Interesting notes from IAMAI's 2nd Mobile Ad Conference, Mumbai - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Interesting notes from IAMAI's 2nd Mobile Ad Conference, Mumbai

This post is one week overdue, nevertheless, here it goes.

Most of us get irritated by the unsolicited SMS and voice calls that we get on our mobiles, trying to sell us something. We often vent our anger by shouting at the telemarketing lady or cursing the mobile company and brand for intruding our privacy and wasting our time.

While that’s about us, as consumers, mobile advertising as such is a whole new emerging industry, with heads of marketing companies, mobile operators and brand managers spending lots and lots of effort and time working on new strategies for Mobile advertising.

I attended a full day conference at Mumbai last week, called Mobile Advertising Conference, organized by IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India). We (myself along with two others- Vikrama and Sneha, live blogged the event. While complete coverage of the event can be found at IAMAI’s official blog, this post lists some interesting observations made during the conference.

  • Hardcore advertising segment is worth 10,000 crores for India of which online piece is 600-700 crores, With about 40-50 million mobile internet users, mobile advertising currently stands at 45-70 crores and growing fast.
  • There are 557 million mobile subscriber, but mobile ad industry is very small. Main hurdle is data capability of handsets. Only 30% of the market has data capable handset. 70% of market out of 420 million GSM subscriber are not addressable by means other than voice and SMS. Even among the 30% users having high end handsets, only 20-30% actually use the mobile internet and data services, this makes it less than 10% of the total market, making it one big element of disconnect.
  • For each call that we make, mobile operators preserve a database called CDR- Call Data Record. CDR will have about 43 fields and contains complete set of information such as no. called, balance before and after the call, call duration, location, type of call, date, time and so on. If this information becomes accessible to marketers, the amount of customization they can do to target right ads to right user, is huge…
  • Unlike TV or print medium, mobile is something we keep close to us all the time. Hence it makes much more personal and effective. While TV and print ads can be skipped, ads delivered to mobiles are often read.
  • There is severe lack of creativity in mobile advertising. We often come across interesting TV and print ads which we like and might share with others, but there’re hardly any mobile ads which we like and feel like forwarding. Because of this, most of the ads are treated as spam.
  • The option to give opt-in (wherein subscriber decides if he wishes to receive ads or not) can kill the industry. None of the mediums- TV, print, internet asks you if you’d like to see the ads. Then why so for mobile ads? (the counter argument goes like this- In TV or print, advertisements subsidise the production cost so that end user can pay very less for subscription. But in mobile, user is paying full amount for subscription and he shouldn’t be forced with ads)
  • Between 2000 and 2009, amount of ad inventory radio ad got grew by 4.5 times. Print ads grew only by 1.4 times, Television ads grew 12.5 times-mobile advertising has started from zero and has reached sound position.
  • Unlike print, tv or internet, mobile advertising is complex and involves multiple stakeholders. There’re operators/carriers, Advertisers (brands), Handset makers, Ad publishers (Agencies that run mobile ad campaigns-about 4000-6000 of them are active in India), consumers and enablers (those who build platforms and applications through which ads are served) play a crucial role. Who owns the customer is another challenging aspect.
  • In India, internet revolution is expected to come through mobiles and not PCs. This means further potential for mobile advertising…

As hundreds of executives spend thousands of man hours brainstorming how to make more efficient, targeted and successful mobile advertising campaigns, how do we, consumers, protect our interests and privacy? That obviously wasn’t part of the agenda…

The next IAMAI event will be the Marketing Conclave, scheduled on 29th April 2010, at Hotel Le Meridian, New Delhi. 


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