Media Debate: Is 2012 really the year of mobile advertising?
08 May 2012
Global mobile advertising and marketing spend is expected to grow exponentially to $22.5bn in 2016, according to Berg Insight. And as mobile starts to become part of the media mix for advertisers, aided by consumers’ insatiable appetite for mobile media, is 2012 finally the year when popularity of the medium translates into big bucks? M&M Global asks experts from different parts of the world to share their views
“There are three things happening that confirm that mobile advertising has arrived in significant ways: consumer usage, the size of the mobile market, simplification of planning, buying and tracking. The ways that consumers use their devices to actively find, research, compare and buy define the opportunities for advertisers. According to Google, 79% of smartphone consumers use their phones to help with shopping, 70% use their smartphones while in a store, and 77% have contacted a business via mobile, with 61% calling and 59% visiting the local business. The mobile advertising market is already worth more than $3.3bn and research indicates that consumers pay attention to ads. But there’s one figure that outshines all others: Apple’s iPhone business alone is now bigger than Microsoft. That amounts to an enormous number of devices, and just as many opportunities for brands to engage with consumers.”
Eric Bader, president and chief strategy officer, Initiative Worldwide
Verdict: Mobile advertising is finally coming of age and it’s time to take advantage of its growing potential.
“In terms of population and potential, the mobile market in China is unsurprisingly huge, although smartphones are only just penetrating the market. Until now, most mobile communication has merely involved the broadcasting of simple messages or calls to action. Smartphone users today might be a minority, but they’re fast-growing and affluent. Already, in China’s largest three cities – Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou – consumers have taken the iPhone to their hearts, regularly using apps for fun and work. Before long, most agencies will see this potential, and their conformist attitudes to mobile marketing channels will change. They will learn how to integrate the use of smartphones into their marketing strategies and major campaigns. Agencies will invest in resources to harness existing technologies or create new ones that support dialogue and engagement with consumers. And those that don’t, will find clients going to those who do.”
Kevin Lee, executive creative director and partner, Leagas Delaney China
Verdict: China‘s conformist attitude to mobile advertising will change as the number of smartphones increases.
“The Indian mobile population is apparently 800 million, with penetration at an all-time high. While this is an impressive number, the mobile advertising industry faces many challenges. First, only a small percentage are smartphones. Mobile advertising has scale only in the most rudimentary form of SMS messages. Even here, the bulk of SMS vendors have been under an increasing cloud for spamming. To grow in India, mobile advertising may have to explore new forms of delivery. The Indian mobile market has offered some real surprises. When international experts dismissed pre-paid as a ‘gangster-only’ model of selling mobile services, India proved them wrong, with more than 90% of subscribers adopting the model. The real power of mobile advertising will be unleashed when smartphones gain bigger traction. As of now, 3G services have been a damp squib; even cricket and Bollywood content has failed to rope in big numbers. We will have to see what IPL 4 will have to offer.”
Ambi M G Parameswaran, chief executive, Draftfcb+Ulka
Verdict: 3G services have never really taken off in India, and this is holding back a potentially massive market.
“Marketers are accustomed to hearing that every year is the Year of the Mobile. Latin America is no exception and we are speaking at length about mobile in several new ways. Where marketers find themselves wanting to be first, the focus is switching to tablet-based internet use. In Brazil, tablets will soon account for half of non-computer internet traffic. Discussions are less often about advertising across mobile media sites, and more about richer, more interactive experiences for tablets, such as the iPad. This momentum is seen across Latin America. However, smartphones only represent 7% of penetration, and Brazilians largely use a pre-paid service to control spend. Brazil’s internet traffic from mobile devices is only 1% – lower than in other LatAm countries. We are not worried about creating the perfect mobile experience. There is simply more on the line when it comes to Brazil, for the country represents 70% of the e-commerce opportunity in our region.”
Rachel Reyes, regional director of interaction, LatAm, Mediacom
Verdict: Smartphone penetration in Brazil might be low, but consumers are ready for mobile e-commerce.