Every advertising medium has its own unique characteristics, and advertisers invest significant resources learning how to adapt their message to derive maximum benefit from each medium’s distinctive advantages. Mobile phones becoming the most widespread digital device combined with the communication space becoming more crowded, creating pressure on advertisers to look for ways to be innovative and different, it was only a matter of time until the attention of advertisers would turn to mobile. The y-o-y growth of mobile digital advertising market is expected to be 55%. Digital advertising is still in a nascent stage in India and brands are in the experimental stage with a focus to reach remote areas. Digital advertising space has grown by about 74% in 2008-09 to reach Rs.680 crore and is expected to be Rs.5,390 crore by 2011. Of Rs.680 crore, wireless application protocol based advertising was about 30%, while opt-in SMS contributed 10% of the market share. One of the most important lessons to be learned is that the mobile medium is different in many ways from other advertising mediums.
The lines between mobile marketing & advertising are blurred. Some advertisers have been including the mobile as one more element in a mass-market approach for several years now. But examination of many of today’s mobile marketing campaigns reveal that they largely use formats borrowed from other advertising platforms (TV, Internet, gaming, etc.) and that they rarely leverage the unique characteristics & capabilities of the mobile medium. Take WAP banners, for example. With more people surfing the Web through their mobile, many advertisers simply extend their Internet banners to be WAP banners as well. If you ask these advertisers, they’ll probably proudly tell you that they are engaged in mobile advertising. But are they really?
Over time savvy advertisers will learn to leverage and take better advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile advertising, which is in many ways still in its infancy. Those making the effort to get to know the mobile medium a little better are discovering a broad range of innovative possibilities enabled by mobile advertising. Business news, specifically stocks, cricket updates, generic news and entertainment such as music download, movies and Bollywood updates are amongst the big ones. The mobile medium is used for many types of communications and entertainment. This variety puts many communication channels at the advertiser’s disposal, creating a rich, multi-channel inventory that can bring advertising to the user through voice, messaging, browsing and video platforms. Different channels can vary in their level of effectiveness with different audiences. Just like one person hardly watches TV and can more effectively be reached through a highway billboard on his way to work, another may hardly watch video on his mobile but is a heavy voice applications user, and may better be reached through voice channels.
These unique attributes give the advertiser new levels of precision in terms of targeting and reach. The ads are no longer served in a relatively random way; they can now be fully targeted, personalised & delivered to an individual and precisely defined user segment. Surely some consumer privacy issues come to mind but those issues can be addressed through user incentives. In order to encourage users to opt in and agree to receive ads, operators can offer consumers persuasive incentives — free SMS, free airtime, etc. This creates a whole new relationship between the advertiser and the consumer; no longer are the ads viewed as disruptive & annoying. The fact that the ads are highly targeted and tailored to user interests can make the “being advertised to” experience a welcome one (users actually want to provide information on themselves!), which mitigates many privacy concerns. The mobile is an innovative advertising platform that can really make a difference to the advertiser. In order to rise above the clutter, it is important to take into account the medium’s distinctive attributes and use them to take the relationship with your end-user to a whole new level.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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