If & #BANNER1 & # the joke that people engage more with their mobile phones than they do with their spouses is indeed true, then it's good news for the medium, especially where advertising is concerned.
The mobile medium has been striving to find a place in media plans, and with more awareness of its numerous attributes, it stands a chance of becoming the most sought-after medium in the times to come. Several industry people put forth this point of view at the Mobile Ad Conference, organised at the ITC Grand Central in Mumbai on January 16 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Jai Maroo, director, Shemaroo Entertainment, began with the interesting observation that more than 50 per cent people keep their mobiles within a distance of five feet while sleeping. A person looks at his mobile screen every 11-15 minutes. It's not just a personal medium that engages, but also an in-home and out-of-home medium.
"These reasons answer the question 'why mobile'. Even television, which commands the biggest chunk of the ad pie, doesn't offer these benefits. Advertisers have tried WAP and push SMSes, but are looking at better ways to reach targeted consumers," Maroo added.
According to Maroo, advertisers are looking for solutions that are non-intrusive, targeted, contextual, integrated, transparent and interactive. He cited the example of Google, which features ads relevant to the search criteria.
He said that many forces were working to make available inventory that could work across platforms - voice, SMS, WAP and video can be contextually targeted with simple interactive tools.
The biggest opportunity for an advertiser is SMS and voice. While there are only 14-20 per cent users for mobile content, the penetration of SMS is 90 per cent and that of voice, 100 per cent.
Dhritiman Chakraborty, vice-president, sales, ACL Wireless, said that this "always there" medium has the capability to reach the consumers at a personal level and serve the right ad at the right time. He said the Toyota Yaris was the first successful product launch on mobile - it used a highly engaging mobisode of the television series, Prison Break.
"Someday, mobile will rule the ad world," he stated, adding that it would be the measurability of the medium that would make it happen. "No readership survey or audience measurement survey can effectively gauge the effectiveness of an ad. They only talk about the effectiveness of the medium. But mobile will be able to address that," Chakraborty asserted.
Advertisers have an equally important role to play in this. "It is imperative to have great content to hold user interest and get customer eyeballs. Ads need to be subtle, contextually relevant and viral in nature," he added.