Have you come across small banner ads on your smart phones enticing you to click a link to “Once in a lifetime offer especially for you”. Sometimes these advertisements are simply irritating, and you try to ignore them, sometimes they are useful, and you end up spending your money. Whatever said and done they do not consider your requirement at any stage. However, some companies such as InMobi, Tyroo, AdNear, Airpush, Flurry are trying to courageously turn the tide and bring in customer preference as well in this entire game. We at Knowledge latched up to this opportunity to bring you the recent developments in mobile advertising.
Mobile ads market is growing rapidly
According to eMarketer, last couple of years has seen mobile advertisement spend rising with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 89% during a period of 2013-15. The market was estimated at $19.20 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow to $68 billion in 2015. It has been mostly due to the rapid consumer adoption of mobile devices
The space was dominated by traditional biggies
Last year, Google’s share of the worldwide mobile advertising market was 38.2%, while Facebook’s share was 17.4% and Twitter was 2.5%, eMarketer said.
The below table lists few prominent names in this space in the United States. The top ranking order is heavily dominated by leading digital companies leaving the rest of the market heavily fragmented.
Challenges with traditional approach
Traditionally, mobile ads work on a push principle and serve ads without any relevance. Mobile advertisements are considered more intrusive than valuable and thus drive lower engagement and revenue, according to a report by PWC.
Bigger firms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter still target their mobile ads based on location, demographics, content matching, device, behavior (e.g. philanthropy etc.), keywords, and interest (such as business, careers, education). An enterprise would select one or more of the above traits and ask the vendor to run the ad on the targeted audience. The consumer has no part to play here, they see the ads that marketers think fit for their “Profile”.
As a consumer, we the smartphone user is least bothered about what dish is being served unless it’s interesting. It has led to several difficult questions for mobile ads solution vendors, major ones being:
- Reduced return on investment (ROI) – lack of compelling experiences leads to reduced ad clicks thereby reducing revenue generation.
- Lack of standardized metrics for measuring effectiveness of ads – as the target audience is profiled on predefined parameters, one cannot be sure if the ad is displayed to the correct audience.
- Privacy issues – Due to consumers’ sensitivity about personal data, willingness to share is also limited and advertisers have to bear brunt if privacy is breached.
The traditional biggies of this market are aware of these challenges. However, they have such a huge momentum that it is difficult for them to change their direction. In comparison to larger peers, nimble startups/companies who have their ears on the ground, have come up with innovative solutions to address the above concerns.
Innovative companies and their “Customer Centric” solutions
Miip wants to put users ahead of everyone else. Where traditional players serve their ads based on predefined parameters, Miip allows users to discover their needs and likings based on its dynamic conversation with the user. It integrates with users’ favorite apps such as messaging or games and appears as an animated monkey. It follows the user from app to app and provides curated content of product feeds, apps and content with visuals. It also allows users to make directly a purchase and use a native payment gateway to make a payment securely.
Here is an example of how the animated monkey follows the user
MIT Technology Review has recognized InMobi as one of the “50 Most Disruptive Companies” in the world in 2013.
Tyroo Technologies, New Delhi
New Delhi-based Tyroo Technologies launched its Product Listing Ads (PLA) platform at Mobile World Congress early this year. Although even traditional players like Google and Facebook provide such solutions, Tyroo excels in the delivery of the solution.
The solution provided by Tyroo for native ads is simple. The ad does not display as a separate banner or a video. Instead, it merges seamlessly with the look and feel of the app. It helps the user by avoiding a lot of irrelevant information. Additionally, only products of interest are shown to the user.
Airpush, Los Angeles, Bengaluru
Founded in 2010, Ranked #2 in the 2014 Forbes list of “Most Promising Companies”, Airpush has offices in Los Angeles and Bengaluru.
Airpush introduced Hypertarget, which allows audience targeting based on interest and behaviors. The company tracks app download history. It allows them to create device specific user profiles. These specific user profiles can be used by clients to target their ads.
However, this seems to be a very common practice now as multiple vendors track app download information to create their database of user profiles. Some others track location to create a target pool of user profiles. Some companies falling in the same bracket are Flurry (Yahoo!), AdNear, Millennial Media to name a few.
These customer centric solutions improve retention and grow revenue
With customers more engaged, marketers are bound to profit. These customer centric solutions have addressed the challenges discussed earlier in an innovative way:
- Better return on investment – due to engaging content, end users would seem to browse through the ads and buy products.
- Improved in-app purchase experience – leading to greater confidence and ease in doing a transaction on mobile.
- Respect consumer concerns around data and privacy – as the user is just sharing a preference (such as while using Miip) instances of privacy concerns are reduced.
- Better tracking and measurement – due to increased consumer involvement rather than just blind targeting.