April 17, 2013

Q&A with Shrikant Latkar, VP of marketing, InMobi

Posted by: in North America

In researching our latest trend report, “13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond,” we reached out to InMobi, which focuses on mobile-first technology platforms and is the largest independent mobile ad network. Over email, VP of marketing Shrikant Latkar, who also oversees market research, explained what some of InMobi’s research has found about mobile usage worldwide, how context-driven mobile advertising will get more sophisticated, and how marketers’ approach to mobile needs to evolve.

A really broad question: What’s different now than a year ago in the mobile arena? For instance, how do you see consumers evolving in their use of mobile? How are marketers and their approach to mobile ads evolving?  

The power of mobile is not so much about what it offers but what it enables. For example, the unique characteristic of mobile today (as opposed to one or two years ago) is its ability to make other media clickable. In other words, mobile’s role in a cross-media campaign is its new strength and power. Mobile is becoming a larger part of the media diet for consumers as it becomes more integrated into daily activities than ever before. An example is consumer use of mobile while shopping has skyrocketed over the past year, with 66 percent of mobile Web users globally having made a purchase on their device.

In the United States, 70 percent of mobile Web users are accessing media through their devices while they watch TV, and there are powerful multiplier effects when we look at advertising effectiveness across different screens. … Mobile users are constantly accessing media on their devices, even while consuming content through other channels; thus a strong mobile presence is a vital part of an integrated campaign.

How do these changes offer new opportunities for advertisers around the world?  

Mobile has been called the “glue,” the “connective tissue”—and now the center of a cross-media strategy. Consumers around the world are spending increasing amounts of time on mobile. Our ongoing global media consumption research reveals how, in many markets, mobile users are now spending more time on their mobile devices than any other medium. Across the board, about a quarter of time spent consuming media takes place on mobile. In developed markets, this time is supplementing and in some cases replacing time spent with other channels.

Generally speaking, we find users are more willing to engage with ads when they are in a leisurely state of mind; we are increasingly seeing PCs becoming very work-oriented, functional devices, while mobile devices are full-fledged life assistants, productivity tools and entertainment companions, offering a wider variety of contexts for targeting users.

In emerging markets, which completely bypassed the PC Internet revolution, mobile is their first connected device, and many customer segments rely heavily upon this channel for their livelihood. Mobile is offering ways to reach new types of consumer segments in many markets.

Mobile also offers new ways to advertise to consumers; as technologies improve, we anticipate mobile advertising will become more attractive to end users through localized mobile vouchers, social reward vouchers and context-related targeting.

How do you see context-driven advertising on mobile getting more sophisticated? What kinds of context does technology now allow brands to consider?  

To date, the main legacy of mobile advertising is a perception of intrusive spam for many consumers, because the personalization technologies are only just emerging and embedding on the personal device. However, tailored, personalized content will switch this perception to one where the mobile becomes a personal concierge, delivering advice, vouchers, special offers and user-centric information directly.

Geo- and hyper-local mobile advertising, retargeting, audience targeting, day-parting are all feasible today. Predictive technologies on mobile will soon allow advertisers to get much more sophisticated in how they target ads to users, by taking location, context, time and traditional demographic and Web usage patterns all into account. By understanding the user’s frame of mind and what they want to do next, mobile will allow advertisers to target messages based on a much deeper understanding of these decisions. For example, by targeting restaurant coupons on Friday at 6 p.m. to someone who always eats out on Friday nights and always leaves work at 5:45.

How can brands use data to really personalize their communications on mobile?

The first step for brands is to build their own audience profile. Using analytics, brands can understand the types of users and use this data to retarget specific audience profiles within this ecosystem. If you take Foursquare as an example, its features enable consumers to receive not only promotional offers from outlets nearby at a specific time but also “explore” the nearby area and find other businesses or places of interest through geo-localization.

Personalized geo-targeted campaigns offer a number of benefits to advertisers. This includes enabling brands to reach a location-specific audience in a specified region or city. Target audiences are selected with greater precision, and wasted impressions are reduced.

What are the key differences between regions in how accepting consumers are of ads being integrated into their mobile experience?  

To better understand changing media consumption usage and behaviors across the world, we released the “Mobile Media Consumption Report Wave 2,” a study of over 15,000 mobile users in 14 markets across all continents during Mobile World Congress in February. We found that 59 percent of global mobile Web users are now as comfortable with mobile advertising as they are with TV or online advertising.

Comfort with mobile ads was very high across the board; users globally are becoming savvy about these ads and how they can help them. Mobile Web users already recognize the impact mobile ads have on their purchase decisions—globally we found that they ranked mobile ads on par with TV and online in this regard. That’s because when mobile ads are done right, they offer great value to the user. Unique location- and context-targeting capabilities make ads highly relevant. Rich multimedia ads with game and video content make the experience fun for the user. And unique calls to action, such as store locators and click-to-call, reduce the number of steps users must conduct to achieve their end goal.

Some of your research has pointed to the mobile device as an important shopping tool, for purchase and also research, etc. Can you speak to this trend?

Consumers are deeply engaging with brands on mobile throughout all segments of the purchase process and we can demonstrate the impact of mobile across all these stages, from awareness down to actual conversion and post-purchase communication. Our global mobile media consumption research shows how consumers globally already recognize the impact mobile has on awareness (42 percent), consideration (26 percent), decision-making (23 percent) and purchases (14 percent).

Thus, campaigns can focus on driving results throughout every stage in the purchase funnel based on their specific goals. For example, performance-focused advertisers who wish to generate quick leads may focus on different aspects of the funnel than a local business seeking to generate awareness or a large brand seeking to drive conversions.

We know mobile devices are often used as a “second screen,” but do they seem to be evolving into screens for long-form content as well?

The always-on, always-there nature of mobile phones means that consumers always have access to them, and they are always using them to consume media. For example, while commuting, mobile video is very popular. Even at home it ends up being easier for the consumer to turn on their device than walk over to a PC and wait for it to boot up, which is why we see very high levels of engagement with mobile when respondents are in bed (82 percent)—this portability is making long-form content on mobile phones easy and popular.

Do you think branded apps are starting to get lost in the pileup of apps that many consumers have on their phones?

Yes! With over 130 app stores worldwide, there are billions off apps, making app discoverability extremely difficult. Marketers need to rethink their approach and create more integrated campaigns.

Do you see any key trends in mobile that marketers have been slow to respond to?

While we have seen a significant surge in the adoption of mobile advertising, marketers remain slow in delivering fully integrated marketing campaigns. When considering marketing campaign budgets, mobile should not be seen as its own silo but as a way of complementing other marketing channels.

Although mobile devices are rising in popularity, brands and advertisers still think of mobile advertising as an afterthought. This is slowly changing as brands and advertisers integrate mobile marketing and a tablet strategy into their marketing plans. Both devices should be treated differently; the tablet and mobile user experience and engagement differ. Tablets are more laid-back, provide a greater immersive experience, whereas mobile is often transactional, with pieces of information.

Looking ahead a year or so, how do you see advertising become better integrated into mobile? What are some new ideas or approaches that you think we’ll see rolling out?

Brands are unlocking the potential of mobile advertising by pursuing rich media and creating more engaging, immersive experiences on mobile. The personal nature of smartphones and the multimedia content and features of rich media and HTML5 will allow marketers to engage viewers at scale in an unparalleled manner.

As media consumption activities increasingly shift to mobile, a strong mobile presence is essential to engage consumers. In the U.S. and U.K., for example, mobile is the No. 1 media access channel for consumers with data connections, who now represent the majority in both these markets. In many markets around the world, mobile is the only method of Internet access for the majority of the population.

Not only are consumers using mobile devices throughout the day, they are increasingly using them while shopping; mobile has become a central part of the shopping process. Showrooming is already widespread in many markets. However, Deloitte and eMarketer data demonstrates the increased likelihood of shoppers who use smartphones while in physical stores to also make a purchase in the store. Retailers with a strong mobile presence are ultimately much better equipped to convert customers on the go as well as in-store, and those who proactively facilitate in-store mobile experiences can actually use these new consumer shopping habits to their advantage. This is just one more example of how mobile will play an increasingly central role in marketing.

We also expect to see an increase in cohesive cross-channel campaigns across mobile devices and other types of media. It’s no longer enough to try and deliver the same message or ad already running on TV on mobile; marketers are creating campaigns which are more customized and relevant to each device type. Even when we look at different mobile devices, for example, shopping behavior can vary quite a bit between smartphones and tablets.

No Responses to "Q&A with Shrikant Latkar, VP of marketing, InMobi"

Comment Form

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

New: The Future 100

The Future of Payments & Currency

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Tears become… streams become…
    December 17, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences, who in turn are embracing these one-of-a-kind experiences. In New York, the latest example is the performance and installation tears become… streams become…, a “field of water that harnesses light, reflection, music and sound” by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon and French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

    Continue reading “Tears become… streams become…” »

  • The Glade Boutique
    December 11, 2014 | 5:16 pm

    More marketers across the spectrum are creating novel pop-ups and activities that add dimension to the brand and satisfy consumer interest in experiences. These experiences are also increasingly interactive, immersive and multisensory, as our past trend reports have discussed. In line with these trends, a Glade Boutique holiday pop-up in New York City’s Meatpacking district, created with fashion designer Pamela Dennis and interior designer Stephanie Goto, features five rooms themed around “scent-inspired feelings,” like relaxation and “energized” (complete with an Oculus Rift virtual thrill ride).

    The pop-up is a departure for the mass-market candle brand: It has no outside signage, just a keyhole with a neon sign asking, “What will you feel?” Inside, with white walls and polished concrete floors, there’s all the cues of a groovy concept store. Visitors walk past a terrarium to the “Feelings Lounge”—sofas arranged around an objet-bedecked coffee table—then find the new collection of candles covered in bell jars for sampling the scents, akin to the merchandising format of ultra-luxe candle brand Cire Trudon. There’s also a backlit installation made up of hundreds of Glade candles.

  • Cheap-phone wars
    December 3, 2014 | 11:54 am

    Obi Mobiles

    Mobile brands are creating cheaper, stripped-down smartphones for emerging markets, competing with domestic brands producing their own low-cost phones. The field is getting more competitive with Obi Mobiles from former Apple CEO John Sculley, which targets young, image-conscious consumers. Obi launched recently in India, the Middle East and Singapore, and plans for further expansion in 2015.

    Obi will be taking on Chinese up-and-comer Xiaomi, which is entering five new markets this year. Meanwhile, Google launched the Android One OS in India last month in tandem with several domestic brands, which are pricing the phones at around $100. Prices will get lower still, at least for the most basic smartphones: Mozilla has announced plans to sell phones that use its Firefox OS in India and Africa for just $25. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Obi Mobiles

  • Snapcash
    November 19, 2014 | 4:54 pm


    Disruption in the payments sphere is opening the way for social media brands to act as intermediaries between consumers and their money, as we note in our report on payments and currency. Facebook is said to be planning a P2P payments feature for Messenger, South Korea’s KakaoTalk announced a PayPal-like service in September, and Line is creating a mobile service that will let users make on- and offline purchases. Now, Snapchat is partnering with Square to enable payments between users, as explained in this video’s energetic retro musical number.

    After users (U.S. only and 18-plus only) enter debit card info, they simply send a cash amount within a text. While Snapchat’s recent data breaches may give some users pause, the P2P payments space is a smart place to be as young consumers get accustomed to services like Venmo that make it easy and even fun to pay friends. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Payment in a heartbeat
    November 11, 2014 | 5:26 pm

    Nymi-paywith

    Our recent report on the future of payments and currency spotlights the rise of biometric payments—using a unique physical characteristic to authenticate transactions—which promise to greatly improve security and help remove friction. So far we’ve seen systems that rely on fingerprints (e.g., Apple Pay) and the palm’s unique vein payment (see Quixter). Now, the startup Bionym is exploring ways to harness its Nymi wristband, which uses the wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm as authentication, for payments.

    Bionym is linking with MasterCard and the Royal Bank of Canada for a test in which an NFC chip in the wristband enables contactless payments. The company, which is looking to license its technology into other wearables, recently raised $14 million in a Series A funding round and has racked up 10,000 preorders for the Nymi. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nymi

  • Vegetable co-stars
    November 4, 2014 | 6:31 pm

    veggies_4

    “Vegetable co-stars” is one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2014—the idea that veggies are gaining a higher profile on restaurant menus—and more star chefs are indeed embracing this trend. José Andrés and his ThinkFood restaurant group plan to open Beefsteak (as in tomatoes), a vegetable-focused fast casual eatery in Washington, D.C., next year. The Washington Post also points to chef Roy Choi’s new greenhouse-like Commissary in L.A., which says it serves “good food and drink based around plants as the foundation.”

    “Chefs around the country, and the globe, are pushing meat from the center of the plate—and sometimes off it altogether,” notes The Wall Street Journal, citing examples like Alain Ducasse revamping his menu at the posh Plaza Athénée in Paris. Catering to a growing group of diners looking to eat less meat, vegetable-heavy dishes also offer new opportunities for creativity. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Plaza Athénée

  • Xiaomi zooms ahead
    October 30, 2014 | 4:44 pm

    Xiaomi, which we included on our 100 Things to Watch in 2014 list, is now the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The young company has seen triple-digit year-over-year growth in smartphone shipments, per IDC, surging ahead of both LG and Lenovo. Often described as the “Apple of China,” Xiaomi released its first phone just three years ago; its latest, Mi4, is an iPhone clone that runs on a modified version of Android.

    The company is expanding beyond China into India and Singapore, and planning to enter a slew of other growth markets, including Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico. For more on whether Chinese brands can succeed on the world stage, see our report Remaking “Made in China.”Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Xiaomi

     

  • Money & messaging apps
    October 23, 2014 | 11:13 am

    LINE_icon02

    Given the primary function of mobile messaging apps and their technical capabilities, money transfer and payments are an alluring proposition, as outlined in our new report on payments and currency. Snapchat filed two trademarks in July that indicate a potential move into peer-to-peer payments. The recently announced Line Pay will let Line users make purchases through their Line accounts, send funds to each other, and split costs using a “Dutch Pay” feature. Line Pay will launch in Japan and, as Tech in Asia reports, serve as “an entrance to new industries” thanks to integration with the new Line Taxi service and Line Wow, for food delivery. In South Korea, KakaoTalk launched the PayPal-like Kakao Pay in September, and a remittance service, Bank Wallet Kakao, is in the works. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Line

  • The #TimsDark Experiment
    October 14, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    To entice customers into tasting its new dark roast, Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons, with the help of JWT Canada, created a surprise immersive experience. A store in Quebec was wrapped in material that blocked all light from the outdoors. Patrons entered warily and, once inside, heard a staff member (who was wearing night vision goggles) guiding them through the dark. At the counter, customers were handed a cup of the dark roast—the brand’s first new blend in 50 years—with the darkness heightening their sense of taste. When the lights came on, the patrons saw they were on camera.

    The #TimsDark Experiment has garnered YouTube views and some press attention, and shows how creatively imagined immersive experiences—one of our 10 Trends for 2014—can encourage consumers to engage with a brand.

  • Bitcoin bank Circle
    October 7, 2014 | 4:40 pm

    Circle

    In late September, the startup Circle launched a web app that effectively functions as a bitcoin bank. Using a debit card or bank account, users transfer funds to Circle, which converts the money to bitcoin at no fee. Circle also insures this money at no cost. The company aims to make bitcoin more accessible via consumer-friendly design and is aiming to take on traditional banks and companies like PayPal, as The Guardian reports. Next up: Android and iOS Circle apps.

    Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire gave a keynote at the Inside Bitcoins conference in April, citing the need for a “killer app” to bring bitcoin into the mainstream. Now Circle seems to be taking the lead, and others are sure to follow. —Nick Ayala

    Image credit: Circle

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »