SINGAPORE--The Asia-Pacific mobile marketing industry is still underdeveloped and the industry will need to work on standardizing their platforms to make it more convenient for advertisers to publish their adverting content.
At a media roundtable held here Wednesday to discuss Asia's digital advertising landscape, Rosalind Tan, Asia-Pacific vice president and general manager at Crisp Marketing, noted that the mobile marketing industry in the region was still "very immature" compared to western countries, which were about two to three years ahead and already had an ecosystem in place.
She described the Asian mobile marketing industry as overly fragmented. Advertisers needed to think about the different handsets, devices and operating systems used in the different countries, and also had to deal with the different platforms which publishers operated, Tan explained.
These publishers often had homegrown platforms which were closed systems and were reluctant to standardize, she added.
Tan stressed the need for a standardized ecosystem so advertisers can create one piece of content that then can be pushed to different platforms. One standard for mobile advertising is the Open, Rich-Media Mobile Advertising (ORMMA), which sets rules for displaying rich media ads across different platforms, she said.
With mobile increasingly a popular medium, brands will need to turn their attention to the platform, she added. Using Singapore as an example, Tan noted that the country had over 90 percent in smartphone penetration and it would be "crazy" to ignore mobile marketing here.
Besides fragmented publishing platforms, the mobile marketing industry faces other challenges.
According to Matthew Drury, head of interaction at digital agency MEC Singapore, shopping on mobile handsets was low. While users would make purchases on their tablets, they were less likely to buy via their mobile phones, he said.
Drury added that the go-to-market strategy for brands would need to change to suit the always-on mobile platform. Currently, he noted, very few brands had the advertising budget to cater to this always-on environment.
Digital marketing still small share of pie
He said marketing budgets in the Asia-Pacific region were more focused on TV advertisements, while budget for the Singapore market was focused on printed press.
Tan noted that the lower digital marketing budget could be attributed to traditional publishers in the region which advertising portfolios were still structured in silos, where their audience was divided into print, online or mobile.
Vaasu Gavarasana, Asia-Pacific head of digital marketing solutions at Yahoo, believed the "tipping point" for digital marketing to have a larger portion of the marketing budget would come when digital natives become decision-makers for marketing.
This, he said, would take another five years.