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Dippak Khurana: Over the past year, Mobile has grown as a preferred medium for advertising

Our CEO & Co – Founder Dippak Khurana recently shared his insights with Digital Market Asia on the trends and challenges that will impact Mobile Advertising in the coming year.

Here are the excerpts:

Vserv-DippakHow have you seen things change in the last five years in the digital marketing space?

The global digital advertising market has picked up tremendous pace over the last few years. Mobile advertising today, is a vital part of the digital advertising ecosystem, and is currently one of the fastest growing mediums. Mobile is the seventh mass media and provides users in many emerging markets their first experience of the internet. As a result, India and other emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa are pegged amongst the fastest growing mobile advertising markets globally. In India, especially by the end of 2013 there will be 200 million mobile internet users with 75 percent plus using Mobile Internet enabled feature phones. Today, the same consumer who spent majority of his time on his desktop has migrated to his mobile device and new users are directly experiencing the Internet on mobile for the first time. Marketers will have to quickly adapt to these changing user habits if they want to see results. With mobile becoming the primary screen of choice for consumers in emerging markets, it will become increasingly paramount for brands to have a more focussed and targeted approach in allocating their digital media spends.

What are the key developments that will impact the mobile advertising segment?

Over the past year, Mobile has grown as a preferred medium for Advertising, offering unparalleled reach and benefits over other mediums. The medium is a constantly evolving terrain and here are some key trends that I believe will rule Mobile Advertising in 2013:

  • Smartphone Advertising will evolve to Smart Advertising – Advertisers will have to invest time evaluating the mobile habits and behaviour patterns of users to create smart campaigns that will connect with consumers, irrespective of the mobile platform they use rather than focussing only on smartphones.
  • Developers will blend In-App purchases with Ad based revenues in parallel – With an increasing number of app users coming from emerging markets, developers will have to take urgent action to monetize their app user base by plugging into telco-billing for micro-transactions and use powerful Mobile Advertising solutions.
  • Consumer’s mobile lifestyle will allow Brands to converge advertising, distribution & transactions – In 2013; brands will have the opportunity to leverage the Mobile for all the 4Ps of Marketing. Combined with the micro transaction capability of the mobile, m-coupons will alter the pricing paradigm with hyper-segmented offers. This will eventually lead to a blurring of lines between advertising, distribution and transaction.

What will be the challenges?

For any ecosystem as it grows and evolves, challenges will emerge which is also the case with mobile. Whether it is the advertising agency or the marketers, they have to identify the numerous possibilities on this medium and understand the ecosystem in a short span of time. Some key questions which need to be answered include how fast can marketers learn and leverage this medium? Are brands ready to set aside dedicated resources to tackle the opportunities presented on this medium? The sooner brands address these questions the faster they will see results on mobile.

Which market or location you see growing the fastest for you and why?

As a network we have witnessed tremendous growth, especially in South East Asia, where our Ad requests have grown six times in less than a year of setting up our on ground presence. Given our focus, we are seeing similar traction across emerging markets such as Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Eastern Europe. When we started, a major portion of revenues came from India; today about 65 percent of our revenues comes from across emerging markets outside of India. Our products are built keeping the emerging market mobile ecosystem in mind. With mobile, rapidly becoming the primary screen of choice in these markets we are in a great position to leverage this trend.

What is your take on mobile media marketing in India? What are the trends driving it here?

India is a tremendous market for mobile advertising. One of the key reasons for the mobile advertising wave in India is that most consumers are very active mobile internet users. Mobile Internet user base in India is fast approaching the 200 million mark. Around 40% of all mobile internet users in India have mobile as their only internet access point. Their first internet experience is on mobile due to very low PC broadband penetration. In India, this revolution is being driven by the proliferation of Mobile Apps which are driving the Mobile ecosystem, similar to how websites powered desktop internet. Brands are fast coming up with apps because mobile apps being visually rich provide a far more immersive and engaging experience in addition to addressing the language barrier issue which is critical for reaching a pan-Indian audience. As the mobile medium grows, brands are increasingly showing interest in our differentiated mobile media offerings that offers massive reach, unique ad placement, and impactful ad formats which augurs well for us and the mobile advertising industry as a whole.

How did you come up with your solutions?

Emerging markets have very different and unique mobile ecosystems. When we started the company we clearly saw the stagnation of the mobile internet ecosystem in these markets and began our journey of creating a solution. We wanted to become the developer’s best friend – by constantly creating easy to use, yet powerful tools that simplify his life and improve his App monetization. This approach helped us build relationships with developers and get access to the best global inventory. As pioneers in the space, we had experienced the complications that developers faced. Drawing from our experience, we decided to create AppWrapper – a technology that was designed to be the world’s simplest App monetization platform.

What makes AppWrapper and AudiencePro unique solution?

We are the first Mobile Ad Network in the world to come up with two game changing products that have revolutionized mobile advertising and enabled the growth of the entire mobile ecosystem. AppWrapperlaunched in April 2010, solves the monetization problems of the developer ecosystem.  AudiencePro launched in Jan 2013, enables advertisers reach their target audience with highly relevant ads. The AppWrapper is unique in its value proposition as it enabled comprehensive monetization including both ad and micro transactions across platforms. The hallmark of this technology is its simplicity; you don’t need to touch a single line of code. Most importantly, it is available to developers for free.

Mobile Advertising while being super targeted, still lacks key targeting parameters required by brands like demographics and spending power. While this data exists with different entities across the ecosystem, it is fragmented and therefore unusable in a scalable manner. Our AudiencePro platform bridges this gap. By enabling audience profiling in a scalable manner through telco integration and blending it with existing Ad Network parameters, it has enabled advertisers to target consumers holistically using demographics, spending power, network usage, location, content relevance and device specific data. We are already working towards rolling out the AudiencePro platform with other partners across the globe.

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