Broad Based Mobile Advertising Models in India

Posted by Rahul Sethi on 10:47 PM

SMS Based Ads – Plain SMS Texts Coming as Ads and Offers. They are extremely annoying and over time users become blind-sided. Within SMS ads there are new innovations such as Click to call etc – check more on Yahoo!’s mobile advertising strategy on this video.

SMS Based Contests – Inviting responses and getting users on mailer lists and then sending out updates. While this strategy ensures some sort of engagement, the tendency is to use that database to send SMS Based Ads. Care must be taken while framing messages. (This includes framing of Short codes etc)

Branded Mobile Applications – Creating useful applications that can be branded. Without operator support this is difficult.

Display ads and Sponsorships within Mobile Applications – This is another model that could be followed especially by the bigger brands. Within applications that are viral they can sponsor certain activities. For example sponsoring IM or sending out mass IM’s within applications related to social networking that invite people to an event and hosting a branded event.

SMS Based Communities around topics that can be used to have plug a variety of brands in a portfolio discreetly. For this a platform such as SMSGupshup can be used. For example – a community on Internet in India owned by someone from Reliance could be used to plug BigAdda, The BigB Blog, Zapak, Big Maps, Big Flicks, Reliance Mobile etc. The moderator however must ensure that he gets into the trust circle of users and refrains from making it seem like spam.

Ads within Community Messages – This is again the SMS Gupshup Model where relevant ads that synergize with content being sent out by group owners are placed in messages. So the idea is to place ads within content that people like to consume. A better model than the SMS based ads model. Again people might get blindsided.

Location Based Ads on Mobile (for Search) – Ads could be sent out on mobiles when people search for locations. So nearby locations can be advertised. This virtually totally opens up the platform for anybody and everybody with a local listing to sign on.

WAP Portals & sites catered to Mobile Phones – While they are handy, they rarely have a pull effect. Noone wants to visit a branded WAP portal from their mobile phone. An effective strategy could be to use Micro sites developed specially for mobile and drive engagement.

Bluetooth Advertising – This is something that I’ve noticed in Phoenix Mills. I get messages on my phone if my Bluetooth is tuned on. Bluetooth trackers can be placed in locations where individuals spend some amount of time and only location based offers can be sent to people whose Bluetooth is on.

Voice Response Contests – Similar to SMS Contests. Simplicity for the user is greater.


Ad Sponsored Calls - Before a consumer's call connect's, a short 15 second ad can play. The advertiser can thus off set some of the consumers' call cost while creating reach, and possibly some engagement. This is generally an opt - in model.


This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please add to it. Some of the things may have slipped out of my mind.

Everyone is looking at the Whooping numbers on Mobile at this point of time. The numbers are definitely slated to grow but at the same time, one will also see that advertising on mobile will grow increasingly intrusive. It already is. With so many options and avenues available for advertising one wonders how people will react to mobile advertising. What actions will consumers take? Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing is for sure. Only content that provides value will be accepted. The Mobile is a personal, conversational medium and to get into a person’s ‘individual space’, you need to provide value and engagement. That is easier said than done. But there are avenues and means to doing that. People on the mobile are searching for content (as is true on any medium) but the line between ads and content will blur even more with the blitzkrieg of mobile advertising.

Your thoughts and opinions – extremely valued. Please feel free to share exploratory theories.

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