Mobile Conversations 2008: Snack sized content is the way to go

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | September 22, 2008
In the third session of Mobile Conversations 2008, various experts discussed the need for creativity in mobile advertising

At & #BANNER1 & # Mobile Conversations 2008 held in Mumbai on Friday, Sanjit Chatterjee, director, global sales, Flytxt, moderated a session on 'Creativity in Mobile Advertising'. The other members on the panel were Abhay Singhal, vice-president, sales and marketing, mKhoj; Manish Sinha, head of strategy, Tribal DDB; Kunal Arora, head, ad sales, consumer business, Hungama Mobile; and Saurabh Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, Phonethics Mobile Media.

Chatterjee began by saying that the mobile is a snack-like device and the advertising that gets onto it must also be such. Too much intrusive information will only dissuade the consumer from making enquiries about a brand.

Singhal, in his presentation, strongly emphasised that mobile advertising should not be treated as downsizing some frames of print or television ads to transfer them to the mobile platform. "Think of mobile and then come up with the idea," he said, adding that the idea should also take into account factors such as understanding consumers.

Abhay Singhal

Manish Sinha

Saurabh Gupta
Next, he said it was equally important to concentrate on the objective of the campaign - for instance, whether it aimed at being a broadcast message; whether it intended to generate a first level response; whether a mechanism for referral was required; or whether the aim was to create interest and engagement.

Then, the drawbacks that come with a mobile need to be considered. "Since screens are small, less is better," reminded Singhal. He recommended using the 80:20 rule while creating a campaign since all mobiles didn't have the same capabilities.

Singhal reiterated that mobiles were different from computers, so campaigns should be simple and not have too many dropdowns or have a number instead of an email address to progress to the next level. Singhal emphasised, "Adapt the creative to the environment."

The next and most important point while considering a mobile campaign is the analysis. Measurability is probably the only way the medium will grow, said Singhal. "If you cannot measure, you cannot improve," he said. With measurement will come objectivity, as advertisers need more than just impressions and clicks and click through rates (CTRs).

He cited the example of an activity that mKhoj conducted for Yamaha, where the objective was to target consumers and get them to register for a test drive. A referral method was used so that the consumer could refer the functionality to a friend. Thus, Yamaha created a database and learnt the number of times the message was forwarded.

Sinha of Tribal DDB said that though mobiles made an entry long ago and have proved to be a good medium to reach the consumer, marketers are still using a TV mindset and not thinking uniquely.

Sinha coined the word, "cellsumer", for mobile consumers, as he said, "We are not consumers while using cell phones because it's with us 24x7 and is part of our personal and private lives, apart from being an instrument that we use at work."

Sinha compared TV and mobile as media of communication. According to him, though TV has the eyeballs, it may not have the consumers' attention; but through mobile communication and the responses a mobile generates, interaction is possible. Mobile offers more than just video, in comparison to television, as one can text, click, video record and more. And unlike TV, where there's only interruption, mobile campaigns interrupt with permission from the consumer.

He presented a model that could be used to market to the cellsumer. Usefulness, utility and unity were the highlights. Usefulness serves a purpose to the cellsumer, utility fosters meaningful interaction and unity facilitates a connection and conversation with the cellsumer.

"Major advertisers will soon shift large percentages of their media investment to digital, mobile and social media," said Arora of Hungama Mobile. There are various means of reaching the consumer on the move, such as SMS, WAP, IVR (interactive voice response), web to mobile and retail to mobile. As mobile has brought about dynamic ways of conversation with the consumer, as opposed to the one way communication that exists with television and other above-the-line media, brands need to adapt themselves.

Gupta was very laconic. He shared with the audience the different animated characters for mobile that Phonethics has created, which brands could use for appropriate branding activities. Phonethics creates storytelling strategies for brands.

Mobile Conversations was presented by afaqs! in association with MyToday. mKhoj was an associate sponsor.

The Bengaluru session of Mobile Conversations 2008 will take place on Friday, September 26.