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

SXSW: Raging Against the Machine

SXSW: How Brands Can Get ‘Circular’ and Why They Must

New Trend Report: The Circular Economy

2014 iPad App

Updates

Sign up for Email Updates

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Nestlé’s animal-welfare standards
    August 28, 2014 | 10:00 am

    Nestle

    We wrote about rising concerns over treatment of the animals that people eat back in 2012 as brands including Burger King, McDonald’s and Hellmann’s pledged to institute more humane practices. We also included Humane Food among our Things to Watch for 2013. The trend recently picked up more steam with Nestlé’s announcement of animal welfare standards for its suppliers worldwide, following an investigation by the group Mercy for Animals.

    “The move is one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system,” notes The New York Times, “and it is likely to have an impact on other companies that either share the same suppliers or compete with Nestlé.” Observed the influential blogger Food Babe: “People want to know where their food comes from, and in order to survive the next decade, the food industry will have to change.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nestlé

  • Alternative waters
    August 19, 2014 | 1:59 pm

    Vertical Water

    With the coconut water craze going strong, watch for more variations on H2O thanks to consumer interest in more natural alternatives to soda and openness to novel products. Antioxidant-rich maple water (made from maple sap) is gaining attention, while almond water from the startup Victoria’s Kitchen has secured space at Whole Foods and Target. As the AP reports, there’s also cactus, birch and artichoke water—made from either water extracted from the plant or boiled with the ingredient in question—whose makers tout their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their infection-fighting properties. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Vertical Water

  • Smart mannequins
    August 13, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    Iconeme

    One of our Things to Watch in 2014, beacons have been popping up everywhere from airports to restaurants to museums. But the biggest pickup for these devices—low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth to precisely track consumers’ mobile phones and send targeted content—has been among retailers. Now, British retailers including House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls are testing mannequins outfitted with VMbeacon technology from the startup Iconeme.

    A “smart mannequin” enables nearby shoppers with a related mobile app to get details about what it’s wearing and how to find the products in the store or buy them online. The big question is whether customers will be motivated to opt in; skeptics say the technology doesn’t yet provide enough real benefit. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Iconeme

  • De-teching apps
    August 7, 2014 | 10:55 am

    De-teching—the idea that more people will choose to temporarily log off—was one of our 10 Trends for 2011, and in our 2014 trend Mindful Living, we discussed the idea that digitally immersed consumers will try to use technology more mindfully. Perhaps ironically, several new apps aim to help people do so.

    Moment tracks phone use and alerts users when they reach their self-imposed daily limit. Pause is “designed to help us reconnect with real life”; it encourages people to use Airplane Mode and engage in real-world activities, and attempts to turn this behavior into a game among friends. Finally, Menthal is part of a research project out of Germany that helps users find out, “Are you in control of your smartphone? Or is your smartphone controlling you?” —Marian Berelowitz

  • Intuitive eating
    July 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    Veggies

    As spotlighted in our 10 Trends for 2014 report, people are becoming more interested in Mindful Living, including the notion of eating more mindfully. And with consumers showing declining interest in dieting, the idea of “intuitive eating”—paying closer attention to the body’s hunger signals rather than following a strict regimen—has been steadily gaining traction. Recent media mentions include articles in Fitness and New Zealand’s Stuff, and a Refinery 29 writer is blogging about adopting the practice. With a recent analysis of studies finding that intuitive eating can be a successful strategy for people who are overweight or obese, watch for more consumers to embrace this anti-diet philosophy. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Theresa Kinsella

  • Chinese mega-cities
    July 24, 2014 | 1:15 pm

    Tianjin

    China, home to the world’s second largest rural population, is expected to add close to 300 million more urbanites by 2030, when Shanghai and Beijing will likely account for two of the world’s Top 5 mega-cities, according to new UN research. “We are observing one of the most significant economic transformations the world has seen: 21st-century China is urbanizing on a scale 100 times that seen in 19th-century Britain and at 10 times the speed,” notes a new McKinsey paper on cities and luxury markets. China’s wealth will be concentrated in these urban areas: Over the next decade, McKinsey expects Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Shenzhen, in addition to Hong Kong, to join the list of “top luxury cities.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Jakob Montrasio

  • Brands + Google Glass
    July 15, 2014 | 6:09 pm

    SPG

    As Google Glass makes its way into the hands of more people (last month it became available in the U.K.), brands are experimenting with the new possibilities that the platform affords. In March, Kenneth Cole became the first to launch a marketing campaign—the “Man Up for Mankind Challenge”—through a Glass app. Users were challenged to perform and document good deeds for the chance to win a prize.

    Starwood’s new Glass app, billed as the first such app from the hospitality sector, lets people voice-search its properties, view photos and amenities, get directions and book rooms. An array of other marketers have turned out apps for early adopters, from Sherman Williams’ ColorSnap Glass (easily create a paint chip that mirrors anything in view) to Fidelity (delivers daily market quotes for Glass wearers). —Tony Oblen

    Image credit: SPG

  • Ugly produce
    July 10, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Intermarche

    Ugly Produce, on our list of 100 Things to Watch in 2014, is proliferating in Europe, thanks in part to government efforts to reduce the 89 million tons of food wasted in Europe each year. In France, Intermarché has been getting buzz for creating a produce section dedicated to “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”; a whimsical ad campaign reportedly drove a 24 percent rise in store traffic.

    U.K. supermarket Waitrose recently began selling packs of tomatoes that are misshapen or have fallen off the vine naturally. And in Portugal, Fruta Feia (“Ugly Fruit”) is a cooperative launched in late 2013 that sells unsightly produce that would have gone to waste. Per The New York Times, the group already has a waiting list of 1,000 customers. In line with one of our 10 Trends for 2014, Proudly Imperfect, watch for ugly produce to catch on with both retailers and shoppers. —Jessica Vaughn

    Image credit: Intermarché

  • The $1.25 Cube
    July 3, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    As we outline in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond, entertainment and narratives are becoming more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An immersive project from JWT Israel, a winner of the Cannes Chimera challenge, aims to help people experience what it’s like to live in extreme poverty. Once it’s created, the cube will create a multisensory experience that uses tools like augmented reality to simulate sights, sounds and smells and elicit certain feelings. Participants can exit only when the person in line behind them inserts $1.25, a metaphor for the collaborative efforts needed to fight poverty. The aim is for the cube to travel to international events like the Davos conference in order to influence global leaders. —Hallie Steiner

    Image credit: JWT Israel

  • Google’s Android Auto
    June 26, 2014 | 3:00 pm

     

    Android

    The connected car is rapidly becoming a reality. Fast 4G LTE connections are turning vehicles into hot spots that come with a data plan, while Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are making their way onto dashboards. This week Google introduced Android Auto, with the first compatible cars expected by year-end. Apple’s similar CarPlay, which turns the car into a platform for an iPhone’s content, was announced in March and is included in new Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models.

    Car-based app ecosystems will provide relevant info (traffic, maps, vehicle diagnostics, restaurant suggestions) and entertainment, combined with safety precautions like voice control. As we outline in our mobile trends report, connected cars—complete with Internet hot spots, a suite of apps and sensors that communicate—will eventually link up with drivers’ homes, mobile devices and other gadgets to form a seamless system. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Android

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »