Mobile Marketing Cannot Be Ignored: Rajat Gupta, Digital Head LINE India

Mobile Marketing is the new buzz word. With the smartphone penetration increasing rapidly in India, the users are spending more time on the small screen than on the desktops.

Advertisers are responding fast and mobile marketing is becoming more important than ever. Though the size of the pie might be small as of now, brands and advertisers are taking note of the potential of Mobile Marketing.

Rajat Gupta, Digital Head Of LINE India

In this chat, Rajat Gupta, Head of Digital Marketing at LINE India gives an insight on how one of the most popular messaging apps in the world uses mobile marketing and advertising in their marketing mix. He also discusses if brands and advertisers can afford to ignore the mobile as a medium.

How has the mobile advertising ecosystem matured over the last few years?

I think the mobile advertising industry is in its initial stages and what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. The brands are becoming more aware of the changing dynamics in digital marketing and now understand the importance of mobile advertising.

Though the spends on mobile are very small as compared to traditional and digital media, there has been a significant increase in the same. We will see a surge in that in the near future. Currently, not many marketers are aware about the mobile ad inventory options. Once that improves, we will see an explosion in this industry. At LINE, a significant portion of our advertising spends goes to mobile advertising.

What are the creative ways in which LINE is advertising to mobile users?

We do not use conventional targeting options such as location targeting because it is not important where our user is. Users might be chatting on LINE from wherever they are. But what is important to us is that the user must own a good quality smartphone that runs apps and must have a data plan.

We don’t advertise on mobile sites. We try to advertise on banners inside apps. We do not do advertising for branding because it will be difficult for us to measure the efficacy of that. Our advertising is performance driven.

By performance we mean app downloads. By performance we mean that the user downloads the app and registers on it. Install to registration ratio is a metric we chase religiously. Our priority for now is to get new users and increase the stickiness of the app.

How is the average click-through rate and conversion rate on mobile different than other forms of media?

The average click-through rate and conversion rate is higher on mobile than on desktop. One of the reasons could be that mobile advertising is new and people are attracted towards a new medium. A lot of customization can be done for a customer on mobile because we can know a lot about the user. That works because a desktop might be shared between multiple people but a mobile phone is personal.

Another reason for a higher CTR and conversion rate is that the mobile having a smaller screen has lesser distractions than the desktop where the user’s attention moves from one element to other very quickly.

Any innovative mobile advertising campaign that caught your attention?

I will answer this question taking something we do at LINE into account. For us, the task doesn’t end at the user just downloading the LINE app. We have to make sure the user registered after downloading the app and then starts using it repeatedly. We design our campaigns in a way that the communication is different for different users depending on the stage they are at on the user life-cycle.

Let’s say a user downloaded the app but didn’t complete the registration; we will show him ad banners reminding him to complete the registration to start enjoying conversations on LINE. In another example, if there is a user who downloaded the app and registered too but isn’t using it, we design special campaigns so that they start using the app more frequently.

What goes into planning a mobile media campaign? What is the division between targeting behaviours and understanding spending metrics?

It completely depends on the advertiser’s objectives. There can be different objectives like to acquire new customers or to reach out to people who have dropped from the funnel. For someone the objective can be brand building or just brand recall. Based on the objectives, we go for the data and design the campaign accordingly. We then choose the platform that will be relevant for that particular campaign.

Since LINE itself is a platform, we use it to reach out too. We give a high importance to the spending metrics because the cost for every line item in the campaign has to be justified. On the other hand, behavioural targeting is a prerequisite for any kind of campaign, be it for customer acquisition or branding.

What kind of data can an advertiser get about mobile users. Is this data being fully utilized to understand customers?

We can get almost all kinds of usage data about a mobile user. Some parameters that can be obtained are – service operator, the make and model of the phone he is carrying, data plan, area circle etc. Also, we can get data for the usage patterns of the user which tells us how much time he spends on voice calls, how much time is spent on the apps and how much time is spent on mobile internet.

Answering your second question, we use different data during different phases of the campaign. We start off with a wider target initially and the target gets leaner as we move along the campaign. This industry is very dynamic and we have to react to changes in real-time. Hence, the data, though not everything at once, is definitely useful in different situations.

How is mobile advertising helping LINE India to reach out to its existing and potential users? Is there something new you are planning for reaching out your users on mobile?

Mobile advertising is extremely important for us. It forms an integral part of our campaign planning. We are looking forward to try out new techniques and options in the future to make our advertising more effective.

Coming to the second part of your question, frankly, we don’t follow the industry; we sit down with tech architects of top mobile companies to figure out how we can sharpen our targeting.

We have real-time problem statements and our job is to create solutions for them. We are not following a trend; we are setting a trend here. We keep on slicing, dicing and targeting people to make our marketing more effective. The user behaviour keeps changing and we have to make informed experiments based on the limited past data we have to adapt to the change.

So if something doesn’t work, you go back to the drawing board to rework?

In this industry, we are always on the drawing board. Everything is real-time.

With this, he signs off.

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