It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.
While some might say that digital has opened the doors to online players and has blurred the existence of local retail stores, new research says that the relationship between digital marketing & in-store shopping is far more interconnected than that. Foot traffic & word-of-mouth which were the assets of offline retailers before digital & mobile entered the lives of people, are not anymore the only assets which can be relied on.
Local retailers, in general, believe that online marketing works only for e-commerce websites. But, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it actually gets consumers into local stores.
Connecting offline retailers to the mobile users
We are living in “always-on search world”, where people are always able to search. When they want to buy things or when they do have a query, they turn to their smartphones. Consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.
Impact of mobile on the store visit
There was a time when people would have to get to their computers. But now, searches on the desktop have dropped as mobile is always in reach. It is found that 21 percent of in-store shopping in urban India is influenced by digital and 18 percent is influenced by mobile. If you have a physical store, then mobile search is the new threshold to your store.
Store visits after online research
Most offline retailers in India are not aware of various mobile marketing techniques which they think are only for e-commerce players. This has led to them not making efficient use of the web to provide necessary information to the customer. Whereas, according to research customers are likely to go to an offline store when they find the store they are looking for listed in search results. It is found that 3 out of 4 shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.
The retailers need to realize that consumers shop digitally before going into the store and they should make sure they provide all the information that customers are looking for online. Thus, retailers should have the right digital marketers as this will help to drive more customers to visit the stores.
Online Advertising Techniques To Create Online Presence
What most offline retailers lack is the right guidance how digital marketing can be leveraged to bring sales. There are many different ways in which the visits to their local store can be boosted.
This is the most effective method to reach out to as many customers as possible as shown by recent statistics. Many big companies engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because PPC ads work in a way that brings best customer attention with minimal expenditure.
Brand Search Advertising reinforces the brand name, increases brand value and brings about brand awareness. These ads are so effective because they give the customer all the information he/she needs to know about the brand within a few lines. This way the customer does not spend a lot of time reading the ad, but manages to get the required information.
Also, ads can be shown to the people who search for the products using relevant terms. For example, one who is looking for a laptop store close to his location can be targeted using relevant search terms like laptop store near me, laptop stores in Chennai, which people normally use.
Another advantage of the PPC ads is that they can be targeted to the desired audience of a particular location, preferably places around their stores using Radius targeting. This way the ads are shown only to the people who might be interested in the product or service and more likely visit the store.
Since the retailer is charged each time these ads are clicked, showing these ads to a targeted audience will result in an increased conversion rate which will in turn result in an increased ROI. Where they appear is chosen by the retailer, but its ranking is decided by Google based on a number of factors.
Organic Search Listings
This is the most traditional method by which offline retailers can show up on a customer’s search field below top PPC ads without having to pay a penny. A link to the retailer’s website automatically shows on the customer’s screen when he/she searches for something relevant to the products offered by the local store.
Where the retailer’s website is listed is again decided by Google based on the relevance of content and other factors. What the retailer should ensure is to provide the right and relevant content on the website of the store so that it shows up higher in the organic search listings. Hence, by this way the store can get a few more customers to visit its website by making sure it has a user -friendly website.
Google Business Local Listings
An important feature that drags customers to stores near their current location is the store locator available on Google. Using this feature the customers can know exactly how far the store is located from their present location and they can head straight to the store with the navigation feature of Google maps. Hence it is essential that all stores add their location on Google using Business map locator.
When a customer searches for something like textile stores, a list of textile stores nearby his/her location shows up with the address information of each store. By clicking on any of these stores in the list the customer can know exactly how far the store is and how long will it take to get there with the help of Google maps. Hence, if a customer knows that a store is close by to his/her location, then it drives the customer to visit the store.
In order to track the source of the leads that we receive through the above advertising methods, it’s recommended to generate unique phone numbers for each advertising channel. This way we can measure the effectiveness of each channel.
Digital bridges the gap between customers and stores
Today the consumer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. Retailers that provide relevant, local information online will increase both reach and sales. While helping to drive customer in-store it will also help to enhance the customer’s experience once he/she has entered the store. Mobile has reshaped the way the people shop, that is in a good way and retailers who make use of this in the right way will see themselves moving ahead.
Our newly acquired Premier Google Partner badge certifies us as a company trusted by Google, which is capable of providing the highest levels of service to clients.
We have fulfilled Google’s three main requirements for being a Premier Google Partner.
Google requires the team handling Adwords to prove their advanced AdWords knowledge by getting certified in AdWords. All team members handling Adwords campaigns at Social Beat are certified by Google to have the required levels of competency and proficiency to run successful campaigns.
Premier Google Partners are required to demonstrate that they are maximizing their clients’ performance by implementing Google’s recommended best practices in client accounts.
Google reviews Partner agencies’ client accounts to make sure that their clients are getting excellent service, including the type and frequency of the changes being made, client retention, and whether they’re making the most of their clients’ budgets.
The new badge is designed to recognize Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers
Contact Usto get your Adwords campaign started or to optimize an existing campaign for better ROI.
Unlike corporate companies, start-ups are not about the limelight. They are about distortion, adjustments, hard work, dedication, integrity, taking responsibility, and struggle, especially financial startups. While founding a financial or Fintech startup seems to be a cool career plan, not every startup reaches the top of the ladder and has attributes that can help it become well-established. Some of the 10 well-known financial start-ups that caught the world’s eye are as follows:
Known for providing advance payment services to more than 3500 plus merchant brands like Uber, Facebook, etc., the company has reported over 100% growth in its revenue and almost 40% growth in customer acquisition by the year 2014.
Previously known as AvantCredit, this Fintech startup was originally planned to serve as a mid-prime lender. Gradually, they began offering loans to many states in the US. In the past 4 years, the company saw a sizeable growth.
This Estonian developed startup supports more than 300 currency routes globally. With more than £3 million transferred, for the customers, the company’s money transfer policy looks no different from the traditional money transfer service. However, the difference lies in the backend on how TransferWise routes the payment.
The independent startup, Nova Financial Ltd. is a privately owned firm, which specializes in assisting clients to identify the most suitable property investments for their specific personal situation based up on their goals and preferences.
What started as a brainchild of Mr. Soul Htite, this startup is now China’s leading internet financial services company. With 2500+ employees and 25+ offices across China, this firm offers innovative financial solutions.
This unique Fintech startup provides secure, effective, and green blockchain power to the world. In short, their aim is to design, build, equip, and run industrial computing centers on renewable hydropower.
What started as a mobile recharging and bill payment app is now a eCommerce startup. Now India’s largest mobile payment service platform, Paytm Wallet is used for various online payment services as well.
Styles as a bank of the future, Number 26 provides free and flexible services that differs from the conventional, rigid bank structure. Launched in Germany and Austria, the firm has almost 10,000+ customers.
Started as recharge and bill-payment app, Freecharge was named as one of the most promising technology startups from India by Pluggd.in, in the year 2011. By 2015, Freecharge was however acquired by Indian e-Commerce platform Snapdeal for a whopping INR 28 billion.
This startup helps international students, who want to attend participating business schools or other postgraduate schools, by providing them student loans. In the current year, Prodigy Finance was included in the European FinTech 50.
Speaking on financial start-ups, follow our YouTube channel Paisa Pujari for unmatched financial tips that help you keep your expenses in control. Here’s a video on the smart use of credit cards to get you going:
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. You may also find it interesting to read our book on Digital Marketing Insights for 2017, which can be purchased on Amazon.
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.
According to HT Digital and IMRB Report (India) on “Student online behavior,” 93% of students access the Internet every day and 73% of students use the mobile phone. Nearly 91% access the internet to collect information about colleges and courses. Thus, going online for universities and colleges has become inevitable. Although this calls for investments in creating digital assets, building strategies and online advertising, the costs are quickly realized, easy to the track and attributable. The ROI is much higher in comparison to any traditional mediums used.
The following are 7 ways that universities and colleges can use digital medium in India.
1. Creating an SEO- friendly robust website to attract the right audience
A good website is a blend of three elements, namely aesthetics, functionality, and ease of use. A website is a very strong representation of any brand on the internet. The three elements are elaborated below
A well-designed website for a University or college needs to address the following factors-
Depict the values, mission, and vision of the institution
Demonstrate the key USP’s and highlight courses
Images to have an emotional connect with students/parents and represent the current look and feel of the institution concerned
The functionality of the website is what determines the final design aspects, these have to be defined ahead, and some of them are listed below
Provide Information on courses
Drive More applications from new students
Serve as a Medium of Communication for existing students, parents, and even donors
Build an Alumni Network
Unless a website is not created with the end user in mind, it will fail to give the results that it had intended to achieve. It has to be “easy to use” and intuitive. The following are key aspects to keep in mind. These aspects may not be always set right a 100%, but a study of user behavior over a period of time can help better these aspects
Quick rendering on desktop
Easily searchable on popular search engine
Developing a mobile version of the website is also a great way to boost the recruitment of students, as today many young people have access to a smartphone or mobile device. Also, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a key to drive organic traffic to the website, without traffic there is no point of having a website. The SEO will drive students/parents looking for relevant courses and information to the website.
2. Social media to connect, inform, educate, and create awareness:
Colleges and Universities must use social media to engage with current/ prospective students and parents. They should use social media to connect in a proactive manner, by engaging and demonstrating that the institution cares for its stakeholders. Content built with the right balance of words and visuals is well received and attractive to target audience. Several channels such as Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter and new age channels such as Instagram can be tapped to achieve various goals. A mix of content and imagery
Making announcements: As a medium of communication of important events and matters, such as graduation/exam dates, new rules, new courses, etc.
Showcasing facilities, such as new infrastructure, e.g. library, swimming pools, dorm facilities, etc. that are an important part of the student life
Drawing feedback from students to make certain decisions that require stakeholder inputs
Serving as a thought leader by proactively providing interesting content around career and study areas
Showcasing important events in the campus, such as annual days, sports days, etc.
Driving awareness of world events and internal events (e.g. fundraisers, blood donation camps, etc.) that concern the student population
Building a strong and loyal alumni network and encouraging participation. Posts on career achievements, promotions, etc. will help reconnect alumni, grow the University’s exposure and increase the SEO value of alumni and the college/university
3. Social listening to build solutions and proactively connects with students:
Social listening enables universities and colleges to proactively listen to the students and their concerns across platforms. These tools can be used to build solutions to serve the students/ parents. Many universities in the west use twitter tools to engage with students and the community. Also, intercepting prospective/ current student conversations and directing them to the right information in real time/ quickly helps build a lasting impression about the educational institution
4. Digital advertising to drive admissions, placements and increase visibility:
Digital advertising can be used to drive admissions, reach out for campus placements and to improve visibility the in the short term on search engines. Digital Ads can be placed across the Google network and on social media, i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and can be targeted and optimized to reach the right audience. In the current generation, the students rarely use the traditional press for information gathering and hence making any spends primarily on digital ads makes more sense. The ROI is both traceable and visible, making every penny spent, accounted.
5. Mailers for consistent contact and generating inquiries:
For communicating regularly with existing students, i.e. newsletters, announcements, etc.
Generating admission inquiries from databases of prospective students and their parents
6. Blogs to educate and drive traffic to the website:
Students are constantly looking for information to further their study and careers, much in advance of them even graduating from schools. They use the internet to help them prepare better for tests, chose educational institutions or look for career guidance. A University / college can plug into this requirement and serve as a thought leader in the educational space, thereby adding value to their branding. Blogs are a good way to attract prospective students and also improve search rankings on Google.
7. Using online for payments and application process:
It is a humongous task to have prospective applicants and current students pay fees and make other payments over bank counters. A college/university website can integrate this functionality into their website and increase application conversions as well as ensure compliance of fee and other payments on time by students. The website and Social Media can also be used to communicate deadlines periodically for the same purpose.
Going digital for University/College is not a decision anymore; it is just a “Must”. It is not what needs to be done, but “how to do it” that will make one university/college differentiate from the rest. It is important therefore to set the key USPs and define measurable goals before building a strategy and making expenses on the digital assets and advertisements.
Key Highlights from the Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016:
Measuring ROI from digital marketing and content marketing are the biggest challenges faced
Carat Lane tracks 4000 data points in order to measure the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns – says Mithun Sacheti, Founder of Carat Lane
Lifetime value of the customer is key to understanding ROI from any medium, including digital
Different digital channels work differently depending on the brands and the right attribution model helps track the results effectively
Content Marketing is less about marketing and more about content. Brand are allocating as much as 15% of their total marketing budget towards content marketing.
Chennai, 5th Aug 2016: The 1st Social Beat Digital Leadership Summit 2016 was a congregation of over 125 CMOs, Brand Heads & CXOs from varied industries. Mithun Sacheti, the Keynote Speaker kick started the Summit and shared insights on how a data driven approach at Carat Lane has helped it acquire customers and build a brand. Carat Lane’s internal team analyses over 4000 data points, from across channels, including TV, Retail, Print, Radio and Online Marketing.
Speaking at the event, Mithun Sacheti, Founder Carat Lane said “Digital is going to be key for every business in India. The discovery of products and services is going to happen via digital, through consumption will be omni channel across digital, retail and other channels.” Emphasising on the importance of data and analytics Mithun said “The beauty of digital is that you can analyse and measure everything. It’s never too much data to decide your action items. At Carat Lane we analyse over 4000 data points on a monthly basis.”
The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on Measuring ROI from digital marketing. Moderating the panel, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat, said “Depending on whether the business has a product which has high search volume or is an impulse purchase, Google or social media will be more effective.” Arasu Shankar from eShakti.com said “Apart from tracking the cost of acquiring a customer, it is important to understand the lifetime value of the customer in order to be able to understand the profitability of the business”.
Peshwa Acharya, CMO of Sterling Holidays speaking at the event said “Digital transformation has already happened from the consumer’s perspective. Now it’s time for brands to wake up to this opportunity. There will be many inflection points, for example, COD in ecommerce. Brands need to anticipate and leverage these inflection points to their advantage.”
The last discussion was around How Content Marketing can work for your brand with two successful brands, Matrimony and Murugappa Group sharing their experiences. Vijaylakshmi D, Senior Associate Vice President at Murugappa Group speaking on their successful content strategy around Madras Song said “Murugappa Group always had a strong connect with the city of Madras and we have had ongoing activities around this. When we looked at how do we connect with today’s generation we decided to use music and video as the medium to create the Madras Song to engage people to share their live for Madras.”. Murugappa Group in fact allocates close to 15% of marketing budget towards content marketing.
Rajasekar KS, GM – Social Media & Content for Matrimony.com speaking on their HappyMarriages content initiative said “Content Marketing is more about content and less about marketing. If you can understand your consumer’s problems and leverage that to build content, then it will strike the right cord with the audience.”
Speaking at the occasion, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat summarised, “The digital medium is a powerful medium and only creativity is the limit. We hope that the experience sharing by CMOs and Marketing Heads would enable the entire industry to learn and grow their digital presence.”
Thanks to the entire organising team at Social Beat for pulling off the Summit – Kudos to them! And a big thank you to our partners – Zarget, Sublime Factory & Brandwave.
The principle of User Experience has not changed in the past few decades; our approach to UX, on the other hand, is constantly evolving. User experience is the means, not the end to a problem; the process is never ending. The art of balancing user needs and brand message is an important element. We already have many trends rolling out in pace with the technology, and it all boils down to knowing what to use when.
Truly understanding your user
In the race to catch up with the latest trends and continuing to do what exists, we forget the most important aspect – users. It sounds like UX 101, but this is where many designs lose vision. We forget to find out what the users need and instead assume what they want. As a result, most websites look alike and most experiences feel the same. One may argue that it is efficient and gets the job done. I agree, but what you haven’t tried out may get greater results. Grab the better one, always.
Do you really need a compulsory registration, does your customer have to go through 5 pages before buying a product, and does that information about the company founders on the home page help in any way? Your average user probably does not. The definitive answers to these can be found with some user research, but it’s important to ask these questions. One such case in point was when we designed a simple, no-scroll landing page for a real-estate client. The users had only the most important information presented to them without the frills. The main CTA on the mobile version was a callback feature, which encouraged users to drop just their numbers, without giving out much personal information in an enquiry form.
Rather than add a feature because the competitors do it or because it helps with ROI, we need to achieve the same without turning off the user. Find creative ways to add new dimensions to the user journey, a perspective for every type of user.
Satisfying the outliers
With technology advancing each day and the number of devices multiplying, we have a greater challenge to cater to every member of the community. Crafting experiences that are inclusive to all can be a challenge, and the key to achieve that is by understanding that there is no single approach to every problem.
There are plenty of avenues to bring in more users, increase conversions and make more money for the clients. The need of the hour for many businesses is to take it further and this is where UX fits in nicely. Instead of concentrating on what the majority of the customer base is thinking; we need to start looking at what the minority wants. In many mobile versions of our websites, we come across devices that are used by less than 15% of the users but we have ensured that they have a similar experience of browsing as the rest. Customizing to each device size is a little work, but it yields good results in the long run. Begin by understanding how the bottom 20% of the users behave and find ways to enhance the experience for them. Tap into all of your demographics and include the lesser-used browsers; the aim is to have a consistent user experience for all.
Personalization is important; users want to feel that businesses are directly talking to them. A good design gives them that without compromising on brand message and end-goal.
Decluttering without handholding
The last few years saw design minimalism in websites and apps – hamburger menus, single color & typeface, flat icons and hidden sections (the footer especially). This approach clearly works because the style is simple without distracting the user. It is a linear thought process, taking the users from Point A to Point B without making them think about anything else.
While minimalism will be around for a long time, it needs to be handled without being overdone. In the name of de-cluttering many websites and apps have dumbed down their journey so much that users feel powerless. No one likes to be told what to do and it is something that we should avoid. It is crucial to let the users decide how they want to fulfill their needs; the job of user experience is to ensure that the process is coherent and seamless. Gently push, don’t shove.
It can be as simple as having more options during the checkout process – can the customer continue as a guest user, can the customer login through any of social media accounts instead of a compulsory registration or Gmail signup? Test different options to see what works for your business and implement them in the longer run.
We are surrounded by best practices and latest trends that come out every week. They are good to implement but don’t get too caught up in them, always ask if it’s the right one for your user base. We need interfaces that are efficient & data-driven, not just what is in. Create memorable experiences that would bring a user back and make them remember you for a long time.