How UX can make or break your business – Digital Chai Pe Charcha

The seventh edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha was held in Workafella, one of the best business centres in Chennai on 8th October, 2016. The event saw over 25 participants who were a mix of entrepreneurs, digital marketers, and professionals. User Experience, an important element in any website or app these days, the entire session was insightful, engaging and very informative!


What is UX or User Experience?

UX or User Experience is exactly what the name suggests – the overall experience one has when they land on your website or your app and the interaction with the company, its services, and its products throughout.  In short, the way a website or an app works plus the look and feel of it all together making your user want to come back to your site.

Benefits of good UX –

Research shows that the overall experience of a user right from landing on your site, navigating and scanning through your pages till moving out of your site to another, the emotions that the user feels throughout – satisfied or unhappy – plays a major role on how your brand performs online in comparison to your competitors.

It helps in converting a user into a potential customer and not just that – but converting them at a low cost.

What makes a good UX –

  • Security & Privacy of its users handled with attention
  • Feedback & reviews from real buyers that connects with new users
  • Company is reliable & trustworthy – Transparent information on the roots & founders of the business

Building a new website 

  • Research and Analyze

Do a quick study on who your competitors are and analyze their digital mediums. Understand what they do to provide their users with a great experience on their site. Work on your content, have collaborative discussions and put down the necessary inputs to go on your site.

  • Strategize

Have a good idea on the different elements you would like to add on to your site – be it a revised sitemap or navigation flowcharts by analyzing user personas and scenarios.

  • Product Design

Work on your website with a neat and clear wireframe that should include digital touch-points further building the virality loop.

  • Test and Iterate

After your new website is ready to launch, have a quick A/B testing and experiment with heat maps on your site. Analyze the results and rework on the design perspective if necessary.

Evaluate the UX of an existing website

  • Functionality of your site / app

The speed at which a new user navigates on your site, understands your business and moves through different pages says a lot about the flow of your site.

  • Navigation & Information architecture

The user needs to have a smooth experience while navigating through your site, moving from page to page and gathering all the information required.

  • Forms

If your site has a landing page with a form, make sure the form is simple with limited fields keeping in mind to not ask for information that is too personal to the user or fields that will require the user to go back and forth too many times.

  • Trust and Credibility

Your user’s information should remain confidential and should not be hampered with.

  • Aesthetics

How good is your site’s layout and balance? Is there a consistency in the font? Are the clickable items clear to the user and is the entire page pleasant and easy to navigate?

UX can be improvised with the help of some efficient tools. To improve the overall look and feel of your site, make use of customer surveys, user interviews and case studies. To track your customers’ behavior on your site, experiment with Zarget, Inspectlet, CrazyEgg, Optimizely, Google Analytics and MouseFlow. To understand prototyping, try Balsamiq, Axure, Invision and Pen & Paper.

When the site’s design and flow is focused on establishing a good user experience, the bond between the company and your customer grows building the brand as well as the overall experience of the user with the company.

Click here to understand more on how UX Can Make or Break Your Business

Those of you who missed the first six editions of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha can check them out below:

Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing – Panel at the Digital Summit

When we conducted our Indian Industry Digital Marketing Survey we found that many brands were facing challenges in measuring the return that their digital marketing and social media marketing efforts were giving. Hence, we included an eclectic panel discussion on “Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing” at our Digital Leadership Summit.

We had four panelists moderated by Suneil from Social Beat: Mr. Vijay Anand –, Mr. Arasu Shankar –, Ms. Lavanya Hariharan – Zapluk and Mr. Shriram Sanjeevi –


Summary of the Panel Discussion

    • Channels that provide higher ROI will depend on product and customer segment
    • Google & Facebook continue to dominate as primary digital channels for most businesses
    • For products/services wherein search volume is lower – then social would be a better channel to start with
    • Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest allow for better product showcase and for visual products these would be interesting channels
    • Building the brand and social trust is important for long term ROI and can be achieved through a mix of social media channels
    • Influencer marketing is a very strong channel for ROI and also gets higher trust from consumers
    • Instagram, Snapchat, Emailers are other ways to build ROI depending on the business.
    • Life Time Value (LTV) is an important metric as marketing spend cannot be attributed to just the first transaction
    • Tools like Google Analytics & Improvely can help in measuring ROI

Perspective on ROI from the Panelists

Suneil started off by asking the audience as to how many of them believed you could get ROI from digital marketing; it was a pleasant surprise to see that over 60% of the audience believed it could. We as a digital agency couldn’t agree more. The panel started with a discussion on what each of them feels about the results from digital marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha on ROI of Digital Marketing, and you can read it here.

  • Lavanya from Zapluk highlighted that they got a lot of organic growth once they started using the digital medium and in fact got 80% increase in customer base in just a month. As she rightly pointed out, it was a combination of brand building and lead generation activities.
  • Vijay from candidly shared that they were one of the highest spenders in the city on Google and that digital is critical to their survival. He shared that Sulekha gets around 250 million visitors via organic search and another 20-30 million via paid search in a year, and it’s their strongest channel for new user acquisition.
  • Shriram from said they use a 360-degree approach with a mix of digital and offline marketing based on his two decades of retail experience. He rightly pointed out that it’s a myth that digital gives immediate returns. Startups need to focus on building a brand, building the consumer trust and scaling up the service – then results come over time.

Which digital channels are scaleable and to what extent?

The entire panel did agree that the choice of the channel varies with the services/products and the consumer segment. It’s also very important to be smart as you scale adverting, as Arasu pointed out. It’s essential to be clear on what is the message you want to give about your brand.

Vijay continued to be a strong propagator of Google Organic and Google Adwords and said it’s the most scalable as SEO efforts now start showing results in a few days, for existing/older sites. Since they focus on services with low engagement from end consumers they, tend to focus less on social media channels. They did spend 15 crores on their TVC campaign earlier this year it only gives 5000 incremental visitors a day which is minuscule for them as they get about 6-7 lakh visitors a day. Vijay added that for brand building to show results, you need to be at it all the time.

On the other hand, Lavanya, Arasu & Shriram all spoke on how social media and in specific Facebook Marketing has worked extremely well for their businesses to get scaleable results. Lavanya highlighted that for a service wherein the consumer still doesn’t know it exists, the search volume on Google is extremely low hence Facebook & Twitter were the driving growth as they were able to achieve leads along with building the brand and engagement around it.

Arasu & Lavanya also touched upon the importance of building the trust factor with consumers regarding answering their questions and doubts and also in terms of showcasing the products/service in a more holistic way. As Arasu rightly pointed out that Facebook allows for better product showcase via the carousel ads, videos, etc. Even brand awareness and the brand story is better executed via channels like Facebook and Instagram. Talking about the social trust that’s built out, Arasu added that they now see existing customers answering queries raised by potential clients and that it’s a game changer for them.

Shriram added that the approach they take depends on the message, the channel also changes. For example, when they ran a huge campaign around Kabali by selling t-shirts, giving away movie tickets and more; Facebook worked very well for that as it’s a mass channel.

Influencer Marketing & Platforms other than Google & Facebook

We couldn’t agree more with Arasu when he said that “Channel will depend on product and customer segment.” For example, if you are looking to target millennials then Snapchat would be an ideal platform. If your product or service is visual and you are targeting a sub 40-year-old audience, then Instagram would be an excellent channel but there is indeed a demographic difference across channels. eShakti also focusses a lot on Pinterest as it’s relevant to many a fashion brand.

Emailer Marketing still works if it’s with your own audience. Vijay of Sulekha spoke about how emailer marketing is an important channel and delivers results when done smartly with smart targeting, in spite of Gmail pushing a lot of emails to the Promotions tab. Of course, once a user is acquired it’s up to the brand to retain them and emailers is a great way to do that.

Influencer Marketing was another channel that works very well and eShakti uses it extensively. Arasu shared that they work with 1000s of bloggers and they have built their network over a period. They calculate the ROI of influencers via direct referral traffic as well as transactions driven by the unique referral code given to each influencer. He also gave an interesting insight that there is higher trust from a consumer that comes via an influencer, so the 5-10% off that they give is covered up there.

There was an interesting question from the audience – Dr. Manoj from Dr. Smilez Group of Dental Centers asked about how they got very low engagement low on social as customers were not very keen on sharing their dental experiences. Lavanya shared her similar experiences as not a lot of women would like to share they got a beauty service or a wax treatment as it’s a personal service. The way Zapluk approaches it is  to given them an offer or incentive but in the long run, content marketing is the key. Shriram added saying that ROI cannot always be attributed to direct sales – brand building and marketing is also to be measured

Importance of Life Time Value (LTV) of the Customer in calculating ROI

Everyone on the panel agreed that the return on marketing spend is not immediate; hence Life Time Value is an important metric to help scale up business and understand whether it’s moving towards profitability.

The LTV depends on different businesses, and we got varied perspective from the panel. Arasu spoke about phenomenal ROI wherein it just takes them 1.2 transactions to recover marketing cost as they have high-value transactions and very high repeat purchase. For Zapluk and Pamperazi it was three transactions to get the back marketing cost. Whereas for a brand like Sulekha, the end consumer was not paying anything, so it’s difficult to ascertain LTV.

Arasu mentioned that they look at the time taken to recover the marketing cost of acquiring the customer and for them, it’s usually the first 1-2 months whereas it is 3-4 months for Zapluk. Key metrics remain around customer acquisition, retention and finally on how to make them spend more and more often. It of courses varies by cohort, seasonality’s (for example, summer is a strong season for eshakti), types of customers, depends on the marketing channel and the marketing campaign that you run.

Shriram again had a very different perspective and said that “The word LTV is over done. Companies that boasted of High LTvs have shut down in the last couple of months because LTV was more of a myth.” He gave an example of Chennai’s leading retail chain Viveks wherein in many cases three generations have been shopping there and apparently they are also grappling with LTV. He also questioned how come Flipkart only had 32% growth in spite of the perceivable high LTV.

Tools to Calculate ROI

One of the participants had a very relevant question – Sejal from Zoho asked what are the tools use for calculating ROI. In most cases, Google Analytics along with data from Google Adwords, FB Ads, Instagram Analytics and other social media analytics tools would suffice. Suneil added that Improvely could be a great tool to understand muti-touch attribution as consumers often interact with the brand multiple times before the sale is closed. This tool allows you to see the history of the person and how they interacted with your brand. Read more about Improvely and other similar analytics tools here.

Suneil also added that there is sometimes a time lag between generating a lead to sale and ROI can be improved if you can figure out how to leverage that time frame to communicate about the brand and the offerings.

Vijay spoke about Google Analytics Premium (GAP) which is more relevant for larger organisations as its costs around USD 90,000 a year. He talked about Google Analytics data being heavily sampled; wherein GAP has unsampled data which can also be downloaded. GAP has only around 15 clients in India but Vijay recommends it’s to e-commerce and digital businesses as repeat customers are harder to track in free analytics tools and attribution is not always clear.

How Digital drove success of Carat Lane – Digital Leadership Summit

Below is the gist of the talk given by Mithun Sacheti on “How Digital drove the success of Carat Lane” at the Digital Leadership Summit in Chennai in August 2016.


Key Highlights from his talk include:

  • Discovery is going to be driven by digital, consumption will remain omnichannel depending on the product/service
  • Consumers often make the decision online, but still, like to see the product in high-value purchases
  • Omni-channel is the approach towards profitability and Carat Lane has seen that with their Delhi centre, which contributes to 38% revenue and is a profitable city for them.
  • Extremely data driven approach with 4000 data points being tracked every month
  • Even spends on TV are tracked diligently
  • Key metrics to track: Cost per lead, Cost per conversion and Cost per visitor/traffic
  • Early days for digital transformation with more to see in the coming years

Mithun started off by highlighting that Chennai as the choice for Carat Lane did not come from the fact that he was based here but based on research that Chennai has the fastest clearing airport in the country. He goes on to talk about how opening the first Jaipur Gems store was challenging. Their biggest learning over the initial years was getting a clear understanding of the top/key customers since they used to get only about three walk-ins a day when they started out. They soon realized that making customers discover the store and new products is key. So when they opened their next store in Coimbatore, they were able to combine their learnings to ensure that 500 key customers walked into the store just on day 1.

How did they get into e-commerce?

They realised that discovery of products is a problem because of the limited walk-ins in retail as well as the limited scope to discover products before walking into the store. E-Commerce fundamentally changes the discovery process.

Today consumers make a choice before entering the retail store – the decision is usually made online. This is why global e-commerce started with books so that the discovery & shopping can happen online. For other products discovery is still lead by digital, but consumption is happening across e-commerce, offline retail, kiosks, etc.

In 2011, Carat Lane opened its first retail store – but they got it wrong in many ways. Firstly, they did not put much jewellery over there, though in hindsight they understood that consumers come in to try out the product. In Mithun’s words “We assumed customers were as obsessed with technology, as we were”. This changed when they opened their future stores. Moreover, their Perfect Look app allows you try out jewellery real time, and this was a big hit amongst consumers.

Why do consumers have distrust amongst e-commerce companies?

Mithun highlights on e-commerce evolution in India and candidly pointed out that between 2000 to 2009 there were early adopters who did not focus on last mile delivery and consumer experience – players like Indiatimes, Rediff, infibeam. This mostly led to distrust from consumers because they went through such bad experiences from these brands. This, of course, changed when the new age e-commerce companies started, including Carat Lane in 2008.

Is ROI real in E-Commerce?

Mithun was candid in saying that “Understanding of ROI was missing when we started, but we understood it the right way.”

In 2012 when the company evaluated its results, it realized that cost of acquisition was so high; it would take three transactions to make the customer profitable but an Indian consumer shop for jewellery twice a year so there was something wrong in the approach.

Their retail stores were a game changer because the process of discovery started falling in place. Consumers now started coming to the store with the product photograph wanting to try the product. It became evident that conversions will happen where they have an omnichannel presence. Two years ago they opened six stores in Delhi and now 38% of their revenue comes from Delhi and is the only profitable city of operation at the moment.

Is it an analytics business or a jewellery business?

Carat Lane is an extremely metric driven business, as Mithun pointed out. They track 4000 data points every month, but the critical ones are

  1. Cost per lead
  2. Cost per conversion
  3. Cost per visitor/traffic

Mithun aptly put it “There is never too little data”. Data helps bring clarity, and while it took Carat Lane 6 years to figure it out, it finally made sense. In the early days, the cost of consumer acquisition was never in focus. You need to know how much you are willing to pay for each of the above actions, as the business profitability depends on that. Each company needs to create its own attribution model – based on customer type. Google Analytics is a good starting point.

Mithun spoke at length about the advanced analysis that is done on TV ad spends. They used tools to find out in which tv program & which ad break & which ad slot had the highest visitors and highest brand search of Carat Lane. As per Mithun, searches & traffic ultimately reflect in conversions & sales assuming you have a great product + great UX. Of course, it’s not a perfect model. You can have assumptions and capture the ROI, in case there are two ads at the same time

On Startups, Funding & more

Speaking on how they used the funding they got, Mithun admits “Money is like oxygen, the human body is like iron – money can corrupt you”. They have learnt it the hard way and now moving towards profitability with a data-driven approach.

Talking about his investor, Lee Fixel, he mentioned an interesting quote. Apparently, Lee said, “My Fund has ten lives. You as an entrepreneur has 2-3 lives. Carat Lane has one life. If you think omnichannel is the right approach, then let’s do it.”

On closing. Mithun said that Digital would own discovery and budgets will move digital – which was also reflected in the Social Beat Industry Report. We, of course, agree when he said that India would be driving the digital transformation and even today with the worst internet bandwidth ever we have achieved this much – it’s only up to our imagination what the future holds!

7 ways universities and colleges can use digital medium in India

According to HT Digital and IMRB Report (India) on “Student online behavior,” 93% of students access the Internet every day and 73% of students use the mobile phone. Nearly 91% access the internet to collect information about colleges and courses. Thus, going online for universities and colleges has become inevitable. Although this calls for investments in creating digital assets, building strategies and online advertising, the costs are quickly realized, easy to the track and attributable. The ROI is much higher in comparison to any traditional mediums used.

The following are 7 ways that universities and colleges can use digital medium in India.

1. Creating an SEO- friendly robust website to attract the right audience

A good website is a blend of three elements, namely aesthetics, functionality, and ease of use. A website is a very strong representation of any brand on the internet. The three elements are elaborated below


A well-designed website for a University or college needs to address the following factors-

  • Depict the values, mission, and vision of the institution
  • Demonstrate the key USP’s and highlight courses
  • Images to have an emotional connect with students/parents and represent the current look and feel of the institution concerned


The functionality of the website is what determines the final design aspects, these have to be defined ahead, and some of them are listed below

  • Provide Information on courses
  • Drive More applications from new students
  • Serve as a Medium of Communication for existing students, parents, and even donors
  • Build an Alumni Network
  • Facilitate payments

User- friendly:

Unless a website is not created with the end user in mind, it will fail to give the results that it had intended to achieve. It has to be “easy to use” and intuitive. The following are key aspects to keep in mind. These aspects may not be always set right a 100%, but a study of user behavior over a period of time can help better these aspects

  • Easy Navigation
  • Simple Tabs
  • Quick rendering on desktop
  • Easy call-to-action
  • Easily searchable on popular search engine

Developing a mobile version of the website is also a great way to boost the recruitment of students, as today many young people have access to a smartphone or mobile device. Also, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key to drive organic traffic to the website, without traffic there is no point of having a website. The SEO will drive students/parents looking for relevant courses and information to the website.

2. Social media to connect, inform, educate, and create awareness:

Colleges and Universities must use social media to engage with current/ prospective students and parents. They should use social media to connect in a proactive manner, by engaging and demonstrating that the institution cares for its stakeholders. Content built with the right balance of words and visuals is well received and attractive to target audience. Several channels such as Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter and new age channels such as Instagram can be tapped to achieve various goals. A mix of content and imagery

  • Making announcements: As a medium of communication of important events and matters, such as graduation/exam dates, new rules, new courses, etc.
  • Showcasing facilities, such as new infrastructure, e.g. library, swimming pools, dorm facilities, etc. that are an important part of the student life
  • Drawing feedback from students to make certain decisions that require stakeholder inputs
  • Serving as a thought leader by proactively providing interesting content around career and study areas
  • Showcasing important events in the campus, such as annual days, sports days, etc.
  • Driving awareness of world events and internal events (e.g. fundraisers, blood donation camps, etc.) that concern the student population
  • Building a strong and loyal alumni network and encouraging participation. Posts on career achievements, promotions, etc. will help reconnect alumni, grow the University’s exposure and increase the SEO value of alumni and the college/university

3. Social listening to build solutions and proactively connects with students:

Social listening enables universities and colleges to proactively listen to the students and their concerns across platforms. These tools can be used to build solutions to serve the students/ parents. Many universities in the west use twitter tools to engage with students and the community. Also, intercepting prospective/ current student conversations and directing them to the right information in real time/ quickly helps build a lasting impression about the educational institution

4. Digital advertising to drive admissions, placements and increase visibility:

Digital advertising can be used to drive admissions, reach out for campus placements and to improve visibility the in the short term on search engines. Digital Ads can be placed across the Google network and on social media, i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and can be targeted and optimized to reach the right audience. In the current generation, the students rarely use the traditional press for information gathering and hence making any spends primarily on digital ads makes more sense. The ROI is both traceable and visible, making every penny spent, accounted.

5. Mailers for consistent contact and generating inquiries:

Well-designed mailers serve two primary purposes for a college/university. A mailer is a personal touch-point with the receivers and hence,

  • For communicating regularly with existing students, i.e. newsletters, announcements, etc.
  • Generating admission inquiries from databases of prospective students and their parents

6. Blogs to educate and drive traffic to the website:

Students are constantly looking for information to further their study and careers, much in advance of them even graduating from schools. They use the internet to help them prepare better for tests, chose educational institutions or look for career guidance. A University / college can plug into this requirement and serve as a thought leader in the educational space, thereby adding value to their branding. Blogs are a good way to attract prospective students and also improve search rankings on Google.

 7. Using online for payments and application process:

It is a humongous task to have prospective applicants and current students pay fees and make other payments over bank counters. A college/university website can integrate this functionality into their website and increase application conversions as well as ensure compliance of fee and other payments on time by students. The website and Social Media can also be used to communicate deadlines periodically for the same purpose

Going digital for University / College is not a decision anymore; it is just a “Must”. It is not what needs to be done, but “how to do it” that will make one university/college differentiate from the rest. It is important therefore to set the key USPs and define measurable goals before building a strategy and making expenses on the digital assets and advertisements.

Social Beat held its 1st Digital Leadership Summit

Key Highlights from the Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016:

  • Measuring ROI from digital marketing and content marketing are the biggest challenges faced
  • Carat Lane tracks 4000 data points in order to measure the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns – says Mithun Sacheti, Founder of Carat Lane
  • Lifetime value of the customer is key to understanding ROI from any medium, including digital
  • Different digital channels work differently depending on the brands and the right attribution model helps track the results effectively
  • Content Marketing is less about marketing and more about content. Brand are allocating as much as 15% of their total marketing budget towards content marketing.

Chennai, 5th Aug 2016: The 1st Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016 was a congregation of over 125 CMOs, Brand Heads & CXOs from varied industries. Mithun Sacheti, the Keynote Speaker kick started the Summit and shared insights on how a data driven approach at Carat Lane has helped it acquire customers and build a brand. Carat Lane’s internal team analyses over 4000 data points, from across channels, including TV, Retail, Print, Radio and Online Marketing.


Speaking at the event, Mithun Sacheti, Founder Carat Lane said “Digital is going to be key for every business in India. The discovery of products and services is going to happen via digital, through consumption will be omni channel across digital, retail and other channels.” Emphasising on the importance of data and analytics Mithun said “The beauty of digital is that you can analyse and measure everything. It’s never too much data to decide your action items. At Carat Lane we analyse over 4000 data points on a monthly basis.”


The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on Measuring ROI from digital marketing. Moderating the panel, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat, said “Depending on whether the business has a product which has high search volume or is an impulse purchase, Google or social media will be more effective.” Arasu Shankar from said “Apart from tracking the cost of acquiring a customer, it is important to understand the lifetime value of the customer in order to be able to understand the profitability of the business”.


Peshwa Acharya, CMO of Sterling Holidays speaking at the event said “Digital transformation has already happened from the consumer’s perspective. Now it’s time for brands to wake up to this opportunity. There will be many inflection points, for example, COD in ecommerce. Brands need to anticipate and leverage these inflection points to their advantage.”


The last discussion was around How Content Marketing can work for your brand with two successful brands, Matrimony and Murugappa Group sharing their experiences. Vijaylakshmi D, Senior Associate Vice President at Murugappa Group speaking on their successful content strategy around Madras Song said “Murugappa Group always had a strong connect with the city of Madras and we have had ongoing activities around this. When we looked at how do we connect with today’s generation we decided to use music and video as the medium to create the Madras Song to engage people to share their live for Madras.”. Murugappa Group in fact allocates close to 15% of marketing budget towards content marketing.


Rajasekar KS, GM – Social Media & Content for speaking on their HappyMarriages content initiative said “Content Marketing is more about content and less about marketing. If you can understand your consumer’s problems and leverage that to build content, then it will strike the right cord with the audience.”



Speaking at the occasion, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat summarised, “The digital medium is a powerful medium and only creativity is the limit. We hope that the experience sharing by CMOs and Marketing Heads would enable the entire industry to learn and grow their digital presence.”

Thanks to the entire organising team at Social Beat for pulling off the Summit – Kudos to them! And a big thank you to our partners – Zarget, Sublime Factory & Brandwave.


How To Create Low Cost Videos To Tell Your Brand Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? We, humans are inherent suckers for good stories. They make us feel happy, sad, motivated, joyous, angry and the way they touch us and impact our thoughts, nothing else can. There is a reason why we spend hours binge-watching series, or why we watch movies or bury ourselves in books. All of these mediums have one thing in common – stories! It’s all around us.

Storytelling is a very powerful communication tool and is probably the best way to build a brand. Brands that have made a mark and who stand apart today have been successful in telling their stories in the most unique manner. There is also an art to storytelling and when done right it can help you get exceptionally good results!

We are all aware of the classic ways of storytelling through words and images. Today, however, the trend has shifted towards videos. This holds true especially when applied to digital marketing. Videos are more powerful than simple imagery and are super illustrative; they are also easily memorable and allow creating a stronger bond between the brand and the audience.

Videos in digital marketing can prove to be extremely powerful & worthwhile for both brands and consumers. A lot of effort goes into conceptualizing & producing a video and it can prove to be quite costly. But today, there are a lot of ways in which you can create good quality videos with a low budget.

1. Opt for short videos to convey your message – Short videos go well with our hectic lives and concise attention spans. Also 70% of the smartphone users are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, thus, the crisper & briefer the content, the better it is. Youtube is not the only video-embracing platform available online. There is no dearth of video-centric platforms and 90% of these platforms are famous for hosting short-form videos. Instagram, Vine and many other channels today host videos including Facebook & Twitter. The world’s first Instagram trailer was released back in 2013 for the movie Jobs which was a 15 second packed video with dramatic music, slow-motion shots of Ashton Kutcher reciting inspiring dialogs about eccentric, misfit rebels. It’s almost like the first full theatrical trailer for the movie, except shorter.


Creating short-form videos is all about how creative you can get in less than a minute. These videos are streamed to viewers on a range of platforms that increases the reach exponentially. They are also far more successful and have wider reach because they are “snackable” in nature and easier to consume and producing them costs far lesser than creating a long video.

2. Smartphones are the best chattels–It’s not necessary to film a video with the help of high-end equipment & lights. Your best asset is in your pocket – your smartphone. As a brand, it might come across as a ridiculous idea but it actually is a very cost-effective & quick way of creating videos. It is not necessary to get engulfed in creating huge budget videos. You can convey your story through an excellent video shot on your smartphone or tablet (of course with a good quality camera)



 3. Your script is paramount –The script plays a huge role in the video as well. The content should be clear and precise with no ambiguity. The video holds no power if the visuals are perfect and the content is lacking. Both are of great importance. Thus, make sure you get your script right first. If you choose to outsource the production of a video inclusive of the conceptualization, it will cost you a substantial amount of money. However, if you decide to prepare the script beforehand then it might save you time & money. There are also affordable marketplaces from where you can subcontract video productions and these come at a remarkably low cost.

 4. Affordable online marketplaces – The internet is a great place to find the solution for your woes, and this case is no different. There are some really affordable marketplaces like that has professionals from all over the world who can help create the video of your choice at really affordable prices starting from 5$. All you have to do is describe how you want your video to be and they’ll get it done for you within a matter of 24-48 hours. The system is commendable and you get what you seek for at really good rates.



5. DIY Videos – However, if you do not wish you outsource your videos then there is also an option to create your own videos with readily available online tools. Even beginners can create videos like a pro! Example of such websites include Videoscribe, Animoto, Sparkol. With Videoscribe and Sparkol you can create amazing whiteboard style animation videos. Animoto is inclined towards servicing users who are looking for a really simple way to create a video. All you need to do is select images and upload them with soundtracks provided by the tool.


With these tips, you can surely make the right impression with your videos. To make an amazing video all you need is an idea, a good script and the right tools. Gone are the days where we had to buy expensive video equipment! With the development of technology, you can create the perfect video for your brand at an affordable rate!

Social Beat releases the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016

Highlights from the Social Beat Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016:

  • Brand Awareness & Lead Generation are the primary goals for most brands
  • Measuring ROI from digital marketing is the biggest challenged faced
  • 87% brands leverage digital & 38% of them allocate 1/3rd budget to digital marketing
  • Facebook & Google are still the most popular digital marketing channels

Bangalore, 18th Jul 2016: The Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016 was released by Social Beat, one of South India’s leading digital marketing agencies. The report is based on a survey conducted in May-June 2016. A total of 376 CMOs and Marketing Heads across India participated in the survey. The companies that participated in the study were from various sectors and verticals including e-Commerce, FMCG, Media/Entertainment, Healthcare, Education, Real Estate, and Travel.

Speaking on the report, Social Beat Co-Founder Vikas Chawla said “The report highlights the rise of digital marketing, though brands continue to use television and print mediums to have a 360-degree approach. It was encouraging to see that 87% of the brands surveyed leverage digital marketing. While brand awareness and lead generation/sales seem to be the primary goals set by the CMOs, digital marketing is increasingly being leveraged for Customer Engagement (46%) and customer service (35%) too.”

The responses from the survey indicate that digital marketing spends are about one-third of the total marketing spends. The results here are considerably different from the IAMAI – IMRB International Report which pegs the digital spends at 12% of the total marketing spends.

Speaking about the survey, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat, said “Around 10% brands surveyed spend more than Rs. 1 crore annually on digital marketing while around 50% brands spend more than Rs. 6 Lakhs annually. Overall, 20% brands plan to increase their digital marketing spends by 25% in the next financial year. This is important in the context of growing internet and digital penetration in India – brands understand that digital is the way forward. With an expected 500 million internet users in India by 2017, brands understand the massive opportunity to reach out to their consumers.”

David Appasamy, who has recently joined Social Beat as Head of Brand & Strategy, added “The survey reflects the growing acceptance of digital platforms as an excellent means of engaging meaningfully with consumers, generating leads and increasing sales. It was particularly interesting to see that the digital marketing channels are already contributing to more than 30% sales for at least 40% of the brands surveyed.”

Tracking Return on Investment (ROI) is the biggest challenge being faced by brands, closely followed by content creation, quality lead generation and attracting talent. Currently, CMOs are using Sales / Leads, Engagement, Brand Reach and Mentions as the metrics to track the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Most of the respondents said they focus on Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Content Marketing and Emailers for marketing their brand online. Not surprisingly, Facebook (89%) and Google (78%) have emerged as the most popular platforms followed by Twitter (56%) and LinkedIn (51%). Penetration of smartphones, faster internet connectivity and interesting video content have resulted in 51% brands targeting YouTube for marketing their brand. It would be interesting to track the growth of newer channels like Instagram and Snapchat in India for brand marketing in the near future.

Vikas added, “Most of CMOs that took the survey felt that they there is a lot of scope for improvement in quality lead generation, result tracking and creative campaigns. This presents a massive opportunity to digital marketers to fill the gap and help leverage the digital medium more effectively for brands”.

Media Coverage for the Report

Economic Times Brand Equity: 38% brands allocate a third of their budget to digital marketing: Report

Business Standard: 87% brands prefer digital marketing: Report

Exchange4Media: 87% brands leverage digital; Facebook & Google platforms most preferred: Social Beat Report

Economic Times: 87 per cent brands prefer digital marketing: Report

The full report and infographic can be seen below:

Digital Marketing Industry Report India - 2016 Digital Marketing Industry Report India – 2016




Instagram Analytics – What Can A Brand Expect

Analytics is by far one of the most important tools to help a company sell on the social media platform. Yes, driving traffic to the website is equally important, but how do you find out what happens after that? That is where web and social media analytics comes to play. Every social networking site has its own set of analytics that are both accurate and user-friendly. While Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest has inbuilt analytics, Instagram was lacking in it. Though Instagram shares the same ad platform as Facebook, the platform does not yet have an analytics tool like Facebook’s Insights and Audience Insights. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party Instagram analytics tools available for businesses and marketers to measure their marketing efforts until recently when Instagram announced its insights feature – Instagram ‘Business Tool’that will be made available directly in the app for its users!

While this happened, Instagram again made heads turn for yet another new launch – ‘Business Profiles’. This tool is truly an advantage for small businesses, which can enjoy the ease of mobile marketing on Instagram which will also help reduce the gap between the consumers and the brands. While Instagram’s carousal ad sets and videos have already been helpful for easy marketing, introducing mobile ad-buying and Analytics, which will help view the most viewed and liked posts, post engagement rate, website clicks, impressions, reach and a lot more is definitely a big step for Instagram that has been appreciated by 500 million users who see 95 million posts amongst which a minimum of 48 million posts are ads by marketers every day. If you are still deciding whether to use Instagram for your brand – here is a guide on how startups can use Instagram.


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Key Features of Instagram Analytics

Instagram Analytics dominantly focuses on Follower Demographics and Post Analytics. Below, you can view your top posts segregated by Instagram based on its impressions for a 7 day or a 30 day period. This will help you understand how many people viewed your posts other than just liking it, giving you an accurate engagement rate, thereby helping you understand if there is a need to improve your marketing.


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Amongst all the information that is available, Follower Demographics is a very useful tool, especially for the small time marketers. It helps them discover where their audiences are coming from. Apart from exact locations, it also helps determine the right time to market to them from different time zones.


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Again, similar to any other analytics tool, Instagram also lets you break your audience by gender and age to quickly analyze if men or women have contributed to the most number of views, likes and engagement rate.


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The ‘Followers’ module is yet another major advantage for marketers to keep a track of the time and the number of hours their consumers are on Instagram on a selected day. This will again help them understand the right day and time to advertise which will surely be beneficial to grow the brand.


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Apart from hardcore analytics tools, Instagram has also been experimenting with a few other profile features that seem to be quite useful for businesses to lead traffic to their websites and increase their sales. One of these features is the new ‘Contact’ button besides the usual ‘Following’ button.


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The ‘Contact’ button is a linkable location tag which when clicked will show two things – ‘Email’ the user or ‘Get Directions’ on your maps to their store.Since finding the location of Instagram brands has been a major pain point for both marketers and users alike, this new feature will be of some aid.


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The second feature is a direct plus-point for brands/products that have been looked around or searched a lot in social media. While hashtags are used on Facebook and Twitter to quickly spot these products, Instagram has introduced an extra line underneath the name in the profile.


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While these features are not yet open to all users, they have been introduced for marketers in the US, Australia and New Zealand and in the following months, will be accessible on a global level, including India. Boasting over 300,000 marketers leveraging on Instagram, it has become an ideal platform for small businesses to resort to a much easier and visually appealing mode of marketing that will be directly benefited by this new Analytics tool amongst the others and other special features for brand building.

We will have a more detailed analysis once we are able to use the tool for more brands.

How can brands market themselves in the digital age?

Much has already been said and written about managing brands: creating awareness and loyalty, refreshing them, launching brand extensions successfully and increasing revenues from a brand’s franchise year after year. Companies like P&G and Unilever honed this to a fine art and became sought after employers by eager MBAs raring to manage brands.

This was when the television commercial and its production was the high point of months of research, mapping, positioning and creative options. Print and outdoor media supported the core TV effort, while promotions drove increase in sales through value offers to encourage brand switch and sampling by new users. It was always about using mass media to build brand image, and influence the audience to buy a brand based on promised benefits and lifestyle cues.

The disruption of the Internet

With the advent of the Internet and digital content, many things changed fundamentally. The Internet was mass media, but in a very different way: instead of being a ‘one-to-many’ communication (broadcast) that was information push, the Internet offered the chance of engaging (conversations) with many in an interactive manner. For it is a ‘many-to-many’ medium, with users generating content as they engage with each other.

The nature of the medium itself changed how brands reach out to audiences:

  • From brand message to rewarding the viewer

Digital marketing is, in a sense, permission marketing. How would you like it if a brand manager came in and put up a poster on your living room wall? Yet, when we advertise on Facebook, that is what we are doing in a sense! Their ‘walls’ belong to the users, not Facebook, not you. So if you’re going to be there, then you better reward them in some way: with a great story, with humour, with new information, with emotion or a new idea – commonly known as content marketing. It not only has to be worth their while to view, it must earn that place on their wall. And if it does, they will, in turn, share it on their friends’ walls like it was their own.

One example is this video by the BBC on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.

  • From awareness to the audience owning the message

It is no longer about just pushing out information on a brand or product and building its image based on benefits and lifestyle cues. It’s about engaging with audiences and starting conversations.

In the nineties, as the Internet spread and broadband began to proliferate, BMW was doing a big push into the US market which was then dominated by Mercedes. But BMW did not have the financial strength and budgets that Mercedes had on conventional media. The spread of broadband was an opportunity that BMW capitalized on with the famous BMW films. Only, instead of commercials on mass media, they produced short films by well-known directors starring Clive Owen and other stars based on the storyline. Central to each film and a star in its own right was, of course, a BMW: BMW Star and BMW Ticker.

In all, some ten films were produced over a three-year period and went viral quickly. The viewers it was aimed at, a younger, highly successful, independent thinking audience as compared to the older Benz traditionalists, owned the films and shared them widely with their peers. The result was electric, with BMW’s sales in the US surging without having to spend on mass media.

  •  From mass messaging to personal engagement

In the days of conventional marketing, it was all about the message. Consumer research threw up problem statements and provided insights, based on which, brands were tweaked. Then came the all important messaging based on the problem that was being addressed. At all times, the communication was from the brand to its audience; one to many; a one way communication. Creativity played an important role as audiences were being bombarded with thousands of messages a day, from when they awoke to when they went to sleep. The power of an idea is what got the brand past the filter of the mind through relevance and originality-enough to get their attention. Still, it was one more message that they absorbed, with the outcome still in doubt!

With the Internet, everything changed. Ideas are still important, as is creativity, to reward the audience for viewing the message and provoking them to engage with the brand. This starts a conversation, and the beginning of building a relationship with the audience that relates to the brand based on the idea. The idea must reward the reader or viewer in some way: either through humour, or by giving them information of value they were unaware of, or by simply capturing their imagination in a sociable way.

Like this Nike ad which uses Messi as a role model.

In conclusion:

Large media houses do not own the Internet, its users do. They not only ‘own’ it, they initiate its use according to their convenience. Their use of the Internet, depending on time of day and context, can be to consume the news, network with friends, send emails, work or entertain themselves. A single medium serves to satisfy all their needs depending on time or context. A good marketer knows what kind of message to reach to them, when and in what context, always keeping in mind that the message must earn its place on their walls with relevance and reward them. Done well, it will gain their ‘ownership’, so they share it with their friends.

Mobile First Strategy to leverage micro moments of consumers

Micro Moments has become a buzzword in the digital marketing environment in recent times. Especially, after Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, came up with this phrase, more and more digital marketers are trying to utilize the micro moments to benefit their brands.

To start with, more and more consumers are using smart phones for most of their browsing. According to two different Google consumer surveys, almost 68% of smart phone users say that they check their smart phone within 15 minutes of waking up every morning; also, 30% of these users admit that they actually get anxious, when they don’t have their smart phones with them. In most countries, searches happen more via mobiles than desktop computers. This means that digital marketers, who intend to make an impression with their clients, should adapt mobile first strategy religiously.

According to the often quoted KPCB Internet Trends Report, it is said that most people check their phones about 150 times a day and they spend 177 minutes on an average with their phones per day. This means that, on an average, a mobile session lasts for just 70 seconds. Apart from texting their partners, sharing their selfies or travel pictures, commenting on their friends’ photos, there is a specific point of time where people look at their smart phones to get influenced by brands. These small moments where the consumers look for information on their phones are the micro moments that every digital marketer should utilize.

Four types of micro moments

According to Think with Google, these micro moments can be classified into four, namely:

  1. I-want-to-know moments: More and more users are looking up for information online. On the go, many users search for different information ranging from routes to their destination to deals in ecommerce sites. The amount of such consumers have increased significantly in the past few years.
  2. I-want-to-go-moments: More than ¾ of users use their smart phone users use search engine via their phone to look for any local store or company. Even to look up for something as trivial as an electrician or florist, people use their smart phones. According to Google Trends report, in the year 2014-2015, there is 2x increase in “near me” based search interest.
  3. I-want-to-do moments: While doing a task, most users use their smart phones to look see instructions. Be it any DIY craft or a simple day-to-day recipe, people use their smart phones to check how to do what they want to do.
  4. I-want-to-buy moments: This is the most explicit micro moment. Before purchasing a product online or offline, more than 80% people actually look up their phones for consultation before buying. Also, mobile conversion rates for ecommerce sites have significantly increased in the recent times.

These are the four micro moments that are crucial for any business. With consumers’ online attention span being very low, i.e. as low as few seconds, to leverage these micro moments of consumers, brands must adapt mobile first strategy.

Four ways to leverage consumers’ micro moments:

To grasp your consumers’ micro moments, a brand must refine all its contents to be mobile responsive and follow these four approaches.

1. Being there for the users always

One of the interesting facts about most consumers is that they might not be rigid on what brand they want. If they are looking at their phone for information or merely browsing, they might be more interested to buy your products if the information you provide interest them. Especially, while looking for information, users pick the business that are there in their search results and that have the most attention-seeking content.

By being there always in their smart phone, via both paid and organic methods, you stand a more chance than your competitors to convert them into your customers. One may think that by merely being there in the social media, how can a brand make the smart phone users become its consumers. The true fact is that by being there when users need some information, your brand is helping customers in their decision journey.

Also, at this point, mobile first strategy plays a major role. Since most of the searches happen via mobile phones, your website, landing pages, ads, posts, and any content should be mobile responsive. Also, it must be interesting and crisp to be read within those micro moments.

2. Providing users the information they need

While you can make an amazing first impression with the first approach, to make the users your clients/customers, you need to do something more; in fact, you must do something more powerful. Bounce rate of many sites and uninstalling of many apps are on a rise; the main reason for this is that most of these brands fail to be useful to their customers in the four micro moments explained above.

If your consumer is on a search engine searching to buy a product related to your brand, he or she is more likely to pick your brand over a hundred others when your content is useful than the others. We have a detailed strategy on how to create 10X better content than your competitors. With mobile first strategy, you are in a good spot because it allows you create and showcase more pertinent content in these micro moments. This is why in our view a blog is important for every business. Using information like their past search history, location, time of search, and keywords, one can efficiently decide what to showcase to which user.

For example, if you are a brand that has multiple products, based on the target group, their preferences, you can use retargeting to showcase products/creatives that are useful to them. Rest assured, you would have definitely leveraged their micro moment.

3. Catching up with users’ speed

If your mobile site or app takes a long time to load, the users are more likely to leave your site/app for other that of other brands. All your efforts of providing useful content and being there goes waste, if the speed at which your information loads is slow. To optimize your mobile site and app speed to suit the speed of your customers, you must follow these steps:

  1. Keep it simple: Having too many forms, additional or redundant steps, etc. makes your customer bored. Have a one step sign up form, i.e. via Facebook or Google. Also, enable click-to-call options, instead of displaying phone numbers. Similarly, all addresses must be linked to GPS to open via maps directly. This way, the users will be able to do what they want to do without any hindrances.
  2. Foresee users’ expectations: From predictions to drop down menus, from enabling auto-fill option to getting past browsing history, try everything that will speed up the process. You can also display products/services on the app based on their past search history.
  3. Combine the best UI with simple design: As much as an attention-seeking UI is important, it will be of no use, if it takes too long to load. Therefore, the app/mobile site must not only be designed to be user-friendly but must also be designed in a way that it loads quickly.

Almost 40% of users wait not more than 3 seconds for a site to load before leaving the site, if you do not optimize your site better, all your other efforts becomes futile.

4. Measuring your strategy

You have done your best by being there, being useful, and being quick. With mobile first approach, these efforts will definitely reap results. The results can either be customers or leads to prospective customers. However, on the longer run, measuring and reviewing your micro moments strategy is what helps you to refine and evolve with the evolving trends.