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Two cents of advice to ride India’s mobile revolution

Mobile internet has grown exponentially in India. The Indian mobile subscriber base has risen substantially in the 21st century. According to TRAI, India has 884Mn mobile subscribers as of November 2011, a 21.22 percent YOY growth from November 2010. The projected number of active internet users for March 2012 stands at 48 million, a whopping 84.6 percent growth since March 2011. An ever growing active internet population compounded with an exponential market growth for the digital advertising industry, advertisers stand to gain.

IAMAI + IMRB Research Report: Mobile Internet in India, August 2011.
 According to IAMAI-IMRB, digital advertising is expected to reach INR 4,391 crores by March 2013. As of March 2012 the market is pegged at INR 2,851 crores. IAMAI foresees a stupendous 54% YOY growth.

Coming back to mobile internet, here are some startling facts on the urban Indian smart phone user:

56% of smart phone users in India use mobile devices to compare prices and be informed about products.
49% of smart phone users have changed their mind about purchasing a product/service in-store as a result of information they have gathered using a smart phone.
An average urban Indian has 14 apps installed on his smart phone, 5 apps are purchased from an app store.
76% urban Indian smart phone users are heavy social network users on phones as compared to 67% who use social networks on desktops.
50% of smart phone users have done at least one ecommerce transaction.
Of the users who have searched for a business locally, 50% users visited the website of the business, 31% made online purchases, 40% users visited the business (physical store) and 28% of the users looked up the business on map.

 {All data from a survey conducted jointly by Google and the Mobile Marketing Association (ourmobileplanet.com)}

So what’s in it for advertisers? How can advertisers jump on to the mobile bandwagon? Are advertisers in India mobile ready? We have a few key insights and some tips that Indian advertisers can leverage for their benefit.

Key Insight #1 Consumers using mobile Web browsers are visiting your site ‐ whether you have pages designed for them or not. If they don’t find what they want, their visits will be short before they go somewhere else.

Tip #1 Make your mobile website simple and utilitarian to allow visitors to quickly get the information they need and move on.

Make sure that links are large enough to be easily read and clicked on a touchscreen.
Avoid using too many images so that the mobile site would loadwithin an efficient time.
Detect and optimize screen-sizes by devices and ensure simple directional routes are in place to lead visitors to the mobile site.
Create your mobile website for a wide range of devices to reach your full audience.
Include a phone number and other useful “contact or locate us” functionalities, e.g. get driving directions to your business (physical stores).

E.g. Espn Cricinfo’s desktop site(espncricinfo.com) and mobile internet website (m.espncricinfo.com)
 Key Insight #2 Consumers make use of the mobile internet on the go. Indians have a proclivity to use the mobile internet for email, chat, search, and to stay connected with their social networks.

Tip #2 Be a part of the consumer’s mobile mindscape. Build an app that provides utility [Enables users to find what they are looking for and encourages them to share their positive experience]. Here are few tips for all Indian brands that are looking at building mobile apps:

Build apps for the Android & iOS. Why? An average urban Indian has 14 apps installed on his smart phone, out of which 5 apps are purchased from an app store. The case for the iOS is straight forward. From the 121.9 Million iPhone apps that were downloaded in India (Feb 2012), 4.23 Million had in-app purchases. (source: ourmobileplanet.com). Android phones (Samsung 3G) have been gaining  market share, 27% of all 3G devices being Android (source: :CyberMedia Research India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2011, Dec 11)
Build apps that will result in regular usage. Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s automotive giant recently launched a monthly iPad magazine called ‘Mahindra Adventure – Get Lost’ featuring adventure stories from across India. Providing valuable content updates on a regular basis will result in increased app usage, thus brand recall.

E.g Mahindra & Mahindra’s Get Lost iPad magazine
Make your app Social & Local. Including features that are social in nature will drive app downloads via referrals. Using localization (maps, location services) will provide consumers with relevant and actionable information. Zomato’s android app leverages local and social features.

E.g Zomato
Zomato’s android app leverages local and social features. It helps you discover a random restaurant near your location and share Zomato with your friends.