"Brands that are most creative & least intrusive will win brand loyalty on mobile"

Engagement is key for mobile video advertisers, and 'stories' are often more successful in reaching that goal than banner ads or other forms of mobile ads, says Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO, Vuclip

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Dec 10, 2013 7:56 AM
"Brands that are most creative & least intrusive will win brand loyalty on mobile"

As users turn to mobile, content providers and brands are looking to engage consumers as never before. Consumers want instant access to content that is relevant and available on their specific device. In order to successfully reach and maintain their mobile audiences, brands are seeking to adapt their campaigns for mobile, and despite tremendous buzz around mobile, securing strong ROI and a loyal audience still remains challenging.

In conversation with exchange4media, Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO & Co-Founder, Vuclip, a mobile video search and delivery service, speaks at length about the mobile advertising landscape in India, monetisation of video content and more...

What are some of the key trends witnessed in the mobile video advertising space?
As consumers continue to shift from prime-time to real-time, more and more brands are keen to embrace mobile video advertising. To leverage the full potential of the medium, advertisers are constantly trying new approaches to sustain consumer interest. Brands are creating more personal experiences that result in emotional connections. Engagement is key for mobile video advertisers, and “stories” are often more successful in reaching that goal than banner ads or other forms of mobile advertising. For example, Google recently produced an advertising campaign called ‘Reunion’, which portrays two childhood friends, now elderly men, who haven’t seen each other since they were separated by the 1947 India-Pakistan partition. They are successfully reunited by their grandchildren through the help of Google search. This ad accumulated total 1.6 million views in less than two days on mobile and other digital platforms  before debuting on television.

How do you see the overall mobile landscape shaping up in India?
The mobile ecosystem continues to grow and evolve rapidly. India now boasts of 861 million mobile subscribers and ranks as the third largest smartphone market after China and the US, according to a report by Canalys. International and regional mobile manufacturers are increasingly producing more affordable smartphones, driving an increase in shipments to the country. This rise in smartphone use, however, does not match global growth rates, and the majority of Indian consumers continue to use feature phones.

Whether on a feature phone or smartphone, network quality also continues to impact mobile internet experiences. Improved network quality and speed has created significant space for everything from mobile commerce to mobile video. Mobile video consumption alone is poised to grow 16 times through 2017; the consumer appetite for news, sports, the latest Bollywood clips – even their favourite full-length TV show or film – is insatiable. That said, the “buffered” mobile video experience is still a common occurrence and substantial network improvement take time, as well as the cooperation of the public and private sectors.

As users turn to mobile, content providers and brands are looking to engage consumers as never before. Consumers want instant access to content that is relevant and available on their specific device. In order to successfully reach and maintain their mobile audiences, brands are seeking to adapt their campaigns for mobile, and despite tremendous “buzz” around mobile, securing strong ROI and a loyal audience still remains challenging.

To sum-up: on the one hand, the mobile landscape in India has made remarkable improvements to benefit the subscriber. On the other hand, significant strides are still yet to be made, and given this context, the ecosystem must work together to create the best possible experience for mobile users and provide access to content for all.

Are brands willing to adopt the mobile video platform for marketing and advertising?
Absolutely. Globally, mobile video is expected to drive 66 per cent of all data traffic, by Cisco’s account. In India, mobile users consume over 105 million minutes of video each month via the Vuclip platform alone. This presents an incredible opportunity for brands to reach a vast audience. For millions in India, the mobile is their first and only screen, and often times, mobile video is the way they discover the Internet. The type and volume of mobile video content is also growing by leaps and bounds to further fuel the demand for video. This increase in access and variety also means that brands must strategically tap their target audience groups. To truly reach the consumer, brands need to thoroughly understand their audiences and create engaging, sharable mobile video content. Seventy per cent of mobile videos on Vuclip are shared, which also extends a brand’s influence.

Monetisation of video content has been a hassle. What are some of the effective ways to monetise video content on the mobile platform?
According to a report by global digital research firm comScore, the total online video consumption in India has doubled in the past two years to 3.7 billion videos per month. This rapid growth presents a significant opportunity for content providers. Indeed, the challenge with mobile advertising has been monetization, but the entire mobile ecosystem thrives when every player succeeds. The following are examples of three monetisation models:

Free content, ad-supported model: This model focuses on reach, as CPMs depend on it. Mobile publishers, content providers and brands must work to develop rich media units that leave a lasting impression without being too obtrusive.

Freemium model: This model delivers free content to consumers while providing premium content options. Piracy and the plethora of free content available have established a culture of “expecting” content to come without cost. But as consumers continue to demand relevant content, they are increasingly open to paying for the television shows and news they want – in an ad-free environment.

Premium model: Management consulting firm McKinsey found that the youth population are 1.5 to 2.3 times more likely to purchase premium content subscriptions and apps than older consumers. This is mainly attributed to the fact that they are constantly accessing various genres of content from their mobile device. The conversion from free to premium content promises consumers with a better quality and more relevant pool of videos and this very point also drives revenues for the mobile ecosystem. If consumers had access to relevant, premium content through an accessible, rich experience on their specific device at an affordable price – they just may be willing to pay for it.

How has in-app advertising or app monetisation picked up in India?
This is the natural growth progression of the industry, especially considering the increase in the number of smartphones. We see higher use of in-app advertising and app monetisation. India is primed for this growth. When a consumer is using an app, whether a gaming or entertainment app, engagement is very high. We know that interest levels are high because the user spent time to download the app or proactively use it as opposed to searching for information through a browser. The challenge for advertisers is to tread carefully and to leverage this consumer engagement and convert it into brand loyalty, while not overselling it with tried and tested gimmicks borrowed from TV, print or online advertising. At Vuclip, the app world is a very exciting territory, with plenty of opportunities for innovation. We have been able to provide advertisers with creative solutions that draw the consumer in as opposed to alienating them. The ultimate goal is to provide an enriched end-user experience in spite of the advertisement.

According to Vuclip’s third quarter Global Video Insights 2013 survey, close to 80 per cent of Indian youth prefer watching videos via mobile. So, where is the mobile medium heading to?
Vuclip’s third quarter Global Video Insights (GVI) 2013 survey provided an interesting view into consumers’ mobile video viewing habits and preferences. We were really keen to understand if this demographic would actually watch long-form video; conventional wisdom had us believe that shorter length videos were more desirable. The survey highlighted that 90 per cent of male respondents and 84 per cent of female respondents from India say they would view their favourite movie on the mobile. This survey and several others – including the recent GSMA report titled ‘The Mobile Economy 2013’ – point to the remarkable shift from voice-based consumption to increased data-based consumption on devices.

We believe there will be high demand for curated premium local content. These are not limited to short viral clips, but also include long videos ranging from TV shows to movies. Consumers will continue to share videos on the mobile through social media. The winners in this market will be companies that provide the right mix of content with the best user experience while overcoming the challenges of the environment given limited bandwidth. Brands that are most creative and least intrusive will win brand loyalty. Indian consumers have already communicated they do not like being targeted by sales calls or SMS. Brands have to work with exciting new platforms like Vuclip to find avenues to engage the customer. 

 

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