mGinger, a garage startup, introduced solicited mobile advertising services in India based on social networking. In a short span of time the company has near 1 million users whom it pays for reading the campaigns. The services are being offered across the country over all major cellular operators.
Click here to read Part II of the interview.
What sort of response are you getting from the advertisers? Who have you signed up so far?
Since 4 months of our launch we have done around 150 - 200 campaigns. We have 70-80 advertisers signed up so far. Besides this we are getting advertising enquiries from all types of advertisers, from small outlets at the street corner to the big boys like HLL. Big names advertising with mGinger would be Taj Gateway Hotels, Tanishq, ICICI prudential mutual fund, Pritish Nandy Communications, etc.
Is there any particular segment you see more advertisers from?
We are seeing a good traction in segments like Hotels, pubs and education. However there is no single category we are confined to.The advertisers can sign in directly with service providers and deliver ads through them. So why mGinger?
The reason is very simple. We are a permission based advertiser. If you receive some content on your phone, you typically feel very irritated if it is not from one of your friends or family. It is a very personal medium. Infact it holds true for TV as well. While you are watching an important event like a cricket match, you get lots of ads in between. But as a consumer you are trained like that. However on mobiles you will not accept it very easily and it is also a very new medium.
If an advertiser goes to an operator, its not permission based and its not very targeted. All you can target is based on circle. As an advertiser at most you know the telecom circle you are targeting. In comparison we can really help out advertisers target the specific lot by filtering the database in various ways like income, gender, marital status, etc. Further we have the user preferences. And they will get ads within those areas only.
Although you register users and they agree to all of the terms laid by you, are you confident they won't get uncomfortable with it at one point of time? Getting too many SMSs is an issue.
From interference angle, there is no question of it since we are being permitted by the user to send messages. Particularly users can also choose the timings between which they want ads over mobiles. So there is no interference.
The second thing is about privacy. Users might be concerned about their personal information being revealed. We have strict legal agreement whereby we cannot reveal the personal information to any third party.
Do you provide the database details to the advertisers for them to send the SMSs?
We have a portal called adginger.com where advertisers can log in, query the database based on some criteria and get the results. They get the number of subscribers as per criteria specified. They do not see the names and numbers of those subscribers. Then they type the message to be sent, schedule it and make the payments due. They don't provide us the content. They send it direct off our portal.
Advertising has changed a lot and its now multimedia advertising. Are you planning MMS advertising?
We have a whole range of things coming up in another 2 or 3 months. Right now its just text based advertising.
Since launch how many users have you signed and on an average what does a typical user make from mGinger?
We are in very early stages right now. We have close to 1 million users and they are all active. Advertisers are also picking up slowly as they wait and watch the medium. We have also started making the actual payments to end users. We pay only when a user earns Rs 300 or more.
What type of users are signing up for your service?
Location wise we have users mainly from metros and other large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Age wise, most of the users, around 65-70% are within the age group of 22-29 years and most of them are working in IT & ITES.
How do you ensure that the advertiserâ€™s money gets properly utilized? How do you track the response rate?
We have multiple kinds of campaigns. One is a pure push campaign. The advertiser sends the message to a cross section of people. This is done more from branding perspective. The second thing we have is a client controlled response campaign. An advertiser sends a message and asks users to call back on a particular number if they are interested. This is solely controlled by advertisers and only they tell us about the response. The third option we have is an mGinger controlled response where we send out ads from our numbers and ask for responses over it. This is controlled by mGinger. All of these come at different pricing levels. That is how we know what response an advertiser is getting.
If I am an advertiser, can you offer me a â€˜cost per clickâ€™ kind of package?
Yes. We have models which are based on CPM (Cost per Thousand) and CPL (Cost per Lead).
Did you get any VC funding for your start up?
We are on the verge of closing our 1st round of funding. I cannot reveal the name right now. In a few days we are going to sign the agreement and only then I can announce something on this.