4 Trends That Define The State Of APAC Mobile Advertising In Q3 2015

Opera Mediaworks and the Mobile Marketing Association study finds feature phones making revenue in India and Indians being 'savvy shoppers'

A study of mobile users on Opera’s global mobile-ad platform in six select APAC countries found that Android is the leading OS for smartphones, with 67.1% of impressions being served to those mobile devices (and 30.4% to “other”, or feature phones). In Australia, however, the opposite trend has surfaced: iOS dominates with a 68.5% market share compared to Android’s 30.7% and feature phones on less than 1%.

Even in markets where the transition from feature phones to smartphones has been slower (Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines), about half of the mobile user base has moved to smartphones. These findings are from the recently released report Q3 State of Mobile Advertising study from Opera Mediaworks and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

Like last quarter, this quarter the report which provides an overview of mobile advertising performance in APAC and Oceania focuses on its “P6” countries in APAC (India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) and Australia in Oceania.

India monetizes well with feature phones

According to the latest report, globally, Android is the clear winner, dominating the market in both active users and impression volume. However, in Asia, there is still a significant presence of older, non-“smart” devices or feature phones – accounting for 30.4% of all impressions served in the P6. Though the market share of these feature phones is declining still there is robust usage in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

feature phones India

Feature phones or basic phones which dominate the emerging markets have been a problem for ad networks and marketers. Facebook and Twitter have struggled since their rich media ads have failed to generate any revenue in feature phone markets. Interestingly, India is the only country where platforms outside of Android and iOS support a relatively strong monetization model, with platforms other than Android and iOS having a share of revenue that is nearly twice their share of impressions.

Australia dominates video advertising

Demand of mobile video continues lifting the monetization levels. Last quarter Oceania was the top market for relative interest in video advertising, driven by world leader Australia. Philippines has the highest ratio of video-ad impressions compared to the volume of all impressions served in its market.

Video advertising Australia

This quarter India has had the most impressions and revenue. However, when looking only at monetization potential, India falls well behind others in the region. Dominance of feature phones is one of the reasons why Indian marketers are facing reduced opportunity.

With the growth of smartphones and video consumption, the format is already a high-impact and valuable advertising type, commanding higher eCPMs. Australia that is dominated by iOS users (68.5%) has the highest ratio of video ad impressions to overall impressions and is currently the global leader in revenue driven by video, with a disproportionate amount coming from that ad type.

Markets like Thailand and Indonesia that have relatively high percentages of video ads are still having inferior monetization potential due to the dominance of feature phones.

Indians still engaged with the Mobile Stores

Mapping content trends by country, the report found that each country demonstrates a unique profile in terms of audience interests. However Social Networking is the most or second-most popular category for five of the seven countries. It is noticeably missing from the top three in Australia, which is instead dominated by Entertainment, Sports and News & Information.

Users in India are most heavily engaged with the Mobile Stores and Carrier Portals category, followed by Social Networking sites and apps. Sports rounds out the list in the no. 3 position, but still making an appearance in the charts, whereas this category is noticeably missing in the profiles of most other countries (except Australia and Indonesia).

mobile content APACMobile Stores and Carrier Portals was the most common interest category, taking the no. 1 spot in six of the seven countries. Asia is the global leader in driving users and traffic for mobile storefronts and carrier portals. In fact, nearly 89% of the unique users of mobile stores and carrier portals are on “Other” (feature phone) platforms, and just 11% come from Android phones.

Indians savvy shoppers

The report analyzed contextual attributes of users by measuring the performance of the different categories of sites and apps is one way to gauge audience size and interest. A few of the most common and desirable audience segments for advertisers are: Savvy Shoppers, Travelers, Gamers and High-tech Enthusiasts.

India followed by Vietnam, have a very high percentage of users that fall into one of these four audience segments dominated by Savvy Shopper and Traveller.

Indian Savvy ShoppersTakeaways for Indian marketers

1. India is still a feature phone market and it is still making good revenue. So integrating feature phone ad services provided by Facebook into the digital marketing plan could be a smart move.

2. This year has seen the growth of videos and this report just shows the potential of video advertising in India.

3. Users in India who prefer Android are the audience that can be labeled as shoppers. These users are social media savvy and consume news and information. With Indians being ‘Savvy Shoppers’ we have already seen how online eCommerce companies engaged them on digital during the festive period.