Mobile Advertising in India is currently known to be dominated by players endorsing the medium through the SMS channel. But apprehensions have always persisted over this mode since there is a strong possibility that repeated endorsements might cross the lines of Do Not Disturb norms and then such players may be left in the lark. The SMS channels are also known to clog inboxes of the subscribers. The increased uptake of mobile data services and end-user preference to access WAP over mobile has given breed to a new form of advertising which is known as mobile web-based advertising. Admob is one such player which claims to be a global leader in this space and is now eying the India opportunity.
“In early 2000’s the challenge in India was to evangelize & get advertisers to explore the potential of the online medium. The USP offered then was accountability and engaging the audience. The addressable market for this segment is roughly around 80 million in India. Compare this to the mobile medium which has an addressable market of more than 430 million subscribers & a rapidly growing number of which are connecting to the internet via their mobile device. And apart from accountability, advertising over mobile web also offers an enhanced one-to-one engagement with the audience,” says Mahesh Narayanan, Country Manager, Admob India while speaking to. TelecomTiger.
US-based Admob, provides a platform for advertisers keen on leveraging the mobile web medium for advertising. Apart from dealing with advertisers directly, Admob’s other objectives include getting advertising agencies as well as publishers on board to its platform to increase its reach. While globally, Admob serves 8 billion ad displays every month, the India figure stands at more than 657 million. India is now the second highest market for the firm in terms of traffic contributed. Other markets served by Admob include SEA (South East Asia consisting of Singapore Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines), Australia, Japan & EMEA (Europe Middle East & Africa).
Mahesh who has earlier worked with firms such as Rediff.com, Bidorbuyindia.com, Mediaturf, Times Now & Google says is will be a logical transition to open up to the mobile web medium for those advertisers who have leveraged from exploring the digital medium.
On Consumer Trends for mobile web in India:
Mahesh reveals that the potential of mobile web-based advertising depends a lot on increased uptake of mobile data services which in turn is dependent on the affordability of the services. “Recently Aircel introduced affordable data plans for subscribers which resulted in significant surge in subscribers opting for the services. Interestingly our observation reveals that with the increased uptake of data services, the mobile web usage by Aircel subscribers exponentially increased more than 10x times as compared to trends just a few months ago.”
Over 28 % of Admob’s traffic in India comes from mobile users with smartphone handsets. Additionally Nokia is seen dominating the traffic generated for mobile web usage.
Mahesh says if more affordable handsets supporting mobile web access are introduced in the Indian market the uptake will certainly increase manifold.
On advertisers already hooked on to mobile web advertising:
Surprisingly even mobile service providers are making use of the medium in India. Mahesh says Reliance Mobile used the Admob advertising platform to target subscribers from rival networks during its GSM launch. Handset Manufacturers like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG are also using this medium to promote their handset launches.
Sector-wise, BFSI and Travel sectors are increasingly integrating the mobile medium with the overall marketing activities. The travel sector is in fact using mobile web to reach out to international tourists interested in visiting India. “With Admob’s reach within the US market where mobile web usage is very high particularly on iPhone, travel agencies in India can effectively target tourists and market their packages for India.”
Auto sector is also seen making use of the medium.
According to Mahesh, it is in publisher interest to make the most of their content and have a dedicated focus for the mobile subscribers as well as it allows them to earn additional revenues. “We have witnessed month-on-month growth of 30% for mobile web traffic on our platform in the last three months in India which is not only due to increased use of mobile web but also because more and more publishers are joining our network.”
Mahesh sounds unfazed by competition in the field as he feels that Admob’s technology driven and early mover advantage will help it to stand ahead of the competition.
On market in India for mobile web advertising:
As with other new services and business models associated with the mobile medium where it is practically difficult to quantify the market in terms of revenues, Mahesh says that it may happen that rural subscribers have their first time access to digital medium over the mobile medium. In such a scenario even the rural subscribers can be counted as the addressable market.”Globally Gartner predicts the mobile web advertising industry to touch $ 10-15 Billion in revenues by 2011. The Indian mobile web market is estimated at $5-10Million in 2009 with significant growth expected in 2010” concludes Mahesh.