How digital marketing will transform real estate industry in 2018

Over the last few years, digital marketing has played a key role in the advertising and branding of an organization.  Apart from uplifting the brand image, going digital also helps in reaching the target audience which, in turn, aids in generating leads and promoting sales.

One such industry that has tried, tested and achieved significant business growth with digital marketing is Real Estate and there is more to come in 2018. The last decade has witnessed a lot of real estate activity in the online space. A lot of property buyers and sellers do vigorous research online before they ultimately make the purchase or sell the property offline. Hence, making sure you have a strong online presence is of utmost importance to make your brand name stand out in the real estate industry.

So, what makes digital marketing such a vital tool for developers and home seekers alike and how is it going to progress going forward? To find out, let’s take a flashback to how it all began.

Real Estate and the Internet of Things 

A couple of decades ago, properties were considered a luxury investment. Only the richest of rich could afford the exorbitant prices stamped on the various housing projects. Even the process of purchasing a property was a long and tedious one. Home seekers had to collect and sign an endless flow of documents while also searching for a broker who could strike them a good deal for the desired property.

The Internet of Things has drastically changed the way buyers make purchase decisions. It is now a known fact that online reputation management can make or break your brand. Simple online searches take buyers to their desired property while documentation has become quick and paperless. Access to a multitude of properties has opened the doors for buyers with any financial background to have no hesitation while going for a purchase.

Brokers haven’t lost their place entirely; they have been able to tap into the power of the digital space and give home seekers a more refined and transparent property searching option. The increase in consumer mobile traffic has prompted brokers to bank on app marketing. Few of the trending apps are listed below:

Plabro: Trending in Delhi, this app has a back-end algorithm that shows a user’s preferences and provides property updates based on those preferences. It also shows analytical data on real estate trends.

Smart Agent Connect: Like Facebook for Realtors, this app lets realtors create business circles and take part in real estate deals over a short, quicker timeframe. It also lets realtors create custom websites and provide functions for complete Customer Relationship Management.

While a complete shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing is not going to happen anytime soon, real estate developers have notably increased their digital marketing budget over the past year. In 2015, statistics showed a 25 percent increase in marketing spends across the Real Estate industry, with an estimate of over 600 crore spent on digital marketing alone. One of the factors that influenced the budget increase is consumer behaviour, and with new improved numbers showing up for the forthcoming year, that scale in marketing budget will only go up.

Digital Media Facts & Stats (December 2016)

  • 462 million Internet users
  • 200 million active social media users (over 60% college are college students)
  • 3% of Indians accessed the Internet via mobile phone
  • The digital marketplace has grown by 33% between 2010 and 2015
  • 77% of online users buy products exclusively on social media
  • 50% of shoppers buy online based on social media influence
  • 74% of buyers rely on influence for making purchase decisions
  • The sale of physical goods through the digital space amounted to 16.8 billion dollars in revenue

These astounding statistics show just how powerful the Internet of Things has become and it also holds true for developers who seek the digital space for marketing their products.

Digital Marketing for Real Estate Stats (July 2016)

  • 14% of home buyers search for tips on how to purchase homes more effectively
  • 42% of home buyers have used the Internet as their first search medium
  • 82% of home buyers trust online agents as good information sources
  • 92% home buyers have searched for homes the Internet

The benefits of digital marketing

Marketing techniques are open to evolve and get better over time. Additionally, if you are an ardent user of the digital space for marketing your products, you know it comes with numerous benefits. Apart from the urban space, digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India as well. Real estate developers are yet to realise these benefits and are only scratching the surface when it comes to taking full advantage of what digital marketing has to offer. Here’s where digital marketing gives real estate developers an edge, with a multitude of digital marketing trends to expect in 2017.

  • Cost-efficient: Needless to say, there is a lot of money that goes into a real estate project. Digital marketing offers free publicity at comparatively lower pricing to that of traditional marketing, so it’s no surprise that marketers in the Real Estate industry are taking full advantage of the cost efficiency.
  • Increased exposure: Considering the numerous housing projects that vary in size, location and cost, having a digital marketing strategy lets you expand your overall reach and even customise that reach towards a selected target market.
  • Performance Analysis: Digital marketing offers numerous ways to keep track of an advertisement’s performance in the competitive marketplace, making it easier for real estate developers to understand what marketing technique works best for their products.
  • Creative licence: Be it an apartment, independent house, villa or plot of land, there are numerous ways for developers to showcase their products in the online marketplace.
  • Brand building: To succeed in the vast industry that is Real Estate, developers need a strong and reputable presence. Having online presence is considered the next best brand building technique.

Marketing techniques that work wonders

For any company which is hoping to succeed in the digital space, there are three goals every digital marketer must try and achieve:

  1. Building the brand
  2. Acquiring customers
  3. Customer engagement

Let’s look at some digital marketing practices (in the Real Estate Industry) that will help achieve the above-mentioned goals.

1. Building the brand

Creating an online presence is the first, most important step, and serves as a backbone for all future digital marketing activities. To establish a powerful online presence, Real Estate developers need to focus on creating three things.

Creating a Website

For Real Estate, a website can serve two purposes: a virtual office that showcases the builder’s latest projects or a virtual marketplace for home seekers to explore purchasing options. To make either one or both of these purposes work well, there are numerous tools and optimisation techniques that need to be implemented.

Even the design of the website matters as it can make a difference to user experience and one such design that has been making waves amongst the real estate websites is a Flat Design. Flat website designs are categorised by their simple, elegant and square’ish’ look; first noticed in the Windows 8 Tile User Interface. With minimalistic animations and loads of white space, the Flat website design has proven to be effective in page speed loading times, readability, mobile optimisation and ease of navigation.

While a good website design is pleasing to the eyes, it only scratches the surface of what matters especially in the Real Estate sector. A stellar design needs to be accompanied with great content to create an impact. Writing good content that effectively communicates a Real Estate brand’s message and intrigues the user to go ahead for a purchase is vital. Presenting your target audience with engaging content is a sure-shot way to grab their attention and generate leads.

Real Estate is a very broad topic, so to fit everything into a single website, other strategies can be utilised to showcase everything a Real Estate developer has to offer.lancor website

  • Multiple Web pages: Aside from having a homepage that gives a gist of the Real Estate builder’s brand, having multiple web pages that provide more information on the brand and interlink with one another through clever content navigation is essential. More pages ultimately result in users spending more time on the website, which directly affects the website’s rank on search engines.
  • Landing Pages: Landing pages act as mini e-commerce portals that explain in detail about a particular brand’s upcoming, on-going or released Real Estate project. Landing pages that are interactive or those that have video presentations have proven to yield 403% more inquiries than regular pages.

CG landing page

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

  • SEO is the glue that holds an entire digital marketing campaign together. As a matter of fact, digital marketers for Real Estate must have an SEO planner right at the beginning of their marketing strategy. From SEO plugins to various link building techniques, the driving force of good SEO, especially for Real Estate, is keyword research.
  • Statistics show that 80% of home buyers search for properties online which means having a list of search keywords incorporated into a content marketing strategy will pay off well. Potential customers will most likely be presented with search results about a property that has those keywords. Additionally, real estate companies can also leverage local SEO and Google maps to promote their business.

Creating a Blog

When people need help or are looking for something, they do one of two things – seek out a person or a place or browse the internet. Blogging has come a long way from being a casual online tool for storytelling to an essential element of a digital marketing strategy.

Blogs are a long, short or creative source of information and if there is one thing Google loves, it is loads of valuable information. Research shows that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. Google recognises and ranks these websites easily due to the information provided, ultimately leading to that site showing up on the first page of search results.

Considering how broad a topic Real Estate is, builders must take advantage of the power of blogging and focus on sharing information to potential home buyers. Blogs that give detailed information on upcoming properties, tips on home buying and guides on investment options are just some of the many topics a Real Estate blog can include.

Having a strong social media presence

The platform of Social Media offers brands a unique way to get more personal with their audience, and it is no different in the case of Real Estate.

There are numerous platforms for Social Media Marketing available today and some of the most useful ones for Real Estate developers include:

  • Facebook: India has the world’s largest number of Facebook users (195v million and counting), so there is a clear and open platform for Real Estate developers to take advantage of the numerous advertising techniques Facebook has to offer.
  • YouTube: Videos are, without a doubt, the most watched medium on the planet. Real Estate developers can use optimised YouTube videos to add a layer of instructiveness to their promotional campaigns.  
  • Twitter: This micro-blogging giant has proven to be a rather useful marketing tool in the recent years. Twitter serves as a great platform for Real Estate developers to invite credible 3rd party sources to influence purchase decisions. For more insight on this, make sure you check out our extensive Twitter marketing guide for businesses in India.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the go-to medium for anyone looking to expand their business to business portfolio. Real Estate developers can connect to 3rd party realtors, architects, interior designers, house maintenance providers and so on.

2. Acquiring Customers

Having an online presence won’t be fruitful if your potential customers are not aware of that presence. Real Estate developers depend heavily on lead generation, and digital marketing offers the quickest, easiest and most ROI friendly lead generation method. Here are some of the ways Real Estate developers can acquire customers via digital media.

Advertising

Advertising online is one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching your potential target Group. If done right, it can be the best lead generation tool for real estate developers. Be it Facebook or Google or even other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo, using lead generation, website conversion ads or even interactive ads to engage with your target audience and collect leads.

Facebook Ads

As of July 2017, there are 241 million active users in India on Facebook. This is a primary reason why advertising on Facebook is something every builder needs to try. From website conversion ads to lead ads and carousel ads, builders should try a combination of videos and images to drive enquiries and site visits.  Facebook also has detailed targeting by demographics, age and behaviour. Additionally, you can also target your website visitors and those you have engaged with your post so that the ad is displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.

Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.

Regional ads

With Facebook’s Brand Reach and Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.

Google Ads

Google AdWords is a paid digital marketing strategy that is run on the Google search engine. Adwords smart display campaigns run strongly through a set of rules and guidelines and work best when incorporated into SEO tools and strategies.

Let’s say a home seeker is typing “flats in OMR” in the search box; if the digital marketer has incorporated the keywords “flats in OMR” along with some other relevant search queries, Google will pick up that ad and display it in the search results. The placement of the ad depends entirely on the budget set for the campaign. You can also optimise your AdWords campaign for profound results.

Google’s algorithms are ever changing and evolving to be more consumer-friendly, and 2017 has some cool new digital marketing trends that every marketer must keep close tabs on.

Drip email marketing

Drip emails are automated emails that are sent out based on a predefined time or user actions. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria retrieved from a strong email marketing database. Let’s say that a customer has visited a property website and shown interest by subscribing to property newsletters. Digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties.

Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is the Internet’s word-of-mouth marketing method and can prove very effective to generate leads for Real Estate Developers. Just like word-of-mouth, influencer marketing uses popular bloggers and other professionals in the Real Estate industry to promote a particular property. Influencer marketing channels include both blogs and social media channels, so Real estate developers must carefully choose the appropriate kind of influencer to market their properties.      

Influencer.in provides a one-stop platform for Real Estate developers to search and connect with the best influencers in the country; they can choose from either working on long campaigns with a selected influencer or contacting multiple micro-influencers over various social media platforms to spread the word.

3. Customer Engagement

The age-old marketing rule of getting new customers while retaining existing customers applies in the digital space as well. Of course, the most popular tool for customer engagement today is social media, and Facebook ranks high up on the list, especially for the Real Estate industry. There are a plethora of social media trends benefiting the real estate industry. Here are some interesting ways developers can utilise Facebook and YouTube for customer engagement.

Facebook engagement

  • Post real estate investment advice albeit with a funny picture
  • Post product comparison images and let the followers vote
  • Post interesting facts about the locality where the property is being developed
  • Post about celebrity or high-profile activity that is happening in the locality where the property is being developed
  • Post about festivals and celebratory occasions while adding a twist that relates to a property
  • Share information about daily real estate activities

YouTube engagement

  • Post videos on property interiors
  • DIY practical tips on home improvement
  • Property reviews
  • Live feed of upcoming events that relate to the property
  • Virtual reality property experience

Case Study: Digital Marketing for a leading real estate developer in Chennai

One of our esteemed clients is a Chennai based Real Estate enterprise which laid its foundations in 2004. Known for providing niche residential segments like luxury villas and high-rise apartments, the company has since produced 68 projects, selling to over 4000 happy residents.

Our client wanted to scale up its digital presence through powerful digital marketing, focusing on five primary goals.

An intense digital marketing campaign followed, running on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google search, resulting in an impressive turnaround that showed:

  • Over 500 Crores in sales from digital enquiries
  • 10x increase in lead generation
  • Cost per lead reduction by 30%
  • Organic Traffic increase by 3x
  • 4x increase in leads from organic traffic
  • Fan base on Facebook has grown to an engaged community of over 1,40,000 fans

Real estate is the most reliable and secure long-term investment you can make, and the ability to purchase a home will only get easier with newer technologies coming into the digital space, which is capable of giving you a real-time experience of any property right through a screen.

 

Google awards Social Beat for Innovation in Digital Marketing

Since becoming a Google Premier Partner a year ago, we have constantly pushed the bar up to leverage Google AdWords and other advertising channels to deliver the best ROI. We are happy to announce that Social Beat has been awarded for Innovation in Display Advertising at the recently concluded Google Premier Partner awards in Mumbai. We were the only agency in India shortlisted for both Search Innovation & Display Innovation category.

Social Beat wins the Display Innovation Award from Google Premier Partners in India

The award is a testimony to the fabulous team at Social beat, which constantly pushes the bar to deliver results for clients. There are only 65 Google Premier Partners in India of which 13 were shortlisted for the awards and 5 won them.

Above is a picture  of Vikas Chawla collecting the award on behalf of the team, from Rajan Anand, Vice President, South East Asia and India of ‎Google India and below is a picture of the team that made it happen.

To learn about the innovation we do for our clients, please visit our blog showcasing the case studies.

Google-Digital-Marketing-Award-India-Social-Beat

A Comprehensive Guide to AdWords Smart Display Campaigns

The Google Display Network is a vast network in the digital world. It helps not only by displaying ads to people who are looking for your brand but also to people who might be interested in your brand and are occupied currently with some other work like browsing another website, watching a video on YouTube, checking their mail, reading reviews or using their mobile apps.

Google display network offers umpteen ways of targeting your ad but finding the best targeting might seem to be a tough job at times. For this reason, Google has made it easy and has introduced smart display campaigns where our job is just to provide ad assets and set a target CPA, and Google does its best to drive as many as conversions as possible. The ad’s adaptability allows you to expand your reach without you having to create dozens of ads in all the combinations of ad types and sizes.

In these types of campaigns, Google sets its target audience and placements which it feels is worth spending for. Smart display campaigns are used when the advertiser wants to target additional customers beyond the manually targeted audience. As per google, the daily budget should be 10-15 times the target CPA bid.

Eligibility Criteria for running a Smart Display ad

Unfortunately, smart display ad option may not be open for all the accounts. The advertisers have to check if they are capable of running a smart display ad before they plan. There is a passing criterion of at least 50 conversions on the display network and 100 conversions on the search network in the past 30 days without which running the ad might not be possible.

Setting up a Smart Display Campaign

Creating a smart display campaign is very simple. The process is similar to that of a display ad creation. When you promote the ad,  click on “Marketing objective radio button.” In the drive action objective, select an appropriate option which then lets us know if our account is eligible to create a smart display campaign.

Once you have created the campaign, set the campaign budget, and the target CPA goal.

We provide only the ad assets, Google then scans your website and selects appropriate images with which it creates a series of responsive ads to be tested.

 

Size Restrictions for a Smart Display ad

Be aware of your asset size restrictions before you start, so you have all your ducks in a row before you start creating your SDC.

  • Headlines: 25 Characters
  • Descriptions: 70 Characters
  • Display URL: No limit
  • Final URL: no limit
  • Images (optional): 1200 x 627 (1 MB limit)
  • Logos (optional): 1200x 1200 or 1200 x 300 (1 MB limit)

Optimization techniques

Automated bidding

The smart display bids are based on target CPA where the performance data suggests the highest likelihood of conversion occurrence. The bid is automatically set higher, and when there is a minimum probability of conversion,  it is set lower.  The campaign should start optimising in two weeks or after 50 conversions, whichever comes first.

Note: Google does not guarantee to stick to the target CPA, it may vary according to various factors.

Automated targeting

As the name suggests, the targeting is based on tracking which demographics, locations, etc. help in more number of conversions for the ad.

Smart display campaigns cover two targeting methods; automated remarketing where ads are targeted to the website visitors and automated targeting where people just above the buying phase of the marketing funnel are targeted.

If a remarketing campaign is already created in another campaign, the ad with higher relevance shows up.

Apart from these, site category exclusions can also be specified.

Note: Avoid going for smart display campaigns if you have a very specific target audience in mind.

Automated Ad creation

This feature is similar to that of a responsive ad. We enter the ad copies, images, logos, etc. and google assembles it into various types, sizes and shapes based on where the ad appears on the google display network.

Also, read our blog on the most definitive guide to optimising your AdWords campaign.

Benefits of Smart Display                                                

  • A lot of time and energy can be saved as you need not create different ad sizes manually.
  • A successful conversion rate can be achieved.
  • Smart display ads help you discover which of your ad copies or images have worked well for your brand.

Have you created your smart display campaign? Do share your learnings and experience with us in the comments section below

Social Beat Nominated for Search & Display Innovation 2017 by Google

Since becoming a Google Premier Partner a year ago, we have constantly pushed the bar up to leverage Google AdWords and other advertising channels to deliver the best ROI. We are happy to announce that Social Beat is the only agency in India that is shortlisted for the Google Premier Partner awards for both Search Innovation & Display Innovation category. Below are two case studies showcasing some of the work we have done.

Success in Search Innovation for India’s leading self-publishing company

We work with Notionpress, India’s leading self-publishing company and our goal was to increase the number of leads by reaching out to potential and budding authors. The publishing space is an extremely competitive space, we used Google Search campaigns a key channel to achieve this goal. Right from creating a structured AdWords campaign to daily optimisation of the campaigns, we experimented with every feature that Google offers such as

RLSA & IF function

Understanding that the people who already know us and have interacted with us through the website have the highest potential to convert as a lead, we used the RSLA feature to do just that. This feature helped us target the website visitors to convert them into potential leads. This audience, however, was from different categories and their search queries were different and we couldn’t show them the same ad.  The messaging needed to change and utilising the “IF Function”, we were able to dynamically change ad copies to RLSA audiences where we created a sense of urgency, which helped in increasing the conversion numbers.

Keywords of different match types to expand the audience

The self-publishing industry in India is not only a competitive one but also a fairly new industry. In order to understand the market and deliver the best results, we had to constantly think of something new and experiment with different strategies. As part of this strategy, we used keywords of different match types to engage with our target audiences to the maximum extent. This process gave us a broad list of keywords to target and understand what exactly people are searching for and gave us a 3X increase in lead flow.

Managing negative keywords

When we tried out keywords of different match types, not only did we identify many more keywords to target but also found certain irrelevant ones. These keywords were not ideal for our client so we constantly managed and added them to the negative keywords list so that it does not affect the quality of our leads. Over 6000 such words were identified and managed and this list continues to grow every day.

Use of dynamic keyword insertion to show relevant ads to the target audience

Targeting a wide variety of keywords from different categories meant that the ad copies cannot be constant. It needed change depending on what people are searching for. Using the dynamic keywords insertion, we were able to dynamically change the ad copies based on the search query and connect with our target audiences very well, thus contributing to increase in conversions.

Leveraging CPA bidding option

We explored the CPA bidding mode to optimise the bids automatically and moved most of the campaigns to this. We started focussing on other aspects such as changing the bids based on devices, hour, time and day of the week and so on.

Leveraging Dynamic Search Ads

We used Dynamic Search Ads, which is normally used for e-commerce business as DSA provides additional text on the headlines which is not possible through the expanded text ads. This unique method helped us expand our keyword base, thereby helping us get more conversions.

We also worked on creative writing and focused on engaging ad copies in increasing the number of leads.

Results

With the help of search campaigns, we were able to achieve a whopping 561% increase in the number of conversions, and 154% increase in CTR with optimal CPA. We also had a weekly check in with the client on the quality of leads. With this effort, we were able to reduce the % of qualified leads and improved the final conversion of leads to sales.

Success in Display Innovation for South India’s leading real estate company

Casa Grande, a leader in the real estate space in South India, came to us with the objective of driving sales to their properties through Google Display advertising. With the help of every functionality that Google offers, such as responsive ads, similar audiences and smart display ads, we were able to drastically increase the number of site visits and conversions for the brand.

Tapping vernacular content

In India, vernacular content via digital has been growing at a fast pace in India. Of the literate 74%, only 10% read English while the rest consume content in the vernacular medium. In fact, according to statistics, Hindi Internet users (at 201 million) are said to outnumber those accessing the web in English at 199 million by 2021. Keeping this in mind, we used vernacular language as part of our advertising strategy as well as a part of our overall digital media strategy. For a real estate company such as Casa Grande, the audience is spread across Tier I, II and III cities and are not just restricted to the metro cities. It is also true that some of the metro city audiences are more comfortable with the regional language.

Purchasing a property not only involves a lot of money but is also an emotional decision so it is highly essential to talk to them in a language they are comfortable in. We tried out display ads in Tamil, which not only helped us reach a varied set of target audience but also played a substantial role in generating high-quality leads.

Doubleclick Bid manager

When Google Adwords stopped language targeting in Tamil, we quickly turned to Doubleclick and got a license to use the platform. With the help of Doubleclick Bid Manager, we were able to explore placements outside of Hindi language, which helped us achieve great success for Casa Grande, whose target audience is predominantly non-Hindi speakers.

Smart Display Campaigns

In order to always keep a track of the latest trends in advertising, we contacted our Google support team to get us whitelisted and try out new features in the beta stage itself. Our client was delighted with the huge jump in ROI generated with a visible increase in conversions.

Similar Audiences

When the concept of similar audiences was introduced, we immediately tried it out for some of our clients and realised the huge potential it has. We’ve also executed new features such as similar audiences to generate sales and help our clients broaden their reach.

Common Strategies used for both Search & Display

Proprietary CRM for better attribution

Knowing the source of the leads generated from various platforms is highly essential. This helps us to identify which campaigns, placements, topics, and audiences are driving qualified leads in order to improve our quality and quantity of leads. Using this, we are able to understand which platform and source are working better, thereby knowing exactly where to put our money to achieve better results.

A/B Testing to understand consumer behaviour

 No advertising works well without knowing what the target audience exactly wants. Keeping this in mind, we constantly test and refine our landing pages in order to improve the % and quality of conversions that we get. We use Crazy Egg, Zarget and Optimizely for the same. From the designs to the call to action, our team proactively uses heat maps and test various permutations and combinations to understand the consumer better and give them exactly what they want. For example, we did this exercise for our Casa Grande and understood that most of the target audience is looking for floor plans and brochures when they click on the ad. So, the landing pages were optimised to give them just that. This increased our lead flow massively.

Competitor Tracking

The publishing industry being a highly competitive one with reputed and well-established players such as Amazon, we not only need to keep trying something new but also keep a track on the competitors. We use SEMRush and Ahrefs to explore the activities of our competitors to stay ahead of them in our campaigns. We also get new Campaign/Ad Group/Keyword ideas by analysing the competition.

Scripts and Third Party tool to automate smaller tasks

As a team, we are constantly on the lookout to do more in less time and deliver big for our clients. In order to automate the day to day tasks, we use scripts and third party tools, to expand and optimise the campaigns. This process saves us a lot of time and cuts down monitoring simple monotonous processes, which in turn helps us focus on other aspects of optimizing the ad campaigns. It also helps in keeping a close track of the Google Adwords Account Health Score to optimise the campaigns.

Effectively leveraging Google Analytics and Audience Insights

We use advanced audience insights to understand our customer and target them. It also helps us with creating smart remarketing lists and use it for RLSA to get better conversions and results out of our advertising efforts.

One of the key reasons that we were able to produce such results is due to our ROI driven focus. To ensure that we push our boundaries and achieve the set targets for our clients, our team relies heavily on knowledge sharing and staying up to date on the new trends. We look forward to continuing pushing boundaries for our clients.

How to get ROI from digital marketing- Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Mumbai

Banking on a series of successful editions of Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Chennai and Bangalore, we conducted the first edition of Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Mumbai. We had close to 30 participants comprising of entrepreneurs and marketers from across industries. The topic of discussion was getting ROI from Digital Marketing.

Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Mumbai

A quick recap from the session

  • Digital Marketing Comprises of various activities like Landing Page Creation, Search Engine & Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Display Advertising and Influencer Marketing.
  • Digital media can be segregated into 3 types: Owned Media, Paid Media and Earned Media.
  • While building digital assets, it is important to understand that the key is to provide a great user experience across platforms. A smooth User experience helps in driving conversions.
  • A Landing Page is essential for lead generation and helps in faster conversions.
  • According to a research done by Buzzsumo and Moz and Video content gets shared the most across platforms followed by Lists, how to posts and Infographics. While creating content, it is extremely important to focus on the relevance of content to the viewers. The content dynamics have been changing rapidly. From images to videos to gifs to VR, there is a wide range of options to experiment with, to create the right communication piece for your audience. Great content is generally considered as content that provides solutions to the viewer’s problems. Thus, research reports, E-books and guides are some more examples of content that can be created to strike a chord with the audience.
  • Non-branded content helps in gaining engagement. Create content that focuses on the viewer and not essentially on the brand.
  • Vernacular marketing and multilingual content is rapidly gaining importance. Vernacular content helps to create a local connection with the audience.
  • Measuring your digital marketing results is essential as it helps to better strategize your digital marketing efforts. There are several tools available to analyze and measure your results.

Below is the presentation that was discussed during the session which will provide you with more information on the above points:

How digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India

Be it a blog, an e-mailer or even posting a simple creative online, a business reaps all the benefits of digital marketing. While the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital, is it the same case even in Tier II and Tier III cities in India? One might still be doubtful on how a business in Bihar, or in a small town like Tiruchengode might make use of the digital medium but Social Beat begs to differ.

With more than 3,133 cities that fall under the tier II and tier III category, comprising of almost 31.16% of India’s total population, one cannot simply avoid taking them into consideration while discussing about advertising and marketing online. According to a report by one of world’s leading media investment management group, 2016 and early 2017 was supposed to see a 51% increase in digital marketing in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are also seeing a lot of traction with digital content in regional Indian languages.

How to make digital marketing for Tier II and Tier III cities possible?

With internet access and as well as buying power of smart phones, thanks to the initiatives of the Government and some of India’s biggest internet companies, business in these cities now have a larger playground. Since almost 32% of the rural population with the above facilities access the internet on their mobile phones, it is important to generate such content for higher reach and engagement. For example, Facebook now has 160 million users in India, which are spread not just in the top cities but also in smaller towns and even some villages.

Firstly, to leverage digital for smaller websites every digital asset needs to have a great experience on mobile. Be it a website/landing page or a simple single creative – whatever helps in lead generation or branding of a business, it needs to be mobile-friendly. On small screens, the call-to-action button as well as the navigation button needs to be crisp. The copy has to be short, quick and easy to grasp.

 

 

Vernacular Ads work the best with respect to lead generation / marketing your brand:

 

 

Not just vernacular Ads but vernacular websites work miraculously well for business that either have their base in Tier II and Tier III cities or if they want to target their potential investors in such cities –

 

 

While running a Facebook Ad, it is important to understand that the target audience (TA) first needs to be someone in-and-around the city. For example, if it is a real estate project in Trichy selling affordable homes, the TA needs to be someone who when views the Ad will be able to:

A – Relate to the project in terms of location, approachability etc.

B – Compare the price of the project with other such builders

C – Visit the project with ease

D – Take a decision

While the project in the example cited above is in Trichy, the target audience can be just Trichy to start with but will not have a lot of reach unless we explore the little towns and cities in-and-around Trichy itself.

 

 

Selecting even the tiniest of towns that we might think will not make a big difference will definitely show results. The potential reach crosses over 730,000 people out of which there is a chance of a bare minimum of 40% to convert into customers.

 

 

With regards to the interests and behavior of the target audience, it is always better to keep it a little generic such as focusing on job titles, important IT companies / industries around the city etc. including minor yet vital details like their interest in Business magazines, stocks, shares, etc. If the campaign does well, and if it is for a real estate project in particular (where you think NRIs would like to invest in), go ahead and try a few NRI targeting options too – you never know, it might work wonders!

 

 

Looking at utilizing Google Adwords as a platform to advertise in Tier II and Tier III, it is highly recommended for the below reasons:

  1. Less competition in Tier II and Tier III cities which is good for businesses trying to create an identity for themselves / acquire leads.
  2. Better ‘Search Ad’ results due to the high search queries
  3. Good quality leads since the TA is niche and the demand for product is more

The keywords used for these Ads are usually very simple, straight forward terms. For example, for an e-commerce organic food store business, Google AdWords are likely to work better for keywords – ‘healthy food’, ‘organic vegetables’, ‘fresh organic food’ etc. rather than keywords like ‘organic grocery’, ‘organic farm food’ etc.

Tier II and Tier III cities’ have potential for most businesses and these cities are growth drivers of the future. Tell us how which strategy has worked for you in smaller towns!

 

Why everyone should be tracking the AdWords Account Health Score

By now many of you would have come across the latest feature released by Google Adwords called “Account Health Score for Search”. It can be found in the opportunities tab of the AdWords interface, where it displays a certain score along with a list of suggestions to improve your account health across various parameters, as shown in the image below.Account Health Score For Search

So What’s this “Account Health Score for Search” all about?

This is a beta tool introduced by Google that analyses the AdWords account and grades it based on how well the Search Network campaigns are configured. It comes with a set of recommendations that when implemented, will help in improving the score and performance of your search campaigns. The score is between 0% and 100%. The better your campaigns are configured, the better it performs in terms of conversions and cost per conversion (lead or online sale). While starting a new ppc campaign or optimising an adwords campaign can be quite tedious, this tools gives you a ready checklist.

How to check the score and get started?

When you click on the get started button, you’ll be taken to the page where all the live search campaigns currently running in your account will be listed along with its health. Additionally, it also gives you a set of recommendations to improve the score for every campaign as shown in the image below:

Improvising Account Health Score

Does the account health score matter to you?

For all businesses, there are a certain set of goals that needs to be achieved to succeed and ward off the competition. Some of the most important goals of businesses are as follows:

  • Increasing Website Traffic
  • Increasing CTR
  • Increasing CVR
  • Increasing ROI
  • Reducing Waste Spends

Increasing Traffic to Your Website:

If you don’t get any traffic to your website or the landing page, it will be similar to living in a ghost town with no people. Nobody wants that and paid traffic is one of the quickest ways to acquire your customers. While running search ads, Google recommends a certain set of suggestions which helps you in increasing the traffic to your website. They’re as follows:

  • Adding call extensions – The utilisation of call extensions will help in increasing the traffic to the website by driving calls to your business.
  • Ad groups with keywords – An ad group without keyword is like an aeroplane without fuel. To enable your ad groups to run, add at least one keyword to each ad group.
  • Ad groups should have enough keywords – Adding additional, relevant keywords can help you reach potential customers who aren’t seeing your ads. Hence you should have enough keywords to have higher traffic to your website.
  • Ad groups with active ads – Your ad groups won’t be active until at least one of the ad copy is live. Hence, if you want your ad groups to run, then create at least one ad in your empty ad groups.
  • Showing ads on Google search partners – Even though Google has a vast inventory and reach in the world, targeting Google search partners will increase the number of people who can see your ads, thereby helping you in obtaining additional traffic to your website.
  • Using a recommended daily budget – When your budget gets limited, it will impact your ad delivery which in turn will result in losing out on reaching out to your potential audience. Hence using a recommended daily budget will help in gaining additional traffic to your website.

Increasing Click Through Rate (CTR):

Click Through Rate (commonly referred to as “CTR”) is a commonly used metric by digital advertisers to measure the success of an online advertising campaign. The higher the CTR, the more effective the marketing campaign will be in bringing traffic to a website. Google has listed out some set of recommendations for achieving higher CTR. They’re as follows:

  • Adding Callout extensions – The purpose of adding Callout extensions is to improve the CTR. It gives more information about your business in addition to the message conveyed in the ad.
  • Ad groups should have multiple ad variations – It’s a well-known fact that every individual has different preferences and likes. Hence, having multiple ad variations would help in connecting with your target audience well, thereby increasing your CTR.
  • Adding Sitelink extensions – Sitelink extensions are individual sections of the website through which you could direct your potential customers so that they can quickly find what they’re looking for.
  • Using first page bids for high-quality Keywords – There’s a saying that we can bury the dead body on the second page of Google’s search results. If you want to get quality traffic and high CTR, then you should use first page bids for at least high-quality and valuable keywords.

Increasing Conversion Rate (CVR):

Every digital marketer in the world can acknowledge that conversions are the lifeblood of any online marketing campaigns. The main goal of running a lead generation digital marketing campaign is to acquire customers for your business. Measuring the conversion rate is a crucial metric for all digital businesses. For increasing the average conversion rates, Google suggests to implement a particular set of recommendations which are as follows:

  • Using conversion tracking – Using the conversion tracking will aid you in keeping track of which clicks are turning into customers or leads thereby allowing you to optimise your account to target the best clicks.
  • Using an optimised ad rotation setting – Based on your goals, you should use appropriate settings for ad rotation. If you want to increase the number of conversions, then “Optimise for conversions” option to get the maximum out of it.
  • Using Enhanced CPC – Enabling Enhanced CPC raises your bid for clicks that are more likely to lead to a sale or conversion and lowers your bid for clicks that are less likely to lead to a sale or conversion.

Increasing Return on Investment (ROI):

ROI is typically the most important measurement for advertisers because it shows the real effect that AdWords has on your business. While it’s helpful to know the number of clicks and impressions you get, it’s even better to know how your ads are contributing to the success of your business. Hence, Google has set of recommendations to implement for getting better results. They’re as follows:

  • Using a mobile-friendly site – With mobile usage rising at an exponential rate, having a mobile friendly site would help your customers to have a better experience on the device they use the most.
  • Using standard (optimised) delivery – Using optimized delivery of ads will help the advertisers in spending the budget optimally by showing the ads on the most relevant searches throughout the day. This helps in improving the ROI as your ads will always be shown to your intended target audiences whenever they are searching for your products and services.

By implementing these suggestions, it can definitely help in improving your ROI to some extent. To know more about ROI, check out – Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing.

Reducing Waste Spends:

No in the world can create a perfect campaign in one go and forget about it all together. Every advertising campaigns need to be fine tuned and optimised on a continuous basis. One of the important ways to improvise effectiveness of the campaigns is to reduce the waste spends. For this Google recommends you to do the following:

  • Adding negative keywords – Having a proper negative keyword management system would help you in reducing the wastage of spends and thereby helping you to ensure that your ads only appear on relevant searches.

Conclusion:

Our recommendation is to make use of this tool and implement all the suggestions provided by Google. It helps you to take advantage of many features that Google has to offer you and get the best out of your advertising efforts.

Casa Grande and Social Beat win BBC Knowledge Award

We are delighted to share that Social Beat and Casa Grande, a leading real estate developer in South India, were recently awarded the Best Search Marketing and Display Campaign at the BBC Knowledge National Digital Marketing Awards at Taj Lands’ End, Mumbai.

SB wind best search and dispay campaign award

Casa Grande was looking to scale up its digital presence and sales through lead generation online. We ran highly successful Ad Campaigns across Facebook, LinkedIn & the Google Search and Display Network leading to a 10x growth in number of leads generated and a 30% reduction in cost-per-lead.

Key Results achieved:

  • Number of leads generated increased 10x.
  • Organic Traffic increased 3x
  • Leads from organic Traffic increased 4x
  • Fan base on Facebook grown to an engaged community of over 1,40,000 fans

The Digital Marketing Awards recognises extraordinary work done by the marketing fraternity to take their brands into the digital era and we congratulate the entire Casa Grande Marketing team and Social Beat team on this milestone.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Advertise on YouTube

Consumers are spoilt for choices across multi-devices and multi-channels, thus making sales competitive for marketers. As consumers become more and more digitally sound, marketers constantly feel the need to evolve and source new ways to reach their relevant audience to drive long-term online sales. This has lead marketers to venture out and capitalise on brand and product videos along with text and display ads. Here is an ultimate guide on how to advertise on YouTube, types of ad formats, the best way to optimise and measure results for your campaigns.

Why it’s time for every brand to experiment with video content?

Videos are entertaining, engaging and help increase customer retention. Do see our guide on videos can help in content marketing and in engaging with your customers.

As per Google, there are only two things users do more than watch video: sleep & work. Every day, people spend hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. Users consume videos to feel the rush, laugh, connect and learn. The youth, younger generation and savvy users are on YouTube most of the times through their mobiles, thus making this channel the most preferred media mix on the go. Studies also claim, 42% use YouTube for pre-purchase research and 64% buy products after watching a video on YouTube, making videos the future of entertainment and online marketing.

Advertise on You Tube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Fusion between YouTube and Video Ads

YouTube, being the second largest search engines is a powerful media mix to retain old customers, gain new customers and engage savvy customers through video content.

YouTube is also a community-driven social media channel that values genuine content and meaningful engagement with real people and stories. To get the most out of YouTube, the video content and ads need to build a relationship with YouTube users above and beyond the traditional advertiser-customer relationship.

Since consumers purchase decisions are influenced by the video content, promoting content with advertising messages can make it difficult to increase viewer engagement with the brand.

Videos that are light, fun, humorous, emotional, real and true make it through the consumer’s heart and mind. To know more about how to capitalise on online video and how YouTube can play a bigger role, get hooked on this blog for some more time. Do have a look at some of our work with the Murugappa Madras Song to get a sense of it.

Be Spoiled for Choice – Multiple Video Ad Formats on YouTube

To advertise on YouTube, there are several video ad formats and each offers a unique opportunity to attract consumers and achieve goals. Before making an ad, it is prudent to have a clear marketing goal and know the audience to reach them in the most cost effective way.

The Ad formats include: –

True View In-Stream Ads – Skippable Video Ads

Skippable ads are designed to capture the attention of the relevant audience in the first five seconds of the video. After five seconds, the audiences are given a skip button, to skip the ad and continue watching their initially selected video. These are an excellent way to increase visibility on a Cost Per View as YouTube charges only after the ad is watched for 30 seconds and more. Skippable YouTube Ads appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and to top it all, gives free visibility for first few seconds. These ads contain a call-to-action button that often links to a landing page.

You Tube True View Skippable Ads

Skippable ads work best for branding and often have a lower conversion rate. Although these ads are best for people who view similar content on YouTube, avoid targeting by keywords as this could significantly limit the frequency of the ads. To keep viewers from skipping the ads, create an engaging video that can grab the viewer by their collar within the first five seconds.

True View In-Stream Ads – Non- Skippable Video Ads

They are similar to In-Stream Video Ads, but viewers do not have the option to skip the ads. The ads usually play for 15 – 20 seconds and up to 30 seconds. Non-Skippable YouTube Ads also appear on YouTube watch pages right before, during and after other videos and viewers have to view the entire advertisement. They work best when videos are short, simple and showcase good offers.

You Tube True View Non-Skippable Ads

Bumper Ads

Bumper Ad formats are designed to increase brand awareness and impressions and reach a wider audience. They are usually non-skippable short video format of six seconds or shorter and plays before, during or after another video. Advertisers are charged on impressions (cost-per-thousand-impressions).

You Tube True View Bumper Ads

True View Discovery Ads / In-Display Ads

These ads appear at the top right of the YouTube search results page and to the right of the feature videos. They also appear below the player (for larger players) and are meant to capture the attention of the viewers while watching other videos. They blend with organic listings. They have a thumbnail image with a short text, and the advertisers are charged when the viewer chooses to click the thumbnail and watch the ad.

You Tube True View In-Display Ads

The images on the thumbnails make first impressions and need to provoke the viewers to click and watch further. Choose the video still that highlights the content the best. Also, try and match the image to the content in the promotional text or keywords

Display Ads are best suited to increase subscribers rather than directing them to the landing page.

YouTube In-Video Overlay Ads

As the name suggests, these ads are semi-transparent and appear on the lower 20% portion of the watch video space on YouTube. Link the call-to-action to the relevant landing pages as these ads have a higher chance of lead conversion.

You Tube True View Overlay Ads

With these ad formats, advertisers can advertise their ad inside the videos of their competitors. Overlay ads work well as they get more views without causing interruptions.

Video Optimisation & Best Practices for Video Ads

Try these tips to optimise your YouTube Videos and keep your viewers engaged for long: –

Link AdWords account and YouTube channel

Link AdWords and YouTube to allow both the networks to work together and provide deeper insights like click and engagement performance, reach and frequency, video viewership and other advanced data and reports.

Try the KISS theory – keep it (the video ad) short and simple

Hook viewers in 5 seconds. Create an engaging video content to elevate your customer’s video experience to get more viewer engagement.

Clearly, communicate the brand/service and provide a strong call-to-action button to guide the viewers to the next process i.e. make a purchase, visit a landing page, subscribe, like, share, comment and so on. Having a clear call-to-action within the ad helps direct traffic from the ads to your YouTube brands channel or website with additional video content

Deliver the most relevant message when the video begins, so the audience gets the crux of the video content, in case viewers plan to skip the ads after five seconds.

Use the remarketing list to define the audience

The demographics and other details help to create venturing into a new platform.

Creation of relevant playlists based on search

YouTube uses playtime or watchtime a factor in the algorithm to suggest videos and creating playlists can be used to boost the overall playtime for your videos. When the next video automatically starts playing at the end of the first video, there is a higher probability of keeping the viewer longer on your page.

Use Call-to-Action for subscription in the video to enable more channel subscribers & engagement

YouTube has a feature to Create “Subscription Links” that asks the visitors who click on the link to subscribe to the channel before playing the video. This can help gain more subscribers for the channel, thereby boosting the long-term reach & engagement. This Is How Many Brands Have Grown Their Subscriber Base.

Be open to comments from the viewers

As they say, any publicity is good publicity. While you receive comments and critics, it is also important to respond to the viewers.

Targeting and reaching the right audience for the content

YouTube has a potential to reach a vast audience. YouTube is the world’s second most-used search engine and the third most visited site after Google and Facebook. It has a total of 1.3 billion users and 300 hours of new video is uploaded every minute.

By Targeting video ads on YouTube, advertisers can reach relevant customers at the spur of the moment, just when they are interested in a particular product or service. YouTube’s varieties of targeting options help reach the right customers when it matters.

Advertise on YouTube, Video Marketing, YouTube Video Ads

Advertisers can use contextual placements to show ads on specific videos, channels or websites – places that attract audiences with high conversion potential. Advertisers can also target by keywords, interests, placements, remarketing lists, location and demographics – age, gender, and parental status.

Advertisers can also place their ads on your competitors’ videos and steal leads from right under their noses.

It is not only the volume of users that make advertising on YouTube so interesting, but also the nature of the platform and how audience interact with videos and the brands.

Cost of Video Advertising

The cost of making the video depends on the subject, message, length of the video, the kind of the video and depends on from one brand to another. Here is a guide on how your brand can create low cost videos. But advertising on video can be completely controlled and measured. An advertiser can spend as per his/her convenience and only pays when someone engages with the video ad or watches the video for 30 seconds and more. There are also other ways to optimise your Adwords and YouTube campaigns.

Tracking & Measuring Results

YouTube’s easy to use in-built analytics helps advertisers monitor the performance of the video ads and channels. Data’s like demographics, watch time and traffic sources help the advertisers to optimise the campaigns further. Advertisers can make adjustments to the ads at any time and also are free to run multiple ads at once to see which works best.

Google AdWords also provides certain key metrics to analyse the ad performances in detail. Want to increase leads and multiply your revenue? Log into AdWords account, click on the add new campaigns, select online video and start creating your campaigns. Remember the call-to-action button must make viewers click the ads and optimising the video ads is the key to better results.

Get started and leave comments in case you have any queries.

Social Beat participates in Google Partner Summit in San Francisco

It was a delightful day when we got the news of being invited for the Google Partner Summit and being upgraded to a Premier Google Partner. So when the time came, Rohit & I packed our bags and took the journey to cover 13,876 kms from Chennai to San Francisco. The journey was not just the distance, but the fact that at the Summit we were amongst 900 partners around the world, who together controlled about 8% of the global digital advertising spend. It was indeed a delightful experience to be part of it.

“Now is our Moment” was an apt theme for the Google Partner Summit with multiple interactions with senior Google product managers and account managers interspersed with knowledge on how to manage talent as well as clients. It was a holistic agenda to help agencies like us succeed.

While a lot of the inputs provided at the Summit were confidential, we have summarized what we are allowed to share. Below were the 5 key takeaways for us:

  1. Be there in the momentBeing there in the moment in the mobile first world is key and there was indeed a lot of discussion on the usual topics of mobile responsivness as well as website speed. There was discussion around the growing adaptation of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and infact Social Beat has already implemented AMP as well. With the responsive ads that Adwords has launched, the ads become a lot more immersive and adaptable to any device/ad unit size allowing brands to be there in the moment.The challenge with mobile has been that almost 75% of the audience start the interaction with the brand on one device, but complete it on another device. So measurement and tracking of ROI becomes a challenge. Fortunately, some tools like Optimizely help us resolve this.
  2. Measure across devices, channels, offline – Measurement being key, there was discussion around multi device, multi channel and offline measurement since many visitors who search online do visit the retail store. We do have an interesting article on how search can help offline and omni channel retailers in India. While store visits as a conversion metric is already live in Google Adwords, there are many more exciting developments that we can watch out for in the online to offline measurement.
  3. Leveraging Video for Brand Building & Sales – There is no doubt that video is the fastest growing medium in the digital space and many brands are creating engaging yet low cost videos for better brand recall and sales. Lucinda Barlow, Global Director of YouTube marketing pointed out that “There are only two things Americans do more than watch video: sleep & work” and that’s the reason why digital video is going to be even bigger going forward. YouTube has lined up some interesting features for ecommerce and omni channel retailers so watch our blogs for more info on this.
  4. Virual Reality / AR – Part of the swag given by Google was the Cardboard which gave us a glimpse into the low cost Virtual Realty but what amazed us was the Google Day Dream (with Pixel) which is a very immersive VR experience and with devices becoming better and cheaper we are surely going to see more of them around. The experience brands can provide via VR is going to be a game changer and we look forward to exploring it. While Adwords is yet to integrate to VR/AR we do see that happening in the near future.
  5. Machine Learning – Machine learning not only refines the experience we get at Google but is also helping agencies like us with programmatic advertising, some of which we have started experimenting with our clients using Double Click. Its only going to get better, allowing brands and agencies to deliver relevance at scale.

Apart from the product learnings, it was amazing for us to network and meet Google Partners from around the world and we even got to visit Googleplex and interact with product managers one on one (though we cannot share the details of these discussions yet).

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