Misconceptions in the Indian Market

The last two months have been very busy @ ZestADZ for a variety of reasons. We’ve been chasing a lot of publishers and advertisers in India and Asia Pac. Many of those publishers are also being chased by both Admob and more recently by Google. Its good to have them in the market – competition is making us work much harder and the entry of both is in a way a recognition that the Indian market is getting ready for prime time in mobile advertising.

We have also been in the process of setting up a partnership in Asia Pac (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and a sales office in Mumbai, India

I thought it would be great to write about the common misconceptions that we hear in the Indian market and clarify them on this blog, so here it goes.

Myth: There is little or no traffic from the Indian market
Reality: There is more than what most of the mobile ad companies thought there is.
We have acquired an inventory (varying) of around 4+ million impressions a month and growing.
Admob claims to get 350+ million impressions from India (per annum). There is the traffic and potential for much higher traffic, but the real issue is that there are very few mobile sites and services from India that have a lot of traffic. That means all that traffic (from India) is landing up on sites out of India at the moment.
Myth: Publishers can earn for every WAP impression
Reality: While we wish this was possible but is not possible. Though the mobile ad rates in India can be a premium while compared to other markets and sometimes advertisers (knowingly or unknowingly) opt for CPM campaigns, it is not always the case. The advertiser must get real value for every rupee (or a dollar) ; and a CPM campaign is not always the most optimal way of doing that.

Myth: Publishers can recover as much as Rs. 1.00 – 2.00 every SMS message
Reality: We are ZestADZ are trying to monetize (almost) every SMS that comes through our networks. But publishers must realize that in a price sensitive market like India, it is a hard sell to get advertiser to pay Rs 1-2 for every message, especially when bulk SMS spam is very cheap and the laws go easy on both the SMS Spammers and Carriers

Myth: Publishers can run the campaigns themselves, if we pass the ad inventory to them.
Reality: This breaks the fundamental reason why ZestADZ exists. As an online platform, ZestADZ enables serving of contextually, geographically relevant ads within mobile apps and games. If we were to pass the ads to the publishers then the advantages that the advertiser has – the freedom to easily and quickly start campaigns, target a relevant user group, pay online and get real time responses and reports – are lost.

ZestADZ must integrate with every service – WAP, SMS or J2ME applications and games at real-time so that the ads are targeted and delivered at real-time.

Hope this clears the air for now. If you do have more clarifications, please do write to me at asif [at] mobile-worx dot com or comment on this blog

Asif Ali


4 thoughts on “Misconceptions in the Indian Market

  1. Good Post!
    Though I am no authority in pricing on SMS advertising, I believe that the advertisers should consider value in TARGETING that the SMS channel may allow. And ofcourse, targeting comes at a price. I also believe that many mobile marketing companies are spoiling the market by offering 20-30 paise per SMS rates; which is not going to benefit the ecosystem itself.

    350 million page views from India for WAP; that too only on AdMob’s network – thats quite a revelation – Any guesstimate what is the total monthly advertising inventory available then?

  2. While advertisers understand the value of targeting, much of SMS traffic can be still irritating e.g an opt-in SMS AD system where the user only gets SMSes with ADS and no other value added services. Also, SMS market will always be benchmarked against Web and on the web low pricing has always existed. On the long term, I personally feel that the advertisers maybe willing to pay upto Rs 1 but it is going to be tough to get any more than that.

    I have no particular estimates about monthly traffic right now but I will keep you posted.


  3. Pingback: Indian mobile data and GPRS is a supply side problem « Living on the Edge

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