Instead of simply going after a broad spread of audiences as on desktop or print mediums, brands and companies are able to target the customers that they want.
Charles Xi, Vice
How would you describe the current trends of the state of mobile advertising in Southeast Asia today?
Unlike the US and Europe, Southeast Asia is home to many emerging markets. While more developed countries are experiencing stagnating growth in terms of smartphone adoption, developing markets in Southeast Asia still continue to see increasing smartphone penetration, and there remains plenty of room for further growth.
Other bright spots in the region include the spread of increasingly affordable smartphones, which boosts adoption among more pricesensitive consumers.
In what way does mobile advertising differ from other more traditional forms of advertisement?
For starters, mobile advertising is a lot more precise. Instead of simply going after a broad spread of audiences as on desktop or print mediums, brands and companies are able to target the customers that they want. This means businesses can focus on more than just growing their user base, as mobile advertising allows them to set their sights on acquiring the users that will best help them grow. Furthermore, it is also easier for companies to track how their ads are received in terms of clicks and uptake on mobile.
Users also stand to benefit from more targeted advertising on mobile, because the ads may be more relevant to them.
How can mobile ads be better integrated into the overall user experience?
At Mobvista, we deal primarily with in-app advertisement. These can take many forms, ranging from simple banner-style ads to things like video and rich media formats. Ads can definitely be disruptive to the overall user experience, but that’s only if they are implemented without much thought. As a result, it’s up to the app developer to find a balance between ads – a key source of monetization – and the user experience. One way to do this is through native advertising, where the ad is tweaked to resemble the presentation of content in the app itself, so it doesn’t stick out as much.
What are the challenges currently facing in-app mobile advertising?
Data is key to advertising, and that’s especially true in mobile advertising, where the aim is to serve up targeted ads to the right users. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of gathering user data from cookies, and have to depend on the app developer for information instead. This means that close cooperation with developers is very important for in-app advertisers!
Then there are other challenges like the small screen space, which gives us less room to work with, and the issue of attracting and keeping users’ attentions for a meaningful period of time.
One way around this problem is to go with eye-catching designs and ad formats like videos. As it turns out, videos actually have the best conversion rates.
Looking forward, what are Mobvista’s plans in the region?
We recently acquired NativeX, a US-based native ad technology company for mobile apps and games, for US$25 million, and we fully intend to move forward with native advertising in order to provide the best possible user experience. As of now, we have over 50 clients in Southeast Asia, including e-commerce sites like Lazada and Zalora.
Our Singapore office is currently the only one in Southeast Asia, but there are plans to expand to better respond to our clients. Come July 2016, we also hope to be in Indonesia!