Mobile Outlook Report 2019: Everything digital is now mobile

After an extensive survey, exchange4media, in its annual Mobile Outlook report, concluded that mobile is expected to take the lion’s share of 90 per cent of the total digital ad spends

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 8:38 AM



India is now the second largest smartphone market in the world with a user base of over 400 million and growing. Reliance Jio spurred an internet revolution by offering affordable data plans, courtesy which almost every Indian is now hooked on to the internet. Add to this the 4G domination of the mobile ecosystem and the explosion of video content in the language of choice for the user.

According to a report by inMobi, smartphone video viewers in India are expected to reach 225 million by 2022, an increase of 117% from 2018. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a majority of all digital advertising is now mobile advertising.

After consulting various digital agencies, advertisers and media buyers, exchange4media concluded that over 90 per cent of all planning and buying that happened in 2019 for the digital medium was done keeping the mobile device as the advertising destination. The outlook for year 2020 is a growth prediction of 30-35 per cent for digital advertising. As per our research, mobile is expected to take the lion’s share of 90 per cent of the total digital ad spends. The revenue generated from mobile advertising in 2020 is expected to be in the range of Rs 13,000 crore to Rs 13,500 crore.

Everything that is digital is now mobile, is the common sentiment. Our findings reveal that in the last two-three years, the digital ecosystem has changed completely with desktop usage shrinking drastically and mobile-first approach becoming the norm for advertisers. The factors that have contributed to this phenomenal growth are video and vernacular. Backed by affordable data, consumption of video content on social media and OTT platforms is at an all-time high. The availability of video in regional languages has further fuelled advertiser interest in the format. The other formats of interest after video are display, search, social and native. The future of mobile advertising will belong to Voice, but ad units are still 1-2 years away, by which time, brands will need to put together their voice assets to maximise investments from the format.

Other factors such as e-commerce, personalisation and technological advancements on smartphones have played an important role in establishing the dominance of the mobile in the digital domain.

Of the categories that are the big spenders on mobile advertising are FMCG, auto, BFSI, education, e-commerce and consumer durables.

Detailing the trends that are set to make a mark in the year ahead, Vasuta Agarwal, VP & MD, Asia Pacific, InMobi, says, “Among all the trends, content marketing has been a big revelation and will continue to make waves next year. 2020 will mark a new chapter in India’s content marketing landscape as content becomes available to every smartphone user, without having to download an app, right on their lockscreen through glance. This will enhance consumer experiences and perhaps make lockscreen content the strongest engagement channel with Indian audiences - be it urban or rural.”

Content marketing is being looked at as an important trend that will help drive engagement with smartphone users both in urban and rural areas. Voice technology is being viewed as a ‘gamechanger’ once the voice ecosystem is in place. Adoption of Indian languages by voice will help break literacy barriers and is expected to help brands reach the remotest corners of the country. In-app programmatic is the other trend to watch out for in 2020.


Ad fraud continues to remain the top challenge for mobile advertising. As consumption on the medium grows, so does its vulnerability to ad frauds, with efficient solutions to prevent them still remaining elusive.

According to Aman Dhall, Policybazaar, any brand advertising on the mobile platform is susceptible for fraud visitors such as click spams, click injections, Bot actions etc.

“That’s where brands would continue to stay cautious, since this directly impacts the business profitability as well as effectiveness of the campaign. The burgeoning of ad fraud tools in the market also justifies this growing challenge,” he says.

Brand safety on mobile is another concern in the age of advertising on social media. Marketers are concerned about placement of their brands against content that may do more harm than good. Further, even though programmatic can help improve efficiency, its full potential is yet to be realised due to lack of an understanding by marketers.

Additionally, ad experiences are still not up to the mark. Ads are still being designed for desktops and being made to adapt to the mobile, instead of the other way round. Data privacy continues to make consumers nervous and marketers are tasked with the job of instilling confidence vis-à-vis mobile advertising. Lastly, no significant progress has been made to help improve cross device measurement.

In conclusion, mobile is the present and the future of all digital advertising. On an average, consumers are spending close to 3-4 hours on their mobile screens. The device has turned into a one-stop destination for all online activity which is why the major digital ad spends are all focussed on the mobile.

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