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Why brands should focus on mobile advertising

One thing that emerged from ad:tech 2013, an annual international conference on digital marketing, was about the need for advertisers to up the ante on mobile advertising.

Dearton Thomas Hector | March 4, 2013 | Updated 13:55 IST

One thing that emerged from ad:tech 2013, an annual international conference on digital marketing, was about the need for advertisers to up the ante on mobile advertising. This year's edition was held on February 21 and 22 in Gurgaon.

The event had a lot of buzz around mobile advertising, including innovations in this field. The participants included many people from upcoming mobile marketing firms such as VServ.mobi and AdNear, who emphasised the importance of mobile advertising in the near future.

Vuclip, a video site similar to You Tube and a Silicon Valley-based start-up, founded by an Indian and now said to be the world's largest independent mobile video and media company, announced the launch of its new advertising unit, Vuclip Slide2Engage, at the event.

When a campaign is active, the Vuclip Slide2Engage unit appears immediately when users visit the Vuclip mobile browser homepage. The brand message or an ad appears on the screen for up to ten seconds, allowing time for the message to be read before directing the user to the Vuclip home page. Thus, the advertisers have enough time to get across the message to the target consumer.

This new advertising solution from Vuclip facilitates increased customer interaction with advertisers. "Anytime you get an end user to engage with an ad unit, you increase both their brand recall and the click-through rate," said Vinod Thadani, COO, Madhouse India, a mobile marketing company.

It's a rare feat to come across a series D round (fourth round) of funding in India. Vuclip, which hosts more than 25 million video clips, raised $13 million last year from SingTel, NEA and Jafco.

Nickhil Jakatdar, the company's co-founder, is a graduate from University of Pune in Maharashtra, India. He later went to the US for his Masters and PhD.

Earlier this month, Vuclip acquired Indo-Canadian start-up Jigsee, an app platform created specifically to let content publishers create their own mobile video apps. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but to date, Vuclip has raised some $35 million in funding, including the $13 million Series D round.

AdNear, another Indian-founded mobile advertising firm, recently raised Rs 35 crore through its first round of funding from private equity companies Sequoia Capital and Canaan Partners to expand its operations in the Asia−Pacific region.

A report published by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), in partnership with exchange4media, estimates the size of the current mobile advertising spend in India at Rs 180 crore ($33 million). This is expected to increase by 40 per cent in 2013.

According to the report, mobile advertising accounts for 10 percent of the overall digital advertising spend in India.  

MMA believes that there are more than 1.2 million mobile internet users in India. Many advertisers are yet to explore the medium. Digital advertising accounts for 5-7 per cent of the overall advertising pie in India, which is pegged at Rs 27,000- Rs 28,000 crore.

A Google study of YouTube usage in India reveals major opportunities for brand advertisers. The online survey of more than 2,000 people found that the video sharing website's growth is powered by the youth. More than 70 per cent of YouTube's viewers in India are under the age of 35, while 72 per cent have a college or higher degree. Mouthwatering for advertisers.

For brands, it seems, the time to act is now.

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