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).

Facebook Marketing Trends: What to expect in 2017

Facebook Marketing has become an integral part of any digital marketing strategy and it has revolutionized the way we look at the online marketing industry. Over the last 12 years, Facebook has seen a 360-degree shift, transforming from a simple social networking site to the face of a multi-billion dollar company allowing brands to find new customers, increase their sales, create brand awareness and much more. When we ran an industry survey amongst CMOs and Brand Heads across India we found that close to 90% Brands in India are already leveraging Facebook. Advertisers are spending more money than ever before on Facebook as it has emerged as one of the biggest platforms to engage with their target audience. Keeping this in mind, new features are being regularly added to Facebook and marketers have to constantly make alterations to their strategies to ensure their content is still reaching its target audience. Below are a few points that have been gathered keeping in mind the recent changes which may give us clues as to what 2017 will hold for both consumers and businesses.

Less Is More – Page Posts & Organic Reach

Following the decrease in the organic reach of Facebook page posts last year, Locowise conducted a small study to analyze how page posting frequency impacts reach, engagement and negative feedback.

Locowise study about facebook page frequency

The study reveals that pages that posted once a week or less on their official page reached an average of 15% of the audience who liked their page per post. Interestingly, pages that posted two to four times a week reached only 10% of the page audience and pages that posted once a day reached a lower average of 8.42% per post. This means that organic reach drops with an increase in the number of posts, and over posting content is a common mistake marketers tend to make on FB. This also means that the quality of content and FB posts needs to be extremely high and we are likely to see many brands evolving into fewer but highly engaging posts.

Another study by [email protected] reveals that for large pages with more than 5,00,000 Likes, the organic reach has seen a remarkable decline when compared to other smaller pages. It is believed that marketing managers can expect the organic reach to further approach zero in the future. The detailed analysis and data interpretations along with the recommendations are available to read here in the full white paper.

socialogilvystudyorganicreach

 

The number of users on Facebook has doubled from 845 million to 1654 million over the last five years. There are more brands than ever who are joining the bandwagon of Facebook marketing and these brands are posting multiple posts every day. All of this creates more noise and unimaginable amounts of content that will simply be filtered out and never reach the news feed of a specific user. With so much information to be filtered, Facebook uses complex algorithms to pick and show content to users they are most relevant to them and those that they are most likely to engage with.So it can be assumed that increased brand post frequency is aiding in the drop of organic reach.

However, the only exception to this organic reach debate was seen in the news & media industry.  The organic reach of news publishers seems to remain steady, even with a higher posting frequency. Here’s the result of analysis of 3,318 profiles, by Sotrender.

sotrenderstudy1

sotrenderstudy2

Videos – Future of Marketing For Brands

Videos are the next step in the social media evolution and will most likely dominate the online advertising and marketing industry. As per the stats by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Daily views have increased from 1 billion to 8 billion in the last one year. These stats are proof that users have started consuming more of video content and it is essential that brands leverage this in their favor to engage with the potential customers. Video content is the best medium for storytelling and is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their audience.

Live videos were one of the major updates announced earlier this year by Facebook. This gave live videos prime placement in the Facebook app and also adds new ways to find, create, share, and react to them. This move efficiently makes live videos one of the central features of Facebook. Live videos offer a new way to interact on a platform that can feel so familiar that it risks feeling stale. Broadcasting live to your social circle gives you a certain thrill or even just watching a friend’s live broadcast, can bring in a fresh feeling of excitement and make you want to interact on the same old platform in a new way. On an average, Facebook says people are commenting 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos. This clearly means that brands must explore Live videos over recorded videos as this would help drive higher engagement levels with the audience. Facebook also rolled out an update where advertisers could add a video element for FB Carousel Ads.  The shift towards video as a tool for marketing is evident and is definitely here to stay.

We also have an interesting blog on how to create low cost videos to tell your brand story – in case you are creating videos for the first time.

Mobile Is King

The fact that a business needs to have a mobile-friendly website is much talked about and is not a new concept. Last year, Google announced that, for the first time mobile searches surpassed desktop searches.  This eventually led to a new situation where Google’s algorithm started to penalize sites that were not optimized for mobile devices.  For the last few years, marketing experts have been stressing on the fact that there is an obvious need for businesses to optimize the sites for the ever-increasing number of mobile users. Facebook Inc announced that it has over 142 million users in India, of which about 133 million access the social network via their mobile devices. This means that a staggering 90% of users are using facebook on their phones in India. It is essential that marketers who are trying to engage with and attract potential customers in order to redirect them to their website, ensure that their website is mobile optimized and are able to leverage every micro moment of Indian consumers.  In today’s Smartphone era, mobile-optimization is the norm and an essential item that can no longer be placed on the back burner to address later.

Ads are Inevitable

A few years ago, advertising on social media platforms was a very niche concept with not too many players in the market. In this new age of online marketing, many brands have become aware of the importance of ads across various social media channels, especially Facebook.  Today, with the various targeting and advertising options on Facebook, we can reach out to millions of potential customers in any part of the world. Facebook advertising is a strong tool that can be used by brands to meet their marketing objectives.

facebookads

Facebook ads allow you to choose from a wide range of possible adverts including but not restricted to Page Post Engagement, Clicks to a website, Conversions on Website, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Ads etc. Over the last few years, Facebook has evolved into a paid marketing platform more than an organic one so it is essential for marketers to leverage the power of the various adverts available. You can read our detailed guide on measuring ROI from social media.

Shop On Facebook

In an attempt to make it easier for brands to reach out to potential customers and drive sales on mobile devices Facebook has started rolling out the Shop section in phases. This section allows a brand to list out their products and let consumers browse through the catalog and purchase products that they like from within Facebook. The social network does not charge you to add a shop section to your Page nor does it take any percentage of the money you make through it. In the upcoming year, more businesses will start selling stuff directly from Facebook as this new section is set to change the way we look at e-commerce and social selling. Ofcourse it also has had Product Ads for E-commerce companies for a long time now – these can be also be leveraged parallely.

shoponfb1 shoponfb2

 

We have left out Instagram Marketing from this conversation, as it warrants its own blog. We are also seeing some interesting developments around Instagram analytics and Instagram targeting going forward.

Do let us know what other features you expect FB to evolve in the coming months.

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

 

 

 

Top Learnings from the comScore Advertising Benchmarks Report – 2016

ComScore recently published a report that highlights the advertising benchmarks for the year 2016. As a leading global cross-platform measurement company that accurately assesses audiences, brands, and consumers, comScore has analyzed and published a report on how ad blocking, invalid traffic, and viewability of ads are impacting delivery of advertisements across the globe. The report also lists what the concerned industries can do to tackle these challenges. The following is a brief summary on the key learning from the report.

The digital marketing industry, particularly the digital advertising industry, has experienced constant and powerful growth that has not show any signs of decline, so far. However, in order to continue its global rise, the industry needs to guarantee clean ad delivery, i.e. ads should be viewable to the consumers, and it should be free from fraud. Nevertheless, an ad that is not seen by consumers cannot have any impact.

Based on research and data mining, the comScore report enlightens us with some key learning across the following three extensive categories.

1. The growing global phenomenon of ad blocking

Issue:

Young users aged 18-24 are more likely to block desktop ads than any other average user. In fact, young males are 100% more likely and young females are 42% more likely to block ads in comparison with other users from the US. Moreover, users from higher income segments block ads more than average users.

How to resolve this:

The sole way to resolve this issue is to refocus on user experience. These statistics are a wake-up call for all the digital advertisers to improve their ad quality in terms of content as well as user experience. Seeking less invasive options, with or without advertising, can also be a good alternative.

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2. The rise in sophisticated ad fraud

Issue:

In December 2015, almost 80% of the global invalid traffic (IVT) was sophisticated. Additionally, ads that have less transparency like video ads on programmatic exchanges are almost 4.5 times more prone to IVT than its direct counterparts. In general, with wider CPMs, videos give a higher chance for IVT than display ads.

How to resolve this:

Sophisticated IVT requires advanced analytics to detect. Therefore, it is very crucial to protect websites and all ad campaigns using latest methods like comScore Triple Detection Technology, which goes beyond the standard filtration. This sophisticated IVT detection tool uses three key data assets, viz. ad tags, census page tags and a panel of humans. Detection methods like these not only measures invalid traffic, but also provides more protection. If sophisticated IVT detection methods are not in place, the whole advertising processes might go into waste.

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3. 50% of the ads worldwide are still not seen

Issue:

According to this comScore global report, more than half of ads worldwide still don’t have the opportunity to be seen. The desktop display viewability ranges from 39%-50% across all markets. Video viewability is even lesser; this is due to IVT on programmatic video exchanges. According to research, direct buys see higher viewability than their programmatic counterparts.

How to resolve this:

For better viewability and impact, one needs to improve delivery. Invalid traffic together with low viewability can create mayhem in any campaign. Therefore, when the performance of a campaign is evaluated only by using ads that have an opportunity to make an impression, advertising can be made two times more efficient. This will help publishers prove the worth of their advertising and marketers measure the true return on investment (ROI).

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To summarize, ad blocking, invalid traffic (IVT), and low viewability are the three key challenges in digital advertising. However, by taking the above mentioned steps, clean campaign impressions and potent results can be guaranteed.

Learnings from Social Media Week, Bangalore

It was a full house at the Social Media Week, Bangalore this year! A great line up of speakers and interesting mix of panel discussions kept us all hooked to our seats. The event was organized over two days and witnessed some great industry experts share their knowledge and experiences with the crowd. Be it two 18-year-old drop outs building a child-caring app – ‘MyChild’ which is now used in more than 135 countries or a ladysingle-handedlyy fighting against one age-old social stigma – Menstruation by using comic books and social media – It was everything a Social Media Week should be.

The event started on a high note with India’s Ad Guru, Prahlad Kakar’s session on Brand Building Through Story Telling. He took us through a journey we would never forget. Sharing stories from his personal life and experiences captivated the audience. A maestro at storytelling, he gave away some important tips on how to build a brand by telling its story in a manner that makes the brand a hero!

Following Kakar’s session, we had Arnav Ghosh from Blippar India talk about Visual Marketing and Changing Consumer Context. The session addressed the scope of Visual Search and how we’re moving towards a future where Physical reality and augmented reality will blend into one. He was highly lauded for his talk and presentation of Blippar, an app that turns everyday objects into consumer-centric interactions. We will be writing a blog post later this month on how Visual & Voice search are going to change digital marketing forever.

Speaking of Visual and Voice, how can one not mention one of the most interesting sessions on cricket by cricket journalists Prem Panicker, Gaurav Kalra and Bengaluru-based popular Twitter personality Ramesh Srivats. Cricket has not only changed as a game but also how people look at it now and what they have to say about every little aspect. Apart from taking part in debates and writing out blogs, Twitter has become the new medium to express or oppose one’s opinion. Though Twitter is infamous for its social media ‘Wars’, it has also given an option for fans to follow the game through live-tweeting. Ramesh agrees saying, “Discussions on cricket are like everything else on Twitter; part stupid and trolling, part insightful and intelligent.”

There were a couple of more interesting talks on People Intelligence and Monetizing Digital Content by Amartpreet Kaur and Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn respectively. There was a very interesting panel discussion with Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy as the moderator and Anshul Chaturvedi, G.M, Wohoo and Anjali Gupta, IBM as panel members discussing on ROE (Return on Engagement). They talked about how digital has become an integral part of marketing strategies for brands and what engagement means to the brands. The three of them shared their views and thoughts on how to measure engagement and the effectiveness of campaigns online. Many a times engagement is a great short term goal before arriving at return on investment (which for many brands is leads, sales, revenue and referrals).

The evening continued on an exciting pitch and witnessed digital expert Kiruba Shankar shared his knowledge on the future of communication and how podcasts play an important role in it. The session was interactive and had a lot of guests sharing their thoughts and ideas. Kiruba himself has multiple podcasts which can be seen here.

Day one of the Social media week ended on an exciting note and anticipation for the second day was higher. Sandy Carter from IBM shared her views on Social Intelligence and how important it is for a marketer to identify negative and positive sentiments. She is responsible for IBM’s worldwide focus on startups and having her kickoff day 2 at the event was an absolute delight. She spoke at length at about how even startups are starting to leverage big data and actionable people intelligence to connect with consumers around the world. She gave an example of Chocolate Jhony who has been able to leverage SnapChat and other social media channels to expand to multiple geographies.

Following Sandy Carter’s sessions were various more interesting sessions on Influencer Marketing, Snapchat and on breaking a taboo through social media. A gripping debate on “The ugly face of influencer marketing” amongst some of the industry experts like Kiruba Shankar, NanditaIyer, Karthik Srinivasan and G.Nivedithwas probably one of the best sessions of the day. There was a lot of discussion on whether influencers should sell their soul by reviewing and writing about topics that they don’t personally use. For example, should a technology blogger partner with a beer brand or a fashion brand. Challenges faced by influencers were also covered and many of these are similar to the Influencer Industry Report we had launched earlier this year.

There was also a stand-up comedy by Satish Perumal whose rib-ticklers cracked up every single soul in the room! His joke of the day had to be – In a city where people are dying because of potholes, the only person who can use a helipad has left the country!

A jolly-good week with people from all walks of life coming together to tell their story on how social media – a medium – is more than just Sharing, Liking or Commenting, was what SMW’16 was all about. While leaving the event with the same enthusiasm was one thing, learning to ‘Tell A Story To Sell Your Brand’ was another insight that we take back to our working desks.

For those who could not make it to the event, here are some key bytes from the sessions from both the days –

Storytelling is the heart of every communication” – Mr. PrahladKakar

Visual Marketing is the bridge between the physical and digital worlds” – Arnav Ghosh, Blippar

Content is always paid for, either the brand pays for it or the users pay directly to consume the content” – Mahesh Narayanan, Saavn

A brand is the strongest when it is clear about what it has to offer to its customers” – Ganga Ganapathi, VP, Ogilvy

As the industry matures, most Influencers will have disclosures and be more true to their identity” – Kiruba Shankar

Social media gives you a new kind of surround sound from cricket matches. – PremPanicker

Social intelligence moves the needle of your social media presence to social business”. – Sandy Carter, IBM

Occasional trending does not build long-term emotional connect with consumers” – Alokedeep Singh, Titan

For those who attended the event, do share your experiences and highlights in the comments below!

On-ground Survey on awareness of Digital Marketing

On 29th April, a Friday, instead of our usual chit-chat sessions (conducted every Friday to share knowledge & learning from varied spheres of life), we did something different! The entire team received a new plan wherein we were all assigned a unique task!
Being in the digital marketing industry, we are usually immersed in technology. We rarely go out and meet the real consumers whom we target on digital platforms – the consumers to whom we build awareness and drive sales for our clients. It was the time that we went & understood these consumers better. So we headed to one of the largest malls in Chennai, Express Avenue in the hope of meeting such consumers.

The whole idea behind the session was to interact with people and find out the awareness of whether they are aware of the digital platforms and that they are being targeted with advertisements day in & out. The entire team of Social Beat was split into teams of two each. Half of the teams were targeting people to find out about their knowledge in the area of digital advertising. The other half had a client for each team and decided to find out the consumer awareness of the brand. The main objective was to conduct a survey amongst the audience we target through online mediums on a daily basis and this was a first time for us! The exercise lasted for about two hours. The teams garnered a lot of knowledgeable outcomes by the end of the day. “A face to face survey helped us analyze and gauge the reactions of people when they were answering the questions asked”, said Kruthika, our social-media specialist which tells how different was it from a usual online feedback and survey we take.

Our survey on Digital marketing involved asking the following questions to people:
• Do you click on ads on Facebook?
• Do you know what Google ads are and if yes, have you clicked on one?
• Do you pay attention to banner ads?
• Do you use an Adblocker?
• What was the last thing you bought online?
• Do you prefer shopping from websites or mobile apps?

The insights were pretty surprising as most of the people did not even know what Facebook and Google advertisements were or how they looked like. “We had a mixed experience meeting people. On one hand, it was great to talk to them and get insights. But on the other hand, most of them did not know anything about being targeted online via advertisements”, said Bindhya and Natasha. While that was the case with people not aware of ads online, they do pay attention to banner ads but only for informational purpose and the consumers claim not to click on display ads, but that’s contrary to our experience where we receive meaningful leads and sales from Display advertising.

Coming to social media & Facebook ads, people are not aware of it because they do not know the difference between an organic post and an ad on their news feed. Fewer people who were aware of Facebook ads admit clicking on them only if it is attractive enough. Most of the people we met do not use an Adblocker on their browsers.

We also did a dipstick survey on whether the consumers are aware of our clients’ brands. Throughout the survey, the digital marketing experts at Social Beat were able to meet consumers, understand the reach of the brands (that we handle) and understand the competition in different industries. Many shoppers also highlighted that some of them still do not trust online brands (possibly biased by the fact that we were surveying these individuals in a mall). Word of mouth still plays a bigger role in influencing people so there is a lot of scope for Influencer marketing.

At the end of two hours, the activity was insightful and left us with an understanding that digital marketing has a long way to go!

 

Retail 2020: Trends In India

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in association with the Retailers Association of India, recently published a report that highlights the trends in Indian retail. As the world’s leading advisor on retail strategy, BCG has evaluated India’s high-value opportunities in the retail market. Partnering with RAI, the unified voice of Indian Retailers, the report aims at formulating solutions to key challenges faced in the market. The following is a brief summary on the findings.

The Scenario
Retail in India has taken a remarkable transformation over the last two decades. Rising income levels, urbanization, and changing consumer behaviour has given an optimistic outlook to the retail sector, promising an undoubted growth in the future. The digital medium has influenced retail with a powerful strike, reshaping customer behaviour and expectations. To summarize, retail business are in a constant need to retrospect their strengths, reinvent their offerings across the purchase pathway, and rewrite their approach of retail economics.

Trends
Based on research and some stringent analysis of data, the report captured key trends across the following broad categories.

1). Certainty of Growth
A promising growth forecast is one of the primary findings made from the study. The Indian retail sector is projected to double from $600 Billion to $1 Trillion, by 2020. This rapid growth will be determined by factors such as Income Growth, Urbanization, Nuclearization, and Attitudinal Shifts. Modern trade is also expected to grow 3 times, with Rapid Consumer Evolution, Supply-side Evolution, and Positive Regulatory Environment, being the drivers that will materialize this growth. As a key implication from this finding, Indian retailers should sharply identify the emerging opportunities and customer segments and be clear about what to not go after. Retailers should also re-adjust propositions to remain relevant and also allow room for experimentation, though it might not always turn out to be successful.

Certainty of Growth

2). Reality of Digital
The E-commerce market in India is expected to quadruple to $70 Billion, over the next 5 years. With the rapid increase of smartphone users, competitive costs for connectivity, and expanded reach, internet users are expected to reach a mark of ~600 Million. Customers are attracted to superior value propositions like broader assortment, higher discounts and greater convenience. Indian retailers should conceptualize digital strategies with clarity and leverage on social media to create brand awareness. They are also expected to deploy a seamless and connected customer journey, as shoppers migrate across channels. It will also be a lot more seamless for e-retailers to sell across multiple offline & e-commerce market places.

In our view, digital will increasingly drive offline retail sales as well. It is already easy to track phone calls to the store or to track the number of people looking for store directions. Retailers will become more sophisticated (along with measurement tools from platforms like Google, Facebook, etc.) to attribute offline sales to a specific digital marketing effort.

Reality of Digital

3). Challenge of Capability
Omni-channel business is becoming increasing relevant. Customers expect a seamless experience and do not tend to distinguish between online and physical channels, while shopping. Traditional strengths are insufficient here. In addition to being omni-channel, a well conceptualized talent management strategy is critical. It has been noticed that retail businesses suffer from high attrition rates and limited capabilities in the middle and top management, as a result of inadequate specialized training and experience in the sector. Supply chain also needs an evolution, as the market is viral with long lead response times and infrastructure challenges. It’s high time that Indian retail businesses develop a comprehensive omni-channel offering and adopt a targeted approach to employee training, appraisal, and retention. It is also very vital for businesses to build a demand-driven supply chain that is equipped with a real time flow of information.

Challenge of Capability

4). Importance of Economics
Several economic challenges plague Indian modern trade. Please find them listed below.
On the demand side:
– The level of processing is not high enough, as the Indian consumer gets used to modern trade.
– Pricing and promotions are poorly executed , not leveraging on customer willingness and purchasing power.
On the supply side:
– Inflating costs of real estate and rentals.
– Increasing costs due to low bargaining power with suppliers due to limited scale.
– High cost incurring supply chain due to poor connectivity, excess and deficit inventory.
– As an immediate implicative measure, the throughput problem should be address first. The other cost and margin issue will fall subsequently.

Importance of Economics

5). Need for Transformation
Fundamental transformation is the need of the hour. Businesses should avail the growth opportunity and serve digitally empowered consumers. As mentioned earlier, they should also build capabilities in quality omni-channel experience, talent management, and supply chain optimizations. This requires working on four pillars simultaneously. They are as follows.
Fund the journey – Generate quick cash from existing operations by relooking at the core of the business.
Win the medium term – Identify the winning consumer proposition formula for the next 6-8 years.
Take measured bets – Invest in emerging but important trends.
Enable the transformation – Invest in people and technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and morale.

Need for Transformation

Leadership Perspectives
The latter part of the report is its most credible engine, bringing perspectives from over 20 CEOs of top retailers in India. Some of the most thought-sparking lines have been quoted below.

“In times when the economy is tight, we face the brunt of lower discretionary spend. But right now, we are feeling very positive about the future and our industry.” – Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant

“There is some form of a lack of supplier assistance to modern trade: somewhere they will have to accept that this is the way forward.” – Randall Guttery, CEO, Reliance Retail

The future of retail will compose of 3Ds: Daulat (wealth sharing within the retail ecosystem), Depth (in channels and category execution) and Digital (significant part of the operating model).” – Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger

The full report can be found at http://www.bcgindia.com/documents/file181823.pdf.

Digital Chai Pe Charcha – Content Marketing Success in 2016

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha, held at our office on 27th Feb 2016 received a great response with about 25 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2016 and beyond.

DigitalCPC

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:

Why Content Marketing is essential:

Content marketing is a key part of any marketing strategy and is known to produce business results, as shown by the Hubspot survey below:

Hubspot Survey

Also, as compared to paid media, it has a more sustained long-term impact:

Earned Media Source: Neil Patel

Also, with most users being bombarded with ads from a large number of brands and with the use of ad blocking growing at a rapid pace, inbound marketing through valuable content works better and helps reach out to an audience that paid ads would never reach.

Ad Fatigue

“10x Content” is required to make your content stand out:

With over 27 million pieces of content being produced every day, creating content that is good and unique alone doesn’t work. You need to create content which as defined by Rand Fishkin is “Content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.”

Creating 10X Content:

Read your audience’s minds:

The key is to find questions that your target audience is looking for answers to and problems they are looking to solve. Tools and platforms that could help you with this research are:

Combine User-focused content with search engine focused content:

Once you find topics that you could create 10x content on you would also need to check if there is a large enough number of users who are searching for content around those topics. This is where Google Keyword Planner comes into play and helps you figure out which topics you should create content on to get large volumes of organic traffic.

Find the most successful content around the topic:

Once you decide on a topic to create content on, you need to research the topic, do a competitive analysis and find the most successful content around it. This can be done by searching for different keyword variations on Google Search to identify top ranked content or by using a tool like Buzzsumo to find the most shared content on the topic.

Make your content better than any other top content out there:

Ensure your content:

  • Is longer, detailed, more thorough
  • Is more up-to-date
  • Contains better visuals – infographics, images, slideshares, videos
  • Has an enhanced User Experience

For more detailed steps on creating 10x content check out our blog on 10 ways to create 10x content. Some examples of what 10x content could possibly look like are listed below:

Content Amplification is Key:

Simply ideating, creating and publishing content does not work anymore and content distribution requires as much, if not more, effort as content creation. Some avenues for content amplification that you could use would be:

  • Promote on Social Networks
  • Use LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads & Promoted Tweets.
  • Notify your email list
  • Respond to questions on Quora, Reddit, comment on blogs, take part in industry forums
  • Leverage the reach of influencers
  • Get featured in industry roundups

You could also check out or blogs on 21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016 and the 15 Best Social Bookmarking Websites to promote your content. For other useful content amplification strategies, you can also take a look at our slideshare below:

Q & A from the session:

Some of the questions that came up during the discussion with the answers are listed below as well:

Q: Is content marketing the way forward for SEO as well?

A: The focus of SEO has shifted from just keyword optimization and link building to not only producing quality content that addresses users’ needs but also delivering that content to the user with the best experience possible. Content is now the new SEO and creating 10X content is going to be the way forward in 2016.

Q: How do you measure results from Content Marketing?

A: Three metrics would help measure the impact of your content marketing efforts:

  • The social impact – Shares on social media platforms
  • Organic and Referral Traffic – Number of visitors to the blog from Google Search, Social Media and other referral sites
  • Conversions from the blog – Enquiries generated from your content marketing efforts.

Q: How long do content marketing efforts take to start showing tangible business results?

A: There is only one right answer here and that is – it depends. There are multiple factors that will impact your success timelines like your existing domain authority, the time and effort invested in content creation and promotion and the content promotion budgets, if any. Typically content gets indexed in a few days and you can start getting traffic but time period to get business results can vary from 3-4 months all the way up to even a year. For example, when we started our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in it took us 4 months before we started getting tangible results in the form of enquiries via our content or via google organic traffic.

Q: What tools can be used to create Infographics when one does not have a design team?

A: Piktochart, Infogram and Canva are good tools to help you craft beautiful infographics

Q: Does post regional language content help content marketing efforts?

A: Yes, translating content to regional languages can help reach out to a newer audience, provided that audience is relevant to your business. Regional language content can also help increasing search traffic to your website, as shown in this article on the growth of regional content as well as this case study by Neil Patel.

Q: How do I know my content is 10x?

A: Whether your content is 10x or not is a little subjective – what may appear 10x to you may not look like 10x to someone else. Nevertheless, below are some validation questions to help you figure out if your content is 10x:

  • Is your content longer, detailed, more thorough and more up-to-date than any other content on the web?
  • Does the content contain better visuals – infographics, images, slideshares, videos?
  • Does your blog have an excellent User Experience?
  • If you were your target audience, would you find this content valuable enough to link to it or share it?

Here’s what some of our participants had to say about the session:

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Those of you who missed the inaugural edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha last month can check out the meeting summary here. 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 digital marketing challenges or problems you face in your organization? Do let us know and we would be happy to include them as discussion topics in upcoming Digital Chai Pe Charcha sessions.

8 Digital Marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2016

In a space as dynamic as digital marketing where things change rapidly (Google, for example, updates its search algorithm 500 to 600 times a year), it is fairly difficult to predict with certainty how things will turn out in a year. Nevertheless, digital marketing is all about catching the best trends early and leveraging them. Here are eight key trends that we think would be ones to watch out for in 2016:

The mobile web will continue to grow rapidly

Mobile has already seen massive growth in 2014 and 2015. With Google announcing this year that mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic and also releasing its mobile-friendly update (Mobilegeddon), mobile-first has already gone from being a “nice to have” to an absolutely “must-have”. Also, despite the mobile web accounting for only 20% of the time spent on mobile (80% of the time spent is in apps), mobile browser traffic is twice the traffic from mobile apps. With mobile apps facing a massive challenge on the user retention front and the mobile web growing rapidly, mobile marketing strategy is where marketers are going to be strongly focused in 2016.

Mobile Web vs Mobile App Traffic Image Credit: Morgan Stanley

 

Newer channels like Instagram will continue to gain rapid ground

With a large number of marketers swarming the three most popular social media marketing channels – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (93% of marketers use Facebook!), there’s a great deal of competition for any audience you would want to target.  Relatively new and upcoming channels like Instagram (only 36% of marketers currently use Instagram), Snapchat (a meagre 2% of marketers currently use Snapchat) and Periscope, on the other hand, are fairly untapped and unlike Facebook, have seen a growth in organic reach over the last few years, as illustrated below. Early adopters to these channels are already seeing results and adoption will continue gain ground in the year to come.

Instagram vs Facebook Organic Reach
Image Credit : AdWeek

 

Influencer marketing will become mainstream

With organic reach of brand pages dropping across most channels, customers trusting social influencers more than brands and the growing use of ad blockers, influencer marketing seems to one of the most viable options for brands to reach out to their target consumers. The savvy early-adopter brands have already started adopting influencer marketing in 2015 and 2016 is when mass adoption will begin.

 

Spends on Programmatic buying and Real-Time-Bidding will rise

Programmatic buying uses the power of data to ensure the right kind of ads are served to the right kind of people in the most meaningful way, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the ads and the return on ad spends. An increasing number of advertisers are expected to allocate larger spends to programmatic in the next few years.

Programmatic Ad Spends
Source: eMarketer

 

Video will explode:

Video is no newcomer to the digital space but its consumption trends have seen a massive bump in 2015, especially with Facebook allowing auto-play of videos in the newsfeed. An increasing number of brands will direct a larger percentage of their marketing spends towards creation and promotion of video content. If you haven’t embraced video as a marketer yet, the time is now!

Video-Marketing
Image Credit – Social Media Today

 

Follower counts are dead, focus will be on ROI-driven marketing

With most social media channels cutting down on their organic reach, the concept of building a fan or follower base which a brand can reach out to for free is almost dead. Fan and follower counts have turned into pure vanity metrics with little business value. The focus in 2015 has already been on marketing that can drive direct return-on-investment in terms of measurable metrics like traffic and sales growth and this focus is only going to be stronger in 2016.

 

The popularity of Native Ads will increase

The popularity of ad blockers has seen a substantial increase in 2015 and Apple announced this year that its new mobile operating system, iOS 9 will allow ad blocking as well. In this scenario, native advertising, where ads merge into the platform on which they are displayed and do not seem outrightly promotional, is bound to see a huge spike in popularity. If you haven’t explored native advertising channels yet, now is the time to get started.

native-advertising-revenue
Source: Business Insider Intelligence

 

10X Content will be the new SEO

The focus of SEO has shifted from just keyword optimization and link building to not only producing quality content that addresses users’ needs but also delivering that content to the user with the best experience possible. Content is now the new SEO. But, with large swathes of content being generated every day, only content that is not just the best content out there, but 10 times the best, will stand out. Creating this 10X content is going to be the way forward in 2016.

What are the other trends that you think brands and marketers must pay close attention to in 2016? Do share them with us in the comments section below!

Social Media Web 3.0 – The Game Grows Bigger

Social Web 3.0

Social Web 3.0, a digital marketing conclave was organised by Madras Management Association on 23rd November at Hotel My Fortune, Chennai. The event was attended by industry bigwigs such as Maneesha Khanna, Director of Marketing, PepsiCo and Bhaskar Ramesh, Head of Industries – FMCG, Google India amongst the other notable ones.

The event started with an insightful keynote address by Hari Menon, CO-Founder & CEO, Big Basket on digital influence and analytics-driven future, which set the stage for the rest of the day. Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder & CEO of Social Beat spoke about how content & influencer marketing is changing the social media game. It was an interactive session with a series of questions on how brands can leverage content marketing to achieve business goals and what would be the ideal advertising-marketing mix.

Here are some insights on Content and Influencer Marketing discussed during the session:

If Content is king, there are too many kings out there.
Here are some tips to stand-out and leverage on relevant content to achieve business goals.

Tips for effective content strategy

Influencer marketing is becoming an integral part of marketing budgets and here’s why:

Why Influencer Marketing

Digital media endorsement by an influencer can work wonders for your brand, only if you pick the right one.
Here are some metrics you need to consider before choosing the influencers for your campaign.

Shortlisting Influencers

The next session was a case study by Maneesha Khanna, on #CrashTheIPL campaign that involved consumer generated video content. The idea behind this talk was to understand how videos have become the way forward for FMCG brands to easily connect with the audience. The success of #CrashTheIPL campaign could be contributed to the strong cross channel promotion – yet another game changer in the advertising space. Hence, brand managers should also explore highly integrated digital + TV campaigns, as both of these channels are here to stay.

Apart from these expert sessions and case studies, there were also discussions on various trending topics in the digital & social space. Social Media 3.0 also witnessed a bunch of digital enthusiasts who actively participated in Twitter & Instagram contests conducted during the event.

Were you a part of this digital media conclave and have more stories to tell?
Write to us about your experience in the ‘Comments’ section.