M-commerce, mobile ads moving to the mainstream ladder: Shubhodip Pal

A mobile phone is a host of connection opportunities; discovery and participation in conversations take place on the mobile. 

The world we knew has drastically changed. Technology is paving the way in everything that the consumer uses today, to make it better and more effective. And leading this change are the mobile phones, which are also projected as the greatest mediums of change. They have to, as a mobile phone not only impacts our social lives, but almost every decision that we as consumers are making today. It is acting as a connecting platform for opportunities, because the discovery and participation is all taking place on this screen, called the Mobile. 

Mobiles today are thus becoming the heart of communication and marketing, where companies are using them to leverage their reach and target consumer-specific demands. 

But, what does it mean to be mobile? 

It should basically serve as a purpose for reaching consumers in real time, wherever they are, at any time, any place, with messages that are relevant to them, based on time, place, and space. It is that one thing which is taking centrestage. If we talk about the consumption rate, the whole arena of utilising data and content has taken a new shape. There has been a huge growth for visual/ video content which has emerged from platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. 

To draw a larger perspective, as per a Deloitte Study on Technology, Media and Telecommunications, in terms of communication, around 40 million messages and about 70,000 messages are processed on WhatsApp every minute. From a social communications standpoint, every 60 seconds, around 3 million shares on Facebook and 18,000 matches on Tinder take place. There’s also content utilisation – consumers are watching more than 69,000 hours of video on Netflix and uploading around 56,000 photos on Instagram. These staggering numbers are no hoax, but an indication of how big and relevant mobile is in today’s time and age. 

Mobile space is accelerating the communication network 

Mobile is accelerating the network as well as defining the evolution of communication as we know it, while generating a lot of data. Take India, for example, from an overall population of 1,336 million, there are about 1,040 million mobile subscribers, out of which 426 million are monthly active Internet users and 371 mobile Internet users. In terms of smartphone users, there are about 210 million active users who consume about 40 per cent video content at 2.7 Mbps average speed for 11 hours. As per the data, we can safely conclude that internet consumption is rising and mobile internet by 2020 will become the core of Indian lifestyle. 

For marketers, the opportunity is to utilise the exponential amount of data to drive growth and create touch points for consumers by creating relevant and useful content that consumers like. However, globally more than 33 per cent of programmatic mobile traffic is bogus. Therefore, in this changing dynamic, it is a duty of the marketer to ensure that the fraudulent data is restricted. The only way of addressing this is by adopting better analytics and transparent ways that help establish consumers’ trust and further curb these forgeries. Moreover, a revamped approach or strategy can also add to build a bridge of trust between consumers and the brand. Understanding consumer behaviour, such as what are their favourite websites, how many times they browse, how many clicks and shares the particular content receives, etc., will give the better results and ROI. 

The handheld is the changing face of retail 

A phone may be sold at a store, but a lot of consumers are now purchasing the phone by using the phone itself. Why only a smartphone, everything that a user is buying or even researching today is being made easier and accessible through the ubiquitous mobile phone. In other words, M-commerce is helping retailers reach their audiences and proliferate their business. For instance, stores now have their own mobile POS, wherein the consumers can easily make a payment connecting their cards. Contributing further to the Digital India initiative, brands have digitally revolutionised and replaced the physical menu card with mobile phones through which the customer can order their preference via placing an order on mobile phones from their table. 

There are other assets like hyper-local targeting, digital vouchers provided by the merchants on the device, which are simplifying the life of a consumer. Data suggests that around 53 per cent prefer unique in-store experience over online/ mobile shopping, whereas 57 per cent are more likely to buy if they got an in-store mobile coupon. Therefore, giving redeem points and loyalty vouchers to the customers actually supports the brand in capitalising on the investments. 

Native ads & content represent a shift in the mobile advertising landscape 

Native advertisement and value added services also form a critical part of the M-commerce universe. It is not always about hardware, but a confluence of hardware and software capabilities that can be leveraged to give a holistic mobile experience. Native apps and VAS can help get more customised feedback that gives brands a view on consumer habits, which further helps them drive relevant content for the user base. To cite an example, while designing AROUND, an intelligent assistant to the users, we realised that the screen is the biggest asset, with consumers spending more than 70 per cent of their time on it. AROUND is an effort to smartly integrate multiple functions into the OS layer and provide a native experience. It is also designed to smartly pull up information from apps and web and provide contextual recommendation of content and actions, saving a user time and effort to switch between a plethora of apps. It also analyses user behaviour with core analytics to present a personalised experience with right information. 

Mobile is a host of everything 

The mobile phone today has an-all-in-one purpose, because it isn’t an option, but an imperative pre-requisite in everyone’s lives. Right strategy and platform would only source positive results. Just as there needs to be a visual medium for a visual campaign, with mobile becoming the centre piece of every conversation, it is important that brands start thinking mobile first strategy. 

Bringing it all together 

As the mobile phone gives access to a user’s life – such as, what they do, where they go, their relationship status, what do they claim to like, what do they like – the insights gained would help marketers understand customers’ behaviour accurately. Thus, the right data, the right strategy, creatives and plan at the right time would lead the brand to the path of success and help them achieve great ROI. 

(Shubhodip Pal is Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer at Micromax Informatics Ltd.)


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