Tapping Mobile – the largest digital marketing playground: Sachin Karweer

Sachin Karweer, Business Head – Hinduja Global Solutions Interactive, writes on the size of mobile marketing, and trends for the future. 

A very tech-savvy businessman once said to me, “It isn’t my wife whom I look at last thing before going to sleep or first thing after waking up in the morning – it’s my mobile.” Jokes and marriage advice aside, that quite succinctly summarizes our current landscape when it comes to our smart palm-filling friends and confidantes. Because, according to the Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey - 2016, 61 per cent look at their devices in less than 5 minutes after waking up, 88 per cent take less than 30 minutes and 96 per cent take about less than an hour. 74 per cent respondents look into their mobile phones about 15 minutes before preparing to sleep. 

We live in a world where our devices are on-the-go desktops, laptops, personal assistants, calendars, on-video and music players, banks, shopping malls, game controllers, encyclopaedias, traffic guides and cameras and blogs plus search masters  and so much more – all rolled into one. Oh, and phones and message devices too. It’s the genie that brings the world right into our palms and pockets. 

Where the crowds congregate, the marketer will follow. Little wonder then, that all brands are moving into mobile marketing to connect with their desired customers. 

Mobile has emerged as the third largest advertising medium in India and it’s on a steep rise. 41 per cent of the world’s population will be using a smartphone by 2020. That’s about 2.87 billion people – up from an already staggering 2.32 billion today. 

With 2018 already on the horizon, now is a good time to keep up with what’s on the cards for mobile marketers and consumers alike. 

Google to put the focus on mobile 

Google has announced a mobile-first algorithm to be launched in the first half of 2018. This will primarily index mobile content to decide how to rank its results. This is another step of many Google is taking towards its long-term goal of moving in the direction of a mobile-first search index. There won’t be any ‘mobile-friendly’ adjustment just for mobile users. This means that mobile ads are going to be considered their own category in Google’s rankings. 

Lion’s share of Rs 7,300 crore digital ad spends on mobile 

Mobile advertising spends are expected to grow to Rs 10,000 crore by the end of 2018. India has already crossed the 1 billion mobile connections mark some time back, and is the fastest growing mobile market. At present, rural markets account for 60 per cent of the total new mobile subscription growth in India. According to a report by Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) along with GroupM, India will be growing faster at the rate of 15 per cent, than the global average of 5 per cent to reach 1.2 billion mobile subscribers by 2020 - adding a total of 165 million new mobile subscriptions during this term. 

Brand marketers are increasing their ad spending on mobile, especially in rural media-dark areas to tap into this growing consumer base. Advertising spending on mobile phones is more than half the estimated Rs 7,300 crore ad spend on digital media. 

Meanwhile, desktop is slowly but surely on a decline as desktop advertising is expected to decrease at the rate of 6 per cent in 2018. After all, mobiles are a norm, with over 87 per cent of internet users using mobile devices to access the web on a regular basis. 

It is a common misconception that features seen on mobile websites and apps are modifications of their desktop versions, as opposed to being created purely for a mobile experience. However, statistics like the ones above tell the real story. 

Moment of transformation 

For mobile marketing, a moment of transformation is at hand. Keeping in mind that there are already around 800 million mobile-only internet users, the distribution of mobiles is rapidly increasing. 

Mobile marketing does not only mean delivering a mobile user experience. It is also necessary to keep in mind the location of the customer and adjust the communication dynamically according to the information gained. Mobile marketing also means location-based marketing. 

Trends that will lead the way in 2018 

There are many trends we have already heard of or seen in the current market, but here are the top 3 cutting-edge mobile marketing trends that one can foresee will lead the way in 2018: 

Micro-Moments Create The Path Ahead
Mobile devices have proven their influence when it comes to customer interaction and engagement with brands. The concept of ‘micro-moments’ has driven the shift to mobile and stimulate the impulse of potential consumers to reach out for their devices. 

Micro-moments are essentially mobile-focussed predefined user paths created to lead the customer to conversion. These paths often begin from a simple Google search and require organising keyword research which marketing pros will definitely appreciate. 

Whenever a customer has a question or a doubt, an astounding 96 per cent of users reach for their mobiles to research at that very moment. Are you, as a brand, prepared for this split moment and do you do everything you can to ensure the customer picks your product? 

Only successful brands anticipate and address the exact micro-moment needs by providing the correct information at the right time to a potential customer in need. 

Reality Goes Mobile with Live Streaming
Live streaming is becoming a bigger trend with every passing day. Brands are increasingly leveraging this popular platform to engage with their target audience with the help of influencers and personalities, to name a few, thus bringing them closer to the direct consumer. 

HomeShop18 optimises their social platforms by live streaming their shows, launches and other videos with the help of YouTube and Facebook, increasing engagement with their key customer base. International fashion house, Marc Jacobs, broadcasts live Q&As after a fashion show. These are just a few ways in which brands use live streaming, revealing that smart money rests on mobile marketing. 

Mobile search and optimisation should be the top priority among marketers in 2018 and beyond. One-third of all digital content consumed is now video. Video posts reach a greater organic reach than other posts and generate 1200 per cent more shares than text and images combined. This is a powerful statistic. What’s even more empowering is that over half of video content is viewed on mobile

Geo, Local, and Hyperlocal Hit the Spot
Customers are now searching with geo-intent. This makes hyper-local targeting prevalent and relevant to today’s market, so much so that Google is refining its results in response to this trend. This increased attention on geo-local results can be attributed to the explosive growth of mobile adoption. 

A recent Google study revealed that 76 per cent of people who search on their mobile devices for something nearby visit the business within a day. And over a third of these searches usually end in a purchase. Dell India recently targeted in-store shoppers by going hyper-local with the help of strategic search and Facebook targeting, thus generating leads and boosted sales. 

In the coming year, marketers will turn to geo-conquesting – targeting ads around competitor locations to sell their products and services. 

Final Thoughts 

We are excited to see how the top global and Indian companies are prepping for mobile marketing in 2018. comScore has reported that 69 per cent of ‘digital media time is spent on mobile. If you wish to stay ahead of the curve, it is wise to invest and concentrate your resources on mobile marketing and in keeping pace with the latest trends. 

In an industry susceptible to change, a brand cannot afford to be late or idle. Making informed decisions and grabbing opportunities when they arise is imperative for a brand to succeed. 

In light of the latest happenings, the role of events that bring together marketing experts with brands, services and service providers, encouraging their interaction, are the need of the hour. The MOBEXX Awards are one such platform dedicated to celebrating and supporting Indian innovators and catalysers in the digital age. Stay ahead of the game by participating in events that give you an edge. 

Knowing that mobile devices are arguably the closest you can get to the consumer and every transaction can be completed with a single click, swipe, tap or shake – it is necessary to get the science of mobile marketing right to win your customer over. 

(The author is Business Head of the Digital Marketing and Interactive Services arm of the $500 million Hinduja Global Solutions. He can be reached at Sachin@hgsinteractive.com)


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