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GMIC 2012: Naveen Tewari, Founder of InMobi, Defines Future of Mobile Advertising

Games games games. So far this is the motif of GMIC 2012 in terms of Apps, and InMobi like other companies is relying on “gamification” to innovate itself in the rapidly changing market.

Naveen Tewari, the founder of InMobi, a company that has grown from India to become a major global competitor second only to Google, shared with us some of his thoughts today about the mobile advertisement industry. It includes how the industry is changing, how to take it to the next level, and what InMobi is doing on the innovation front.

Essentially the mobile network allows people to stay connected and online 24/7. Given this potential, Naveen’s next challenge is to figure out what this all means, where it is headed, and what is the next frontier. He identified that the average mobile web user in China consumes 5 hours of mobile media per day. That is the same amount of time spent everyday on more traditional mediums such as the PC!

So where is the extra time spent online coming from?

After extensive marketing research, studies have shown that 75% of mobile devices are used while lying in bed, 32% while commuting, two-thirds of the time while waiting for something, and 17% used while watching TV. These results provide numerous potential opportunities for InMobi.

Naveen shared with us a handful of the latest killer innovations that InMobi is working on feverishly. It seems like all new services revolve around consumer engagement and interaction.

It is now known that it is common for consumers to end up buying products that are advertised on mobile phones, thus InMobi has created a new advertisement format to cater to this market. They have incorporated interactive product catalogs in the form of advertisements. When consumers are browsing the internet, advertisements can pop up and then users can swipe through the catalog pages pressing on items they may be interested in. This not only helps consumers make better choices, but it also allows corporations that use the InMobi platform to find out what videos are being watched and which segments are being watched in each video,  allowing for better market segmentation.

Another new ad format is product sampling built into an ad. It is a one-time session trail. For example, a customer can play a game for the first time before even purchasing the game by interacting with the advertisement. As Naveen says, “This is taking freemium, interactive advertising and engagement to the next level.”

This next one, my personal favorite, is the “Gamification of experiences.” Their newest ads require you to interact with the phone before moving on to the next campaign. Naveen showed us an ad of a vacuum cleaner where you can swipe downwards to clean the CGI dirt off your mobile device screen. Next it features a game where you need to trace the vacuum cleaner with your finger along a predetermined path to clean your screen. According to Naveen, bringing real world experiences to mobile is the next frontier.

There has always been a buzz on whether InMobi will ever attempt to over-take Google in this mobile ad realm. Naveen responds that they are not too bothered by trying to take over Google, as  it is in conflict with their strategic goal. Their focus right now is on providing even better services to consumers, and their top priority is technological development and innovation. After all, the market is gigantic, and InMobi and Google haven’t been treading on each other’s territories yet.

Naveen concludes that InMobi’s priority is on even better product development, and to scale successfully in China and give service to people in China.

Will Kong
Will is an undergraduate exchange student in Beijing at Tsinghua and a guest writer for 


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