Emerging Mobile Markets Part 3: India’s Ad Tech Space Matures

E Mmap Udated

When AppLift first entered India in 2015, the mobile advertising landscape was undergoing a transformation of sorts, with advertisers navigating and treading carefully to acquire that all elusive consumer.

Let’s rewind to a year earlier in 2014 when the digital advertising space was very different from what we see now. Led by the government’s focus on digitisation and internet, the ad tech ecosystem in the country was slowly shaping up. Increased penetration of mobile devices, led by the availability of low cost devices, meant that a larger population now had access to smartphones. Couple this with increased competition between mobile service providers and a wider adoption of 4G, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of the country opened up to the idea of consuming content on mobile. Through the years, the share of the Indian population using smartphones has been increasing steadily — from 26.3% in 2015 to a projected 39% in 2019.

By this time, another revolution was happening in parallel: burgeoning smartphone and mobile internet usage was quickly shaping up an app revolution. Smarter consumers meant competitive businesses that started opening up avenues for startups in the country that now found that having an app was the best way to sell anything to the consumer. A report suggested that by 2015 India had 9 million app downloads, which was 5 times more than the apps downloaded in 2012.

In tracing the development of the ad tech space, 2016 can be considered to be an important mark in the curve. While eCommerce on mobile has been steadily performing as one of the top verticals in the country, the gaming industry is on the precipice of making a breakthrough.

Another important factor that shaped the app economy in the country was the government’s move for demonetization that pushed the Indian consumers to adopt digital payment, thus giving rise to mobile wallets.

As we gear up to enter another new year, it’s safe to say that the landscape has undergone a complete transformation. Based on recent estimates, the growth of the Indian smartphone market is expected to exceed that of the US. With this phenomenal rise in the use of smartphones, mobile ad spending is projected to reach over $1.7 billion by 2021, constituting nearly 62% of all digital ad spend.

While Google’s Android phones continue to dominate the market, Apple has been making a massive push to grab a bite of the Indian consumer market. In general, conversion rates on iOS (138.2%) are significantly higher on iOS compared to Android (42.5%).

Looking ahead, there are still untapped opportunities ) that marketers can leverage to make strategic decisions on their user acquisition activities. Chatbots and AI focused app-based startups have made their presence felt and it will be interesting to see where we go from here.

As enticing as these growth opportunities can be, it’s important for marketers to continue tracking the right KPIs, benefit from data obtained through tracking campaigns and efficiently evaluating the LTV of a user to ensure the best ROI on their campaigns. Given the impressive size of India’s population, these figures provide a glimpse of the growth opportunities for marketers over the coming years.

Check out our infographic below to get deeper insights into the mobile marketing landscape in India and click on the image for a larger view to download.

Emerging Markets India  1

Check out the Part 1 and Part 2 of the series and come back for the next instalments, where we will take you to yet another region in the world and discuss the trends that are shaping the app market.