Rajiv Hiranandani, Co-Founder & Country Head for Mobile2Win sees great opportunity in mobile marketing. The company is expanding their offerings to include banner advertising on WAP portals, advergaming, in-game advertising and game wrap-around ads, a time when one has seen two recent innovations around SMS based mobile advertising – mginger and 160by2. I had a fairly broad-ranging conversation with Hiranandani on mobile marketing and its impact on content:
Is there a large enough WAP market for you to focus on banner advertising and game related advertising?
Of around 60 million handsets in use, around 15-16 million are CDMA with access to premium content. 7-9 million GSM handsets are GPRS enabled, and 40 percent (3-3.5 million) of these use operator WAP sites. So thats around 18-20 million potential targets for WAP based advertising. The situation with WAP is similar to that of Internet advertising in 1999-2000. The 14-25 year old age group is on WAP, and even the 10-11 year olds are now coming on to the mobile platform.
What kind of models will we see emerging in mobile advertising? What about banner blindness?
WAP advertising will follow the same route – from fixed display to CPM (cost per impression), to CPC (cost per click) and finally CPL (cost per lead). So far, on WAP sites we’re seeing as high as 3.5 to 4.5 percent, as opposed to 2-3 percent on Internet. The screen size is small and banners require optimization. The other opportunity is to have brand zones, which links to a WAP portal.
So is it going to be push based advertising? What about the operators?
It’s going to be a combination of push and pull: currently mobile marketing in India is short code driven. It’s a pull based campaign, using TVCs and Print. Say Coke does a contest for Sprite and repondents are asked to also to sign up for a Sprite wireless club. Once they do that, content can be pushed to them. Because of marketing support from the brand, the shelf life of branded content is more than the usual 2-4 weeks. So operators are very open to branded content, but the entire operator deck will not be free. Sections of it will be ad supported.
Is the content going to eventually be free for the consumer?
That’s our opportunity. Verizon’s VCast had a successful rollout of sponsored content. You can subsidise mobile content with embedded advertising. You can display an ad while it downloads. A 30 second commercial can be played while the game loads. The money that the brand pays for this shared with the operator.
What about consumer profiling issues with Mobile advertising?
Since operators have far more data than in case of online advertising, we can target by geography and content usage. But the issue to overcome is how much of that data we can get access to, so we can move from a fixed rate model to a CPC or a CPM.
What kind of budgets are brands allocating for mobile marketing?
Around Rs. 15-20 lakhs for an advergame with banner advertising on WAP decks for 2 weeks a month for 4-5 months. Actually it’s all fluid, but it’ll have to start small. Someone will buck the trend, which is what happened online.
What’s your take on the likes on startups like mginger, who’re offering to pay consumers to receive SMS’?
Very short term: How many people will sign up for that? SMS and content downloads are impulsive. You’re not going to do it as a money making opportunity. If you’re not charged for sending an SMS – that’s different – you can put in advertising in the SMS and make it free.
What about location based marketing? What about advertising on voice portals?
You need excellent connectivity and effective placement of towers for location based advertising. I can’t be sitting in Bandra, and getting a message for a free Coke with every burger at a McDonalds in Juhu. Advertising can subsidise voice portals. You can get a 30 second voice clip before or after the content, and the call could be half the normal cost.