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Social Media Marketing Trends in 2015 for E-Commerce Startups

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Importance of Granular Targeting in Social Media

For e-commerce companies, social media is a critical channel for driving sales. While Google and the display network is an effective medium to reach the target audience, social media networks, especially Facebook are being used to target the right consumers having relevant interests. While it’s important to engage with the audience within Facebook, we have found it to be more effective to drive traffic via Facebook Ads directly to the website or landing page and track results there.

For example, Planet Superheroes, which is into Superhero Merchandise has used FB to segment users who like specific superheroes and are online spenders in India. So superman t-shirt ads are targeted to users who like Superman and fit into the age & location demographic relevant to the brand. This level of granular targeting is possible only in social media. Moreover, organic posts are not enough anymore owing to the recent policy changes for Facebook Pages. This means advertising on Facebook and other channels becomes essential. With the advanced features of Facebook companies can even target their existing customers, friends of their customers and even audiences having similar interests and demographics to their existing customers.

Most importantly, the return on investment is measurable to the last rupee using analytics and conversion tracking tools. This also makes digital marketing more transparent in constantly improving the cost of acquisition for ecommerce brands.

Other Social Media Platforms that e-commerce companies can leverage

Social Media has been crucial to the brand building of e-commerce companies. Not just Facebook but even Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have enabled even smaller startups find a niche in the crowded e-commerce space. The younger generation is more inclined to using Instagram and Whatsapp and brands are starting to experiment with these networks depending on their target segment. Even usage of pinterest and professional network, Linkedin have grown remarkable and depending on the audience being targetted, different ecommerce companies are using different channels. An interesting case in scenario is Cherrytin, a premium e-gifting destination which has used Instagram & youtube to showcase the premiumness and fun identify of the brand and thereby driving sales in the long run.


We see Whatsapp, Instagram and YouTube playing a pivotal role in the growth of ecommerce brands as the younger generation is adapting to these platforms even faster than they adapted Facebook.

Increased focus on Conversion Rate Optimisation

With tools like Zarget, CrazyEgg and even Google Analytics allowing data points to help improve sales, revenue and conversions, this is going to be a focus area for every ecommerce company.

Our co-founder Suneil Chawla featured in The Times of India

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Social Beat co-founder Suneil Chawla featured in The Times of India coverage on how companies are leveraging the reach of bloggers and influencers for building their brand visibility online. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in

TOI Coverage1


Social Media Analytics Trends for 2015

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Focussed not just on social media metrics, but on business results

Till 2013 social media analytics was focussed on social media metrics like reach, impressions, page likes, post likes, number of retweets. It was only in 2014, that there was a focus on measuring business results (online orders, lead generation, sign ups etc). This trend is likely to get more entrenched in 2015, with even small businesses focussing on achieving their business goals via the digital medium. With free tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, brands can now track how many leads or online sales or signups they had and as to which digital medium helped them get these results.

For example, for some of our ecommerce companies close to 30% of revenue comes from Facebook and upto 5% from emailer campaigns. Moreover, we are able to identify which ads contributed to the revenue and leads. While it’s important to engage with the audience within Facebook, we have found it to be more effective to drive traffic via Facebook Ads directly to the website or landing page and track results there.

So it’s no longer going to be just about acquiring fans or engaging with the community, but about how the brand is being built and what results are achieved.

Using CRM to build a single view of the customer

Retailers, E-commerce sites and larger enterprises have started initiatives to integrate offline data with data from multiple online channels including website, emailer campaigns, Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels. Powerful CRM tools are going to enable brands to build a single view of the customer and to see what kind of targeting communication can be given to them. Around the world, tools like Marketo, Act-On & Sailthru have been doing this at an enterprise level but in 2015 such tools will become more accessible to small and medium enterprises even in India.

Focus on consumer insights to serve the right ads to the right people

Machine Learning Analytics & Automation will help brands focus on granular consumer insights and allow for right ads reach the right people. Tools like FanPlayr & Gigya already have powerful & intelligent tools to enable this and these are going to get more sophisticated over time.

For example, Planet Superheroes, which is into Superhero Merchandise has used FB to segment users who like specific superheroes and are online spenders in India. So superman t-shirt ads are targeted to users who like Superman and fit into the age & location demographic relevant to the brand. This level of granular targeting is possible only in social media.

Content creation based on analytics

Social media listening tools and content analysis is starting to happen where brands can predict what kind of content will help in engaging with their audience. Brands like Red Bull have kept content at the core of the digital strategy and that’s the approach many brands are starting to take.

Advanced Facebook Advertising Techniques to implement in 2015

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With Facebook deploying constant tweaks to its news feed algorithm, the reach of organic Facebook Page posts have dramatically dropped over the last 6-8 months and is going to drop further in 2015, as per Facebook’s announcement on the News Feed.

What this means is that Business Pages will need to constantly innovate to provide interesting and engaging content to their users in order to reach their News Feed. That being said, advertising and boosting posts is going to be a more significant aspect of every brand that wants to leverage FB. To aid in battling this scenario, we have compiled a list of lessons learnt that includes certain targeting techniques which can help you make the most of your ad campaigns, reaching more number of potential audiences with relevant messaging.

Building Custom Audience

  • If you haven’t tried Custom Audience feature of Facebook yet, then 2015 is the year to leverage yet.
  • Your company can create a Custom Audience by uploading your email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook user IDs. This could be a list of your existing customers or prospects you met through your other promotional activities.
  • By uploading this database on FB, your Facebook Page can have unique campaigns targeted towards these audiences. Let’s assume you are running an ecommerce site and you have 1000 users who bought t-shirts from you in the last 3 months. By uploading this database onto FB you can feature your new T-Shirt launches to this audience.
  • The use cases for Custom Audiences are endless and it also comes handy in filtering down large audiences with a specific set of interests.
  • Even if your database is small, Facebook allows you to expand it by creating a “Look-alike audience” which creates an audience similar to that of your uploaded database – they take into account demographic data and interests.


Using a Landing Page to run Website Conversion Ads

  • If you’re going to run an ad campaign on Facebook, make sure that the traffic is driven to a dedicated landing page where your visitors can be converted into potential leads/customers. In our experience over the last one year, running page like ads and boosted posts can have limited impact on the end result of your business (i.e. conversions or leads or online orders). Website Conversion Ads or Website Click Ads on Facebook can be far more effective medium to leverage the large and relevant audience that Facebook has in India.
  • A landing page is critical to deriving results because the landing page has a single focus and is able to convert a higher percentage of visitors into leads or customers. Please do keep in mind that the Landing Page should ideally be an expansion of what the ad/promotion tries to showcase. Below is a snapshot of a landing page & ad for Saint-Gobain Glass.

SG Interiors Landing Page



  • The behaviour section of Facebook Ad targeting is an often underutilized feature, but actually one of the most powerful targeting mediums.
  • Using this section, your page can target FB users who have certain mobile/internet behaviour. For example, users who use 2G internet connection vis a vis 3G or 4G internet connection. Or users who run small businesses or manage a FB page of their own. Or users who are regular travellers or regular photo uploaders. Or users who use specific mobile devices (iPhone 6, Nexus 5, Note 3 etc.) or Feature Phones vs. Smartphones.
  • Another interesting targeting medium under behaviour is called “Online Spenders”. This has proven to be very effective for e-commerce companies. Facebook through its Website Conversion ads knows which users are spending online. This has immensely helped in making the targeting niche for online shopping sites that we have advertised for.
  • They also have an Expat Category if businesses are interested in targeting NRIs outside India or targeting Expats who reside in India.


  • Apart from the regular targeting of Age, Gender & Location, there are interesting targeting filters under Life Events. They have categories like Friends of users who have recently engaged or recently moved homes – these categories can be interesting for a company into gifting. Another category is “Anniversary within 30 days” so it can be interesting for restaurants, hotels, travel companies and gifting companies who can target users whose anniversary is coming up. Another interesting category is called “Parents” where Pages can target expectant mothers as well as parents who have children of specific age groups – this can be very effective for a business like a kids store, play school, entertainment centre etc. Many such categories exist so check them out to see if its fits your business needs.


  • Job Role/Company – It can be useful for a B2B company to form a strong inbound marketing strategy by targeting users in a specific industry or job position.
  • Demographics, in general, will help you increase your ad’s performance and reduce the effective cost per click and cost per action, narrowing your audience to a greater extent.

More Demographics


  • Helps target those audiences who have expressed interest in subject matters or brands that are connected with the ads. This helps the brand/business tap the most responsive set of population who might be interested in the product.
  • For example, a business which is selling musical instruments, it can target users who have interest in Guitars, Keyboards, Yamaha & Casio. These interests span not just broad topics but even specific brands (i.e. Yamaha & Casio in the above example). This can also be used to target users of competitor brands or websites.

Creative / Images used in the Facebook Ad / Post

  • The right images & text used connects with the audiences and creates an appeal for the product being advertised.
  • While creating an ad, one must ensure that the text used must contain a brief (preferably 3-4 words) description of the product/service being advertised in the form of popular adjectives. This description along with a clear call to action can help in getting a higher click through rate.
  • Mentioning the price is also important since it gives the audience an idea of whether they can afford the product or not.
  • Images that are used for the creative should not be cluttered with too much text or design. The neater and confusion-free they are, the better the ads work. Facebook of course has the 20% text rule so Facebook ads cannot have more than 20% text.

Capture Ad

Bringing Your Facebook Covers To Life!

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The digital space has seen a lot of discoveries recently, Real-Time Covers or Live Covers for Facebook being one of them. LiveCover.com is one of the first few companies to formally provide this interesting service to the brands that are present online. They offer a brand an auto-updating live Facebook cover that is based on some trigger. It is literally like bringing your Facebook Cover to life with live content & images, automatic refresh, dynamic & customized content and have it updated as often as every 1 minute! Fascinating isn’t it?
We certainly did find this service useful & interesting and ended up using it for one of our clients’ Facebook page which reached a milestone of 1,00,000 fans on Facebook. The idea was to showcase a Superhero on the cover image which would keep getting charged on receiving new likes.

This is how it looked in the beginning –

Live Cover

The trigger for the Facebook cover to update on its own was set at 200 likes. So every 200 likes, there was a new cover with the Superhero charging all the way up to achieving 1 Lac likes.

Live Covers for Facebook

The idea behind using these live covers was to do something different for the fans and it was well-received by the audiences. The likes increased at a 2x rate and within 24 hours we were able to reach the mark of 1 Lac.

Live Cover served as a fruitful discovery for garnering attention from the audiences and also engaging them. In these times where every minute, there is a new digital trend, it becomes important to stay in the race and updated with these trends to unlock new parameters for brand building & extension.

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