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In India, The Future Of Mobile Video Is Bite-Sized

Published on March 14, 2018  •  CMO

It’s an incredible time to be a marketer in India, where the number of mobile users is on track to exceed 781 million by 2021.

From e-commerce to messaging, mobile has become an integral part of the day-to-day life of Indian consumers, and it’s changing the way content is consumed throughout the entire Asia Pacific region, as well.

One of the most important transitions we’ve observed is the rise of short-form video as the prestige format for engaging mobile consumers. Across the world, consumers are prioritising mobile video content that is just a couple of minutes long, giving them something accessible with which to fill the empty moments in their day.

For marketers, this has had the knock-on effect of significantly reducing the length of pre-roll commercials. The 15- to 30-second commercial is no longer practical in an era where consumers will disengage after just six seconds.

Time For OrderTelling your brand story—capturing customers’ attention, engaging them emotionally, and imparting a message—in such a small amount of time poses an interesting challenge. It will require new ways of communicating with customers and better leverage visual storytelling.

I believe that sequential content, consumed over a time period that makes sense, will be an important way for brands to accomplish this. For example, emotionally resonant stories might be best communicated in a series of five snackable videos distributed across one or two days, while higher-level brand awareness campaigns would function better capped at a lower frequency across a week or month.

As consumer attention spans continue to decline, I expect sequential messaging will become more prevalent.

Mobile-First Movement This transition to short-form native content will be vital for advertisers to make as the world transitions towards mobile-first consumption.

In China, the world’s biggest mobile-first market, short-form video consumption is already beating long-form content by a ratio of three-to-one, and it’s a reasonable assumption that India and Southeast Asia will follow this model.

Here in India, our “Shifting Terrain: The Mobile Media Landscape in India” report found that mobile already represents 87% of digital usage, as affordable mobile broadband and smartphones proliferate through the market. By 2021, we predict 60% of India’s mobile browsing will be on 4G, leading to a spike in demand for native, high-quality video content.

As a result, we project that mobile ad spending in India will more than double between now and 2020, increasing to US$1.2 billion. In the coming year alone, 75% of Indian firms surveyed indicated plans to increase their mobile spend. The question is, how can your brand stand out from the crowd?

First, consider leveraging the innovative higher-bandwidth opportunities enabled by the rapid expansion of 4G, such as 360-degree video and virtual reality content, to create a unique impact.

Second, consider location-based marketing. Whether it’s an ad targeted at the customer walking past your store or a campaign designed for India’s lower-income, rural demographic, who are just coming online for the first time, location intelligence can drive mobile engagement at the right time, to the right person, with the right message.

Lastly, don’t define “mobile” too narrowly. Tablets may not have taken India by storm, but the mobile ecosystem is broader than just smartphones. At InMobi, we’ve started to include the connected TV space in our definition of mobile because, while TV isn’t going anywhere, its content will become smarter, more programmatic, and more mobile. Billboards, too, will cease to be static, offline spaces.

Enormous opportunities await brands in India’s digital ecosystem. While there might be some challenges in the years ahead, 2025 looks positive for brands that can master the transition.