SMS 2.0 marketing is here to stay in India

Source: Television Point | View Original

Sumedha Srivastav – Televisionpoint.com | Mumbai
SMS 2.0, the next level of the usual short message service (SMS) application, is attracting a lot of advertisers. From Airtel to Nokia to Frito Lays, more and more companies are looking to leverage the new innovative digital medium.

Speaking to Televisionpoint.com, Anuj Kumar, executive director, Affle – Southeast Asia, says, “SMS 2.0 is an application through which you send a message from your mobile. Instead of a Message Sent you get a full screen message along with some news. About two out 10 such messages are advertisements.”

The user can then click on the advertisement and get in touch with the advertiser. The interactivity and the ability to reach out to the exact target audience without having much spillover is what draws companies to use it as a platform to promote their brands.

“The application works on medium to high-end phones, and SMS 2.0 is like a mobile Internet experience. If you want to search something, just type it in the message box and instead of saying send, say search. Our application makes texting cooler, it adds a small bar at the bottom of the application with information on user-selected topics, and, an ad, too.” explains Kumar.

The growth of the medium depends highly on the consumer base. At present, the number of people using SMS 2.0 adds up to one million, and is increasing by 15 per cent every month, claims Kumar.

Vinod Thadani, regional mobile director, Group M Media, the ad-buying arm of global media conglomerate WPP, is equally excited about the potential of mobile telephone-based advertising. Group M is selling space on mobile phone screens, with its tie-up with Affle.

“Brands are trying to use this medium, however it is also the role of other advertising agencies to educate more the brands about how effectively it can be used. Return on investment is something any advertiser would like to consider and this medium delivers that very well.” Thadani says.

Thadani also notes that there are about 300 million mobile users in India today, and 15 per cent of them actively use data-enabled devices. Thus, using a blend of ads, including banner ads on mobile websites, callback tones and SMS advertising, the media agencies can reach out to a huge market, he says.

Speaking about the 3G revolution, Kumar adds, “And even as 3G is expected to be a huge driver of mobile advertising, there will be a large number of consumers who would not be using it. While we will upgrade our services once 3G is there, SMS 2.0 in its present form will be relevant even then for a large number of users.”

In 2007, digital, search and online spends have make up around 5 per cent of the total advertising spend, and it is expected that by 2010, almost 12 per cent of advertising revenues will be going to the digital media.