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App advertisements: Big pockets Vs. Deep pockets?

By Shailendra Chaturvedi, afaqs!, | August 06, 2014
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Shailendra Chaturvedi

Within last few months, Indian TV and print media has witnessed a bunch of Mobile app ads asking viewers/Readers to download the magic icon and use services on the go. We understand that this is "Dog eats Dog" world and it is advisable to be ahead or at least at par with your competitors but airing an advertisement on Television or publishing a print ad has always been an expensive affair for any organization. On the top of it, Markets (Be it any product) are witnessing fierce competition, resulting huge price wars and less margin for the organizations. As these margins are diminishing, so are marketing budgets. And today one just can't use the famous quote

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: The trouble is I don't know which half" John Wanamaker.

As he only has half the money and he has to spend that on right communication, thus it has become imperative for marketers to spend each penny wisely. Now let's look at statistical figures to judge how effective these apps communication could be for app savvy organizations and how that amount could have been used to make a difference in the marketplace.

Let's see who is watching these advertisements:-

India is a country with 72% of rural population and 28 % of urban population. The TV penetration of India is 89% out of them 64% households have digital C&S connection while 34% enjoy C&S analog connection. These advertisements are shown on few TV channels with high viewership but that viewership comes mostly from rural India not only from metros and tier 1 cities.

(Source: TAM ratings 2013)

Let's see who is reading those Newspapers:

If we talk about news readership, 56% of Indians prefer regional dailies, 34 % prefer Hindi and 10% prefer reading English newsprints. The Penetration level is up to 70% in cities and 5%-15% in rural areas but as literacy rates are increasing, readership too witnessing a positive growth YOY. But these Prints ads have been given either in English dailies which have very limited readership even in urban India. (Source: IRS 2012)

Let's assume that I have seen advertisement of that app along with that Print ad too. But I am an Indian who doesn't own a Smartphone. Now What?

Let's see who is using these Internet/Mobile Internet

Are these organizations ignoring the fact that India has only 19% internet penetration with 243 mn users? Out of them 185 mn users are mobile internet users out of 904 mobile users. Whereas 117 mn users having smart phones out of which less than 10% actively have access to these apps.

(Source: IAMAI Reports 2013)

Several Research studies have indicated that Indians use their Smartphone for whatsapp and social media application which include facebook, Google, Google maps, YouTube, Gmail, true caller etc. If we rule out use of these apps, we won't even find 1% active Indian users of the other apps available on android, windows and IOS platforms.
Pareto rule says "80% of your sales come from 20% of consumers" and for those 20% consumers you need to provide additional services for their comfort and to make them feel privileged. Agreed!! But today each organization have plethora of services to retain these 20% of consumers. App delivery is also one such service and communicating the availability of such app can be done through the inexpensive mediums such as Social media, YouTube etc.

Retaining old customers are important but what will make difference in the market place is how you are treating the rest 80% of the consumers. An app advertisement can never force an Indian user to buy a Smartphone, pay on an average 200 Rs. for internet (more than half of the Indian mobile phone users have prepaid connection)to use a modernized way of shopping/Banking or ticket booking through the APP. Therefore as a marketer, one need to think beyond the traditional method of advertising for greater ROI.

Let's look at the most efficient way to promote the mobile app:

Social media promotion:

It is the best medium to promote your app, as who uses social media through their mobiles are your real customers.

Flash your mobile app banners on your website

Advertise about it on your Facebook Page, boast about its benefits, request your users to download

Build a product video and post it online: Tell a story through the video, make it unique and extraordinary with emotional support so that Indian users can relate to it.

Email marketing: email the link to download the app to all customers requesting them to use the service

Post a short TVC on You tube

Thus Instead of broadcasting your app promotion every other second on television (that anyway not going to create a new customer for you), marketing can spend that huge amount to BTL activities or build up new branches in the rural areas to generate new consumers who are sitting on piles of cash and gold.

It is clearly seen that urban Indian consumers pocket's are large as they contain a plethora of mobile apps but what will work here to fill the pockets of Rural Indian consumers who are still banking on traditional methods with superficially empty but deep pockets.