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Last updated: 28 Oct, 2015  

Role of Mobile in Driving Powerful Ad Campaigns

NewsVoir | 27 Oct, 2015
Mobile devices have come a long way since they made their initial appearance in the consumer space about two decades back, from luxury to public fancy to necessity to inextricable. With the exception of mobility today’s mobile phone bears hardly any resemblance with its early ancestors in terms of utility, form factor, technology or processing capabilities. In fact the usage of the term ‘phone’ is a kind of misnomer as most consumers’ usage of the device as mode of telephonic communication would constitute only a small percentage of its overall usage.


With the advent of smartphones and progress of mobile internet in terms of both speed and penetration, mobile has got entwined with each and every activity of a person’s life from watching movie to getting a cab to ordering food, cutting across social and economic spectrums.


A brief peek at the data would reveal the enormity of the market. India has close to a BILLION mobile subscribers (981 Million as of Q2 2015, to be more precise) compared to 170 million TV households and 306 million TV sets. India has more than 220 million mobile internet users and more than 200 million smart phones; this figure is projected to grow to more than 650 million by the end of 2019. On the other hand, 145 million individuals have access to cable/satellite TV which includes 80 million DTH subscribers. An Indian smartphone user on an average spends close to three hours on his mobile devices daily.


With these facts we can put to rest any doubts regarding eyeballs on mobile devices. But the moment we shift our focus towards the ad spend pattern, we are confronted with an altogether different scenario that doesn’t bear even a distant correlation with the above numbers. Digital contributes to less than 10% of total ad spends, of which less than 20% goes towards mobile. That is a startling mismatch between the space mobile holds in consumer mind vis-a-vis that of marketers.


Although the direction of activities are towards closing that gap but 1) its still a enormous distance to cover and 2) most of it is being done by the new age tech companies like various e-retail player, entertainment players (which is the only sector where at least a few traditional biggies are attempting to gain ground in this relatively new medium), mobile banking companies, food delivery services, mobile gaming, etc.


We are yet to see traditional companies in the same verticals be it retail, or FMCG or FMCD or Banks incorporating mobile in a big way in their marketing strategies apart from some campaigns that are far and few.


A few reasons for this huge gap of a consumer’s time digital medium consumes and how much is spent both in terms of money and effort to reach these consumers through the medium are 1) It is not only relatively new but also fast changing – product life cycles are much smaller and the dynamics changes every year if not every quarter 2) Mobile advertisement (in terms of search or display) is primarily a performance medium unlike most traditional mediums which are primarily branding in nature 3) Multiple channels – advertisers can reach customers through app, mobile web, SMS, voice, missed call, short code etc., and then there are numerous subdivisions within those. While on one hand each of these channels has its own utility and can be used to complement not only each other but also traditional mediums in a well planned campaign, on the other it can be very confusing and overuse or wrong use might lead to spamming. 4) Data – this is a medium with live data. Data and analytics is at the heart of this medium. The timely and proper use of the analytics can increase the effect of any campaign multifold. Here, the analytics to action time can’t be weeks or months but hours and days.


Marketing campaigns on mobile like on any medium has three broad components:


a. Content – For TV it’s the 30 sec – 1 min video clips that either at times makes us smile and at times make us flinch. For print it’s those rectangular information filled creative. For traditional media, these are the contents that constitute the branding component that’s used to either make a connect with the audience or impart wisdom.


But in the case of mobile campaigns it’s very important to distinguish between content that contributes to brand building and content that is for advertisement (search or display), other than certain rich media interactive campaigns. In most cases the primary purpose of search and display advertisement is to distribute the end content (app, mobile web etc), which makes mobile advertisement primarily a performance medium. Hence the content that’s used for banner or interstellar are the advertisement/distribution part of the content. The content components that should be used to make a connect with the customer are the various mobile properties – apps, mobile web, IVR etc.


In one of the successful endeavors, Nivea did a mobile campaign for its sun kid’s product in Rio de Janeiro to convey the message of protection. As a part of this campaign consumers needed to download an app, which is synched with a tear-up bracelet tied to their kid’s wrist. Whenever their kids ventured off beyond a certain distance on the beach an alarm would be sent off through the app. Every 8 out of 10 people impacted with the ad downloaded the app.


Marriot promoted an app that can be used by customers to avail each and every service of Marriot. In case the customer isn’t staying at Marriot they can use it to avail various exclusive Starbucks offer, which in turn increases the utility of the app for the target audience beyond just Marriot services.


These Apps or Web or IVR properties if planned properly keeping the consumer needs in mind would engage the consumer many times more than any other form of ad both in terms of time the consumer spends on them and the depth of connect they feel.


Also important is which mobile channels(APP, Web, IVR, SMS, Shortcode etc.) to use and where. Each of these channels has its own specific utilities. To cite a few, SMS is a medium that works the best for pushing information to an existing subscriber and not blind promotions; APP comes into picture when the property has frequent utility for the consumer; IVR is the most useful for rural or sub urban areas, people on the move or for taking certain inputs.


The content strategy involving consumer interaction lies at the core of any mobile campaign.


b. Distribution–This is where the various search, display and social channels come into play. Targeting is an important component of distribution. It goes without saying the better the targeting; more is the efficiency of a campaign. Targeting in case of mobile has multiple parameters and hence needs to be very dynamic. It needs to be constantly experimented with and analyzed. Budget needs to shift towards targets that are creating more value compared to others. It is also important to allocate spends amongst various search, display and distribution channels depending on the objective of the campaign, the target segment and also the content strategy. One important factor is also the cost of various channels.


c. Feedback – While this might be a minor component for other mediums, at least for the duration of the campaign, this is the most important component of any digital, especially mobile campaigns. Mobile is an interactive medium where numerous data points are captured every second. It is very important to have relevant analytics platforms and experienced manpower in place to be able to collate, analyze and take action or make corrections on a real-time basis. This is where technology plays the crucial role. The more automated the platform is in terms of analyzing data and algorithm-riven feedback loops, the better would be the results.


We need to keep in mind mobile is not only an omnipresent and ever-growing medium of communication but also the only interactive and real-time measurable platform for marketing activities. Hence properly planned incorporation of mobile marketing strategy is of paramount importance for any powerful and complete marketing campaign.


The article is written by Upal Pradhan, Managing Director, Kratos.



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