Chennai: Cellular users swamped by unsolicited promotional calls or messages may soon get paid to view ads on their phones, as advertisers seek out this growing media to pitch their campaigns.
Although the concept of mobile advertising is new in India, it is poised to become a hot media in the years to come, with corporates and ad-makers realising the enormous potential it offers.
One immediate factor that made mobile advertising one of the most happening spaces is the deep penetration of mobile subscription — with the numbers rising to near 200 million now from just 85 million in 2005.
Though the different players in its value chain such as carriers, content providers, advertisers and subscribers are yet to fully cash in on the potential of this new media, a couple of companies are already into this space. The services offered by them are on stand-alone basis as of now.
Chennai-based mobile software solutions provider, Mobile-Worx, has recently launched an operating platform — ZestADS — to facilitate advertising with permission from mobile users who are targeted through unsolicited messages.
Bangalore-based mGinger.com is another permission-based marketing firm.
Permission-based marketing or advertising through mobile is an attractive concept as it is a win-win situation for both advertisers and subscribers. Here advertisers as well as subscribers stand to gain as subscribers will receive only those ads which they prefer.
Besides, the subscribers get paid to read SMSes. While users may not be paid in cash, they could get to send free text messages in return for viewing ads.
Unlike India, mobile advertising is a different story in developed markets. Asif Ali, chief technology officer of Mobile-Worx, says this medium has gained much “more traction” in developed markets than in India because the advertising market is large there and online advertising is well-accepted.
However, it is yet to reach the critical mass even abroad. Pointing out that the concept of mobile advertising is not new, he said several companies have been running SMS campaigns for quite sometime.
“It (mobile advertising) offers the best of coverage (over 1 billion people worldwide). Besides, it ensures right targeting, that is right user, right time, right place and right message. So, the value is enormous, but like any other new medium, it will take its time for all value chain partners get comfortable with it.”
Mobile advertising will follow the same trend of its predecessors — Internet, electronic and print. The trend is that some content will become available free to users, some will be subsidised. In all cases, the advertiser will pay for the distribution costs and consumers will benefit.
An advertisement on the mobile could be a text, banner, picture or audio clip that has been tuned to fit the mobile screen. This platform can be used to advertise any kind of product or services.
However, it is ideal for time-sensitive products such as movie tickets, dinner and airline tickets, shopping rebates, taxi; and purchases that do not involve long interaction cycles (home buying, car purchases, etc.), he added.