In-app & native formats way forward for mobile advertising

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe has come out with a global study: Mobile Advertising Revenue 2014 – The state of mobile advertising around the world. As per the study mobile advertising has seen a 65% revenue growth to Euro 24 billion. Display advertising this year has moved ahead of search advertising, while percentage of message advertising has further reduced.

                   

In ad revenue terms too Display headed the table in the region with 48.6%, search 42.2% and messaging 9.2%.

APAC’s share in mobile advertising has marginally gone down in 2014 (36.5%) as compared to the year 2013 (38.9%).

Adgully.com spoke to mobile communication experts in India to understand whether the scenario in India is in sync with Asia Pacific findings.

To begin with, Industryexperts are positive that mobile ad spends in India would continue to grow. Anubhav Sharma, Head sales APAC, Nimbuzz emphasises, “Ad spends will continue to grow on mobile given that India is the fastest growing market even in terms of smart phones penetration and adoption of mobile internet. Given that Social & Messaging is the largest category in terms of traffic puller followed by Games it is not difficult to predict that in-app advertising is on the massive growth trend in comparison to search traffic and hence the resulting ad dollars.”

Experts agree that research findings are largely in sync with mobile advertising scenario in the country. Findings, as per them, are fine on a generic level. There is a decline in SMS based advertising in India too and a rise in other formats and this trend will continue with the increase in affordable data connectivity.Gopa Kumar, Vice President, Isobar states,  “These findings would be more or less in line for India as well, both Display and Search will be very close in terms of shares in overall advertising pie. Messaging as a format is losing its importance and more and more advertisers are looking for various other formats primarily in display where they can use bigger format and more engaging formats on Mobile.”

As for the ad formats that have delivered well for India and have a large future potential, experts’ perspectives are varied and clearly bring out the fact that Indian market indeed offers far larger opportunities. The same can be attributed to India’s massive size, varied demographics and massive smartphone usage.

Tanmay Mohanty, Managing Director at Performics, Resultrix India, says, “As for which formats work well, call extension on search definitely works as  a lot of advertisers use this to fuel their call centres especially if their sites are not mobile friendly enough or the final step is offline. These will continue to drive performance.However I expect deep linking to applications and app engagement based formats to pick up. The next obvious choice is videos but these need to be rendered in short clips and low bandwidth ready formats as data speed continues to be an issue.” 

Meera Chopra, VP & Global Head - Ad Sales, Vuclip, meanwhile, believes that video communication is the most impactful.Her company for one has seen high growth, and anticipates even bigger numbers in times to come. She says, “On a platform level, video has done phenomenally well for us. When we started advertising, there were 10-15 brandsthat we worked with. Today, in a single quarter, we work with 100 plus brands and majority of them are doing video advertising. Native advertising has also done really well and then comes content advertising. But when we look at performance campaigns, what does well is a standard banner play which urges the users to go take an action on their brands.”

And then of course we have Anubhav Sharma who believes that Indians prefer to skip video ads, so even if video consumption is high, people actually might not be watching the ads. He explains, “At a very broad level, we may be tempted to say video,    but I have a disconnect there. Users in India currently collectively are paying millions in data charges literally to skip video ads on their handheld devices.I am more convinced and bullish on growth of native formats that are easy on data or are more user friendly like brand stickers, brand chats, fixed sponsorships followed by regular display to include rich media executions that are user initiated.” He adds,“On our award winning ad tech platform Ngage which now serves almost 1.2 billion verified impressions across 1200 publishers, we have observed higher post click engagements on soft native formats and regular display than on any other implementation. I am discounting the volume and revenue difference between formats while making my earlier statement because potentially millions of skipped ad sold on CPM could still fetch more revenue than say regular display sold on CPC.”

Meanwhile Gopa Kumar believes that Display and Mobile Search ads would continue to perform neck-to-neck. However, he believes that app install ads are catalysts of bringing in biggest revenues for the advertisers. He expresses, “Display & Mobile Search have their own importance in the mix and are rightly used across categories in India. Last year as well as most part of this year has been dominated by App install ads primarily led by e-commerce / app based brands. More and more conventional brands are now coming to the fore for objectives like branding, lead generation by use of display banners and video. Another format which is popular is Native Ads, for which we are seeing widespread adoption by brands.”

While talking of the biggest revenue generating mobile ad formats, Anubhav Sharma says, “In terms of advertising, as revenue stream, games clearly are the biggest platform, taking 24% of all revenues, compared to music & video category put together at 25%, while 16.56% is from social media category.”

As for search based advertising losing its sheen in times to come, experts believe that search would continue to be a powerful advertising platform in India for quite some time. Tanmay Mohanty states, “While search and mobile search will continue to dominate, I don't believe search will be synonymous with Google any more. Browser based searches will see competition from in- app searches. The point of discovery will move away from search engines into applications.”

Meera Chopra too agrees, “Mobile becomes the discovery platform for a lot of people right from content discovery to prior discovery to technology to news. Search will be the platform which will expose the people to content product which is available. It will go to first access point of discovery so I don’t think it is going to come down in any which way.”

Brand and marketers, the experts suggest, should look at successfully implementing integrated mobile experiences which will combine variety of marketing formats such as video advertising, reward formats, search, apps and retargeting.

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