Mobile video is the hottest trend in digital media ecosystem: Vikas Gulati

MD of Opera MediaWorks, Vikas Gulati shares insights on consumer behaviour and trends in mobile content consumption to help marketers better leverage the mobile opportunity

e4m by Ankur Singh & Ritushree Patra
Updated: Sep 21, 2015 7:48 AM
Mobile video is the hottest trend in digital media ecosystem: Vikas Gulati

Opera Mediaworks represents almost 50 per cent of audience share of the market in India. The company is making significant investments to grow the ecosystem. The biggest trend in the mobile ad space has happened in terms of mobile first clients working beyond the simple ad metrics to real results kind of a scenario.

Vikas Gulati, MD-Asia, Opera MediaWorks, believe marketers in Asia are best positioned to be leaders in global mobile innovation, building campaigns that harness the potential of the medium and the mobile audience. In an exclusive interaction with exchange4media, Gulati shares insights on consumer behaviour and trends in mobile content consumption to help marketers better leverage the mobile opportunity. Excerpts:

What are the recent industry trends you have observed in Mobile Advertising?

There are three broad trends that I can talk about. One, we are seeing a massive explosion in mobile video. Consumers are watching all kind of video content on their mobile. In the old age it was very hard, the infrastructure that existed, you couldn’t do a lot of broadband stuff out of it but today with better smart phone , there is whole a band of video content; long form video content. It might sound difficult for a person who is a generation X kind of a guy. It would be difficult to imagine that they would watch videos but for millennials or the new generation audiences, they don’t worry about that. For them smart phone is the way to the internet and they watch whole lot of video content. And that gives a unique opportunity to brand marketers to start bringing TV-like experiences on mobile devices and we see a massive trend. Today mobile video is one of the hottest trends in digital media eco system.

We are also noticing the huge trend in terms of mobile first clients working beyond the simple ad metrics to real results kind of a scenario. So, there is whole lot of user acquisitions, whole lot of transaction of the  east advertising that is going on, which is always good because the ultimate aim of any marketing is to drive real results, real brand metrics, something that brings revenues.

The third thing I would say is there is huge push in terms of being able to go native. If you think about the size of the screen that we have today on mobile devices, a lot of advertising comes in terms of display, may not be generating the best user experience. So today you have got formats which are aligned in the form of content and feels like content, which are being delivered to the users. The whole user experience of consuming the content and the advertising is pretty seamless. Now that has been a big factor in driving better results for marketing and advertising folks. So, there is video, native, there is whole lot of work going on in performance. 

Considering the importance of videos in mobile advertising, could you list a few challenges which the mobile advertising industry faces?

The biggest challenge if we think from a broader eco system standpoint is that while smart phone adoption has been growing pretty rapidly, the level of infrastructure that exists in the country that creates not so consistent user experiences. Today when you are watching videos, there is whole lot of buffering and streaming that goes on. User experience is pretty much broken, the infrastructure that exists in the Telco level is inadequate. Now, that’s a big challenge considering that technology now is very much evolved to a point where we are over coming those challenges and being able to deliver HD quality videos. So, Opera came up, one of our unique, compelling advantage is in how we are helping our advertisers to deliver better experiences. Opera has this unique technology of instant playing HD videos where essentially, there is zero buffering. Our SDK caches the video and we are able to bring HD quality videos to the user. Great user experience and phenomenal results for marketers and advertisers.

Why do you think brand should go for native advertising on mobile?

There are couple of reasons for that; one, you don’t want the user experience on mobile to be very disruptive, you want to deliver content, or your brand messages in an environment where user experience is far seamless in the form of content. So, native formats are pretty much in the same format as the content itself. So, when you are scrolling through a feed or scrolling through a news, advertising is delivered to you in the same format. So, there is nothing disruptive about that experience. And that’s good business sense of  publishers, the users are happy and they get to retain the users, they come back again and again. From advertisers and marketers perspective that delivers significantly better results. If you look at the click through rates, the engagement rates are significantly higher.

How far has mobile advertising been successful in terms of revenues?

Mobile advertising in itself is a very new industry. It’s like four-five years old. I think it’s been growing phenomenally across the globe and specifically in the emerging markets. Because in the emerging markets mobile is your gateway to the web. Consumer is spending a lot more time and eyeballs are definitely shifting towards mobile. So, if you look at the three screens that the consumers go through today, there is TV, there is laptop and then there is mobile. Almost half the screen time goes on mobile. Now naturally what happens is that when eyeballs move, the advertising dollars gravitate towards where the eye balls are. Advertisers take notice they start making more money. So, advertising as a media is growing phenomenally. It is going five times the pace of normal, online display. And there is a massive potential opportunity for this medium to grow and for brand marketers to leverage the whole phenomena for delivering better impact on the brands.

How did a software, browsing platform like Opera come up with a mobile ad platform built for brands? What was the purpose behind this move?

Opera Mediaworks is essentially a mobile advertising platform, It is probably one of the largest platform company globally on mobile advertising. In the way it works is that we help publishers and developers, and some of the largest publishers use our proprietary technology to monetise their assests. Publishers and developers have created this great content in terms of mobile app, mobile sites and they want to generate revenue out of that. And what we have built as a proprietary technology around it where we connect some of the largest brands on the planet to reach out to the consumers and helping these publishers to monetise.

To put it simply, we are one of the first companies around the globe to built this technology. Opera back in 2010 decided to broad-base  business and revenue streams and acquired a whole host of technology companies  to be able to build this revenue stream.

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