Tarana Khan

IAMAI Mobile Content & Services: Will mobile advertising be worth Rs 500 crore by 2014?

At the IAMAI conference, panellists debated where mobile advertising is headed and the roadblocks in getting there

The 3rd National Conference on Mobile Content and Services was organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in New Delhi on Wednesday, September 02.

The third session, a panel discussion on 'Mobile Marketing: Building the Future', was moderated by Raj Singh, managing director of 2ergo. The panellists comprised Abhijit Saxena, chief executive officer of Netcore; Rajiv Hiranandani, co-founder and country head, Mobile2win; Atanu Mandal, president at ACL Wireless; and Amit Gupta, co-founder and head of business development, InMobi.

IAMAI Mobile Content & Services: Will mobile advertising be worth Rs 500 crore by 2014?
In his opening remarks, Singh put forth a question to the panellists, "If the mobile advertising industry is worth Rs 50 crore today, will it reach Rs 500 crore by 2014?"

Saxena of Netcore said this target is certainly achievable, but there are certain roadblocks to getting there. One is that there are no standards in the industry. "Performance is the metric being used to get the low-hanging fruit in mobile marketing. But that is not our destiny," he said, stressing on the importance of branding campaigns.

He added that the marketing heads of companies still don't buy into the mobile medium, probably because there are no clear mobile metrics. He said that the money allocated for branding is still not coming into mobile.

Saxena also shared his view on how people perceive spam, saying, "In smaller cities, spam is not an issue. It often adds value to customers." However, he emphasised on the importance of maintaining the NDNC (national do-not-call) registry.

Next on the panel, Hiranandani of Mobile2win said that the size of the mobile marketing industry is still not known. Talking about the issue of standards, he said that everybody talks in a different language, making it difficult for agencies to implement campaigns. As head of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) in India, he added that they are working on defining standards for the industry.

As for the performance advertising model, Hiranandani said, "We are responsible for it, because we talked to marketers about measuring every rupee spent."

Mandal of ACL Wireless pointed out that operators should clear the mess that is mobile marketing today. He said, "The NDNC has actually helped in legalising spam. Today, 90 per cent of the SMSes received are unsolicited."

He added that the right model to adopt is for the operator to become the media publisher and provide all content for the user, which can also come from third-party publishers.

Mandal said that operators have the advantage of multi-modal ad formats and a bulk of inventory. They can also do in-depth targeting.

Gupta of InMobi estimated that there are 20 million active mobile Internet users in India. According to a survey done by them, Gupta said that 80 per cent of these users are in the age group 18-26 years. He also added that 22 per cent of the people surveyed responded to a mobile ad.

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