Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Everything you need to know

With almost 80% of search queries coming from mobile platforms, Google has been implementing new ways to make the mobile search experience more streamlined and convenient for its users. One of the most drastic moves to facilitate this was the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

On an average, pages take longer to load on mobile than they do on the desktop. This is especially significant in the Indian context as Indians have the highest amount of data consumption in the world and access the internet primarily through their phones. If brands want to engage India’s next billion internet users, implementation of AMP will become one of the most crucial differentiators.

what is AMP?

How do Accelerated Mobile Pages work?

Unlike its direct competitor (Facebook Instant Articles), AMP is an open-source framework which is very easy to access. A page can be AMP-enabled by modifying the website’s HTML code with certain specified tags or by implementing a specialised JavaScript framework. But even if you don’t have any experience with coding, you can still implement AMP if you use a CMS platform like WordPress. Just by installing a Google AMP WordPress plugin which is easily available, you can make your page AMP-optimised and help it load faster.

AMP for better Blog UX

Google initially launched AMP for static content-heavy sites such as blogs. Since an AMP page is a stripped down version of the original version, it improves readability for the user. Implementing AMP on blog pages can have several benefits for the reader and the site owner.

Why should brands use AMP for a content heavy website?

  • Lower bounce rate & better time on site

According to a study by Kissmetrics on How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line, loading time is one of the biggest factors contributing to bounce rate. Over 40% of those surveyed said they would leave a page if it took longer than 3 seconds to load. A study by Tractus looked into the effects just a 1-second delay in page load time can have on several key metrics. They found that bounce rates increased by 8.3% and page views decreased by 9.4%. This clearly shows that for a successful blog, you need more than just great content. You need an optimised page that improver a reader’s overall experience.

Implementing AMP on blog pages can be one of the most important ways to help your website perform better. When a page loads almost immediately, users are less likely to abandon the page. They are also more likely to explore your site further and click on other links within it. Below is a quick glimpse of one of our blogs, where you can see significant improvement in terms of time on site – just because of the AMP blog page.

Get lower bounce rate through amp pages

  • Better mobile SEO rankings

When a website implements AMP, they are very likely to see an increase in page speed, page visits, dwell time and a reduction in overall bounce rates. Incidentally, these are also some of the main factors Google takes into consideration when ranking a page. In addition, ever since Google’s algorithm started prioritising mobile-optimised pages, the implementation of AMP could further help improve your website’s SEO.

Implementing AMP will also help your website gain more visibility. AMP-enabled pages have a lightning icon next to them which helps them stand out from the other results displayed. Users are also likely to seek out pages with this icon, knowing that it will load faster. All of these factors can help a website rank high on a search results page.

AMP for blog

  • Tracking is made easier

For content marketers, analytics is one of the best tools to understand user behaviour, what kind of content is working and where traffic is coming from. Tracking AMP pages is very easy as there are analytical tools available to help you track page visits, link clicks, conversions and more on AMP versions of your pages.

AMP pages traking made easy through analytics

AMP for Landing Pages to get better Conversion Rates

Page load speed is a critical factor in improving a user’s experience, especially when you are trying to drive conversions. Understanding the importance of this, Google launched AMP for landing pages. Brands can significantly improve the performance of their landing pages by implementing AMP.

Advantages brands can gain through AMP-enabled landing pages

  • Higher conversion percentage

If you run an e-commerce site or any other online business, leads or sales are most likely your number one priority. But if your website doesn’t load quickly, then you could be losing out on valuable customers. The same study by Tractus found that 30% of shoppers who have a bad experience with an online shopping website say that they will never visit that site again and that they will not wait more than 2 seconds for a website to load. So if you want to improve the quality of leads generated via digital, optimising your page speed is crucial.

Implementing AMP could be one of the best measures to create a landing page that converts. There has been shown to be a direct correlation between page load time and the number of conversions. If a page loads quickly and the customer is satisfied with their experience on it, they are much more likely to purchase a product or complete any other call to action.

  • Greater monetisation from ads

If one of the main goals of your website is to monetise through ads, then implementing AMP could help you achieve this. This is primarily due to the difference in the way ads are showcased on an AMP-enabled page as compared to a regular page. Since implementing AMP trims all the unnecessary elements of your page and streamlines it, ads are displayed more prominently and with fewer distractions. This can increase the number of clicks on an ad displayed.

Case Study: How AMP landing pages for India Home Healthcare produced 33% lower CPL than other pages

Background: India Home Health Care (IHHC) is a leading provider of home nursing and other healthcare services. They work in partnership with BAYADA Home Health Care to provide patients with registered nurses, visiting doctors, physical therapists and more from the comfort of their home.

Goal: India Home Health Care (IHHC) wanted to generate a higher number and quality of leads at a lower cost-per-lead (CPL).

Strategy: In order to achieve higher leads for IHHC, we decided to implement AMP for their landing pages. Since a majority of the leads for IHHC came through mobile, enabling AMP would have a strong impact. Google ads targeted towards potential clients redirected them towards an AMP-implemented landing page. As this would significantly reduce the load-time of these pages, we predicted that it could generate higher leads for IHHC.

IHHC conversion rates after AMP

Results: The implementation of AMP led to a higher number of leads generated as compared to any other pages on the site. The two most important results from this were:

  • As the page loading time dropped, there was greater engagement on the page, which led to a 20% increase in leads generated.
  • The implementation of AMP on landing pages also led to a 33% decrease in cost-per-lead (CPL).

As the number of mobile internet users in India and around the world continues to grow, making pages more mobile-friendly will become one of the biggest objectives for brands. Implementing AMP could be one of the most effective ways for brands to become more discoverable and ultimately, gain higher conversions, whether you are a real estate giant or a leading FMCG company. So do try it out and let us know the results you get!

Google India Search Report 2017: Online Consumer Behaviour

While bidding farewell to 2017, Google India came out with a comprehensive report titled, ‘Year in Search’ which throws light into the way Indian consumes content. Google’s annual report offers a unique perspective on India’s most significant trends, major events and local and topical interests that reflect the ever-changing psyche of India’s online millions.

As of 2017, India’s internet users were estimated a little north of 400 million. Today, that number is closer to 450 million. While that number constitutes less than 30% of our total population, it is the second largest online market after China – and it is only growing. By 2020, the Year in Search India report estimates more than 650 million Indians will be online. That’s double the population of the United States.

Every day, more and more Indians are discovering the internet and integrating it into their daily lives – to look for information, entertainment, answers and everything in between.

The report spans 11 verticals and delves into consumer behaviour to reveal what goes on in the minds of India’s next billion internet users and the implications this has for brands and marketers. Here are the top five emerging trends identified in the report.

Non-metros emerged as superstars

Non-metros in India are quickly catching up with the major cities regarding internet usage. Voice, vernacular and video are three key pillars that are showing strong and steady growth. Search queries are growing at a faster rate in non-metros than metros. In fact, 2 in 3 queries are from non-metro cities. And given the growth of regional content online, Hindi is of course still the dominant language; other regional languages like Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Punjabi are swiftly gaining prominence online.

This only goes to show that brands would have to focus on Tier II and III cities and digital marketing strategies would have to focus on languages apart from English. This is the only way to reach the right target audience.

Digital drives revenues

2017 saw digital undergo a major paradigm shift – from a support-marketing channel to a full-fledged business platform of its own. According to the digital marketing industry report that we recently released, 68% of brands leverage digital marketing to promote their products and services.

Sectors like auto, banking, finance and insurance (BFSI) showed a direct correlation between online research and offline purchase. A leading OEM’s sales were driven 20% by digital. Similarly, sectors like FMCG and banking saw entire transactions being carried out online. Consumers relied on Search to educate themselves and discover products before finally converting online. For instance, consumers not only searched for hair care tips online but also looked for products that would help them solve their hair problems. As per the report, the Internet will influence $45 billion of FMCG sales in India. This is further proof of how digital will revolutionise the FMCG sector.

Digital transactions and e-commerce

Growth spurts in e-commerce, travel, finance and digital media have driven online consumer expenditure, which is expected to grow 2.5 times to $100 billion by 2020. Furthermore, the report projects that India’s online spender base will expand 2-3x its current volume to reach an astounding 180-200 million by 2020. There was a 70% growth in Telco-owned owned mobile wallets like Airtel Money, Vodafone mPesa, etc. All these figures point to a robust e-commerce ecosystem.

The omnichannel experience

The online and offline are merging to create a holistic story. The lines between digital and physical consumer behaviours continue to blur. Take for example – a 50% increase in search volume for “stores near me” indicating that online searches for stores are an now an integral part of a consumer’s shopping experience. Similarly, the auto industry saw an astounding 79% of car buyers making purchases after watching a video online. These examples reinforce the fact that what happens online directly affects what happens next offline.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

Newer technologies like AI and machine learning are upping the ante, leveraged as marketing and business solutions. Across categories, Google’s Year in Search shows several examples of a market primed to take on the benefits of AI and machine learning. India’s auto industry saw intending car buyers take favourably to 360-degree video and virtual reality, which could potentially replace test drives. Insurance players turned to AI-chatbots to efficiently answer user queries at scale. Concurrently, content consumption patterns on video viewing platforms continue to be influenced by machine learning.

Sector-specific trends

Auto

As per the Google trends in India report, online searches related to the auto sector are on the rise. This is more so in non-metros where digital sales drove 20% of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sales.

Two wheeler insurance saw a 100% increase in queries, while searches related to parts and accessories and servicing saw a 43% and 70% rise each.

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

The report also states that car buyers are now looking for a more omnichannel experience. This is evidenced by a 50% reduction in offline touch points during the buying process. Car buyers are relying more on the internet for videos regarding their vehicles and virtual test drives prior to finalising. In fact, 71% of consumers believe VR test drives and 360 videos could replace the conventional method of test-driving a vehicle. Videos are the simplest way of building your brand and utilising the video medium was one of the key digital marketing trends of 2017.

Banking, finance and insurance

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

Business and personal home loan queries saw a massive surge, as did searches related to banking solutions and information about mutual funds. BFSI brands have also seen a significant impact on driving consideration and overall digital acquisition as a result of using a “search bar” as a call to action. Businesses also began utilising machine learning for speech to text translations and sentiment predictions in their call centre transcripts, all of which have resulted in a seamless experience and improved efficiency for customers and businesses alike. All in all, leveraging digital marketing for the financial industry has proved beneficial.

E-Commerce

2017 was a good year for the e-commerce sector. There was a 41% growth in shopping queries, most of these coming from non-metros. The most significant growth markets are Patna, Lucknow. By 2020, digital spending and women shoppers are expected to grow by 2.5x.

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

The largest e-commerce category is fashion with a 53% growth in fashion e-commerce queries. Other fast-growing sectors include baby care, growing at 36% and groceries showing an average growth rate of 65-70% between 2017 and 2020. The report evidences that online shopping is increasing beyond India’s metros; searches in Hindi and other regional languages have gone up by 61% with Hindi commanding the highest share.

Education

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

Education is rapidly coming up online; it comes as no surprise that learning and education related searches grew by 2x, while education content on YouTube grew to 4x. Non-metros showed more than 100% growth, with maximum interest in courses that taught new technology, i.e. machine learning, cloud computing, artificial intelligence.

For young Indians today, there are a plethora of jobs and career options you can take up with the reach and convenience of the Internet. Follow our YouTube channel Arrear Irundalum Career for tips and tricks on making it big in life by following your passion. Here’s a quick video on Job Interview Tips to help get you started. You can also check out our Arrear Irundalum Career website for further career guidance tips!

Fast Moving Consumer Goods

Digital is spearheading business for the FMCG category, particularly the beauty industry. 2017 saw a 60% increase in beauty related searches and searches related to parenting and baby care buying decisions.

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

Much of this is also influenced by YouTube as there is a 4x growth in watch time for baby care videos. According to YouTube Brandcast 2018, more than 50% of women professionals watch YouTube videos for more information before purchasing in categories like beauty, real estate and automobiles.


Trying this for one of your FMCG clients, On1y, we created an unusual video to advertise their brand and to keep their viewers engaged. The overall reach for the video was over 10,000,000, the total views on YouTube were over 480,000.

Local and classifieds

Online gaming is showing a staggering growth rate; online gamers are expected to reach 310 million by 2021. There was a 2x growth in online gaming queries, with 55% of them coming from outside of the top metros. There was a 70% growth in online food ordering and home deliveries, with 4 lakh orders daily on average. Foodtech startups like Swiggy Zomato have completely transformed the way urban India eats, and currently, rule India’s food tech landscape. Google search is also playing matchmaker and headhunter with a 40% increase in job searches and a 38% growth seen in dating app searches and matrimonial websites.

Real estate

Real estate, too, saw a 43% jump in search queries and a 49% growth in searches related to affordable housing.Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

Showcasing properties on digital platforms is one of the most effective ways for developers to sell their properties. With a multitude of techniques including advertising on various platforms, multilingual content and a strong search engine marketing, real estate developers can generate even a 190 crore in revenue using the digital media.

Media and Entertainment

Regional content ruled all aspects of entertainment with a 100% growth in vernacular entertainment watch time on YouTube. There were high conversions and growth in watch time when viewers were exposed to a TV ad for a show online.

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

We have witnessed first-hand the power of regional content on YouTube. For the ‘Good Netizen Good Citizen’ Campaign by The Murugappa Group, we at Social Beat conceptualised for a video that would resonate with their audience base. Since The Murugappa Group is based out of Tamil Nadu, Tamil language content would be more natural for their audiences to understand and relate to.

These videos performed incredibly well on YouTube – one of them even received over 570,000 views. Users actively engaged with the video, commenting and sharing it on various social media platforms.

Retail

Providing shoppers with an omnichannel shopping experience is proving valuable for businesses. Shoppers Stop worked with Google to connect their offline sales with their digital marketing spends. This got them a 2.5x Return on Ad Spends (ROAS).

Our client Gehna, too, follows an omnichannel approach with a physical boutique and presence online, selling on Facebook, Amazon and on their website.

Gehna

Gehna Amazon

Tech

Indians in non-metros embraced India’s fast-growing internet penetration and used it to research before buying new gadgets, which resulted in a 45% growth in queries for consumer electronics. New and niche technologies also witnessed a boost in search queries to the tune of 3x more interest in smart home devices and 2x growth in both in smart homes, appliances and lighting, and smartwatches and fitness bands.

Business-related tech took off in a big way as well, with an increased interest in accounting software, website builders and HR and finance/payroll categories.

Telecom

With the advent of 4G in India, most of our internet traffic this year came from outside India’s top eight cities. Consumption patterns fluctuated with searches for mobile data jumped to 70% for 4G and dropped to 30% for 2G and 3G.

With the top 4 telcos offering competitive prices, consumers took full advantage – searches for offers shot up by 141%. There was a substantial increase in payment bank searches – nearly 174% as consumers are now looking beyond cash and card payments.

Travel

Google Search Report 2017: What it tells us about consumer behaviour online

India loves to travel, and by 2020, the Indian travel market is poised to hit $48 billion, with Tier 2 cities leading this growth. Voice and fast loading mobile experiences and brand awareness are emerging key factors in travel-related searches.

This report only proves that digital marketing is the most important medium to market your brand. Whether you are a real estate giant or an FMCG brand, if you have an ambitious project in mind, reach out to us.

For more information, insights and opportunities in your vertical, download the report here.

What can brands do to engage with India’s next billion Internet users

India is at a crucial moment in its digital story where it is slowly emerging as the most important internet audience in the world. While the global number of internet user growth has more or less peaked at around 10 percent annually, India’s internet users grew by an incredible 28 percent up until 2016. Currently, there are about 450,000,000 internet users in India and going by current trends, 635.8 million Indians will be online by 2021. These developments offer both a unique opportunity and a challenge for brands. In order to make full use of the growing digital audience, brands need to find the best strategy to engage with the next billion internet users in India.

What are Indians Doing Online?

Indians are a sizeable presence across almost every major digital platform. Facebook is, by far, the most popular social media platform, with 240 million Indians users and most accessing it through their phones. These numbers prove that Facebook is a goldmine for brands looking to engage with their audience in the most impactful way. By effectively utilising the top tools for social media analytics, brands can understand their consumers better and create more targeted campaigns.

There are currently 225 million Indians on YouTube, making it the second most used digital platform in India. This is significant, because YouTube ads can be a very effective way to attract and engage new consumers. There are also 50 million Instagram users in India, while there are 45 million Indians on LinkedIn. WhatsApp has quickly surpassed the previously used SMS as India’s favourite text messaging service. 240 million Indians use WhatsApp daily to send around 50 billion messages globally. This points towards the use of WhatsApp for business becoming increasingly important for brands.

What Has Sparked This Growth?

While internet usage in India has been steadily growing over the years, there was a definite tipping point where the number of internet users in India exploded. There are two main catalysts for this development: the availability of low cost smartphones and most significant of all, the launch of Reliance Jio. Jio started its services in September 2016 with a bang, offering its users free data. Even once the offer ended, the data plans for Jio remained much lower in comparison to other network providers. This sudden easy access to the internet led to India having the highest amount of data consumption in the world. Of the 150 crore GB consumed by Indians, 100 crore GB was consumed through the Jio network alone. What is perhaps the most exciting part is that internet penetration currently stands at only 27 percent. This means that the number of Indians online is only going to grow from here, offering a huge advantage for brands.

How Can Brands Engage With These Consumers?

With India’s internet audience growing by the minute, the stage is set for brands to tap into this huge market and engage with their consumers. Consumer engagement requires brands to realign their priorities from solely revenue-generation to actually creating value for their consumers. In India, brands can do this in a number of ways.

Understand audiences to personalise marketing strategies

In order to create content that consumers will actually find valuable, brands need to know who they’re speaking to. By 2020, almost 40 percent of all internet users in India will be women. This points towards the growing importance of creating content that women will find relevant. Doing so will also involve challenging long-held assumptions with regards to gender and interest areas. For example, 60 percent of those who shopped for sporting goods and viewed related videos on YouTube were not men, but women. Additionally, 60% of those who searched for car-related information online were also women. Having an intimate understanding of audiences can help brands generate content that their users will actually find valuable. This is a crucial step in building a relationship with audiences.

Brands can create user-centric content to rank organically on Google as well as on YouTube. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Create campaigns specifically for mobile

One of the most interesting characteristics of India’s internet usage is that most Indians haven’t followed the general pattern of internet adoption. While globally, most people first used a computer and then migrated to mobile phones, Indians seem to have skipped the computer stage completely. According to a survey by Statcounter, Indians use their phones to access the internet almost 80 percent of the time. This means that brands should be producing content specifically designed for mobile phones if they want to engage the next billion internet consumers.

Use regional languages to reach a wider audience

While the number of English-speaking internet users in India is largely static, the number of regional language users is growing at a breakneck pace. One of the key reasons for this growth is internet penetration in tier II and III cities, along with villages. Digital marketing is constantly evolving in tier II and tier III cities and brands need to take note of this growth. In fact, Google estimates that about 30% of users in India are from rural areas. If brands want to develop a personal relationship with their consumers, then a strong regional language strategy is crucial. Tamil is the leading regional language used among internet users in India with 42 percent while 39 percent of users are Hindi-speaking.

Optimize brands for voice search

Voice search in India might still be in the nascent stage at the moment, but it is growing at a steady rate. Google estimates that 28 percent of all searches are voice searches. Even more promising is the fact that there has been a 400 percent growth in Hindi voice search. Voice search has vast implications for SEO because traditional keywords aren’t used when speaking naturally. For brands, this means that they have to find new ways to become discoverable through voice search results to stay visible on digital platforms.

Utilise the AdWords ‘Missed Call’ extension

Adding call extensions to your ads can significantly increase click-through rates as well as conversion rates. But with a sizeable number of mobile users in India, especially in smaller cities and towns, using prepaid connections, the cost of making a call might stop them from contacting your business. This is why AdWords has recently rolled out a ‘Missed Call’ feature which can help address this concern. When a user selects the Missed Call option on an ad, a call is placed and is then immediately cut. After this, the user will receive an automated call telling them to stay on the line while their call is connected to the business. During the same time, the business will also receive a call from Google. Once both the user and the business are on the call, they will be connected to each other. This feature can help brands engage with their consumers better as well as track conversions more effectively.

Encourage a two-way conversation

Digital marketing allows brands to not just speak to their consumers, but also to listen to them in return. This unique opportunity for a two-way conversation is crucial for building consumer engagement. To be able to have a meaningful conversation, brands need to understand exactly who their audience is, where their interests lie and what their concerns are. In the context of the current Indian audience trends, brands can only reach out to the next billion internet users once they look beyond the urban metros.

The Indian internet audience is more diverse than ever before. Only by gaining a deep understanding of India’s unique audience can brands develop marketing strategies that will resonate with their consumers.

Mary Meeker’s 2018 Global Internet Report: Where does India stand?

The 2018 edition of Mary Meeker’s eagerly anticipated Internet Trends report is out and provides one of the most comprehensive insights into the global digital landscape. This year, the report covered a wide range of important themes from mobile usage and the rise of cryptocurrency to work patterns and immigration. One of the most important topics covered was the rise of China’s technological growth and how it will very likely overtake the US in terms of innovation and advancements.

While the 2018 report hasn’t covered India in depth, it is still an excellent barometer by which we can understand how the digital landscape here compares to the rest of the world. India’s internet growth has followed a very different path due to several factors that are unique to the country. While the US and China are already massive established markets, India’s strength lies in the fact that this is still an emerging market. This presents a huge potential waiting to be tapped into.

Here are a few key takeaways from the Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report 2018 and how India compares.

1. Internet Adoption: Wifi vs. Mobile Data

2018 records the highest number of people on the internet. Almost half of the global population, around 3.6 billion, are now connected via the internet. One of the reasons for this is the growth of WiFi networks across the world. Today there are around 450 million WiFi networks globally, as compared to five years ago when there were only around 100 million.

In India, however, it is not so much WiFi that is spearheading the growth of the internet, but mobile data. Drastic reductions in the price of mobile data have made the internet more accessible to all sections of the population. One of the catalysts for this development was the launch of Jio. Of the 150 crore GB of mobile data consumed by Indians, 100 crore GB was through just the Jio network. Google has made some strides with its Rail Wire initiative and there is free WiFi available in over 370 railway stations. They recently reported 7.5 million users consumed 7,100 terabytes across these stations. Additionally, 80% of all enquiries come in through mobiles. Because of this, mobile platforms are becoming increasingly important for brands. Speed and convenience are two of the most-valued features in Indian markets. This is why brands here are beginning to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ approach and utilise AMP-implemented landing pages to improve a user’s experience and generate higher leads.

2. Internet usage growth: Falling vs. rising

Global internet adoption rates are growing slower than they ever have. In 2017, internet user growth stood at only 7% as compared to 12% the previous year. This could be because since most people are already connected to the internet, there are fewer new users to be added.

 

mary meeker 2018

 

In India, however, a completely different scenario is unfolding. Up until 2016, Indian internet users were growing at an incredible 28% annually. Mobile data, cheaper smartphones and growth of vernacular content online has played a pivotal role in expanding the internet beyond just urban areas, into tier 2 and 3 cities and towns. Most significantly of all, internet penetration in India stands at only 27%. This shows that there is a huge opportunity for brands to take advantage of as internet adoption in the country continues to rise.

3. Mobile sales: Plateauing vs. skyrocketing

While the total time spent on mobile devices is increasing, 2017 marked the first year where smartphone shipments showed no growth. Again, this could be because the number of smartphone users around the world has more or less plateaued. The year also witnessed a paradox, wherein despite some of the most expensive phones such as the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note releasing, global average smartphone prices are falling.

As a fast-growing market, India’s smartphone sales figures were markedly different. Counterpoint revealed that India recorded an incredible 48% YoY growth in Q1 of 2018. The demand was for affordable smartphones which still provided a wide range of features. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Chinese phone brands known for providing just this dominated the market. Of the 10 top selling phone brands in 2017, 6 of them were by Chinese manufacturers.

4. Mobile advertising: $7 billion vs. $100 billion opportunity

While consumers in the US are spending more time than ever on their smartphones, mobile advertising budgets are not reflecting this. An average adult in the US spent around 5.9 hours on their mobile phone each day in 2017 as compared to 5.6 hours in 2016. But while advertisers are slowly branching out into mobile advertising instead of just traditional advertising, this shift isn’t happening fast enough. While 29% of time is spent on mobile, only 26% of advertising budgets are used for mobile platforms. This has resulted in a $7 billion gap that brands need to take advantage of.

 

mary meeker 2018

 

 

In India, this potential might be far greater. As the country begins to benefit from cheaper mobile data and smartphones, higher digital literacy and greater access to digital content online, the number of hours spent on their phones will also increase. Currently, Indians spend 89% of their total online time on mobile data, far greater than the US average of 29%. Because of this, a study by Nielsen and BCG identified a $100 billion opportunity for digital consumer spending in India. One of the biggest contributing factors for this was the growth of mobile internet in the country.

5. Voice Search: Machine learning vs. Indian language search

One of the biggest trends in 2017 was the advancements made in voice technology. Google’s Machine Learning technology achieved a 95% accuracy, which is the same as that of a human. Amazon Echo’s sales also skyrocketed to 30 million in 2017 as compared to 10 million the year before. Consumers today are more willing to use voice search as accuracy and convenience of the technology improves.

 

mary meeker 2018

 

As Google’s Indian language voice search accuracy improves, more Indians are beginning to use it as well. 28% of all searches on Google in India are voice searches. There has also been a 400% growth in Hindi voice search, indicating the willingness of users to perform voice searches in vernacular languages. The Google India Search Insights 2017 also showed that there was a 63% jump in data/voice usage. Moreover, 7% of all travel-related queries were through voice. Google Home and Amazon Echo were also launched in India recently, however, they do not support Hindi as yet. It remains to be seen how the lack of Indian language recognition will impact their adoption in India.

6. Growth of e-commerce: Alibaba vs. Amazon

Amazon is by far the biggest player in US e-commerce sales. In 2017, it had a 28% share of the e-commerce market, with $129 billion in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV). To put this into perspective, it had only a 20% share of the market in 2013, with a GMV of $52 billion. The report also showed that most product searches today happen directly on Amazon. While 36% of product searches are conducted on a search engine, 49% of them are started on Amazon. But while Amazon is the biggest e-commerce player in the US, at $701 billion, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has a much higher GMV.

Back in India as well, Amazon is growing at a breakneck pace. In FY2017, Amazon announced that it had grown in its revenue by 105% in India. The number of app downloads for Amazon crossed 100 million by November 2017, with around 4.8% users visiting the app every single day. In the five years since its launch, Amazon has overtaken homegrown e-commerce companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal. The only competition for Amazon India could be Alibaba who has also announced plans to expand into Indian markets.

These findings prove that India’s rapidly expanding market presents a huge opportunity that brands cannot afford to ignore. As more Indians continue to come online, India will soon become an important player on the global digital stage.

5 Ways Google’s Neighbourly App will impact digital marketing in India

Google announced the beta launch of its Neighbourly app last week. Neighbourly is a location-based app that connects you to people in your neighbourhood and helps you find the most up-to-date, relevant, and credible answers to your questions about the locality.

For example, if you want to know if there is a good, affordable math private tuition centre in the vicinity, people in your neighbourhood can help you find one. Likewise, if you’re looking for a reliable electrician near you or a place where you can quickly get a print-out, the app is designed to help you.

So, how is the launch of the Neighbourly app going to impact the digital marketing landscape in India? Here are five key points:

India’s internet population growth will accelerate

The Neighbourly app has been launched by Google, as part of their Next Billion Users (NBU) project.

India’s internet population stood at 481 million in Dec 2017. With the population at about 1.4 billion, there are still nearly a billion Indian’s yet to access the internet! It is these billion users that Google is going after with their NBU initiatives like Google Station (providing free WIFi to 400 railway stations across India) and now, the Neighbourly app.

These initiatives will accelerate the pace at which the next billion users come online and will rapidly increase the reach for digital marketing.

If you are looking for the best ways to reach the next billion users, here’s a deck that will help you:

The focus is on vernacular content

The Neighbourly app works in English, Hindi, Marathi and six other Indian languages. This is in line with Google’s recent push on vernacular language content and advertising.

Out of the next billion users yet to access the internet in India, over 90% of them are not proficient in English. That will bring about 900 million people online who will want to access the internet and consume content in their vernacular language.

If you want to succeed with your digital marketing efforts going forward, you must include vernacular language content and advertising as part of your strategy. Here’s an interesting case study of how a multilingual approach got us 90% growth in leads

Global companies are adopting an India-first approach

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, has said in an interview to The Economic Times in 2017 that “Over time you will see more global products that are developed in India first.”

India’s diversity in terms of languages, regions, traditions and social strata, combined with the fact that less than half of its 1.3 billion-plus population is using the internet, makes it a great testing ground for new internet apps and products, for large global companies like Google.

Neighbourly is not the first app or initiative which Google has built with an India-first approach. Payments app Tez, two-wheeler navigation on Google Maps and missed calls in Google Adwords are other initiatives where Google has earlier adopted an India-first approach.

Going forward, we could see a lot more global companies using India as a launch pad for their tech and internet products

Google will become more data-rich

One of the key reasons why Google is building apps like Neighbourly is to capture user data. With apps like Neighbourly, Google can capture a lot of hyperlocal user data from millions of users. Moreover, with the growth of voice search, we are hoping the same will be integrated with the Neighbourly App, leading the next billion internet users in India to have a seamless experience. This data is invaluable and can be used not just for extensive research but also to enhance ad targeting capabilities. Which brings us to the next point.

Google Adwords will become much more powerful

Google Adwords has been constantly enhancing its targeting capabilities to make the platform more powerful for advertisers. Some of the more recent additions have been the inclusion of custom intent audiences and life events targeting. All these improvements become possible only when Google knows more and more about each individual. As Google becomes more data-rich with its various NBU initiatives, Adwords will become a much more potent tool for digital marketers.

It’s important to keep an eye out for these feature enhancements and test them as soon as they come in to stay on top of the game.

What are the other ways you think Google’s next billion users project could impact digital marketing in India? Do let us know in the comments below.

 

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