Mobile set for extraordinary growth despite ROI challenge, say experts

Brands see a high growth trajectory for mobile marketing even as ROI remains a challenge. exchange4media talks to experts to understand marketers' perspective

e4m by Sonam Gulati
Updated: May 13, 2014 8:03 AM
Mobile set for extraordinary growth despite ROI challenge, say experts

Mobile phones are increasingly evolving as the go-to marketing medium if brands want to stay relevant with the times. Being the only device that has the user connected all the time, it can’t be ignored as a potential hotbed for advertising as well. Though it is yet to come out as the most popular medium for marketers, its popularity is increasing at a fast rate.

In early 2000s SMS advertising gained traction which mainly involved mass SMSing. However the true potential of mobile phone’s reach as a medium was realized once internet came on phone. Lately with the advent of smartphones the reach of the devices has reached an altogether new high. Brands that don’t move with the times and leverage mobile might lose their relevance soon. The whole digital ecosystem is now being relooked from the mobile perspective.

Talking to exchange4media, Sunil Kamath, Vice President, South Asia, Opera Software that is behind the Opera Mini phone browser shared that more and more brands are now opting to be partners on their platform. Their latest partner was e-commerce giant Flipkart. “The change has begun. The kind of partners we have signed up including Flipkart shows how mobile is coming up as a serious channel now for brands to advertise. Mobile is more mainstream now,” he said.

As per a recent IAMAI report by June this year the internet user base in the country is projected to touch 243 million by June 2014, a year-on-year growth of 28 per cent. This number was 190 million at the end of June, 2013 and of the total user base, mobileInternet users accounted for 130 million in 2013, a growth of about 92 per cent from 68 million in 2012.The reported pegged the mobile internet users to reach 185 million in June 2014 a 76 percent jump from same time last year.

With these encouraging numbers it’s no surprise that brands are shifting focus to mobile now. Shubhodip Pal, CMO, Micromax stated that this year mobile is going to be a major focus area. “What we are seeing is that mobile marketing is coming up in a big way; it’s a much better source of data. Online is restricted to the same audience over and over again and the penetration of online is a little slow as compared to mobile. Mobile caters to a very large base,” he said. He further added that though there still isn’t a measurement body which gives ROI for mobile but as a marketer he believes that mobile will give the brand a higher ROI because of the fact that it is there with almost every consumer.

Almost all consumer brands are thriving on mobile apps now. Be it e-commerce, BFSI or even FMCG sector everyone is trying to leverage mobile in some way or the other. For online classifieds company OLX, mobile accounts for more than 70 percent of its traffic. “Five years back we had launched mobile and later we launched our apps as well. The growth we have seen on mobile has been unprecedented. 70 per cent traffic comes from mobile (both apps + WAP site) and we expect this number to grow further because of the way mobile is growing,” said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India.

The platform still is plagued by many challenges. Kamath of Opera Software stated that from a marketing perspective ROI is a challenge. “The challenges are more to do with how do you convince the advertiser or agency to move money from X to Y and how to drive ROI and show it back to the advertiser,” he stated.

Despite the challenges and shortcomings, Glen Ireland, CEO, Dentsu Digital shared that mobile will continue to grow and will become an integral part of every digital plan going forward. “The usage of mobile is driven by category need and audience definition. It's also based on overall campaign objectives – for a marketer looking at delivering brand awareness & consideration – simple banners could work. For a more immersive brand experience brands could create an app or a gaming idea,” he added.

Talking about some interesting trends on mobile, Ireland stated that one of the larger trends is where brands are creating apps that allow consumers to get a quicker yet better brand experience. The second big trend is the rise video consumption on mobile devices. And thirdly access to social media platforms.

“Anytime, anywhere access will remain the biggest advantage of this medium. Whereas cost of feature rich smart phones and data plans continue to be a challenge,” he quipped.

To promote mobile as an effective tool for marketing and recognize some of the path breaking work done across this platform, Indian Digital Media Awards (IDMA) has special category. Mobile category will have various sub categories such as Banner ad campaign, app, gaming, WAP site, innovations and strongest community engagement. IDMA 2014 focuses on bringing out the strengths of mobile marketing in the Indian ecosystem. Log in for details :

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