India is already the world's third largest smartphone market after China and the United States. According to IDC, India recorded an impressive 84 per cent growth in smartphone shipments in Q2 of this year, thanks to easy availability of low-cost smartphones. But, more importantly, these numbers ring true when one sees grandmothers, school kids and auto drivers wielding smartphones proudly, not just the typical urban, college-going populace. Mobile internet penetration in India continues its heady pace with estimated 519 million internet users by 2018. Industry research suggests that in emerging markets, media consumption time on mobile phones and tablets already exceeds the time spent on traditional mediums such as television and desktop.
In the backdrop of these twin shifts, savvy marketers are already moving their advertising dollars to mobile phones, but 2015 may emerge as a definitive year when mobile advertising gathers full steam. Industry reports pegged mobile ad impressions growth in India at 70 per cent over last year, highest in the Asia Pacific region. Undoubtedly, mobile phones will become a mainstream advertising platform attracting significant spends from the marketers across a variety of industries. Some of the interesting trends that may shape mobile advertising in 2015 are described below:
Mobile video ads: With their ability to combine sight and sound, mobile video ads will become increasingly popular with marketers to create immersive brand experiences. Gartner predicts mobile video ads to be the fastest growing segment globally, until 2017. Targeted mobile video ads will win consumer approval because of their relevance and build engagement. Increasing popularity of mobile video ads will also trigger rapid demise of intrusive banner ads. We will see more regional language ads, as mobile advertising becomes mainstream.
Premium experience: Brands will be extremely meticulous about the kind of mobile destinations they choose for advertising. While reach and relevance of content that a mobile site or an app offers will be the key deciding factors, capability to deliver a premium experience will be as important, if not more. For example, for mobile video campaigns, marketers would be keen to opt for apps and mobile sites that offer an un-buffered, immersive viewing experience so messages are delivered smoothly.
Innovative brand immersions on mobile: As mobile advertising evolves fast, newer formats will emerge, especially for the advertising-free mobile properties. For example, product placements in 'made for mobile content' or sponsorship approach - where a brand sponsors an entire content series that fits well with its brand values - may emerge. Accurate targeting based on consumption, region and location, instead of the 'spray and pray' approach of traditional mass media, will further enhance efficacy of these innovative formats. The 'disruptive' campaigns will be rewarded further as the social conversations will add the multiplier effect.
The entire mobile ecosystem is thriving in India. Mobile operators, handset manufacturers, app developers, content providers and even the policy makers are excited to use the mobile platform to enhance peoples' lifestyles in multiple ways. Marketers too will use mobile advertising to build lasting engagement with consumers in 2015.
(The author is VP and global head of advertising sales, Vuclip)