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India’s Mobile Advertising Landscape Is Rich, But Not Without Hiccups

Advertising on mobile platforms has become the most popular method of reaching a targeted audience, with global ad spends said to reach $230 billion this year

Photo Credit : ShutterStock


Smartphones provide deep and accurate insights into a consumer’s mind. Today, advertisers rely heavily on that information in order to understand the best way to reach their target audience. As a result, advertising on mobile platforms has become the most popular method of reaching a targeted audience, with global ad spends said to reach $230 billion this year. As marketers rapidly shift focus to mobile ad spend, many challenges stand in their path.

Brand Safety: Brand safety is a big concern for organisations, as one incorrectly placed ad has the potential to tarnish a reputation that’s been built over the years. India accounts for 8.7 percent of global ad fraud expenditure which amounts to $1.63 billion USD, wherein 85 percent of digital ad fraud comes from mobile applications. There are various kinds of ad fraud that marketers must be aware of, like video autoplay, non-human traffic, and installation fraud, to name a few. Although there are no set ways through which Ad fraud can be detected and avoided, organisations can keep a check on fraudulent activities and keep their brand safe with technologies like ML, AI, and Programmatic advertising.

OTT: OTT platforms are fairly new to the Indian advertising space but have gained popularity very quickly. Brands have begun using OTT platforms to smartly integrate themselves into the content created by the platform. However, OTT too comes with its own set of challenges. Platforms that provide the option of skipping ads make it difficult for advertisers to fully deliver their content or message to the consumer. Ever reducing attention spans of consumers due to innumerable and engaging applications is making it harder for advertisers to grab the consumers’ attention. 

Users generate large volumes of data every day, which can be used by marketers to create campaigns with just enough touchpoints to leave a lasting impression in the consumers mind and limit it to that. Another way to connect with audiences is to create platform-specific content that is in sync with the genre of content available on said platform, which will help the ad blend in with the content already being viewed by the consumer, hence increasing its chances of reaching the desired audience. 

Voice Marketing: In a country with multi-lingual diversity, voice recognition and marketing will play a major role in connecting advertisers and consumers in a manner like never before. Voice recognition in search engines and other mobile applications has enabled the still unconnected population to digitise themselves. Voice marketing is an opportunity-rich space, especially for a culturally diverse market like India. The possible challenges that this space comes with are a heightened risk of fraudulent activities – a recorded voice could potentially cause trouble for a consumer when in the wrong hands, along with the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of any voice-enabled device. 

On the technological front, manufacturers and developers will have to focus on creating technologies that can understand and differentiate between different accents and dialects of their users in order to provide the best experience. Voice-enabled devices are in use, with many people already interacting with their phones and speakers for news updates, weather updates, directions, etc. Data generated through the use of these appliances can help marketers understand the various things consumers use voice commands for, therefore opening up channels of reaching consumers through voice marketing in the best manner. 

Gaming: The overnight sensational rise of PUBG in India revealed the advertising potential that gaming platforms carry for mobile marketers. Increasing sales of smartphones and digital connectivity across the nation have created pathways to access Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, but factors like exposure, development, language, etc. act as roadblocks. In a Tier 2/3 city, there isn’t much to engage the youth living in those areas, and mobile gaming provides the ‘excitement’ that is otherwise hard to come by. The number of mobile gaming users in India is expected to rise to 600 million by 2020, from the 200-300 million it currently stands at, presenting a huge new target group for mobile advertisers to tap into. 

Taking the example of PUBG forward, the integrated marketing campaign that was devised for the movie Uri by creating gameplay similar to the film on the gaming platform is one method for marketers to create a presence for themselves on gaming platforms. The target market is fresh, and marketers have the opportunity to really engage with their consumers via such platforms as they require the consumer to participate in what’s happening on their screens. Through gaming platforms, even advertisements have the potential to engage and interact with their consumer directly. 

Mobile marketing evolves at the same pace as technology and consumer habits, and marketers must keep up with the changes that take place in the latter. This evolution is happening now and it is happening fast. Margins of error are thin and brands who don’t utilise mobile platforms will lag behind. It is time to keep our competitive spirits at bay and come together on a regular basis to discuss these challenges and propose viable solutions. 

The global Mobile Marketing Association is one such body that has taken the lead to drive conversations in this area and is pushing hard to understand and address local challenges across key markets. Marketers from across brands, agencies, and publishers must realise that mobile is the only way forward and these bodies must come together as one to think of ways to overcome these hurdles and create innovative ways of connecting with consumers.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Moneka Khurana

The author is Country Head, Mobile Marketing Association(MMA) India

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