to do next. That leap of faith is not taking place,” he opined.

However, Gulati, argued that for the first time in many years there is both the technology and the platform available to allow brands to do what they love; which is, build audiences.

Presenting his side of the argument, Vyas gave his opinions on where the bottleneck currently lies. According to him, the mobile is not a medium as everyone thinks, but an ecosystem. “As an industry we are shackled with the ABCD of digital like CTR, etc. We keep talking about ROI but we never talk about what it will do to brand awareness. We have a very short term approach to mobile advertising,” he said.

He argued that an industry standard is needed when it comes to mobile metrics along with a common currency. “We are very format driven. Interruption is not innovation. Our approach to innovation is tactical rather than strategic,” he said. Vyas also argued about the need for “serious investment” in content. He also pointed out that the industry needed to be ready in terms of regional language content, the increase of which could push for a transition to more visual content.

Ronita Mitra opined that there was a malaise in the industry’s approach to mobile which was very “problem-solution” based. However, Gulati felt that if certain businesses can build their entire existence on the mobile then there is no reason why the likes of HUL and P&G cannot do the same. Vyas felt that the reason for a hesitance on the part of such brands was that there was a lack of empirical evidence on what works and what does not; something that is in ample supply in case of print and TV. “If we are going to ask brands to shift budget from TV to mobile, there should be a compelling reason for them to do it,” he said.

But Gulati argued that since consumers have shifter their viewing habits so it made sense for brands to shift their budgets to where the GRPs are shifting. “Are you saying that brands don’t understand response?” he asked. “Brands are asking about how much response are they getting,” countered Vyas. Gulati answered by saying that on mobile everything if perfectly trackable. “You can do exactly the same brand awareness, top of mind campaigns that are done on TV or print. The problem is that there are not enough brand dollars being spent on research. It is a problem that brands have themselves created. The market has evolved and we need to figure out the right metrics,” he said.

Vyas also agreed that it was the responsibility of the industry to accelerate the process. “We need to stop repeating the mistakes we made during the early days of the internet. We have to think collectively to solve the problem,” he said.

“I agree that certain things like metrics are not aligned with the brands and agencies but from a platform and technology perspective we are pretty much ready. There is no reason why something that is being done in the US cannot be done here,” signed off Gulati.

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