Mobile advertising is facing its biggest challenge: ad-blockers. Yet Kumar Samanvaya Misra, an MBA graduate from France’s EMLYON Business School, thinks mobile-based advertising is likely to overtake the use of TV ads in the coming years. He leads product marketing at PocketMath, the world’s largest online bidding platform for mobile ads.
Around the world, online advertisers are moving to mobile. In India, eMart Solutions reports that more than 70% of digital marketers rate mobile marketing as the core of their business.
Yet this month, marketing tech firm Tune reported that the rate of new mobile users downloading ad-blockers has more than tripled since the turn of the year. By mid-2017, 80% of smartphone users in the US and Europe could be blocking ads.
Kumar remains confident that the challenge can be overcome. He is well placed to know. Before relocating to France for his MBA, Kumar worked as a software engineer for Infosys. After graduation he returned to India to head up business development at Easy Taxi, an e-hailing app, which he thinks can challenge Uber.
What is the future for mobile advertising?
I would not be surprised if it overtook television advertising in the future. Mobility has become a necessity and everyone wants to do everything on the go.
If you look at the emerging economies, they are more likely to take a mobile-first approach. It’s cheaper and easier, and mobile data makes internet access easy.
Is the surge in mobile ad-blocking a threat?
We have to understand how we get access to such amazing content on the internet: some sites are lucky to get sponsors but most get paid via advertisements.
Advertisements are the fuel for the free internet. As long as people are unwilling to pay for anything they do on the internet, no ad-blockers will be 100% effective.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at EMLYON?
An MBA was a great way to progress in my career. I wanted to go beyond a standard job role, experiment with new things and make an impact.
EMLYON is one of the most prestigious schools in France. It offers an MBA focused on entrepreneurship and has its own incubator, which really caught my attention. There was a fantastic opportunity to learn from the first-hand experiences of these start-up owners.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
It helped me look at problems differently, to ask the right questions, [and] to find solutions to problems.
How has marketing changed over the past decade?
There’s been a change in the way return on investment is calculated.
Today, a lot of analytics goes into the understanding of the outcome. We can very closely monitor how many people respond to each marketing effort.
Marketing technology is evolving very quickly. The demand is high and there is huge scope for innovative solutions. We’re at a stage where we’re implementing the high-frequency trading models of the stock market to sell mobile ads in real-time.
How important is data in driving decision-making in business today?
Data cannot capture everything.
Data is helpful in bringing another avenue to the decision making process but no data model is 100% accurate. We still need a human brain to validate the trends, correlate them with the company vision and strategy, and make informed decisions.
Can Easy Taxi really compete with Uber?
Nothing is impossible.
The key lies in the execution. In a crowded marketplace, rather than competing on price, companies have a higher chance of success if they focus on value and quality, and understand the needs of their customers.
Why do you think increasing numbers of MBAs are working in start-ups?
Most of my generation are not satiated by big pay-slips; they want to make an impact.
They don’t believe in following what has already been done. They want to try out new things and create history.
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