afaqs!

Points of View: Why has Mobile Advertising Failed to Excite Advertisers?

By Kapil Ohri , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | March 24, 2009
With more than 350 million mobile subscribers in India, the size of mobile advertising is still small and according to industry estimates it stands somewhere between Rs 35 -50 crore

Every month, about eight million people in India are added as mobile subscribers - who now total a huge 350 million. So why does mobile advertising continue to languish?

Vishal Maheshwari
Senior Director, Connected Life, Yahoo! India

As mobile internet adoption rates continue to rise, it becomes increasingly necessary for all players in the mobile ecosystem to work together in order to ensure the success of an industry with huge advertising potential.

& #BANNER1 & #With more mobile content via open platforms, non-intrusive targeting and innovative solutions, mobile advertising is not a nascent market anymore. We are starting to see more brand marketers engaging deeper with mobile and demanding advertising created specifically for the mobile consumer.

In 2009 and the years ahead, we believe it will be beneficial for advertisers to embrace mobile: it is a medium that is able to give better ROI as budgets get tighter. Simply replicating PC web advertising to the mobile space will not achieve success.

Anuj Khanna
CEO and Chairman - Executive Committee, Affle

Every mass media offers rich content and advertising rides only on content. More than 90 per cent of mobile users use the phone for calls and SMS, and therefore, most of the advertising on mobile has been around SMS.

There are fundamental challenges that hinder mass usage of content on mobiles: the users don't know how to discover the mobile content seamlessly and the browser on the mobiles does not sufficiently unlock the potential of mobile media; the data charges associated with the use of internet over the phone is a deterrent; and the content quality/experience is often not worth the trouble users take to discover the services and the associated data costs.

Innovations which will solve these challenges will unlock the true potential of the mobile mass media and enable advertisers to invest and drive the exponential growth of the mobile advertising business.

Vinod Thadani
Regional Mobile Director, India & South Asia, GroupM Interaction

Currently, the mobile ad spend is around Rs 50 to 60 crore and by 2010-2011 we would love to see this growing to Rs 100 to 120 crore. Different formats - SMS, WAP and Voice - will drive this growth but they have to be non-intrusive and simple for consumers. Also, the advertising will have to be opt-in and in partnership with mobile operators.

Advertisers by and large assumed that mobile advertising is only SMS spam. They also thought that it's not an independent medium, and the user base has not matured yet. All these have proven to be only perception. We have to remember that for advertising to work on mobiles, it has to be relevant - brand should match context; rewarding - useful or entertaining; and integrated - advertising content.

Amish Tripathi
National Head, Marketing and Product Management, IDBI Fortis Life Insurance

From the customer's perspective, he finds a marketing message on the mobile quite intrusive. In TV advertising, the customer is exposed to a message only when he chooses to switch on the TV. Similarly, he receives an electronic message only when he chooses to switch on his computer. But a mobile phone marketing message can come even when he is busy and clearly not interested. Hence the reduced effectiveness of mobile marketing.

From a marketer's perspective, while the mobile phone option does not allow as much creativity as the marketer would like, they have to find better ways of using the medium to reach out - just like creative email designs and viral marketing have been used in the web space. Can we use the phones which have GPRS availability for more creative marketing? Can we engage customers through games and quizzes run on SMS to trawl them into our message rather than just one boring 'SMS back on a short-code to buy my great product'?...It is up to us to meet the challenge.

(Points of View (POV) is a regular column which carries opinions of industry professionals on a current topic of discussion in the advertising, media and marketing industry.)