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Current mobile marketing landscape in India


India is becoming a mobile first nation, 84% of the people are connected on their mobile phones and roughly spend 3 hours per day playing games, browsing e-commerce websites, taking online lectures or watching videos on YouTube. The growth in the past two years has doubled in the urban area while the rural area has witnessed a 4-x growth. Mobile phone users in India have reached over 771 million attracting brands to join the mobile marketing in India.

1. Pricing

The main reason for this push in the mobile industry is the cheaper pricing of smartphones, cheaper internet connection and a big inventory of applications to keep the users glued to the mobile device. Not only the brands are able to provide information and update the users, they are becoming aware of learning about their customers and approaching it as more than just a marketing tool. Mobile marketing has proven to be an ever-growing field that is always developing and reaching new limits.

2. Payments

Let’s not forget to thank the whooping growth in m-commerce industry, the rise of flash sales, discounts, exclusive access and online-only products that is giving a rise to the number of people purchasing products online. The digitalization of payments saw a massive uptake in India, becoming the world’s fastest growing proximity payment market (eMarketer). In 2017, 52.9M people used mobile payments, in 2018 the number went up to 73.9M, in 2019 it is expected that 93.3M people will pay using their mobile phones. Whilst the reason for that was the demonetization in 2016 taking a lot of cash out of circulation, it provided consumers and brands an opportunity to adopt digital payments. With the growth of mobile payments, more apps are adding it is a payment capability as the consumers want to use it. Moreover, it provided space for companies from other countries, like Chinese company Alibaba, to enter the mobile market in India, driving more development of transactions online.

3. Entertainment

On top of that, with the rise of streaming applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Saavn, Amazon Music, grew the data consumption via mobile devices, which is expected to continue increasing. From 2016 to 2018, India saw over 140% growth in time spent in video streaming apps. Netflix is planning to launch its trial version of low cost, mobile-only streaming plan in India to take advantage of the cheaper phone data plans and large consumer base.

3. Gaming

One of the biggest trends in India comes to gaming, having 3 out of 4 gamers in India play mobile games at least twice a day (MMA). This places India in the top five gaming countries with over 250 million mobile gamers. Many new mobile users are experimenting and discovering new apps, showing significant growth in overall app downloads. Gaming has shown to be a growing category in India as it caters to not only seasoned gamers but casual gamers like kids on their parents phones.

“As much as 89% of all game revenues in India were generated by mobile games,” said Rohit Sharma, founder of POKKT.

Whilst mobile advertising is still small in India, it is growing fast given the huge inventory brands have. Mobile gaming revenue is expected to also continue growing making India the fastest-growing mobile games market in the world by the overall revenue. Some of the popular games which have won the hearts of people in India are Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and Subway Surfers.


The industry is evolving, the definition of performance advertising is not an install campaign any more. Advertisers have stopped running plain vanilla CPI campaigns and are now focusing on events that are deeper in the funnel.  For example, big e-commerce giants of the industry are now focusing on generating sales rather than installs, food ordering companies are looking to generate more orders and acquire new customers, OTT clients are focusing on running free trial / subscription campaigns. Everyone has started focusing on running a campaign at a cost model where the advertiser generates revenue.

The idea of moving to an event deeper in the funnel is to ensure a greater level of authenticity of the user and ensure a lower level of fraud in the campaigns. This gives them a deeper / better vision of what’s happening in the campaign and calculate their ROI’s. The attribution platforms have a different way of attributing new users than Google play store or Apple’s App store. So advertisers instead of getting to attribute the same user twice, focus on a registration / sale campaign. They can map the user in the internal database to make sure if it’s a new user or not.

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Sources: MMA, eMarketer, The Mobile Indian, ET tech

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