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.
When we conducted our Indian Industry Digital Marketing Survey we found that many brands were facing challenges in measuring the return that their digital marketing and social media marketing efforts were giving. Hence, we included an eclectic panel discussion on “Measuring ROI of Digital Marketing” at our Digital Leadership Summit.
We had four panelists moderated by Suneil from Social Beat: Mr. Vijay Anand – Sulekha.com, Mr. Arasu Shankar – Eshakti.com, Ms. Lavanya Hariharan – Zapluk and Mr. Shriram Sanjeevi – Oyethere.com.
Summary of the Panel Discussion
Channels that provide higher ROI will depend on product and customer segment
Google & Facebook continue to dominate as primary digital channels for most businesses
For products/services wherein search volume is lower – then social would be a better channel to start with
Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest allow for better product showcase and for visual products these would be interesting channels
Instagram, Snapchat, Emailers are other ways to build ROI depending on the business.
Life Time Value (LTV) is an important metric as marketing spend cannot be attributed to just the first transaction
Tools like Google Analytics & Improvely can help in measuring ROI
Perspective on ROI from the Panelists
Suneil started off by asking the audience as to how many of them believed you could get ROI from digital marketing; it was a pleasant surprise to see that over 60% of the audience believed it could. We as a digital agency couldn’t agree more. The panel started with a discussion on what each of them feels about the results from digital marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha on ROI of Digital Marketing, and you can read it here.
Lavanya from Zapluk highlighted that they got a lot of organic growth once they started using the digital medium and in fact got 80% increase in customer base in just a month. As she rightly pointed out, it was a combination of brand building and lead generation activities.
Vijay from Sulekha.com candidly shared that they were one of the highest spenders in the city on Google and that digital is critical to their survival. He shared that Sulekha gets around 250 million visitors via organic search and another 20-30 million via paid search in a year, and it’s their strongest channel for new user acquisition.
Shriram from OyeThere.com said they use a 360-degree approach with a mix of digital and offline marketing based on his two decades of retail experience. He rightly pointed out that it’s a myth that digital gives immediate returns. Startups need to focus on building a brand, building the consumer trust and scaling up the service – then results come over time.
Which digital channels are scaleable and to what extent?
The entire panel did agree that the choice of the channel varies with the services/products and the consumer segment. It’s also very important to be smart as you scale adverting, as Arasu pointed out. It’s essential to be clear on what is the message you want to give about your brand.
Vijay continued to be a strong propagator of Google Organic and Google Adwords and said it’s the most scalable as SEO efforts now start showing results in a few days, for existing/older sites. Since they focus on services with low engagement from end consumers they, tend to focus less on social media channels. They did spend 15 crores on their TVC campaign earlier this year it only gives 5000 incremental visitors a day which is minuscule for them as they get about 6-7 lakh visitors a day. Vijay added that for brand building to show results, you need to be at it all the time.
On the other hand, Lavanya, Arasu & Shriram all spoke on how social media and in specific Facebook Marketing has worked extremely well for their businesses to get scaleable results. Lavanya highlighted that for a service wherein the consumer still doesn’t know it exists, the search volume on Google is extremely low hence Facebook & Twitter were the driving growth as they were able to achieve leads along with building the brand and engagement around it.
Arasu & Lavanya also touched upon the importance of building the trust factor with consumers regarding answering their questions and doubts and also in terms of showcasing the products/service in a more holistic way. As Arasu rightly pointed out that Facebook allows for better product showcase via the carousel ads, videos, etc. Even brand awareness and the brand story is better executed via channels like Facebook and Instagram. Talking about the social trust that’s built out, Arasu added that they now see existing customers answering queries raised by potential clients and that it’s a game changer for them.
Shriram added that the approach they take depends on the message, the channel also changes. For example, when they ran a huge campaign around Kabali by selling t-shirts, giving away movie tickets and more; Facebook worked very well for that as it’s a mass channel.
Influencer Marketing & Platforms other than Google & Facebook
We couldn’t agree more with Arasu when he said that “Channel will depend on product and customer segment.” For example, if you are looking to target millennials then Snapchat would be an ideal platform. If your product or service is visual and you are targeting a sub 40-year-old audience, then Instagram would be an excellent channel but there is indeed a demographic difference across channels. eShakti also focusses a lot on Pinterest as it’s relevant to many a fashion brand.
Emailer Marketing still works if it’s with your own audience. Vijay of Sulekha spoke about how emailer marketing is an important channel and delivers results when done smartly with smart targeting, in spite of Gmail pushing a lot of emails to the Promotions tab. Of course, once a user is acquired it’s up to the brand to retain them and emailers is a great way to do that.
Influencer Marketing was another channel that works very well and eShakti uses it extensively. Arasu shared that they work with 1000s of bloggers and they have built their network over a period. They calculate the ROI of influencers via direct referral traffic as well as transactions driven by the unique referral code given to each influencer. He also gave an interesting insight that there is higher trust from a consumer that comes via an influencer, so the 5-10% off that they give is covered up there.
There was an interesting question from the audience – Dr. Manoj from Dr. Smilez Group of Dental Centers asked about how they got very low engagement low on social as customers were not very keen on sharing their dental experiences. Lavanya shared her similar experiences as not a lot of women would like to share they got a beauty service or a wax treatment as it’s a personal service. The way Zapluk approaches it is to given them an offer or incentive but in the long run, content marketing is the key. Shriram added saying that ROI cannot always be attributed to direct sales – brand building and marketing is also to be measured
Importance of Life Time Value (LTV) of the Customer in calculating ROI
Everyone on the panel agreed that the return on marketing spend is not immediate; hence Life Time Value is an important metric to help scale up business and understand whether it’s moving towards profitability.
The LTV depends on different businesses, and we got varied perspective from the panel. Arasu spoke about phenomenal ROI wherein it just takes them 1.2 transactions to recover marketing cost as they have high-value transactions and very high repeat purchase. For Zapluk and Pamperazi it was three transactions to get the back marketing cost. Whereas for a brand like Sulekha, the end consumer was not paying anything, so it’s difficult to ascertain LTV.
Arasu mentioned that they look at the time taken to recover the marketing cost of acquiring the customer and for them, it’s usually the first 1-2 months whereas it is 3-4 months for Zapluk. Key metrics remain around customer acquisition, retention and finally on how to make them spend more and more often. It of courses varies by cohort, seasonality’s (for example, summer is a strong season for eshakti), types of customers, depends on the marketing channel and the marketing campaign that you run.
Shriram again had a very different perspective and said that “The word LTV is over done. Companies that boasted of High LTvs have shut down in the last couple of months because LTV was more of a myth.” He gave an example of Chennai’s leading retail chain Viveks wherein in many cases three generations have been shopping there and apparently they are also grappling with LTV. He also questioned how come Flipkart only had 32% growth in spite of the perceivable high LTV.
Suneil also added that there is sometimes a time lag between generating a lead to sale and ROI can be improved if you can figure out how to leverage that time frame to communicate about the brand and the offerings.
Vijay spoke about Google Analytics Premium (GAP) which is more relevant for larger organisations as its costs around USD 90,000 a year. He talked about Google Analytics data being heavily sampled; wherein GAP has unsampled data which can also be downloaded. GAP has only around 15 clients in India but Vijay recommends it’s to e-commerce and digital businesses as repeat customers are harder to track in free analytics tools and attribution is not always clear.
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.
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 social@ogilvy 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who doesn’t love a good story? We, humans are inherent suckers for good stories. They make us feel happy, sad, motivated, joyous, angry and the way they touch us and impact our thoughts, nothing else can. There is a reason why we spend hours binge-watching series, or why we watch movies or bury ourselves in books. All of these mediums have one thing in common – stories! It’s all around us.
Storytelling is a very powerful communication tool and is probably the best way to build a brand. Brands that have made a mark and who stand apart today have been successful in telling their stories in the most unique manner. There is also an art to storytelling and when done right it can help you get exceptionally good results!
We are all aware of the classic ways of storytelling through words and images. Today, however, the trend has shifted towards videos. This holds true especially when applied to digital marketing. Videos are more powerful than simple imagery and are super illustrative; they are also easily memorable and allow creating a stronger bond between the brand and the audience.
1. Opt for short videos to convey your message – Short videos go well with our hectic lives and concise attention spans. Also 70% of the smartphone users are consuming content via their mobile devices while they’re on the go, thus, the crisper & briefer the content, the better it is. Youtube is not the only video-embracing platform available online. There is no dearth of video-centric platforms and 90% of these platforms are famous for hosting short-form videos. Instagram, Vine and many other channels today host videos including Facebook & Twitter. The world’s first Instagram trailer was released back in 2013 for the movie Jobs which was a 15 second packed video with dramatic music, slow-motion shots of Ashton Kutcher reciting inspiring dialogs about eccentric, misfit rebels. It’s almost like the first full theatrical trailer for the movie, except shorter.
Creating short-form videos is all about how creative you can get in less than a minute. These videos are streamed to viewers on a range of platforms that increases the reach exponentially. They are also far more successful and have wider reach because they are “snackable” in nature and easier to consume and producing them costs far lesser than creating a long video.
2. Smartphones are the best chattels–It’s not necessary to film a video with the help of high-end equipment & lights. Your best asset is in your pocket – your smartphone. As a brand, it might come across as a ridiculous idea but it actually is a very cost-effective & quick way of creating videos. It is not necessary to get engulfed in creating huge budget videos. You can convey your story through an excellent video shot on your smartphone or tablet (of course with a good quality camera)
3. Your script is paramount –The script plays a huge role in the video as well. The content should be clear and precise with no ambiguity. The video holds no power if the visuals are perfect and the content is lacking. Both are of great importance. Thus, make sure you get your script right first. If you choose to outsource the production of a video inclusive of the conceptualization, it will cost you a substantial amount of money. However, if you decide to prepare the script beforehand then it might save you time & money. There are also affordable marketplaces from where you can subcontract video productions and these come at a remarkably low cost.
4. Affordable online marketplaces – The internet is a great place to find the solution for your woes, and this case is no different. There are some really affordable marketplaces like Fiverr.com that has professionals from all over the world who can help create the video of your choice at really affordable prices starting from 5$. All you have to do is describe how you want your video to be and they’ll get it done for you within a matter of 24-48 hours. The system is commendable and you get what you seek for at really good rates.
5. DIY Videos – However, if you do not wish you outsource your videos then there is also an option to create your own videos with readily available online tools. Even beginners can create videos like a pro! Example of such websites include Videoscribe, Animoto, Sparkol. With Videoscribe and Sparkol you can create amazing whiteboard style animation videos. Animoto is inclined towards servicing users who are looking for a really simple way to create a video. All you need to do is select images and upload them with soundtracks provided by the tool.
With these tips, you can surely make the right impression with your videos. To make an amazing video all you need is an idea, a good script and the right tools. Gone are the days where we had to buy expensive video equipment! With the development of technology, you can create the perfect video for your brand at an affordable rate!
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.”
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.
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”.
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!
Top issues faced by Influencers 1. Don’t value effort 2. Brief is not clear 3. Payment delay 4. Umpteen campaign changes #SMWiBLR
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!
The foundation to leverage on any social media tool is to ask yourself, ‘’Is this tool right for my business?’’ The answer to this question should not be driven by your competitor or market ally, who has plunged into using the tool, to aid his business. Are you a small business pondering your thoughts upon selecting LinkedIn as a platform for lead generation? Well, the dilemmas can be swept aside as LinkedIn will act as a lifeline to stay in front of your customers and also help you reach out to new prospects.
In digital marketing, your network is everything. Publishing a brilliant article on your website with 1,00,000 flares can make your feel ecstatic and boost your credibility. But it won’t matter if you aren’t speaking to the right audience. That’s where LinkedIn has stepped into the arena. It has become a prime channel where brands share content. This makes it easier for small business to connect with brand advocates, potential customers, and industry influencers, all at the same place. While content is one of the dual weapons, LinkedIn gears your business with, lead generation is the other ammunition. With access to over 400 million members on the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn enables sales lead generation by allowing sales professionals to easily and quickly find the right prospects. Here are some of the most successful lead generation strategies that your business can leverage on, for generating leads.
Make an Effective Debut
There is nothing like effectively introducing yourself as a business to create an impact on users. Take care to optimise your profile and pay attention to your feed and website descriptions. Being descriptive builds trust and captures the eye of prospects more efficiently. Using the necessary keywords will help your business get captured during filtered searches.
Nothing works like direct one-on-one networking. Invest in a couple of minutes each working day, clicking the “connect” button on the “People You May Know” list that LinkedIn displays on your feed. Through time you will broaden your network and will become someone known for doing so. Remember that everyone you talk to about business or meet during the course of a business day is a potential LinkedIn connection.
Capitalize on LinkedIn Applications
The platform gives you the option to add interesting apps that will improve the experience people have on your LinkedIn page. You can add blog posts, let people know what you are reading, and even set up polls to find out what’s on the minds of your customers and prospects. For example, your business can use SlideShare to display a webinar or use a PowerPoint deck of how your business helps in solving a customer’s problem.
Rendezvous on LinkedIn Groups
Participating in LinkedIn Groups is the one of the key moves to generate leads. If you are a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them. In addition to this, group members can also view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Take some time to search for groups to join where your targeted buyers are likely to be members. Start by contributing to conversations, be helpful in answering questions, and provide links to assets you have on your site that might help members of the group. Put your most valuable assets behind a short form on your site to capture LinkedIn visitor’s details. And voila, you now have a new lead! Alternatively, joining groups that are outside your industry that might help you grow your business too. Stretching out a little bit, helps your business expand its reach. For example: If you’re an Social Media Specialist, you don’t want to just join an Social Media Professionals Group – you’ll want to join groups for Digital Marketing, Startups, App Marketing, and other groups outside of your immediate circle.
Sponsored Updates + Valuable Content
Many small businesses have started to run LinkedIn Sponsored Update campaigns to generate leads for their business. While regular updates can be a hit or miss in terms of impressions; using sponsored updates allows you to share updates that don’t appear as ads, at first glance. Start by generating a whole lot of original content (blogs). Then trial with creating 20 sponsored updates over the space of two months to promote it to your target audience. It’s a lot of work, but it pays off! NewsCred ran a series of sponsored update campaigns that netted them 288 new followers and 71 leads, over a span of 2 months. The company also found the campaign to be 75% less expensive than the Google AdWords lead gen campaigns they were running in parallel. It is to be noted that research has revealed leads collected via LinkedIn are three times more likely to convert into customers than leads collected via any other digital advertising platform.
Priming LinkedIn Direct Ads (Text Ads)
LinkedIn’s advertising platform can be used to drive new prospects to your landing page, LinkedIn group or other destination. The ads work the same way Google paid search ads work. You simply write a headline, add some copy and create a destination link. Then you bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. If you pay Rs.100 to LinkedIn for a click, and it takes 50 clicks before you convert a customer, then you’ve just spent Rs.500 for 1 customer. If your product sells for Rs.5000 each, investing Rs.500 to generate Rs.5000 is not a bad return-on-investment. In our experience, text ads deliver high impressions but fail to capture leads effectively, when compared to the sponsored updates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
Also, as compared to paid media, it has a more sustained long-term impact:
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.
“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:
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
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?
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:
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.