Earlier this month I was travelling with my husband from the UK to South Eastern India.
We were on our way to visit family and friends in Visakhapatnam, a beautiful city in the state of Andhra Pradesh also known as ‘The Jewel of the East Coast’.
However, in order to get there, we had to take a connecting flight via Chennai.
Unlike the tiny airport in Visakhapatnam, Chennai’s airports are large and overcrowded- it’s a challenging place to be when you’re used to the easy transits of Heathrow. However, on this occasion, all we had to do was walk from the International terminal to the Domestic terminal.
The two buildings are very close to each other, but they were very different. The International terminal was steel and glass and full of expensive shops. The lounges were full of business people and wealthy families waiting to board flights to London, New York and Singapore.
In comparison, the Domestic terminal felt incredibly tired and a little forgotten. The shops were mostly selling snacks and there were travellers there from all walks of life, from businessmen on their way back home, families ready for pilgrimages and surprisingly, quite a few bands on their way to gigs. There was less comfortable seating and the porters and cleaners had to zig zag there way amongst the children and luggage.
However, there was one thing that was common to both terminals: everyone was on their mobile phone. Indians love their phones.
With over 200 million users, India is the world’s second-largest market for smartphones. In an article in the Guardian earlier this year, Deepak Ravindran, founder & CEO of Lookup, a Bangalore-based app startup said “India’s mobile revolution is just beginning. Everybody can afford a smartphone and wants to get on the internet.”
Having only left London ten hours previously, my mind was still in work mode. India’s digital ad spend is growing phenomenally as overall phone usage accelerates and brands understand how to best use this channel to increase reach. It struck me that here were Indians from wildly different socio economic backgrounds, speaking hundreds of different languages, all in one place accessing the same marketing channel. So, how could a big advertiser effectively target each of them with the correct messaging?
Well, the answer is dynamic advertising.
Dynamic advertising (sometimes called dynamic creative) uses external data such as time, location, past browsing behaviour and segment definitions to change the content of an ad before it shows on a webpage or app.
It means that huge businesses such as Flipkart can serve that wealthy businessman an ad for a pair of ₹20,000 Raybans written in English, whilst serving that porter creative for a ₹50 SIM card written in Hindi. It means that if it’s a Friday evening and that business man is in arrivals and not departures, Cinepolisindia.com can serve both him and the porter ads for the new Baahubali movie.
That 10 minute walk between terminals reminded me of the huge opportunity that mobile offers in terms of global reach; however, more interestingly, it highlighted how dynamic creative is vital if advertisers are to realise that opportunity.