Mobile Advertising in India is Still Nascent

Source: Exchange4media | View Original

“Mobile advertising in India is still nascent. It stands at about Rs 100 crore. But at the same time it is a growing market, with dramatic growth rates, doubling year over year. The reasons behind the mobile market growth in India are external to the advertising environment. The mobile advertising market has evolved from a stage of mobile Internet being used for email access, to being used for social, to now being used for accessing various kinds of content – from news to sports to games.”

Anuj Kumar is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Affle. As a founding member, Kumar has played an extensive role in building Affle’s business globally, to countries such as Singapore, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and India, among others. Kumar is further involved in evangelising mobile media amongst leading advertising firms and telecom operators/ carriers. In his current role as business head, Kumar leads Affle’s business worldwide, continuing the success and growth of the organisation.

At Affle, Kumar is responsible for building closer alignment with telecom operators and carriers to help create newer advertising avenues over the mobile platform. He also helps in collaborating with leading brands to create technology and media solutions which would help in achieving brand objectives and lead to higher budget allocation for mobile advertising.

He has 10 years’ experience in the field of marketing and advertising and has worked with some of the leading companies such as ESPN-STAR Sports, GroupM Mindshare and JWT. Kumar has been an active speaker and participant in industry forums and conferences, sharing valuable insights on themes related to entrepreneurship, mobile advertising and technology innovation, among others.

exchange4media’s Shubhi Tandon caught up with Kumar, who was in India recently, for a discussion on the mobile marketing and advertising market in India as well as Affle’s future plans…

Q.  How big is the mobile market in India?
A. Mobile advertising in India is still nascent. It stands at about Rs 100 crore. But at the same time it is a growing market, with dramatic growth rates, doubling year over year.

Q. What are the reasons behind the growth?
A. The reasons behind the mobile market growth in India are external to the advertising environment. Since the handsets are cheaper, they are more accessible now. Another reason for growth is the introduction of mobile data plans, which have allowed access to Internet on-the-go.

The result of these factors is that now mobile is seen as a media device, besides being seeing as a communication device only. It is not only used for connecting and talking to people, but also for checking emails and news content, social media and other services.

Further to these external changes happening on the consumer’s side, the advertisers have also found avenues to invest in mobile. Five years ago, though there was excitement about the medium, there were not as many avenues as there are now.

Now both these factors coupled together have made it a lethal combination for advertisers.

With the introduction of 3G this year, it is going to help the market grow even more significantly as the users will consume better with better connectivity.

The mobile advertising market has evolved from a stage of mobile Internet being used for email access, to being used for social, to now being used for accessing various kinds of content – from news to sports to games. We are now choosing to use a mobile phone to get instant access to the content, also because of better connectivity.

Q. How does India compare to the other markets in the world?
A. The difference between India and other countries is that it is a mobile-first market. This means that for most people, the first Internet experience happens on the mobile, making it the primary mode of content consumption. This is different from other countries, which have a higher PC penetration, as there, the Internet consumption happens first on the computer.

Q. What is Affle’s brand positioning vis-à-vis the competitors in the market?
A. At Affle, as a mobile media company, we create money by advertising. We tackle it in two ways – creating the technology and products around the mobile advertising market, and also partnering with publishers to place advertisements. Thus, we provide the advertisers and brands with an end-to-end holistic mobile ad campaign, by creating larger supply at one end and large demand at the other.

We have also created branded content for brands such as Maruti Suzuki and Vaseline. For Maruti Suzuki, we created a campaign called Cricket Maharathi, which involved advertising around sport. Launched during the ICC World Cup and Indian Premier League in 2011, the idea behind the app was to provide a forum to an average cricket consumer to voice his opinion. Thus, users rated players after each match and commented on the match. We are also looking to launch this campaign on SMS and USSD (unstructured supplementary service data).

Another branded campaign that we launched was for Vaseline – ‘Dressing Room’, which is a mobile magazine that gives news about cricketers. We are looking to do more such branded content.

Q. Which are the biggest advertisers in India in mobile media?
A. One of the largest sectors in mobile media advertising is the automobile industry – with brands such as Maruti, Honda and Yamaha engaging in mobile. FMCG brands such as Unilever, PepsiCo and Coca Cola, and telecom advertisers such as Nokia, Karbonn, and Micromax, follow the automobile industry.

The top five spending brands in India in the mobile advertising industry are Maruti Suzuki, Nokia, PepsiCo, Coca Cola and Unilever.

Q. What are Affle’s future plans for India?
A. We are looking to launch our messaging service, Pinch, in India between July and August. Pinch is a messaging service, which integrates messaging with social services, location-based services, and advertising. We have already expanded our sales team in India to various metros around the country.