India shows record growth in mobile advertising

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Sub-continent sees a country-wide shift from feature phones to smartphones, largely fueled by growth on Android

Sub-continent sees a country-wide shift from feature phones to smartphones, largely fueled by growth on Android

Asia-Pacific is now the fastest-growing region in mobile advertising, with 70% growth in ad impressions year-over-year -- similar to its upward trajectory within the global economy. This and other conclusions came from the special edition of the State of Mobile Advertising report released by Opera Mediaworks today.

India is the single-most powerful driver of the Asia-Pacific market with mobile ad impression volume growing 260% since July 2013. This is primarily due to the rapid, country-wide shift from feature phones to smart devices, which is dominated almost entirely by the Android platform (41.7% share vs. a paltry 0.4% for iOS).

Opera Mediaworks’ first India-focused report provides data on device adoption, ad types and mobile consumption patterns in the sub-continent, among other things.

Other market-share findings:

  • Social sites and apps are most popular in usage, consistent with the global trend. But mobile app stores, gaming and education sites and apps closely follow, which is particular only to India users.
  • Advertisements served are mostly for games and mobile devices, together representing nearly half (48.1%) of all impressions. Classified ads, however, are a significant portion, with 1 in 5 impressions dedicated to the direct sale of personal transportation like cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles.
  • Most ads are simple banners, but more sophisticated rich media is emerging as a creative medium. Even at only 3.2% of impressions, rich media drives 26.6% of revenue.

With the goal of helping advertisers understand the makeup of the mobile audience in India -- and thus how to better reach them -- Opera Mediaworks also published findings about the user base. The company observed that:

The Indian mobile advertising audience is young (60% are in the 18-24 age group) and predominantly male (82%).

About half are ‘occasional’ users, accessing the mobile web 1-2 times per week, but 21.6% are ‘frequent’ (6-7 days/week), and 6 in 10 ad impressions are served to those “frequent” users.

Mobile ad interactions are higher on weekends, and engagement is low during the week.

“The biggest trend that we identified was really about future opportunity,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO of Opera Mediaworks. “Mobile users in India who have shifted to smartphones have done so with Android, and we can see that those users are far more interested in categories like News & Information, Arts & Entertainment and Business, Finance & Investing than the India average. Given the high monetization we’ve seen from these categories on a global level, it’s clear that both advertisers and publishers that can deliver rich user experiences on mobile sites and apps in those categories are going to be successful in India as well.”