Advertising has become pivotal to a company's competitiveness and for making its place in the industry. Online and mobile advertisements are helping the enterprises save on time and gain popularity rates very rapidly.
According to a report released by the media analyst, Screen Digest-rich media advertising market on mobile will reach $2.79 bn by 2012, along with the global mobile TV advertising reaching $2.44 bn.Mobile advertising is becoming a new source of revenue and is expected to multiply in the post 3G deployments with video also becoming an added feature of the advertising world.
GSMA and ComScore released the first industry-standard metrics for mobile advertising this fiscal. Experts and analysts say that it may be recalled that mobile advertising has been around globally, but is yet to generate significant revenues. The fact remains unchallenged that the mobile advertising has a lot to offer to enterprises, brands remaining hinged to it. The global mobile advertising industry is expected to grow up to $24 bn by 2013.
The fact that mobile as a medium gives the advertiser the advantage of 'reach' is being cashed on. It reaches more than 500 mn individuals in India, and helps reach the right target audience at the right place and at the right time. Filters like geographic targeting, demographic targeting, gender targeting, etc, helps reach such audience and increase the attention of the consumers. Another opinion that has added to the promotional messaging is that people can tend to ignore a TV or radio ad, however the probability of reaching a consumer is more on a mobile platform.mobile_advertising_img1.jpg" align="left" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="155" height="100">
However, to this growing industry there are impediments that have come on the way. Mobile advertising in India is still a learning game for many. No one knows what works and what not. Every one is experimenting with various business models.
The biggest challenge will be making the consumer to engage with mobile advertising. Consumers are irritated by over usage of SMS as advertising media. Too many new players have wrongly positioned SMS advertising in the minds of the consumer. So, it may take more time for consumers to permit advertising on their mobiles.
When global companies like Pepsi, HUL, Warner brothers, Airtel, Tata, Dominos, Yatra.com use a platform, it surely tends to arouse the interest of rest of the industry. Last year saw the global biggie-wiggies using the SMS platforms to advertise.
Raju Vanapala, founder & CEO, Way2SMS says, “Mobile advertising is a win-win proposition for all the stakeholders including consumers, brands and telcos. Customers can avail of some great opportunities, discounts, offers, prizes and much more. The current mobile advertising channels such as WAP advertising or SMS advertising, would be enhanced by 3G networks soon. 3G allows more innovation to go beyond the traditional mobile advertising modes like SMS, WAP and USSD.”
Sharing the view that mobile advertising has a long way to go Satyakalyan Yerramsetti, CEO and founder, SMS Country says, “Enterprises are using online ad networks to generate leads. Most enterprises also do branding exercises and rely more on CPM based advertising campaigns. This helps them to make their presence felt all over the Internet by putting up banners, SMS campaigns and ads on mobile Internet.”
SMS GupShup announced that 150 advertisers which includes some of the major global brands ran campaigns on its networks.
mobile_advertising_img3.jpg" align="left" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="180" height="297"> Says Beerud Sheth, CEO, SMS GupShup, “Mobile communities are a powerful way for brands to engage their customers on an ongoing basis, as well as increase the customer base through viral growth. Engagement drives loyalty, converting customers into advocates, driving repeats & referrals-which can be far more effective than regular advertising. Brands can get direct feedback from their customers as well as inform, interact and transact with them.”
Brands have so far been running SMS campaigns and creating mobile communities. However, there is a new opportunity that has emerged in the form of SMS applications. These apps can be customized based on the brand's needs, and as the marketing fraternity recognizes the power of SMS in this country, the demand for customized apps and solutions will keep growing.
Vodafone recently created an app to increase engagement and loyalty amongst the low ARPU pre-paid subscribers in the slums of Mumbai. The mobile app was developed by SMS GupShup to conduct a bidding competition on SMS using a toll free number. Essential items like rice, wheat and sugar were up for auction and Vodafone pre-paid subscribers with a balance of over `20 were eligible to bid for these products using their mobile phones. The winning bids were announced on the spot. The results of this promotion were so encouraging that SMS GupShup and Vodafone plan to roll this activity across another twenty-five network circles in due course of time.
The company also along with Pepsi launched a large customer engagement program across India. SMS GupShup created a mobile community that quickly gained 60,000 members-making this one of the fastest customer acquisition programs on mobile in India.
Spams for long have been a major obstruction for the subscribers. While there is a major issue about the DND operatibility, subscribers have been always complaining about the bulk messages which they receive. However, to monitor the problem of spamming, companies are taking some serious steps to deal with them and thereby monitor the anomalies. Says Satyakalyan Yerramsetti, “Before we send out messages, we filter them through this list. For 160by2.com, we also provide an online interface for users to unsubscribe from messages they do not want to receive.”mobile_advertising_img6.jpg" align="left" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="150" height="228">
At SMS GupShup, advertisers can target specific communities that revolve around contextual content or build their own communities on the platform. But then this is all opt-in for the end user, and users on SMS GupShup are always just a single SMS away from opting out of any content that they do not wish to receive. Some advertisers also use our platform to reach out to their own or procured databases but the company has been refraining from sharing details of users on the platform with brands and advertisers.
Way2SMS also keeps in check these anomalies by having a mechanism in place to check spam. Subcribers will also be sent some cautions like the procedure that they should follow either through mobile_advertising_img5.jpg" align="right" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="350" height="120">the IVR or they can send a message to stop receiving unwanted messages.
Other companies are also fast catching up with the idea of channelizing the SMS spams so as to maintain the credibility and usability for the subscribers.
Satyakalyan Yerramsetti, CEO, 160by2 says, “Mobile advertising and social media put together has a huge potential. Advertising through mobile searches like Just Dial is one strategy. By advertising on Just Dial, any queries that customers have about SMS services are immediately directed to our company. We also advertise with online ad networks to reach out to consumers who are searching for some services provided by us.”
There are many changes that the SMS platforms are innovating to cater to the changing demands of the enterprises.
Raju Vanapala, Way2SMS says, “We could see replication of web advertising models such as CPC, CPM, CPL on mobile too. These advertising models will gain traction once people start adopting 3G services. Companies such as Way2SMS with over 300 mn SMS impressions a month, will leverage more via its footer ads.”
So while innovation is needed in every stage of advertising from content, medium to user targeting, the SMS platforms have a long way to cover given the kind of reach they have come to achieve in a short span of time.
While eBay has been using various other mobile platforms in India, SMS GupShup has been a partner to reach new consumers. Turner Imagine, a leading general entertainment channel, used SMS GupShup to increase TRPs of their reality shows by driving viewer engagement. UTI Mutual Fund has built a mobile community of over half a million users on SMS GupShup, where it provides general investment advice and selective financial market updates.
Other brand advertisers on the network include Microsoft, Cadbury, Nokia, Ford, Puma, Maybelline, Dell, Kingfisher, Sun Microsystems and ING Financial. Brands run SMS ads and create mobile communities, similar to fan sites that appear on traditional web based social networks.