In the rapidly evolving digital marketing landscape, mobile marketing and app advertising have emerged as crucial strategies for businesses aiming to connect with consumers in India. With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the growing popularity of mobile apps, brands are leveraging innovative approaches to engage users effectively.

According to the ‘State of Mobile-2024’ report released by data.ai, Indian shoppers accounted for 13 percent of the total hours spent by mobile users across the globe on their shopping apps in 2023. Mobile devices offer convenience and instant access to information, making them indispensable tools in consumers’ daily lives. So, businesses are adapting their marketing strategies to meet changing consumers’ preferences and behaviours in a mobile-first world.

  Rise of in-app advertising

In-app advertising has gained significant traction in India, offering brands a direct channel to engage users within their preferred mobile applications. In 2023, India accounted for over 5 percent of global in-app advertising spend, with categories like gaming, e-commerce, and finance leading the way.

According to a report by the ‘Business Research Company’, the market size of in-app advertising has witnessed significant growth in recent years, with projections showing a rise from $120.95 billion in 2023 to $146.24 billion in 2024, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9 percent. The significant growth is led by the proliferation of mobile devices, shifts in user behaviour, increased monetisation opportunities for app developers, the evolution of app stores, and the expansion of app ecosystems.

Looking ahead, the in-app advertising market is poised for continued exponential growth, projected to reach $305.09 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 20.2 percent, states the report.

The key aspects of in-app advertising are-

Reach: With millions of apps available across app stores, this allows businesses to reach a wide and diverse audience of mobile users. There are several types of app advertising formats that businesses can utilise to reach their target audience such as display ads, video ads, native ads, playable ads, interstitial ads etc. Through this, businesses can effectively target users based on their interests, behaviours, and demographics, ensuring that their ads reach the right audience at the right time.

Engagement: App advertising allows businesses to create highly engaging and interactive ad experiences that capture the attention of mobile users. From interactive videos to immersive AR experiences, businesses can leverage app advertising to deliver compelling and memorable brand experiences. Mobile apps can be used for various activities like gaming, social networking, utility, and entertainment so it offers businesses a direct avenue to connect with consumers.

App install campaigns: App advertising is particularly effective for driving app installs and increasing user acquisition for mobile apps. App install campaigns allow businesses to promote their apps across various channels, including social media, search engines, and ad networks, to attract new users and expand their user base. By optimising ad creatives, targeting parameters, and bidding strategies, businesses can drive high-quality app installs and maximise return on investment (ROI) for their app advertising campaigns.

  Adoption of programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is rapidly gaining popularity in India, enabling real-time bidding and automated ad placements across mobile apps. The programmatic ad spend in India is projected to exceed $1 billion by 2024, driven by increased demand for targeted and efficient ad delivery. Advertisers benefit from granular audience targeting and data-driven insights, enhancing campaign performance and ROI.

With the rise in programmatic advertising, advertisers can use Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) to create and serve personalized ads to individual users based on real-time data. DCO builds multiple iterations of an ad using the same creative while tailoring elements of the ad based on the audiences, context, and past performance.

Mobile optimisation

As people are getting more and more comfortable with shopping on their mobiles, optimisation has become a crucial aspect of mobile-first marketing approaches. It ensures that websites, content, and digital experiences are seamlessly accessible on mobile devices. As mobile usage surpasses desktop usage, businesses must prioritise mobile optimisation to provide a positive and engaging experience for mobile users.

User experience: Mobile optimisation enhances the user experience by ensuring that websites and content are visually appealing, easy to navigate, and load quickly on mobile devices. Mobile users have limited screen space and attention spans, so optimising for mobile ensures that users can find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. Designing your website with a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes is also essential for seamless user experience.

Page load speed: Mobile optimisation improves page load speed, which is critical for retaining mobile users. Slow-loading websites could make users lose interest before even checking out the site. By optimising images and leveraging caching techniques, businesses can ensure that their mobile websites load quickly and provide a seamless browsing experience.

Conversion rates: Mobile optimisation directly impacts conversion rates, influencing how users interact with websites on mobile devices. Mobile-friendly websites with clear calls-to-action and streamlined checkout processes are more likely to convert mobile users into customers, subscribers, or leads. Mobile optimisation is also essential for improving search engine rankings. Websites that are not optimised for mobile may experience lower visibility and search rankings, thereby missing out on valuable organic traffic and leads.

  Location-based targeting

This marketing approach utilises a mobile device’s location to target consumers. This includes geo-targeting, geofencing, beaconing and proximity marketing techniques to deliver relevant offers, promotions, and content to users when they are near your business or a specific location of interest. Location-based marketing can help drive foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar locations and enhance the overall customer experience. Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, IP addresses etc can be employed for these location-based techniques. Like in Geofencing, it employs GPS technology and creates a ‘virtual fence’ around a specific area and when the target audience enters that radius, they will receive offers from that brand.

Location-based targeting are very effective because they work across consumer’s life cycles – discoverability to purchase and retention. Retail, hospitality, travel, events, restaurants and many industries can use location-based targeting.

AI-based contextual advertising

Mobile Marketing is witnessing a revival of Contextual advertising. In recent years, due to privacy laws and regulations such as the App Tracking Transparency, behavioral targeting has been difficult to track. Therefore, marketers are returning to the tried and tested strategy of ‘Contextual advertising’. The application of AI in contextual advertising tailors ads to align seamlessly with consumer behavioral patterns, ultimately enhancing engagement.

Looking ahead, mobile marketing and app advertising will continue to evolve in India, driven by technological innovations and evolving consumer behaviours. Expected catalysts for this expansion comprise the worldwide proliferation of the app market, initiatives to combat ad fraud, improvements in the user interface, the rise of novel app genres, and the integration of data-driven targeting and analytics. Noteworthy trends in the projected period involve strategies centered around mobile platforms, inventive approaches to app monetisation, progressions in programmatic advertising, the the evolution of advertising styles and creativity, alongside heightened attention to data analytics and precise targeting. Advertisers utilise various ad formats—including banners, interstitials, rewarded videos, and native ads—to enhance user interaction and stimulate conversions.   In conclusion, key areas of growth include voice-activated ads, augmented reality experiences, and integrated omni channel strategies. Brands that prioritise mobile-centric strategies and embrace data-driven insights will be best positioned to capitalise on India’s dynamic digital landscape. By embracing innovation, leveraging data analytics, and adopting mobile-first strategies, businesses can unlock the full potential of mobile marketing in the Indian market.

Bhavesh Talreja is the founder and CEO, Globale Media, a mobile advertising platform dedicated to helping advertisers with user acquisitions.

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