MUMBAI: Consumer goods brands in India have increased their mobile ad spending in recent months as smartphone penetration and data usage continue to grow, according to figures from several mobile ad networks.

InMobi, based in Bangalore, said that adspend by FMCG companies on its network had risen 175% in 2013, and the Economic Times reported that, based in Mumbai, had seen spending in its network jump 300% while that at Vuclip, a mobile video company with offices in India and China, had doubled.

"CPG companies are increasingly adopting a mobile-first strategy to engage their consumers," said Atul Satija, InMobi vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific and Japan, InMobi.

He highlighted the company's work with Unilever and its brands such as Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Clear, Dove and Lifebuoy. And a Unilever spokesman confirmed that "mobile is an area of focus for us".

Dippak Khurana, CEO & co-founder of, pinpointed the second half of 2013 as a tipping point. He observed that five major advertisers – ITC, Reckitt Benckiser, HUL, Mondelez and Nestlé – had run more than 30 campaigns during that time and compared that to the situation in 2012 when he said that only one FMCG business had utilised mobile effectively.

Mobile advertising has also been an important tool as brands seek to move beyond urban areas. "Advertisers targeting rural consumers find the medium extremely effective as mobile reaches even the remotest geographies," said Basabdutta Chowdhury, CEO of Platinum Media, a division of Madison.

A new study from research firm Gartner reinforced these views, as it predicted global mobile advertising expenditure would rise 37% in 2014 to reach $18bn and said that in future India and China would contribute increasingly to growth rates as the market more than doubled to $42bn by 2017.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Hindu Business Line, InMobi; additional content by Warc staff