Targeting consumers on-the-move

Written by Twishy | Updated: May 30 2012, 02:41am hrs
Rich media content, new and innovative advertising formats, intelligent targeting and faster speeds through 3G/4G coming in, mobile advertising is all set for a boost in the next couple of years.

The trend of mobile advertising is gaining momentum at a rapid pace as the mobile phone has become an integral part of our daily lives. Several companies across all industries are recognising this trend and have taken to mobile advertising in a big way. Proliferation of low-priced smart phones providing mobile web access to an increasing base of users is a key driver of growth in this area. Mobile advertising allows localised vernacular communication, unlike the internet, which continues to be a largely english language medium.

According to experts, the share of digital is 11-13% of the overall advertising industry and mobile advertising is 15 to16% of the overall digital advertising spends. Some sectors such as automobiles, financial services, e-commerce and travel and hospitality spend much higher on the digital platform.

Digital is growing as a marketing lever, with more and more marketers seeing it as intrinsic to their marketing efforts. All aspects of digital, be it the development of websites and digital assets, online and mobile advertising and social media initiatives, are gathering momentum in India, says Ashok Lalla, leader Digital, Mindshare South Asia. The relatively newer areas of apps, location-based advertising and augmented reality are giving a further fillip to the use of digital by brands, he added.

Experts suggest that reach of mobile advertising is very significant with mobile penetration close to 60-62% and 900-950 million handset users. Mobile advertising is targeted at a very micro level and serves as a reinforcement medium to back up other advertisement channels through market research and polls. The cost of reach is very low and the impact is very high with measurable results, says Saugata Bagchi, vice president at Tribal DDB India.

Taking advantage of the immense untapped potential in the Indian market for mobile advertising, Blyk launched its services in India on 19th November, 2010 with Aircel. It is a mobile messaging media that works with operators to link young people with brands and other stuff they like. It is based on customisation and opt in format where its members receive relevant content by way of messages, both SMS and MMS, such as updates, promotions, trivia and opinion polls according to their preferences on their mobiles. It creates a clear distinction between permission-based marketing and spam.

Eric Kip, global CEO, Blyk, says, India is a core-runner in many areas and we wanted to take the first-mover advantage in terms of mobile advertising. Partnering with Aircel, which is strongly positioned among the youth proved fruitful and we plan to take this association forward. There is a difference between the advertising markets in India and the West. Western markets are much more experienced and matured in terms of method and quality. Brands are more open to mobile advertising. Hence, they differ on the advertising side but not much on the consumer side, he adds.

Shubhodip Pal, country manager, Blyk India, says, Mobile advertising is growing at a very fast pace but not as much as the pace which we require. There are a lot of brands such as Coca Cola, Perfetti, Cadbury, Bausch + Lomb, Pizza Hut and Fastrack opting for this medium and the response rates range between 20-25%. However, for some campaigns response rates are as high as 50-55%.

The Coca-Cola Shadow campaign for brand Coca-Cola, featuring bollywood actor Imran Khan, was first released digitally and had a phenomenal response. An exclusive preview of the TVC was uploaded on the microsite at, as a part of the teaser campaign. Users got a first-hand experience of viewing it online and on their mobile handsets and had the option of rating the TVC.

We at Coca-Cola finalise a medium for advertising of our brands not just on the basis of the popularity of the medium but how that medium fits in the overall marketing mix for each of our brands. Over the years, the company has gone from delivering one message to the world, to delivering targeted variations, to the current climate, where we create conversations that work two ways. This new landscape is liquid and linked. Liquid because every piece of marketing has to spread out to the very furthest communication point and linked because it all has to relate back to the core message, says Coca-Cola India spokes person.

Mobile advertising was also used in the campus connect program during the launch of Bausch + Lombs Iconnect. It was successful in guiding traffic to the Facebook page during the launch. As this is a relatively new medium, we have compared the reach and interaction numbers with our digital campaigns (on Facebook/Google), and found that mobile advertising is more expensive as of now. But with more work now happening in this space, it will become more economical to target consumers through this medium, says Akash Malik, commercial director, Vision Care, Bausch + Lomb India. Currently, around 10% of our media budgets are allocated for digital advertising, he adds.

Though mobile advertising has received much needed attention but it is not able to attract large marketing spends due to slow internet speeds and lesser adoption of smartphones in India. Limited usage of 3G and its high cost restricts the consumption of high quality video content and therefore the advertising that could be done around the content.

The DND (Do Not Disturb) registry does limit the outreach possible via mobile call-based promotional activity. This is being overcome via incentivising users to opt-in to receive messages. Another challenge is the limited spread of blue casting infrastructure that restricts the location-based adverting opportunities, says Lalla.