No one can deny we’re living in a mobile world. Whether consumers are using smartphones or tablets to read news, watch TV or films, play games, browse shopping sites, find their way around town (and nearby deals), mobile is increasingly competing with digital and TV for eyeballs, engagement and even sales. According to IAB Australia, mobile advertising more than doubled in Australia last year to $88.7 million, while video advertising grew 30 percent in the same period to $93 million. IAB Australia’s Director of Research, Gai Le Roy, stated, “While mobile is currently experiencing a surge, we expect it will settle into strong and sustained growth rates, just as general online advertising expenditure did in 2000 after an extraordinary period of growth.” What that tells us is that the exploding growth in mobile adoption and ad spend isn’t just limited to the U.S.; it’s happening in many other developing and less developed markets like Australia, India, China, Brazil, South Korea, and Turkey, to name a few.
In order to understand the frequency and favorability with which mobile consumers will view (and click on) mobile ads, it’s important to understand the varying cultural norms and mobile tendencies of each market. According to Nielsen’s recent Mobile Consumer: A Global Snapshot report, 78 percent of smartphone owners in South Korea say they receive ads at least once a day, and 94 percent receive ads at least once a week. In terms of seeing mobile ads on a daily basis, China comes in third (65%), followed by Brazil (62%), the UK (58%), Australia and the US (57%), Russia (55%), Italy (53%) and India (30%).
So what’s holding advertisers back from investing their advertising dollars and resources (both staff and creative) into mobile? How much revenue is falling through the cracks? A report published by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), in partnership with exchange4media, estimates the size of the current mobile advertising spend in India to be Rs 180 crore ($33 million). This is expected to increase by 40 per cent in 2013 and it’s believed that there are more than 1.2 million mobile internet users in India. If advertisers want to tap into the enormous revenue potential of mobile in the Indian market, they’ll need to do their due diligence and understand what devices and platforms are used most often by Indian consumers. As well as what types of information, services, products and ads will draw higher click-through rates, brand favorability and recall rates. Analyzing the data and tailoring mobile advertising campaigns to support that data is the only way to ensure campaign success.
Of course, a mobile campaign’s success can live or die by another factor – demographics. What percentage of smartphone adoption in a specific market is attributed to millenials or consumers above the age of 60? Are tablets the preferred device for consumers of a specific age range, race/ethnicity or household income? In South Korea, for example, smartphone penetration reached 51 percent of the entire population in 2012 – that’s up from 38 percent from the previous year. Knowing this data will be crucial in developing and designing the right mobile strategy, creative execution and metrics.
The lesson for brands and marketers here is that they need to observe and listen to how consumers in each market are using mobile devices and what matters to them, both from a content and advertising perspective. Otherwise, they’ll be launching mobile advertising campaigns blindly that will likely fall flat and fail to attract eyeballs, engagement and, most importantly, revenue.