Webaroo is now looking at attracting advertisers onto the mobile platform with its text-based advertising, through its SMS GupShup initiative. The free mobile group SMS network service allows group owners to send out mass SMSes to all subscribed members. Webaroo, claiming to have more than millions of SMSes being sent over its network since its launch in May 2007, has devised a novel revenue model for the service.
While the normal SMS limit is around 160 characters, subscribers are advised to restrict their character count to 100-120. The remaining space will be used by Webaroo to place relevant text ads that will be sent out along with the SMS. Group owners can send out a single message to a short code that will be delivered to all subscribed members of the group.
Throwing some light on the initiative, Chirag Jain, VP-India Operations, Webaroo, said, “The broadband Internet penetration in India is still not high, while the mobile penetration is estimated to reach 500 million in the coming years. I feel that predominant usage of the Internet will take place through mobile phones over the years. Corporates need the reach to market their products or services to the masses. And the easiest way in this case to reach the masses is through SMS.”
The group SMS service is free for users and there are corporate plans available for companies to choose from. Before the ad is placed, the text of the SMS will be screened and tagged by the company for placing relevant ads. These ads are contextually placed, i.e., ads displayed to each subscriber will be different and based on his or her profile with the company.
“Within eight weeks of us reaching out to marketers, we already have quite a few large advertisers onboard. The best thing about them is that they are coming back for new campaigns. As the text ad can include contact details of the advertisers, this can be an effective interactive marketing tool,” Jain added.
With such newer advertising models emerging up for advertisers, the mobile advertising space in India is set to grow manifold in the coming years.