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Top Trends 2014-15: Mobile, an option for the media dark in India

With the advent of mobile phones, intrusive advertising has gained momentum but is it going to give the much needed push to marketing without being a nuisance for the consumer? Let us dwell further and evaluate what mobile marketing holds for Indian marketers.

India is among the fastest growing smartphone markets and marketers seek to leave no stone unturned when exploring opportunities in this space. With the better affordability and accessibility of internet on mobile phones, Indian marketers are trying to reach out to a new segment of audience via mobile marketing.

“In terms of cost, spillage in mobile marketing is also minimised as it is reaching out to a focussed audience. Conversion rate in mobile marketing is also much higher against other forms of conventional and traditional media,” said Giraj Sharma, Director at Behind the Moon.

In this oversaturated market, Indian advertisers are constantly trying to capture a larger share of the market. Marketers cannot ignore the influence of mobile technology in the marketing strategies of brands and this is dominant not only among the mobile-savvy consumers but spreading to the grass-root levels. Mobile marketing is reaching out to the villages in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, among others, raising the demand for mobile based content, said a report titled ‘Top 10 India Trends, Digital and Mobility’ by Omnicom Media Group.

Indian smartphone shipments are expected to reach 80.6 million units by the end of this year against 44 million last year. Consequently, growth of smartphones will increase about 40 per cent every year for the next five years, according to the report.

Exclusive or intrusive?
Mobile ads will be more mainstream, with the right content and context they will be designed to merge seamlessly with the apps and not interrupt the user experience, the report by Omnicom Media Group pointed out.

“Thinking should be shifted from how and where brands can advertise on mobile platforms, to how brands can blend more seamlessly into consumers’ mobile lifestyles. With consumers having the power to filter out irrelevant messages, it is essential that brands work harder in a more human way in order to draw attention to themselves,” the report added.

According to Mr Sharma, content creation is going to be more crucial than the use of technology in the mobile marketing space. The challenge will be how subtly the marketers can embed their message onto to the new platform. Publishers will have to ensure that the mobile content is coherent with the communication platform and does not turn into disruption for the consumer.

Brands need to translate mobile marketing into a business opportunity and move towards creating mobile optimised website if they intend to reach a larger consumer base. “Mobile marketing is going to be more personalised than any other form factor. It helps the marketer to reach out to a more focussed audience through location-based marketing,” said Ashish Kashyap, Chief Executive Officer at Ibibo group.

The road ahead…
Mobile is already the first internet screen. Major brands are already seeing over 40 per cent traction from mobile based platforms and the landscape is expected to improve over the course of next few years.

But one of the limitation that most marketers fail to acknowledge is the inefficiency in the tracking of mobile advertising and its reception by the consumer. “Mobile marketing requires investment in a new learning curve by marketers and developers. Analytics and tracking systems on mobile are still weak. There are still no mature parallels such as Google Analytics,” said Mr Kashyap.

Mobile advertising in India still has a long way to go as increased smartphone users in India does not necessarily translate into higher revenues for the brand. The Indian mobile users are more interested in mobile services like news, gaming, and entertainment, among others. The challenge for mobile marketers will be to tap this market and derive revenues from the segment.