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India's mobile budgets still small

News, 21 September 2015

MUMBAI: Marketers in India appreciate the importance of mobile and are twice as likely as other APAC nations to have a formal mobile strategy, but they continue to devote only a small proportion of their budgets to this channel, new research has found.

The findings of the latest wave of research conducted by Warc and the Mobile Marketing Association are contained in State of the Industry 2015: Mobile Marketing in India. This revealed that three quarters of Indian marketers are assigning 10% or less of their budgets to mobile.

"There is still a long way to go before brands and agencies in India understand the full potential of mobile for reaching consumers," said Ed Pank, managing director at Warc Asia-Pacific.

But they are speeding up their progress on that journey: the majority of Indian marketers expect mobile budgets to rise by 25% this year and by 51-99% in 2020.

The great majority of respondents regard mobile as effective and increasing in importance, but a significant proportion lamented the lack of reliable performance metrics; 40% thought this was the greatest obstacle to the success of mobile marketing.

And a qualitative analysis of comments from those surveyed suggested that a lack of marketer education was also a hindrance, with concerns ranging from a lack of technical understanding to a dearth of proven methods for delivering effective campaigns.

India's mobile marketers showed themselves to be particularly interested in location-based marketing, while multi-screening was identified as the most significant consumer trend.

Pank was encouraged to see that "brands that have taken the leap are now learning to use mobile in innovative ways that integrate with other marketing activities", a development that demonstrated "mobile's gradual move from the periphery to the centrepiece of marketing strategies".

Respondents held up Hindustan Unilever as the most innovative brand in mobile, describing it as "risk-taking" and having "inspiring creative". The company's free entertainment service delivered via mobile phone – Kan Khajura Station – won a Channel Innovation Award in the 2014 Warc Prize for Innovation, while also topping this year's Warc100, an annual ranking of the the world's best marketing campaigns.

Data sourced from Warc, MMA