Lance Johnson, VP, Business Development, North AmericaThe smartphone market is growing at a staggering rate & emerging markets are the driving force behind it. With this pace, emerging markets are set to connect the next billion consumers, way ahead of the developed markets. To achieve this feat, developers & marketers alike will need to adopt a new focus on global strategy.

Emerging markets may be the easiest place to start but they exhibit a few distinctive characteristics that stand in stark contrast to mature, developed markets. For instance, 80% of subscribers in emerging markets are prepaid users and mobile penetration rates vastly exceed credit card penetration rates. Here a a few tips in line with the existing scenario:

Quick insights for mobile ads in a global environment:
1. Engaging with ads has emerged as a de facto currency used to pay bills and buy goods
2. Developers from emerging markets are able to maximize their mobile advertising revenue by accessing global RTB demand inventory
3. Mobile developers are collaborating with Telcos and plug into their billing system so that users can purchase from the app store utilizing their prepaid or post-paid mobile accounts

Incentivize your users to watch ads:
The reward system always works! It is the best practice to allow consumers to top up their prepaid mobile account in exchange for engaging with ads, downloading apps and other actions, advertisers engage and cultivate brand loyalty among users by rewarding them for desired actions.

This gives advertisers to engage users like never before by rewarding them through impactful advertising. In effect, mobile airtime has emerged as a de facto currency used to pay bills and buy goods and services in emerging markets.

Maximizing ROI from RTB:
In emerging markets, supply and demand for ad space is always a challenge, leading to ad inventory being sold at the wrong price. This is exactly where Real Time Bidding comes in to play. RTB provides an optimal solution by providing advertisers a massive, data augmented reach while allowing them to selectively target and bid for specific clusters of audience. Even with minimal to no understanding of the RTB platform, advertisers can gain access to high volumes of rich media inventory through real-time, programmatic buying. Along with that, the developers can also maximize their revenue through Mobile Advertising by auctioning each ad request to the highest bidder through access to global RTB demand inventory. It is indeed a win-win proposition for everyone.

Maximizing monetization strategies by mobile ad developers:
GDP per capita & low credit card penetration in emerging markets means that ‘in-app purchase’ via OEM app stores cannot be the sole viable monetization model. This is seriously in contrast with the scenario in developed markets. To overcome this fundamental challenge, mobile developers are collaborating with Telcos and plug into their billing system so that users can purchase from the app store utilizing their prepaid or post-paid mobile accounts. Mobile developers in emerging markets are utilizing a varied “freemium” monetization model through micro-transactions such as Try & Buy, Pay per Play and Subscriptions. This unique blend of monetization garners extensive reach & revenues for the developer.

To exploit the ever growing opportunities of any market, one needs to identify the right context, content, and business model of that region. By getting all these parameters right, innovative advertisers and developers will reach consumers across emerging markets, winning the next billion mobile subscribers in 2014 and beyond.

The author is Lance Johnson, Vice President – Business Development, North America. The original article appeared in Mobile Marketing Watch

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