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Ad mobile market is expected to grow to Rs 400 crore in the next three to four years

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VoicenData Bureau
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It has been estimated that of the advertisement mobile market platform worth Rs 50-60 crore, Rs 100 crore has been wasted on advertisement marketing revenue, mainly due to unwanted SMS flooding. While there are many factors that can be attributed to this abysmal revenue loss, contextual and individual, need specific targeting is the main contention.

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A recent advertisement mobile conference organized by IMAI saw a large gathering of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and advertisers. The idea of generating advertisements according to the personality of the consumer and his/her content-specific needs as well as a technology shift to suit this change-was a topic of hot debate there.

According to Pradeep Shrivastava, CMO, Idea Cellular,“Given the voice traffic status today, there is an urgent need for operators to concentrate on consumers' needs-VAS is the key, and time and energy have to be invested for the same. Offerings like financial inclusion for the unbanked, special services for music lovers, etc, are some of the options that operators have to experiment with, though a risk of non-profitable RoI is involved. Idea Cellular sees huge potential in mobile advertising, especially in the current scenario wherein voice is ruling, which provides an opportunity to reach out to a large number of people. For example, Idea radio-which was a great success.”

Besides interactivity, experimentation, creativity, location based advertising, 360° approach, profiling, and pinpointing advertising to enhance customer loyalty, the question that keeps arising is whether the operator owns the consumer or vice-versa.

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A majority of the operators believe that consumers are not owned but need to be kept satisfied to ensure their loyalty. Rajeev Hiranandani, co-founder and executive director, Mobile2Win says, “Operators have a major role to play in owning consumers, and advertisers thus have to brainstorm with operators and charge commission from operators for customer revenue. However, operators can still decide which ads go to the consumer and which don't.” Thus, 'customer lifecycle management pattern' needs to be studied by operators and advertisers to own the customer-which would help them in catering only to specific needs.

Talking about the success after mobile advertising for IPL, Sudhir Hasija, chairman, Karbonn Mobiles says, "Previously, our volumes were driven largely by the rural and semi-urban market. Now, we are seeing much more demand and buzz from the brand-conscious urban market."

Having a dedicated agency to cater specifically to mobile advertising is the need of the hour, and some operators even suggest duplicating popular TV ads for mobile content.

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“Search advertising is the key, which is showing marked progress abroad. Since other agencies are specialized, mobile advertising, too should have a dedicated agency. On those lines, Google has just appointed a special team to monitor advertising sales,” says Shailesh Rao, MD, sales & operations, Google India. Agreeing with him, Kumar Apoorv, COO, ValueFirst, says, “Today, there is no real creativity on mobile phones. One reason is due to the fact that there is not even a single advertising agency dedicated to advertisement SMS on mobile phones as most of them focus on TV and print advertising. Tools and creativity are two key factors that need to be created for successful mobile advertising.”

Gaurav Sarin, AGM, new products & innovation, Aircel, believes that as the mobile wallet keeps growing, advertising on this platform presents a tremendous opportunity. Thus, operators have to work closely with advertisers on how to position ads to consumer, and how to market the same.

According to Mahesh Narayanan, country manager India, AdMob, which reported that mobile web traffic crosses 1 bn mark per month, says, “Mobile ownership and usage far outstrip ownership of PCs with Internet access in India. In the near future mobile Internet usage is going to overtake fixed line Internet usage in India.”

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Security of the network is also a growing concern. While do-call registry has been suggested by Trai to report abuse or unwanted calls, operators believe they have a less stringent way out.

Says Sujai Srivastava, MDCS, head, VAS marketing & mobile advertising, Reliance Communications, “Operators should evolve a filtering capability, based on consumer behavior (for example, how much they refill for, what kind of handset they own, etc), and market advertisements accordingly. Segmentation and marketing capability to reach out to a select segment, and ensure a best fit, is the key to successful mobile advertising.”

Adding to his statement, AR Vishwanath, chairman & CEO, IMImobile says that today operators have options to ship ads on calls, but at the same time, they have to ensure the privacy feature, and have to provide value and incentive, especially short-term incentives. “No doubt SPs have to be responsible, but there will always be hackers, and thus regulations have to be stricter. However, do-call registry is extreme.” Hiranandani of Mobile2Win believes that while do-call registry would kill mobile marketing, advertisers have to find a way to reach out to customers and tie-up with operators without taking a major share of their revenue or stepping on their toes.

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In a recent news piece, Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, CEO, SMSCountry Networks remarks, “The size of advertising on the mobile platform is currently estimated at Rs 50-60 crore and this is expected to reach around Rs 400 crore in the next three to four years. Today, it is the brand manager's objective to advertise on the mobile platform due to increasing reach of mobile phones”.

With cheap mobile handsets, falling tariffs, cheaper Internet and GPRS rates, and the roll out of 3G services which will enable TV viewing on mobile handsets-will create an upsurge in the mobile advertisement market. In addition, advertisers will benefit as they will be able to reach out to more users by advertising on an interactive and popular platform, and incur only a fraction of the cost, while doing so.

berylm@cybermedia.co.in

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