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:

Social Media Trends for Real Estate in 2017

Over the past few years, social media marketing has been one of the key marketing strategies for leading real estate developers to reach out to their potential buyers. For some developers, over 1/3rd of their sales comes from the digital medium. Advertising your property on social media platforms is a guaranteed way to showcase your property to the real estate investors and increase the possibility of a sale. However, just posting images of your next upcoming project may not be captivating enough. Here are some new trends that real estate developers can leverage upon.

360 Degree Videos & Photos

What if you could give your potential home buyers the luxury of a walkthrough of their new apartment without them leaving their homes? Sounds too good to be true? The latest trend of 360 videos will let you do just that. It is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and show them home buyer what is in store for them if they buy your apartment or villa.

While virtual reality is making an entry in the marketing scene, it is not mainstream yet because of the cost of the VR gears. However, if you are looking for an engaging video, then a 360-degree video is a good starting point. These videos can be created through low-cost tools as well. 

This trend is highly beneficial for real estate for developers to showcase their upcoming projects. Apart from the 360 videos, developers can also use 360-degree photos to showcase an immersive 360-degree experience. Both the 360 video and photo produce more engagement and message retention than regular videos or photos.

Casa Grande, one of India’s leading real estate developers, have used this marketing strategy to connect with their potential customers. For the launch of one of their projects in ECR, Chennai, they used 360 videos to exhibit to the potential clients what is in store for the project.

360 videos to showcase your brand

Growing importance of interactive ads

With organic reach on Facebook almost dead, brands are using focused advertising to reach their potential audience on Social Media. While the regular lead generation and website conversion ads are a great way to reach your target audience, it is also important to engage with the potential audience to understand them to improve the quality of your leads. A good way to do this is by using interactive ads. Interactive ads are the next generation of ads, which has taken social media marketing by storm. These ads increase the engagement by interacting with potential customers. A typical example of an interactive ad are the Facebook live polls hosted by companies to produce user-generated data to study what the customers are interested in buying. For example, a real estate developer can put up a poll on Facebook to check if their clients prefer sea-facing apartments or pool-facing apartments. This will give them a rough insight of what their customers want and can even use this data in pricing their property.

If you are looking at the next level of interactive advertising, try out M-Canvas ads, a mobile-only advertising service with very interactive and engaging ad formats. They are unlike any other format available on social media. They are highly interactive and uses a mix of images, video, and carousel to create a memorable and stunning visual experience on mobile. Moreover, these ads allow you to interact within the publisher i.e while you are reading your news article on the same page you can interact with the ad, rather than going to a different page. Once you click, the ads expand and give your further information and ensure the viewer interacts with the ad to take the next steps.

It is one of the best ways to showcase real estate products. For example, if your end goal is for your customer to enquire about the project, you can show a sneak preview of the project’s interiors with Call to Action that prompts viewers to take the next step. An audience who’s interested enough to swipe all the way through your ad is likely willing to click through to your website and make the enquiry. These canvas ads are a new concept that is catching up, and we see it as a trend that is here to stay.

Micro-Targeting

Micro-targeting is a marketing strategy of using consumer data and demographics to identify the interests of specific individuals and then influence their action of making a purchase. If a property is for sale on OMR in Chennai or in Whitefield in Bangalore or BKC in Mumbai, with three bedrooms, three baths and is close to the IT corridor, then it is most likely to be bought by a working professional in his 30s with a family of two kids. With the help of micro-targeting, real estate developers can reach out to their target audience by specifying the demographics and the geography of the potential customer on Facebook. You can even target users around the world whose hometown matches the city where the project is. Hence, their ads are displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.

Growth of regional content and regional ads

Hindi Content has been growing faster than English content, and this is likely to increase even further in 2017. This is not only the case for content but also advertising. if you looking to reach a wider audience, especially in the tier II and III cities, then using regional content is a must. 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.

For example, Aryan Housing, one of the leading real estate developers based out of Mumbai, ran a campaign of ads in Marathi to connect with their local audience and received a phenomenal response.
Aryan - MarathiUnderstand this trend; Google has also recently started ads and keyword targeting in Indian languages to widen their reach.

Adwords
Integrating Offline and Online marketing

While the majority of the first time home buyers are researching online, they make the end decision of buying the property offline only. So for a real estate company, integrated offline and online marketing efforts is highly essential. While it is important to run ads and get leads, it is also important to understand that consumers do not make purchase decisions based on a single ad or message alone.  Potential buyers gather all their information from various channels and this data gathered through several stages of the buying process are the building blocks of sales.

If you have a potential lead from an online ad and your sales team is following up with them, it is important to also reach out that potential lead online as well. You could use automated email or drip email to reach them until they actually make the purchase. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria. Let’s say that a customer has visited property website and shown interest by coming for a site visit, 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 an 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.

“Across the funnel” marketing

Advertising across social media platforms is all about building your brand and making it a household name for people to connect to and rely on. In “Across the Funnel” marketing, real estate developers build their brand names through four essential steps. They initially start the process by running engaging campaigns on social media, which explain their products and attract potential buyers. Then, they work towards increasing traffic to their websites and drive site visits and enquiries through their conversion data. Lastly, they customise their audience by eradicating cold leads and focus on customers who have actively shown interest in their marketing campaigns.  With Facebook’s Brand Reach & Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front page newspaper ad gives.

All of these social media marketing strategies are currently trending in 2017 and are here to stay! Which of these techniques will you be adapting in your social media marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below.Content marketing blogs to follow.

This article was originally published in Realty Plus Magazine. 

 

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!

 

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.

What Type of Content My Target Audience Will Find Engaging?

Content is King; a statement that has held true since the age of advertising. Like all great things, content marketing has evolved and improved over time. Gone are the days when brands would simply pin-up posters of their products in any given location to try and entice consumers.

Ogilvy Rolls Royce Ad

Take the above ad for example; published in 1958 by David Ogilvy’s company, the ad created a sensation among Americans of that era, and greatly pushed the sales of Rolls-Royce. Reading it today, you may find it hard to skim past the long content, but Ogilvy utilised one of the most powerful elements in advertising that still holds high regard today: Audience Engagement.

He did so by using a powerful Headline that was able to connect well with the emotions that the Target Audience felt at that time (the posh society of post-war America). Flash forward 6 ½ decades, Ogilvy’s methods of engagement are still applicable but have been morphed to fit into the current scenario of an internet and technology savvy world.

Content marketing is an advertiser’s new best friend; 71 percent of consumers today feel bombarded with ads on social media. Instead, they want more than just a flashy product commercial; they want an experience, a little taste of what to expect. Content Marketing can achieve that by creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. The method also adds a layer of trust in Target Audience, Creating what brands crave the most: Loyalty towards their products. Since this is an extensive article we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Why must you implement a content marketing strategy
  2. Popular content forms in use today
  3. Platforms on which content marketing thrives
  4. The content marketing formula
  5. Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Why must you implement a content marketing strategy?

Leads/Sales for a long period over new channels:

The fact that content marketing gives you an open playing field to mix and match with various content forms over a multitude of platforms, there is a big chance for your brand to generate leads, improve sales conversion and ultimately get closer to your Target Audience on a more personal level.

Reach consumers who use ad blockers:

Everyone hates a pop-up ad; they’re annoying, disorient you from an online experience and are generally considered as spam. Content marketing provides a more genuine, trustworthy advertising approach, one that actively induces consumer interaction.

Get Organic traffic/SEO:

Without SEO, anything you publish online will be lost forever in the massive sea of stars that is the World Wide Web. Content marketing has proven to be an SEO friendly marketing method, and provides credibility with boosting organic traffic.

Ad Fatigue:

Imagine seeing the same ad over and over again as you scroll through your Facebook feed. It can get annoying to the point where consumers lose interest in what the ad is trying to communicate. With content marketing, marketers can keep the essence of the ad fresh while varying the way the ad is presented.

Popular content forms in use today

Infographics:

Pretty much self-explanatory in its naming, Infographics is a presentation of data in a visual way. The concept is widely popular among readers, and gives license to creative freedom in graphical presentation, adding loads of value to the written content. Being a more comfortable way to consume information from, Infographics are likely to be shared three times more on Social Media than general content posts.

inphographic

Memes:

Short and sweet, Memes are one of the easiest content forms you can make. But bear in mind that they are not used for information, rather for entertainment. If done right, memes have a high chance of going viral, as consumers love nothing more than to share something outright hilarious.

Meme

Videos:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos are worth a million. No matter what you are promoting, there are always ways to present in on the screen. Videos have proven to be one of the most searched forms of information or entertainment, so to give your SEO a big boost, consider making one that is relevant to your brand, product or service.

Guides and E-Books:

Guides are a detailed form of content and specifically meant for sharing information. Guides work well for SEO purpose as Google’s crawlers are now paying more attention to long-form content that mixes and matches other content forms.

Guides & Ebooks

Book reviews:

There is a book for everything today, and your target audience is bound to pick up one. Avid readers will love to know how good a book is before they have a read, plus it gives off the impression that you are well versed in your subject matter, adding a layer of credibility to your brand. You can induce some consumer reaction by asking personal reviews.

Book Review

Product Reviews:

Like books, product reviews will boost your brand’s credibility, and if you engage professionally with services providers and manufacturers that are relevant to your industry, that credibility increases tenfold. Collaborate with influencers who can review your product and add a trust factor among consumers.

Product Reviews

“How-to” posts:

The age old 5Ws & 1H concept is still effective to date, and a “How to” post is something that is frequently searched. If you are SEO hungry, “How to” posts will help generate the same, as the format takes advantage long tail keyword searches, ultimately bumping up your site ranking.

How To Post

List:

Humans are hardwired to be obsessed with lists. If you make one relevant to your product or service, chances of it being read are very high. Lists are everywhere and can comprise of anything, and Google analytics have revealed that a numbered list (odd numbers count) are the most popular.

Lists

Case Studies:

Nothing spells professionalism better than a good old case study. Need to explain what your product or service is and its impact on consumers? Perform a case study with all those intricate details. Ultimately, you’ll get a healthy dose of credibility and if promoted well, a strong consumer following.

Case Study

Podcasts:

The radio may have lost its charm among general audience today, but audio files still hold high regard among commuters who like a good plug and play of useful information. If your Target Audience falls under such a category, podcasts could be a useful medium for some knowledge sharing.

Podcast

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule that you must try every form of content marketing. Instead, focus on adapting and implementing an idea into a select content type. When that idea morphs into a quality piece of content, your Target Audience will evolve from one-time consumers to a dedicated and loyal fan following.

Platforms on which content marketing thrives

No matter what type of content you choose to work with, you’ll need a base, a platform on which you’re content becomes viewable. In the online world, content representation into three types.

Platforms on which Social Media thrives

Paid Media:

Media that is bought and sold for; online advertisements like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and sponsored content, have shown a very high percentage regarding reach towards the Target Audience, and is also reliant on ROI. Strong reach may increase the chance of a targeted user getting convinced to purchase, yet may not provide a longer, more sustainable impact that permanently etches your brand into the consumer’s memory.

Owned Media:

Owned media refers to platforms through which your content is promoted. Your Website, Facebook Page, YouTube profile, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts are types of owned media. Think of owned media as your virtual office, space for you to actively promote everything your brand represents and connect to your Target Audience in the online world. Since owned media is just a platform, you are free to use it in any way you like for your content marketing needs. How effectively you use it, with your chosen content strategy, will determine the overall reach and interaction with potential consumers.

Earned Media:

Even if your brand is marketed well online, consumers need to be certain and feel a sense of trust with your product. You can achieve that trust factor through earned media; sharing of social media content, Twitter mentions, blog mentions, product reviews and influencer marketing. Of course, to gain such high level of trust among consumers, it takes time, but also pays off handsomely, in the long run, immensely boosting your brand loyalty.

The content marketing formula

Content marketing isn’t something you could just cook up out of an empty pot. The process requires careful planning and meticulous detailing with a whole host of ingredients blending to make fantastic pieces of share-worthy content on various platforms.

The Basic Formula:

Content Marketing = Ideation + Creation + Publishing + Promotion

Content Marketing Formula

Ideation:

Everything begins with an idea. It is from this seed that your entire content marketing plan branches out. To come up with a path-breaking idea you need to do research and lots of it. You achieve great content marketing when you bridge the gap.

“What they’re looking for”- Analyse your Target Audience:

This is the first and most critical step towards creating your content plan. When you can understand who our audience is and what their expectations are, you will be able to create more relevant content. Analyse these aspects:

  • Audience demographic (age, sex)
  • Audience geographic (location)
  • Audience behaviour (reactions towards competition brand’s content)

When you narrow down the points mentioned above, your next step is to hunt for relevant topics that are trending, valuable and share worthy and in some way link to your brand, product or service.

Analyse the Target Audience

“What we want to say”- Create a content strategy:

Question yourself as to why you are about to create a piece of content. What is your end goal with the content you are about to create? To make this easier and more understandable, create a content strategy. Your strategy must be able to answer one or all of these goals:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Increase brand reach
  • Page promotions
  • Boost website visits
  • Focus on consumer interaction

Remember, strategies could change even after your content is created and published. Be open to a trial and error method before you push for massive promotions.

Creation:

With your strategy set and your ideas in full flow. It’s time for the actual creation of your content. Again, depending on your Target Audience, your type of content will have to vary in, but make sure you stick to a content formula that is valuable, relevant and has great visual appeal. Based on current market trends and audience expectation, keep your content fresh by mixing and matching its various forms like GIFs, Blog posts, Infographics, Videos, etc.  Ultimately, your content creation must sync well with your strategy and be able to:

  • Solve a problem
  • Trigger a purchase decision
  • Add value to SEO
  • Entertain

Creative Social Media post

Publishing:

Much like creating content for that relates to your Target Audience, publishing your content must also have a timed approach. Google Search algorithms and Facebook’s targeted post boosting have made it easier for marketers to preselect a publishing time and date, resulting in better and more accurate reach to the consumers. It is important to optimise content that is share-worthy on mobile devices as well, with a majority of consumers now spending more time on smartphones.

Publishing funnel

Promotion:

With over 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, your content is just a small grain of sand in a huge desert. To make that little grain noticeable among the rest, you need to make the most out of the promotional options available. So how do you amplify your content?

promotion strategy

Remember, none of these techniques will work wonders unless you connect them with the golden catalyst of content marketing- Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is a broad topic, so we’ve saved it for another detailed post.

Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Since content marketing is an ever-evolving subject matter based on shifting trends and change in consumer behaviour, there is no surefire successful approach to choosing an approach to your strategy. But, some content strategies work well over others depending on your brand, product or service. Let’s look at a few successful strategies.

Content Marketing for B2B:

When it comes to B2B content marketing, ultra-professionalism is important. Your task as a marketer will be to convince other business of working with you or using your services. Make sure your content is concise, to-the-point and expresses heavily on your services and the benefits it could offer to another business.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress Blog/Website, YouTube, Google AdWords

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Product Reviews, Product/Service specific social media posts

Content type for B2B

Content marketing for FMCG:

For FMCG brands, the content strategy must heavily revolve around consumer interaction. This means marketers are free to explore all sorts of content and modify them in a way that involves consumers intrigued and curious to know more about the brand’s products.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Guest blogging

Content Type:

GIFs, Memes, Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Guide based blog posts

content type for FMCG

Content marketing for real estate:

With a recent influx of the real estate market in India, developers are making a move into the online space to boost their project promotions further. As always, the competition is fierce, so the best reach towards consumers decides the big winner. Considering how huge the real estate industry is, having an online presence for developer and broker, while also complementing each other’s presence, is vital for the success of a real estate brand in the online space.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog, Twitter

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Landing pages

content type for Real Estate

Content marketing for lifestyle brands:

Lifestyle brands, especially those in the fashion industry, have a mainstay in the digital marketing space. To get better online presence, lifestyle brands must be appealing both to targeted consumers and businesses.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog/Landing Page, Twitter, YouTube

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to/Lists/Guides), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Video Promotions

content type for lifestyle brands

We end by quoting a famous line by David Ogilvy, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine”. Content marketing is the most trusted and honest form of marketing and one that is sure to go a long way in establishing a healthy relationship with your Target Audience.

Are there any innovative content strategies you’ve cooked up? Feel free to share the in the comments below.

8 Digital Marketing Trends to expect in 2017

With another year gone by, new technology, tools, and trends have emerged in digital marketing. Keeping this in mind, we have put together eight key trends that we think would be ones to watch out for in 2017.

Mobile UX will be a key focus area

With 90% of mobile usage on FB and more than half of the searches happening via mobile, its already a focus area. We are going to see brands invest a lot more in the mobile user experience, especially when it comes to speed. Google has already launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles feature, both of which is going to expand their reach in 2017. Google is also pushing the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) framework to enable websites to give theirs user an app like experience via the browser. Even social media engagement via mobile is going to change with brands adapting to how they can get more engagement on mobile devices.

Less is more when it comes to content

Brands often believed that more content is always better, but with millions of content pieces and social media posts going out every day, the opposite is true. 2017 is going to see a sharp trend towards brands focusing on high value content, which is engaging and far more personalised. With voice search growing in scale (currently at 20% of mobile searches in USA) many of our digital activities are going to be conversation. Even more a reason why content needs to be unique and stand out from the competition. Google also tends to pick more structured and details content for their “Answer Box”, which comes above the regular search results.

Everyone can run digital marketing at scale with automation and machine learning

With automation and machine learning playing a large role in advertising this year will see even smaller brands adapting programmatic advertising. With platforms like Double Click for Google as well as Power Editor for Facebook, a lot of elements will get automated. Google has also launched responsive display advertising allowing for brands to run ads of multiple sizes without having a design team. YouTube is also soon launching a feature to allow for automated product showcase below videos, wherein machine learning would determine which product it is, rather than the brand manually having to tag which videos showcase their products.

Regional language content will grow multi-fold in adoption

The last time Google reported data on this, it showcased that Hindi content was growing faster than English content and this is likely to grow even further in 2017. With Netflix, Amazon Prime and others spearheading the video content in multiple languages, we are also going to see written and visual content growing in regional languages, especially Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali. Facebook has also launched an auto-translate feature for all the Brand Pages – though nascent it is bound to improve this year.

Even small brands will leverage the video medium

Building the brand is key and what better way than videos? Its never been easier to create videos with the help of free and low cost tools. As per statistics by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Facebook has made it even easier with its Facebook Live feature, which is a very engaging tool, especially for the entertainment, fashion and hospitality industries.

Attribution will continue to be grey area

Especially for online/offline the attribution will continue to be a grey area. While there have been many initiatives launched and many in the pipeline, most restaurants, retailers and offline stores find it difficult to attribute walk ins and business results to the digital medium. Facebook and Google Maps have been improving their proximity data to understand if users are at a specific location and encourage them to review the location. Google is also in early stage testing of beacons to allow for better attribution but it’s still 1.5 – 2 years away from mass adoption.

Consolidation in the social media networks

Brands have always found it difficult to be active on multiple social media networks and we do expect some consolidation. Twitter has been in talks of selling out and even growth of Snapchat has not increased. As platforms evolve and mature, we will see brands also focusing on select platforms that make sense – usually a maximum of 2-3 platforms.

Virtual Reality will not take us over by storm, just yet

There has been a lot of talk around virtual reality devices, including the launch of the DayDream by Google. While the experience it provides is phenomenal, it is not going to be main stream yet. While the cost of devices is getting lower, the adoption of these rather bulky devices is still limited to a select few tech savvy individuals at least in India.

The article was originally published at Business Standard

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).

Social Beat becomes Premier Google Partner

The Team at Social Beat is excited to announce that Social Beat has now gone from being an accredited Google partner to becoming a Premier Google Partner for Google Adwords/Pay Per click Advertising.

Our newly acquired Premier Google Partner badge certifies us as a company trusted by Google, which is capable of providing the highest levels of service to clients.

We have fulfilled Google’s three main requirements for being a Premier Google Partner.

Certifications

Google requires the team handling Adwords to prove their advanced AdWords knowledge by getting certified in AdWords.  All team members handling Adwords campaigns at Social Beat are certified by Google to have the required levels of competency and proficiency to run successful campaigns.

Best Practices

Premier Google Partners are required to demonstrate that they are maximizing their clients’ performance by implementing Google’s recommended best practices in client accounts.

Google reviews Partner agencies’ client accounts to make sure that their clients are getting excellent service, including the type and frequency of the changes being made, client retention, and whether they’re making the most of their clients’ budgets.

Spends

The new badge is designed to recognize Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers

Contact Us to get your Adwords campaign started or to optimize an existing campaign for better ROI.

Digital Chai Pe Charcha – 101 on Digital Advertising for Startups

The third edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha, held at our office on 23rd April 2016 received a wonderful response with about 25 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion, led by Social Beat co-founder Suneil Chawla, was the effective use of digital advertising for customer acquisition and business growth.

DigitalCPC 1

As a recap for those who attended the session and for the benefit of those who didn’t, here’s a summary of the key takeaways from the session:

Digital Advertising Terminology:

For those who are new to the world of digital advertising, there was a brief introduction to the terms that are used in the space:

Cost per Click (CPC): How much an advertiser pays, on average, for each ad click. CPC is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on a campaign by the number of clicks generated.

Cost per Mille (Thousand Impressions) (CPM): Metric that shows how much it costs to serve 1,000 ad impressions. Also used as a standard measure for buying display ads, as inventory is generally sold on a CPM basis.

Cost per Lead (CPL): How much an advertiser pays, on average, for each ad click that results in a lead conversion. CPL is calculated by dividing the total amount spent on a campaign by the number of leads generated.

Cost per action (CPA):  A pricing method which calculates cost based on the number of times a user takes action based on an ad (conversions).

Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of impressions that results in a click through.

 

Digital Advertising Industry Benchmarks:

Following a brief discussion on how attendees were using digital advertising for their business, there was a discussion on the CTR, CPC, CPA and CPL benchmarks one can expect to see for different industries, based on the years of experience Social Beat has in the space. The table with the industry benchmarks is below:

Digital-Advertising-Industry-Benchmarks

 

Digital Advertising Exercises:

Event attendees then made four teams and brainstormed on a digital advertising exercise – Two teams worked on increasing the number of orders for an ecommerce client while two worked on expanding the business for a retail chain to 100+ stores across two Indian states.

The ecommerce exercise can be downloaded here and the retail chain exercise can be downloaded here.

DigitalCPC 2

Key takeaways from the exercises:

  1. While scaling up digital advertising spends, always allocate more budgets to the platform or channel that is known to be performing and delivering results. So, for example if Google Adwords is proving better leads/orders and sales, revenue then grow that channel further. For many brands it might be Facebook, for some it could be Adwords, Third Party Platforms, Linkedin or even Pinterest.
  2. Every platform will have some ceiling beyond which spends cannot be scaled up anymore without increasing CPA. Past data from individual platforms and from Google Analytics can help with this.
  3. It might be prudent to allocate a small percentage of your advertising spends (anywhere between 5% to 10%) to experimenting with newer channels and avenues for customer acquisition.
  4. Facebook tends to be the lowest cost of acquisition for most industries and is an excellent medium to target audiences who are not necessarily searching for your product/service yet.
  5. More detailed ideas on leveraging digital advertising can be seen here.

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

Edition 1Challenges faced in marketing a startup

Edition 2Content Marketing Success in 2016

You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter or check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai Pe Charcha meet.

Are there any challenges you face when it comes to digital advertising for your brand? Do let us know in the comments below and we will be happy to help you out.

How to use Instagram for Business (And a guide on Instagram Ads)

Instagram’s growth and spread as a social media platform is literally a tech fairy tale. What started out as a purely recreational app by two young entrepreneurs is now nothing short of a global phenomenon. It’s been 18 months since Facebook acquired Instagram and has estimated 400 million monthly active users. After Facebook’s acquisition, Instagram has opened up advertising opportunities on its platform making it official, that Instagram has truly arrived as a powerful marketing platform.

However, if you plan to use this platform to market your brand, product or service, you must be aware that the regular, run-of-the-mill content and strategy will not work for Instagram. If done well, Instagram can not only increase your brand’s visibility but also can help you engage with your customers and generate business and revenue through it. So here’s a list of 9 ways to use Instagram effectively for your business

  1. You Are What You Click

Instagram is a very visual platform and therefore you have to use images and videos that can tell your brand story effectively. Use high-quality product images yet ensure that they are not over salesy. The pictures must look organic and as natural as possible. Take this photo shared by Good Earth India

GoodEarthIndia

To launch their new kids collection, they have captured the essence of being a child by showcasing a little girl painting on the floor. By choosing to showcase the product in its natural setting instead of a typical product image, Good Earth manages to create a marketing free look while promoting their new collection for children.

Here’s another category of images that work – text. One may think that only images with people or objects do well on Instagram. Contrary to popular belief, images with text do well too. You can follow it up with a question in the caption to get great engagement. Check out this post by Buzzfeed Life about their latest blog post featuring 10 looks created out of a single LBD (Little Black Dress, for the uninitiated)

BuzzfeedLife

Ensure that your captions are brief yet engaging. Adding a question always helps to interact with your audience.

You can share plenty of behind-the-scene pictures and videos that can let people know about the team that works for the brand. Remember, the more real you are, the better people connect to your brand.

Once your Instagram profile creates this fun, creative and organic atmosphere, you can start seeing an increased traffic to your site and curiosity about your product/service.

  1. Bio and Website Link

Unlike Facebook and most other social media platforms, Instagram does not allow clickable links on the posts or on the post description. However the profile bio allows you to write a brief about yourself or your business. Use this space to exactly convey what you would like to say to your audiences. Most brands also use a few emojis here to make this section stand out and support the text with some colour.

The website link added here is the only way your customer can be redirected from Instagram to your website (other than ads).

InstagramBio

To subtly push your target audience to engage with your website, blog or your app, end most of your post content with a gentle reminder that the link to reach you is available in the bio. Check out this post by Photo Concierge showcasing stock images directing customers to a link of their choice.

PhotoConcierge

  1. Instagram Ads

As of March 2016, there are over 200,000 advertisers on Instagram and it’s a great tool to reach your target audience. Since Facebook owns Instagram, you will need to go through a Facebook Ad Account to run ads on Instagram. Here’s a quick guide on how to run Instagram ads

  • Visit the Facebook Ads Manager and create an account. Skip this process if you already have an ad account with Facebook.
  • Link your Instagram profile to your page using the tab under ‘Settings’ on your business Facebook page
  • Select your goal from the options that are offered through Instagram. For instance you can send people to your website, get people to download your app or promote your Facebook post through your Instagram profile.
  • As of now, one cannot promote a post on Instagram unless it is shared on Facebook.

 

InstagramAdOptions

  • Now create the ad on the Facebook ads manager with the image and text of your choice.
  • When you reach the ad format section, you will have the option of deciding if you would like to show your ad on Instagram. Alternately, if you would only like to run your ad on Instagram, make sure that you uncheck the other platforms.
  • Now fix your budget, check the ad preview, hit ‘Place Order’ and your good to go!

 

AdFormat

Like any platform, you need to experiment with various combinations of ads and text to understand which ads are working well with your target demographic. Try the carousel format with multiple pictures or a video ad to get the desired business results.

AdTemplates

It has been observed that running Facebook ads along with the Instagram ads can reduce your cost per conversion by around 20%.

  1. Engage and Reach Out

Engagement with your followers is quite hard on a platform like Facebook, but Instagram is the perfect place to really engage with your followers. It’s also a place that is geared more for organic and real conversations.

Your followers are a gold mine of potential customers. Creating a loyal fan base is a surefire way to generate customers. Of course, unlike running ads, this process takes a bit of time, effort and patience.

Sorting and keeping in touch with followers is vital. Tools like SocialRank are a fantastic way to organize, manage and identify your Instagram followers.

SocialRank essentially pulls out the profiles of all your followers and lets you sort them out based on your preferences. You can create lists of your most valuable followers and ensure that you follow them back. A thoughtful message on their special posts can go a long way in ensuring brand affinity.

Another interesting way to grow your community is by searching relevant non-followers and liking as well commenting on their posts. Richard Lazazzera, Author of What to Sell Online : The definitive guide, ran a small experiment wherein he shortlisted 100 of his competitors’ followers and liked as well commented on their posts. He managed to get a whopping 34% follow back from this group.

  • Follow : 14% followback
  • Follow + Like : 22% followback
  • Follow + Like + Comment : 34% followback

This clearly shows that the more effort you put into your Instagram profile, the better are your chances to build a strong and relevant community which in turn helps with business results.

Another great way to engage with your users, is by reposting customer content. Most brands heavily rely on this and it’s a great way to make them feel special. Use the Repost app to share your customer’s content and tag them on the post! Infact, there are many tools that help you manage your Instagram profile. Here’s another list of top tools to help you with Instagram.

  1. Keep Your Account Clean

Instagram is a platform where often unfollowing is as important as following!

Since following others is a definitive way to increase your reach, you have to constantly unfollow the people who do not engage with you in any way. Some accounts that you follow may have become inactive and can be weeded out.

Crowdfire is the perfect app to help keep your account clean. Through its simple dashboard, you can quickly see the number of people who follow/do not follow you. It also pops up the profiles of your recent unfollowers which can help you unfollow them as well. Alternately, it helps you quickly find the list of your competitors to follow. With this dashboard, you can ensure that your account is always fresh and updated!

CrowdfireApp

  1. Hashtag Your Way To Glory

We all love hashtags. We are all guilty of using them all the time. But nowhere are hashtags more important than on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post and we recommend using it well. The hashtags can be broadly divided into three categories

  • Popular Hashtags (#tbt, #photooftheday, #igers #popular)
  • Industry Related Hashtags (#Fashion, #FoodPorn, #instatech, #FitnessFreak)
  • Brand Related Hashtag (#Vogue , #UberCode, #MyntraFashion)

Ideally, each post must have a few from each of these categories. Do not forget to coin a hashtag for your brand and promote it regularly till it can catch on and have its own identity among your customers.

Many brands also use clever hashtags to communicate an emotion or trend related to their product. Just like this Starbucks post, where they use the #BeGoodToYourself hashtag along with their tea to indicate a feeling of wellness and indulgence.

StarbucksHashtag

Here’s a great guide to the most popular hashtags for the year 2016.

  1. Instagram Influencers

Instagram influencers are very powerful and have almost the same impact as a popular brand ambassador for your business. Anybody who has a large following and content that interests your customers can be an influencer.

The key to getting the most out of influencer marketing is ensuring that it is done using several influencers and within a short time period. Your customer’s memory is short and to ensure that your brand is noticed, a Blitz Krieg approach to influencer marketing can go a long way. This is especially true when you are launching a new product in the market.

One of the best case studies to understand the impact of Instagram influencers is the launch of the Uwheel, a self-balancing two-wheeled hoverboard.  The co-founder’s girlfriend recruited famous rappers, singers, socialites, and other Instagram influencers to talk about the Uwheel, all at once. Some of the posts and reviews were paid for while some others were given the Uwheel in exchange for a word about their business and product on their profile. And suddenly, Uwheel was all everyone was talking about!

Using a marketing budget of $61,200 their team was able to generate a revenue of over 1 million dollars and since then Uwheel as a brand, has not turned back. Read all about it here.

Wanted to get started with influencers for your business soon? Here’s a fantastic list of influencers to help you get started!

  1. Analyse This

Like all social media platforms, Instagram analytics can help you understand your account and follower behaviour to help optimize your business. Using tools like Social Insight or Iconosquare you can find out more about important analytical points. For instance, the best time to post your content, most engaging content, most engaging filters etc.

These tools help generate comprehensive reports that can speak volumes about the user behaviour and help you understand what works and what does not for your Instagram account.

  1. Post Regularly

With Instagram, consistency is very important. You must keep sharing your content in different forms to be relevant and sustain the community you have built. One way to achieve this is by scheduling your posts in advance. Use tools like Schedugram and Latergramme so that your workload does not stop you from posting regularly on Instagram.

However, do remember that the name Instagram is inspired from the act of capturing a moment the instant it happens. Nothing works better than taking a picture while as it happens and sharing it immediately with your followers. A successful sales figure, a new product launch, a new business venture – share it when it takes place! During a recent interview, Eva Chen, Instagram’s Head of Fashion Partnerships, speaks about how Instagram is more than just a numbers game and airbrushed photographs. Even grainy but real videos that were taken in poor lighting can do well on Instagram if they truly capture real life. So don’t be afraid to share it all.

Here are some more interesting case studies about using Instagram for business. Instagram is truly a treasure trove of new opportunities to expand your business and generate revenue. While it does work better for businesses that are more visual in nature, it still is emerging as the number one way to interact with the younger audiences with great spending potential. Have you tried to use Instagram for your business? We would love hear from you in our comments section!