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We’ve seen all sorts of news coming out of Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, but it appears the biggest overall trend is a renewed focus on emerging markets. The App planet section at the event was buzzing with companies offering a suite of advertising solutions.

The five most noteworthy trends evolving for mobile advertising in emerging markets are:

#1 Mobile ad tech is on the rise

Throughout 2014 and beyond, emerging markets will see more players in the space of real time bidding, mobile retargeting, mobile DSPs, mobile ad servers and other mobile ad tech companies. Buying platforms and ad servers such as Smaato and Nexage will benefit from the industry’s shift to exchange-based and programmatic trading models. Some of the mobile ad networks seemed to find it hard to put out a coherent story around new trends and spoke about quality and data at their core. This will bring in an increased level of much needed transparency to the advertising ecosystem.

#2 Cheaper smartphones = better communication opportunities

This year handset-makers really dug in, using press conferences to vocalise their goals at nabbing the next billion users and presenting lower cost phones meant for first-time smartphone owners. Mozilla introduced a smart phone at USD 25, with the enhanced FireFox OS aimed at challenging Google’s Android play. The phone is to be launched in Q2 2014, among Alcatel and ZTE. Nokia introduced its X range of phones on Android at USD 50-80. LG introduced its L series aimed at emerging markets. As companies tackle the issue of rural market distribution and data connectivity, these phones will pave the way for enhanced ways to reach out to a mass audience on mobile, which is currently restricted to SMS and voice communication.

#3 Facebook’s commitment – internet for everyone

Facebook is clearly committed to an internet that is accessible to more people at an affordable price. This is in line with Facebook’s goal of being a ‘mobile company’.

As keynote speaker, Mark Zuckerberg spent most of his time discussing Internet.org, the ambitious project that aims to get the whole world online. As key partnerships fall in line, 2015 and beyond would only open out new advertising models that ride on cheaper and faster access to internet for emerging markets, which ease out and shift the payment for data services from end users.

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#4 Entry of ad networks

Everyone is looking at APAC as their expansion market. Companies like Xad, Tapjoy, Tremor Video and so on that are predominant in the Americas and the UK are now looking at Asia markets as launch this year. From a region dominated by 3-4 mobile ad networks, we will see a diversity of networks bringing in new set of innovations in ad formats, buying models, targeting and tracking capabilities.

#5 Mobile content and discovery apps

As brands increasingly take the path to app creation, discovery apps really are becoming a key distribution path now in addition to conventional approaches such as mobile banner ads. App Gratis and App Turbo showcased their discovery and curating platform that recommends specific apps to the user. Plenty of companies are offering platforms to create mobile-ready content quickly, such as AppMachine. This offers advertisers opportunities to get mobile ready at a fast pace, if they are not already.

Authored by: Atibhi Mehra, Head of Mindshare Mobile Centre of Excellence India

Monday, 08 July 2013 00:00

Is technology taking over advertising?

Has technology started replacing the mental effort? Is it taking over our brain and turning it futile? What about big ideas? Has gennext stopped thinking because of easy referencing from the net? Where is technology moving to? Today, it has revolutionised the way we see and perceive every single thing! Its penetration has increased exceedingly in last 10 years.

It’s true and acceptable when everybody gets more techno-friendly but when it starts hindering one’s originality, it can certainly leave a bad taste. Technology is good to understand the market across the globe and interact with many minds to facilitate deeper understanding and knowledge. Losing the touch with upcoming technology could lead our business to loss. So the core issue isn’t on what technology to be used but the different ways we can actually use them.

With the growing craze for technology, the main concern for the advertising world is whether the current rage will reap benefits or can actually have negative consequences.

Earlier creativity was constrained due to lack of technological advancement. Today, technology has gifted a creatively liberating impact on the advertising community. With new technology, producing and altering ones actual ideas have become easy. With evolution of new trends in technology, ideas became more versatile, out of the box and sophisticated. But depending on technology for an idea could be potentially dangerous for the mind. An idea can only be formed by mental effort and no technology could produce an idea for you. Technology has certainly become an easy medium for referencing if you are stuck, whereas 15-12 years back the creative artists would depend on books, sourcing references from libraries. But efforts certainly made ideas more credible.

Today digital has become a big medium but understanding of communication has become weaker. Originality is lost and thoughts have just become arbitrary. Also with more data at our disposal, plagiarism may increase because of easy references for idea.

On the better side, thanks to technology, a tailor-made solution to a particular brand is possible. New technology has also helped to make things happen faster.

The dotcom era has brought about a revolution in the advertising world. Advertising is evolving to create a complimentary online campaign to a brand’s TV campaign. Now, it’s about experimenting with countless apps and networks that a customer pulls out of their pocket. Technology has paved way for the advent of social media advertising. Tweets, pop-ups, likes, web-banners, etc. have become a new branch of marketing known as viral marketing.

No doubt, the traditional medium of advertising viz. print and radio is to stay, but they have incorporated different technological advancements to stay alive. It clearly comes out that though technology has its pros and cons in advertising, the pros outweigh the cons by a great margin.

But the basic sensibilities and hard work should definitely prevail and nothing can overtake them. It’s sad that today’s generation know technology but not what to do with technology. People just beginning their careers in advertising should start using computer only when they get an idea. They should scribble, write, draw whatever, anywhere but get on their toes and not let technology take over their thinking power. Innovative thinking is theirs to keep and they should take pride in their ideas and not let technology take their ideas away from them!

Authored by: Sandeep Bomble, Founder and Creative director, Palasa.

Maya Louangelou wasn’t off the mark when she said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will not forget how you made them feel. Infact, it holds true especially in times like today when the average person is exposed to over 4,000 advertisements in a day.  That is why experiential marketing has the key to something insanely powerful – the ability to engage consumers and to create brand experiences that will get them to stand up and take notice. Not just ‘good to do’ this has become outright mandatory for brands as they look for new and unique ways to connect with people.

While most brands tend to offer promises and claims – better, tastier, cheaper, newer they forget that they are one of billions saying the same things. Experiences on the other are unique. From my 12 years of getting brands up, close and personal with consumers, here’s what goes into creating unique and memorable experiences.

Thinking Larger than Life

Don’t blame your customers for turning off when you’re only saying something they’ve already heard by hundreds of others. Marketing that people seek out – and engage with cannot be regular and mundane. It must create a flutter in their daily lives - something that involves and excites them. We’ve all been to malls and we’ve all popped a piece of cake on Valentine’s Day. But it’s amazing to see a 1,000 kg cake at a mall on Valentine’s Day that doubles up as a QR code and lets you download the WeChat application – the product this campaign was for.

Meeting on New Ground

A sales pitch in the garb of an experiential marketing campaign is not fooling anyone. An experiential marketing campaign must make the brand and its customers participants in something new and exciting. Let go of the seller and buyer roles and your consumers will no longer see this as a marketing gimmick forced on them. Make it more about the shared adventure rather than sales and you’ve got a winning campaign on your hands. An online campaign got women tweeting about things that #doesntlastlongenough only to reveal the one thing that does – Maybelline SuperStay 14 long lasting lipstick. The campaign saw some really cheeky responses from men and women. By getting them to look into their lives and come up with quirky answers instead of talking about a product, it went viral easily and became the #1 trending topic in India on the day of the campaign.

Creating Personalized Experiences

Sure you want to see more and more people be a part of your campaign but it’s important to remember that at the end it boils down to the experience. The key is to think broadly and yet create personalized experiences. Each participant in the campaign must feel like it was an experience for him and not like he is one of many. A Bausch and Lomb ‘Before and After Campaign’ let people post pictures of themselves with glasses (before) and without them (after) to see the difference that contact lenses would make in their appearance. All those who participated in the campaign saw something that would bring about a real difference in their personal lives making this an award winning campaign.

Finding the Right Fit

Is your campaign based on an insight? Does it solve a problem or appeal to an aspiration they share? Instead of trying to fit them into your campaign, design your campaign around their lives. When Euro RSCG Australia decided to change their name to Havas World, they wanted the change to reach out to more than just the company and its stakeholders. To extend the change in to daily lives of people, the agency started a ‘pay with a smile campaign’ based on the insight that 97% people in Australia hate the early morning travel to work. Free cookies were handed out in return making for a cheerful start to the day. This was one campaign by another agency that I really liked and thought to be effective.

Where and When

Does the campaign meet them at the right place and time? Or does it interfere with a busy day when they’re looking to get back home? The best campaigns are those that come at an opportune time when they have a ‘this is just what I needed’ effect. Another campaign by a different agency was the 7Up ‘Melting Machine’ where a frozen vending machine was set up on the streets of Argentina one hot summer offering a much needed break to people who were not already vacationing in cooler climes. The integrated twitter campaign asking people to tweet the exact time the entire vending machine would melt and disappear only worked because it was happening during the summer vacations when everyone has some time to spare.

Will it Pass The Share Test?

Great brand experience is something we tell someone else about.  A great brand experience is a story, in which the user – not the brand – is the hero. It is something worth sharing, writing about – or at least texting a friend, sharing it on a social media platform, telling someone about it, anyone.  Your campaign must create an experience that people will remember and pass on. If it’s not worth remembering it’s probably not worth doing.

Authored by: Ankur Kalra,  Founder &  CEO of Vibgyor

Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00

Through the Lens of the Digital World

The Digital industry has grown from mere 30mn users to over 100 mn. With this growth marketers are evolving and now know how to use the digital medium for their brands, though there is still scope of improvement with this adoption, as some marketers are still dubious on selecting advertising on digital or mobile. The marketer today is on the web consuming content and is engaging deeper to meet every touch-point of a customer on various digital mediums. However, brands seem to be hesitant in exhaustively leveraging this medium for advertising themselves. With generation Y virtually living their lives across gadget technologies of e-smart phones and tablets, there is an era arriving, eventually, that is ready to surpass the entire cycle of desktop and laptops as they already have access to tablets. We can relate to this on the similar skip cycle that happened when our generation directly embraced mobile phones vis-à-vis pagers. Such is the fast pervasive pace in which our digital world is moving.

Today, dramatic evolution of technology is changing the way consumers are adopting new age devices at a rapid pace, thereby providing brands with the challenge to effectively tap the entire spectrum of mobile, tablet and digital platforms. Earlier till 2006 the marketing techniques were, essentially, to select few horizontal portals and do some rich media ads. Marketers found them good enough as most of the consumer traffic used to visit a particular site for all the required information to be up-to-date in news, finance, auto or entertainment. But over a period of time the consumer mindset has an eagle’s eye view to understand that the requirement now is much wider! For e.g. if consumers need information on cars they will go to vertical portals related to cars. If someone needs bank or insurance related information they would visit a webpage on finance and not a horizontal site. Hence it is very important to know where your target audiences are and then advertise accordingly. Thanks to smarter technologies like ‘Retargeting’ that not only helps extract details of users who have shown interest in your product but also lets you get details of those who haven’t bought or those who landed on your website or Brand page.

Essentially the three main platforms of digital medium are-

•Social Media- Facebook and Twitter have played a significant role in driving the overall digital spends and not having them as part of your outreach will hamper your marketing strategy in a big way. A quick comparison throws interesting facts on how time spend by marketers on making their TVC is significantly higher than a Facebook advertisement. Some of the largest brands taking notice of this fact, has ensured that the true power of social media and digital advertising is in fact effectively utilized to target the right set of consumers.

•Mobile- Today, mobile has not only replaced viewing content on the web but it has replaced camera, mp3 players and gaming device too. The power of mobile is yet to be exploited completely in India. If we analyse, the biggest of the digital and social media companies started as desktop services but over a period of time moved to the mobile medium as the consumer transforms at a much faster rate than what we assume. The world has moved to all kinds of apps, be it news, games, entertainment or social media. The below data shows Facebook usage on smartphones:

•Video- When Google bought YouTube in 2006 the entire world had a question mark on watching video content online,  but the reality seen today is that consumers not only view video on desktops or laptops but even on their smart phones and tablets. In fact technology has transformed lives to the extent that consumers can now watch a 2 hours long movie online, without any buffering, due to an increasing broadband bandwidth. Hence it is very important for marketers to be present where their consumers are. But why will a user engage with the communications which he or she has seen a thousand times on the television? It is very important to have a communication which is specially created for online, as it will draw more attention from the user as they haven’t seen it anywhere else. Hence we see that viral works well on digital as we like to share something that is unique and not seen by all.

Authored by: Pritesh Patel, MD- India & Middle East- Komli Media

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