If you’re looking to find growth opportunities for mobile advertising, your focus should be on emerging market countries.
Nations like India, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico—where there is high gross domestic product growth, low GDP per capita and large total GDP—promise to be hotbeds of technological growth over the coming years. By 2020, these economies will have 2.5 billion smartphone users, many of whom are using their devices to get online for the first time.
But you can’t simply use your existing mobile advertising strategy in these countries. Tactics that work effectively in the U.S. won’t be effective targeting the billions of emerging nation consumers.
At Jana, we recommend that brands fully understand what makes emerging market countries different—culturally and technologically, as we shared in a recent report:
Limited coverage and reliability
In the U.S., 4G availability is at 81 percent. Coverage in India is much lower, with an added divide between urban and rural digital infrastructure. In India, 3G and 4G penetration is less than 5 percent. Even when 4G is available, it can be extremely slow; at 6.4 Mbps, India’s is the third slowest 4G network in the world.
Ad blocking on the rise
In emerging markets, ad blocking is often about conserving precious data. In Asia-Pacific countries, users are turning to ad blockers to reduce the load time of web pages slowed down by large, disruptive advertisements. In India and Indonesia, almost two-thirds of smartphone users now use ad-blocking browsers.
Tracking is tricky
One SIM card does not always equal one person. In Indonesia, there are 254 million people and 318 million mobile connections. In 2013, there were 70 million mobile phones in use in Indonesia without an IMEI number, a device identification number. All of these factors can make tracking and attribution complicated.
Given these market differences, what actions can marketers take to really get involved in emerging markets? We suggest starting with these three actions:
Keep a close eye on future trends
The dynamics of emerging markets shift rapidly. We recommend clients keep a close eye on trend lines to gauge where future audiences will arise. For example, most mobile video consumers in India are currently young, urban men. However, female video viewership is increasing in non-metro parts of the country at a rate three times faster than their male counterparts. So, if you’re interested in reaching women in rural India, video should be at the top of your list.
Build trust through word of mouth
We recently surveyed 1,650 users of Jana’s mCent app across 10 emerging market countries and found that the number one reason that people download an app is because they heard about it through a friend. This trust is often enabled by the close geographic proximity between people and their friends and family. Build brand awareness in these markets by advertising through local channels in targeted areas.
Translate and localize
Advertisers must understand language and cultural nuances. Many emerging market countries have more than one language— India has 22 official languages and Indonesia has 300. Which should you choose? Start with the one that is considered the “official” language of business—even those who speak regional dialects will also know it.
For people in India, Indonesia and beyond, the smartphone is their first and primary gateway to the internet. Now is the time to think outside the developed market box and focus on the future of mobile advertising—emerging markets.