Future of digital – AI, AR & Vernacular – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

As a part of our Second Digital Leadership Summit at Mumbai, a panel discussion was held on the future trends of digital marketing – AI, augmented reality and vernacular content. The two panellists were Ms Channan Sawhney – Head, Digital Marketing, Johnson & Johnson and Mr. Prathyush Kukreja – Head, Product Monetisation at Haptik. The session was moderated by Mr. David Appasamy, Head of Brand & Strategy, Social Beat.

The future of digital marketing- AI, augmented reality and vernacular- Digital Leadership Summit

Summary of the session:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality has a huge role in driving sales and ROI.
  • Brands must adopt artificial intelligence to deliver the right brand messages to the audience.
  • It’s high time for FMCG companies to adopt AI technology to break the clutter in the industry.
  • The future of digital marketing lies in localised content.
  • Brands must utilise the power of voice search and multilingual marketing to build an effective conversational AI.
  •  Marketing automation has become much easier with the advent of AI and AR.

Evolution of AI

Prathyush from Johnson & Johnson enlightened the audience on how the perception of AI has changed over the years. He said that in 2015, AI was just a buzz word and no one really knew what AI was. The preconceived notion was that AI will automate everything, leading to unemployment. But, in 2018, the scenario has changed. Expectations have become realistic and technology has come to a place where it can add value to achieving the necessary business objectives.

Artificial Intelligence – A tool of competitive advantage

According to Prathyush, this is an era of Conversational AI, a subset of Artificial Intelligence backed with data collected by brands and advertisers. Brands must build conversational AI to communicate with the users based on their behavioural and transactional or historical behaviour.  Unlike a television commercial or a radio advertisement, conversational AI is not linear and one-to-one. When you use conversational AI in advertising and branding, each and every customer is unique and the content will be customised according to the needs of that particular user. He further added that Artificial Intelligence considers several other factors such as the buying nature and purchase frequency of the user. This where AI is today. AI is no longer a buzz word today, but, it is a tool of competitive advantage. Currently, brands are competing with each other to develop better AI to deliver better ROI in terms of acquiring users and telling better brand stories.

AI can break the clutter in the FMCG industry

Channan from Johnson & Johnson said that AI technology is not utilised to its fullest in FMCG industry. If used properly, AI has the power to break the clutter and make the brand stand out. Brands can convey right messages to the user in such a way so as to create a long lasting impact on the audience. Johnson & Johnson is employing AI technology rather than AR. Google and Facebook have already started their AI and AR journey. Other brands have huge benefits from this. But, for FMCG companies, implementation of AI technology is extremely important since this is an industry that communicates with its audience on a day-to-day basis.

The need for localised content

According to Channan, consumers are always on a look out for good content on the Internet. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, there is a huge demand for content related to pregnancy and newborn care. It is observed that most of the customers prefer consuming the content in their own local languages. If you are a market leader in a particular industry, it is important to take the lead and provide the kind of content that the consumer is looking for. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has adopted an active native content strategy. One of the biggest priorities for Johnson & Johnson is to strengthen their regional content strategy so as to deliver the right brand messages for the audience in a manner that they want to hear.

The power of voice search

Prathyush highlighted the importance of integrating voice search and vernacular content to build the effectiveness of conversational AI. Nowdays, majority of people are accessing the Internet using vernacular languages rather than English. The Internet has witnessed a commendable shift with the introduction of voice search. This technology is much user-friendly in the sense that users can directly talk to the device without even touching it. Hence the power of voice search is immense. According to data from Google, after the introduction of voice search, Hindi is the most preferred language for content consumption. Taking this into consideration, Haptik is also working on developing a conversational AI with vernacular capabilities. Many of the leading advertisers are also leveraging Devanagari scripts and other local languages in their lead generation and branding campaigns on various digital platforms.

How are brands benefitting from investing in AI technology?

Channan cited that one of the biggest wins of investing in AI is that market study has become easier like never before. With the adoption of AI technology, brands can provide efficient solutions to customers in a much faster manner. This technology has the huge power to transform the way in which data is processed and maintained for delivering business results

Prathyush spoke about an interesting campaign that Haptik had conceptualised for the Bollywood movie Thugs of Hindostan. Google Maps was a great digital marketing tool for this movie. When somebody asked for directions, instead of the usual voice, users could hear directions from Aamir Khan himself. These innovations by Google and Facebook can be adopted by companies specialised in AI technology in order to help brands and advertisers offer value to their customers.

Artificial Intelligence for story telling

Prathyush cited a recent case study on how HDFC Life executed a branding campaign using AI. The brand wanted to create awareness about importance on investing in Life Insurance among the millennials. For this Haptik created an AI personality called Shayari wala who educated the millennials on the importance of investing in the form of shayaris. The main reasons why HDFC strategised their campaign in this way is primarily because millennials love story telling and they consume content that is fun and quirky.

Can Augmented Reality become a reality in 2019?

According to Channan, Augmented Reality is a great story telling tool for brands if it is used for delivering the right message. For instance, some of the brands have incorporated AR for product packaging. A well conceptualised AR lead can communicate great brand stories to the consumers.

On the contrary, Prathyush said that the use of AR in branding and digital marketing is still vague and unclear. There is no clarity on how brands can measure ROI, drive sales and generate leads using an AR campaign. Augmented reality is a great platform for education and can be easily adopted by real estate and gaming industries. But, it will take a few more years for AR to establish itself in the digital landscape.

Role of AI and AR in marketing automation

AI plays a huge role in automation of ads, said Prathyush. The time taken for education and lead generation have become much faster with the use of AI technology. According to Channan, marketing automation is all about programmatic ads, best custom audiences and precision marketing that help in delivering right brand messages for the right target audience.

Migration of content users to vernacular chatbots

Channan also highlighted the importance for brands to identify ways to migrate content users to vernacular chatbots. For this, brands must focus on investing in real time machine learning and customised content that can play a huge role in understanding your customers, drive sales and generate leads.

This was indeed an insightful panel discussion and brand strategists from across sectors understood the need for adopting such advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to drive sales, generate leads and withstand competition.

Social Beat Earns a Shopping Advertising Specialisation Badge

We are excited to announce that Social Beat has earned the Google Premier Partner Shopping Ads Skills for Google Ads/Pay Per Click Advertising. Our newly acquired Google Premier Partner badge for Shopping Ads certifies that we have demonstrated expertise and sustained client performance in shopping advertising.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Unlike traditional text ads that focus on the keywords you choose, Google Shopping ads determine when your product listing ads show up. Google considers the feed, the site and the bids that determine what search queries show your ads.

The success of Google Shopping ads depends on three elements:

  • The optimisation and creation of the feed
  • Continuous monitoring and optimisation that can make a good campaign great
  • Successful bidding that can double returns on ad spends

We have successfully incorporated these elements and leveraged the use of Google Shopping Ads to sustain client performance in shopping advertising.

Best Practices

Premier Google Partners are required to demonstrate that they are maximising their clients’ performance by implementing Google’s recommended best practices in client accounts using Shopping Ads.

As a Google Premier Partner in Shopping Ads, Social Beat can help us place our client’s products on Google Search, set up inventory on the Merchant Center and create Google Shopping campaigns.

Spends

The new badge is designed to recognise Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers.

Social Beat works with Google Sales Representatives to promote new and effective Google strategies to our clients. As a Google Premier Partner, we use proven techniques to help our clients increase their digital ROI. We aim to deliver the best results to our clients using Google’s strategies such as Mobile Innovation and Search Mobile and Display Innovation.

Contact us to get your Adwords campaign started or to optimise an existing campaign for better ROI.

How digital marketing will transform real estate industry in 2019

Marketing for any product or service digitally has now become mandatory. With over 234 million internet users currently, the digital market has really opened up a plethora of opportunities for brands today. Real estate is one such industry that has really benefitted from the digital marketing wave. According to research, around 92% of potential buyers do vigorous research online before they ultimately make the purchase offline. Hence, making sure you have a strong digital marketing strategy is of the utmost importance to make your brand name stand out in the real estate industry. To learn more please do read our book on digital marketing or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

So, what makes digital marketing for real estate such a vital tool for developers and home seekers?

Digital Marketing for real estate – The benefits

Marketing techniques are open to evolve and get better over time. Additionally, if you are an ardent user of the digital space for marketing your products, you know it comes with numerous benefits. Apart from the urban space, digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India as well. Real estate developers are yet to realise these benefits and are only scratching the surface when it comes to taking full advantage of what digital marketing has to offer. Here’s where digital marketing in real estate gives developers an edge, with a multitude of digital marketing trends to expect in 2017.

  • Cost-efficient: Needless to say, there is a lot of money that goes into a real estate project. Digital marketing offers comparatively lower pricing to that of traditional marketing, so it’s no surprise that marketers in the Real Estate industry are taking full advantage of the cost efficiency.
  • Increased exposure: Considering the numerous housing projects that vary in size, location and cost, having a digital marketing strategy lets you expand your overall reach and even customise that reach towards a selected target market.
  • Performance Analysis: Digital marketing offers numerous ways to keep track of an advertisement’s performance in the competitive marketplace, making it easier for real estate developers to understand what marketing technique works best for their products.
  • Creative licence: Be it an apartment, independent house, villa or plot of land, there are numerous ways for developers to showcase their products in the online marketplace.
  • Brand building: To succeed in the vast industry that is Real Estate, developers need a strong and reputable presence. Having an online presence is considered the next best brand building technique.

Real Estate digital marketing techniques that work wonders

For any real estate developer who is hoping to succeed, digital marketing is a great place to start. Developers not using this medium are losing out a plethora of opportunities that the medium has to offer. Here are some of the strategies that a developer can use:

  • Building a strong real estate brand through a website, social media marketing, content marketing and search engine optimisation
  • Acquiring customers through advertising on various platforms such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, lead nurturing techniques and influencer marketing
  • Customer engagement via YouTube videos and social media posts

Let’s look at some digital marketing practices (in the Real Estate Industry) that will help achieve the above-mentioned goals.

1. Building the brand

Creating an online presence is the first, most important step, and serves as a backbone for all future digital marketing activities. To establish a powerful online presence, Real Estate developers need to focus on creating three things.

Creating a Website

For Real Estate, a website can serve two purposes: a virtual office that showcases the builder’s latest projects or a virtual marketplace for home seekers to explore purchasing options. To make either one or both of these purposes work well, there are numerous tools and optimisation techniques that need to be implemented.

Even the design of the website matters as it can make a difference to user experience and one such design that has been making waves amongst the real estate websites is a Flat Design. Flat website designs are categorised by their simple, elegant and square’ish’ look; first noticed in the Windows 8 Tile User Interface. With minimalistic animations and loads of white space, the Flat website design has proven to be effective in page speed loading times, readability, mobile optimisation and ease of navigation.

While a good website design is pleasing to the eyes, it only scratches the surface of what matters especially in the Real Estate sector. A stellar design needs to be accompanied by great content to create an impact. Writing good content that effectively communicates a Real Estate brand’s message and intrigues the user to go ahead for a purchase is vital. Presenting your target audience with engaging content is a sure-shot way to grab their attention and generate leads.

Real Estate is a very broad topic, so to fit everything into a single website, other strategies can be utilised to showcase everything a Real Estate developer has to offer.

lancor website

  • Multiple Web pages: Aside from having a homepage that gives a gist of the Real Estate builder’s brand, having multiple web pages that provide more information on the brand and interlink with one another through clever content navigation is essential. More pages ultimately result in users spending more time on the website, which directly affects the website’s rank on search engines.
  • Landing Pages: Landing pages act as mini e-commerce portals that explain in detail about a particular brand’s upcoming, on-going or released Real Estate project. Landing pages that are interactive or those that have video presentations have proven to yield 403% more inquiries than regular pages.

CG landing page

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

  • SEO is the glue that holds an entire digital marketing campaign together. As a matter of fact, digital marketers for Real Estate must have an SEO planner right at the beginning of their marketing strategy. From SEO plugins to various link building techniques, the driving force of good SEO, especially for Real Estate, is keyword research.
  • Statistics show that 80% of home buyers search for properties online which means having a list of search keywords incorporated into a content marketing strategy will pay off well. Potential customers will most likely be presented with search results about a property that has those keywords. Additionally, real estate companies can also leverage local SEO and Google maps to promote their business.
  • Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. Real estate companies will have to focus on making their content discoverable and the best way to do so is to create content like pillar posts that are discoverable, sharable and informative. Pillar content is different from blog posts and other long-form content. They are much longer than blog posts, almost like guides on a particular topic. They help you rank for multiple queries on a single topic and generate organic leads and traffic in the long run.Hubspot Pillar ContentCourtesy: Hubspot
  • For example, pillar pages are a great way to rank for common real estate keywords like “home loan application” or “first-time homebuyers”. A pillar content on either of these topics will act a complete guide for your audience, you can link back to other blogs on your website and internal linking will signal Google to prioritise your website and give it a better ranking.Shriram Properties Pillar Content                        https://www.shriramproperties.com/first-time-home-buyers-guide-india/

Here is an example of pillar content we created for one of our leading real estate clients, Shriram Properties. The pillar page is currently ranking for a total of 1000 keywords out of which 150 keywords are ranking on page one.

Creating a Blog

When people need help or are looking for something, they do one of two things – seek out a person or a place or browse the internet. Blogging has come a long way from being a casual online tool for storytelling to an essential element of a digital marketing strategy.

Blogs are a long, short or creative source of information and if there is one thing Google loves, it is loads of valuable information. Research shows that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. Google recognises and ranks these websites easily due to the information provided, ultimately leading to that site showing up on the first page of search results.

Considering how broad a topic Real Estate is, builders must take advantage of the power of blogging and focus on sharing information to potential home buyers. Blogs that give detailed information on upcoming properties, tips on home buying and guides on investment options are just some of the many topics a Real Estate blog can include.

Having a strong social media presence

The platform of Social Media offers brands a unique way to get more personal with their audience, and it is no different in the case of Real Estate.

There are numerous platforms for Social Media Marketing available today and some of the most useful ones for Real Estate developers include:

  • Facebook: India has the world’s largest number of Facebook users (195 million and counting), so there is a clear and open platform for Real Estate developers to take advantage of the numerous advertising techniques Facebook has to offer.
  • YouTube: Videos are, without a doubt, the most watched medium on the planet. Real Estate developers can use optimised YouTube videos to add a layer of instructiveness to their promotional campaigns.  
  • Twitter: This micro-blogging giant has proven to be a rather useful marketing tool in the recent years. Twitter serves as a great platform for Real Estate developers to invite credible 3rd party sources to influence purchase decisions. For more insight on this, make sure you check out our extensive Twitter marketing guide for businesses in India.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the go-to medium for anyone looking to expand their business to business portfolio. Real Estate developers can connect to 3rd party realtors, architects, interior designers, house maintenance providers and so on.

2. Acquiring Customers

Having an online presence won’t be fruitful if your potential customers are not aware of that presence. Real Estate developers depend heavily on lead generation, and digital marketing offers the quickest, easiest and most ROI friendly lead generation method. Here are some of the ways Real Estate developers can acquire customers via digital media.

Advertising

Advertising online is one of the best ways to ensure you are reaching your potential target Group. If done right, it can be the best lead generation tool for real estate developers. Be it Facebook or Google or even other platforms such as Bing and Yahoo, using lead generation, website conversion ads or even interactive ads to engage with your target audience and collect leads.

Facebook Ads

As of July 2017, there are 241 million active users in India on Facebook. This is a primary reason why advertising on Facebook is something every builder needs to try. From website conversion ads to lead ads and carousel ads, builders should try a combination of videos and images to drive enquiries and site visits.  Facebook also has detailed targeting by demographics, age and behaviour. Additionally, you can also target your website visitors and those you have engaged with your post so that the ad is displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.

Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.

Regional ads

With Facebook’s Brand Reach and Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.

Google Ads

Google AdWords is a paid digital marketing strategy that is run on the Google search engine. Adwords smart display campaigns run strongly through a set of rules and guidelines and work best when incorporated into SEO tools and strategies.

Let’s say a home seeker is typing “flats in OMR” in the search box; if the digital marketer has incorporated the keywords “flats in OMR” along with some other relevant search queries, Google will pick up that ad and display it in the search results. The placement of the ad depends entirely on the budget set for the campaign. You can also optimise your AdWords campaign for profound results.

Google’s algorithms are ever changing and evolving to be more consumer-friendly, and 2017 has some cool new digital marketing trends that every marketer must keep close tabs on.

Drip email marketing

Drip emails are automated emails that are sent out based on a predefined time or user actions. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria retrieved from a strong email marketing database. Let’s say that a customer has visited a property website and shown interest by subscribing to property newsletters. Digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties.

Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase click-through rate via trustworthy emails.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is the Internet’s word-of-mouth marketing method and can prove very effective to generate leads for Real Estate Developers. Just like word-of-mouth, influencer marketing uses popular bloggers and other professionals in the Real Estate industry to promote a particular property. Influencer marketing channels include both blogs and social media channels, so Real estate developers must carefully choose the appropriate kind of influencer to market their properties.      

Influencer.in provides a one-stop platform for Real Estate developers to search and connect with the best influencers in the country; they can choose from either working on long campaigns with a selected influencer or contacting multiple micro-influencers over various social media platforms to spread the word.

3. Customer Engagement

The age-old marketing rule of getting new customers while retaining existing customers applies in the digital space as well. Of course, the most popular tool for customer engagement today is social media, and Facebook ranks high up on the list, especially for the Real Estate industry. There are a plethora of social media trends benefiting the real estate industry. Here are some interesting ways developers can utilise Facebook and YouTube for customer engagement.

Facebook engagement

  • Post real estate investment advice albeit with a funny picture
  • Post product comparison images and let the followers vote
  • Post interesting facts about the locality where the property is being developed
  • Post about celebrity or high-profile activity that is happening in the locality where the property is being developed
  • Post about festivals and celebratory occasions while adding a twist that relates to a property
  • Share information about daily real estate activities

YouTube engagement

  • Post videos on property interiors
  • DIY practical tips on home improvement
  • Property reviews
  • Live feed of upcoming events that relate to the property
  • Virtual reality property experience

4. Multilingual Marketing

As of 2017, India had 450 million active internet users. While these numbers are set to increase over the next few years, what’s interesting to note is that by 2021, 9 out of 10 internet users will be Indian language users. These massive numbers indicate a much larger audience group for real estate developers to tap into. The easiest way to do this, is by employing multilingual marketing as part of their digital strategy. Take a look at our detailed video on why every Indian brand MUST have a Multilingual Digital Strategy and Vernacular Communication.

Be it ads, a landing page or even an entire website, when a potential customer sees content in his own native tongue, several things happen. You create brand awareness and increase brand recall, you build your customer’s trust in your product or brand and finally, you have a higher chance of converting potential leads. In the case of real estate companies, your buyer is likely to purchase a home or at the very least recommend your company to a friend.

Keeping the vernacular approach in mind, real estate companies can use vernacular content in their ads to reach their target audience using Facebook Marketing Solutions. One thing to remember is that you can’t stop with just your ads – your entire digital strategy must include an end-to-end multilingual marketing approach. You can read how regional ads resulted in a 70% drop in CPL for one of our biggest real estate clients.  

5. Full Funnel Marketing

The sales funnel of yore has been proclaimed as outdated by many. Today’s digital marketing funnel is a cocktail of strategies targeted at gathering better quality leads, converting them successfully and then nurturing your leads/customers so they keep coming back. Of course, the important aspect of lead generation is quality content. The various phases in a digital full-funnel marketing approach are Awareness, Consideration, Conversion and Retention. You can check out our detailed video of Full Funnel Marketing via digital for an in-depth explanation.

The reason the digital marketing funnel is so important for real estate companies is because back in the day, only the final level was considered important. Driving conversions was the only target real estate brands poured their resources into. However, that’s where the problem lies. Without your audience knowing who you are or the products and services you offer, your brand cannot expect to have a high conversion rate. It is therefore imperative that real estate companies include a solid full-funnel marketing approach in their digital strategies.

7. YouTube Marketing

If a picture paints a thousand words imagine what a video could do. Videos have been around for decades and have taken the world by storm across industries – be it education, entertainment, information, etc. YouTube is currently the world’s second largest search engine with over 225 million monthly active users in India alone. Suffice to say that your real estate brand needs to have a comprehensive YouTube strategy to tape into this sizeable audience. It is important to note, however, that you don’t have to stop with just YouTube. Real estate brands will have to explore multiple video formats across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc and create customised strategies for each. Today, interactive videos are currently an extremely popular trend due to the higher user engagement they deliver. You can also read our blog on tips to create compelling videos that convert.

Case Study: Digital Marketing for a leading real estate developer in Chennai

One of our esteemed clients is a Chennai based Real Estate enterprise which laid its foundations in 2004. Known for providing niche residential segments like luxury villas and high-rise apartments, the company has since produced 68 projects, selling to over 4000 happy residents.

Our client wanted to scale up its digital presence through powerful digital marketing, focusing on five primary goals.

An intense digital marketing campaign followed, running on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google search, resulting in an impressive turnaround that showed:

  • Over 500 Crores in sales from digital enquiries
  • 10x increase in lead generation
  • Cost per lead reduction by 30%
  • Organic Traffic increase by 3x
  • 4x increase in leads from organic traffic
  • Fan base on Facebook has grown to an engaged community of over 1,40,000 fans

Real estate is the most reliable and secure long-term investment you can make, and the ability to purchase a home will only get easier with newer technologies coming into the digital space, which is capable of giving you a real-time experience of any property right through a screen.

 

10 Best E-commerce platforms for your online store

Updated in Feb, 2019

With the global & Indian ecommerce market growing at a rapid pace, we are seeing a lot of new trends. When starting out a new ecommerce venture, there are a lot of elements that need to be figured out – right from the ecommerce platform (which this post explains in detail), payment gateway to integrate with your ecommerce site, product photography, social media strategy, customer acquisition, customer retention, search engine optimisation & a whole lot more. There are a whole lot of specialists out there who can help you with each of these elements or you could take a digital marketing course or buy a book on digital marketing to familiarize yourself.

The first step when starting out is the ecommerce platform and the number of such platforms and content management systems available has grown over the years. In such a scenario, figuring out which platform to use when you’re looking to build your online store can be a fairly confusing task – especially if you aren’t from a technical/ecommerce background.  This post intends to make your research work easier by helping you choose the platform best suited for your needs.

Managed e-commerce platforms vs. Content Management Systems (CMS)

There are two options available for building an e-commerce website – one can either use managed (hosted) e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce or open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) like WooCommerce or Magento.

As the name indicates, a hosted ecommerce platform is hosted on a server that you will not have access to, while CMS-based websites are self-hosted on server space (such as Bluehost) you will have to purchase. Which option to choose will depend a lot on your specific needs as well as your level of technical involvement. Below is a list of benefits of both which could help you make a choice between the two based on your business’ current requirements:

Benefits of using Hosted ecommerce platforms

  • Lower development and maintenance – There is no coding expertise required, thereby eliminating the need for a development team. Also, the hosting is shared, which lowers the server costs.
  • Better technical support – Most online store creators have a strong tech-support team to assist users with any issues that may arise.
  • Less complex to work with – The back-end for most of these platforms is user-friendly and is built for ease of use keeping in mind users with limited technical knowledge.

Benefits of using a CMS

  • Better functionality – Multitude of plugins, add-ons and themes available for content management systems allow the addition of advanced functionalities that would not be possible in the case of self-hosted platforms.
  • Better customizability – Content management systems allow the freedom of adding/modifying features as well as building a customized design unique to one’s brand. They also allow for constant improvements and enhancements to the user experience on the site, which plays a major role in today’s highly competitive ecommerce space.
  • Can support large stores and sophisticated websites – Content Management Systems, being self-hosted do not have a limit to the number of products or categories allowed, so they can handle much larger stores as well as sophisticated websites.

The server can also be an important aspect of how your ecommerce site is built and we usually use the Linux based servers being provided by Bluehost or Amazon Web Services. We usually refrain from using Windows based servers.

You could use this flowchart below (Click on the flowchart to enlarge) to help you arrive at a decision on whether you should go ahead with a hosted ecommerce platform or with a CMS, based on your requirements:

Hosted-ecommerce-platforms-vs-open-source-Content-Management-Systems

Once you’ve made your choice on going ahead with either of the two platforms, here is a list of the 5 best options you could explore in each niche:

5 Best Content Management Systems

If you’ve decided that a CMS is what will suit your needs best, then below are the 5 best ecommerce CMS available in the market at the moment. The most important factors which will come into consideration when zeroing in on the CMS would be the availability of extensions, availability of support, functionality, customizability and the cost of development and maintenance. All of them are open source and have free community versions and paid enterprise versions.

WooCommerce:

WooCommerce is a WordPress platform used for building ecommerce websites and now almost 22% of the top 1 million ecommerce websites are hosted on it, making it the most popular platform. A large number of WordPress themes have the WooCommerce functionality built-in. The plugin provides almost all the features that are available in the other open-sources CMS’ listed here. WooCommerce might work out more user-friendly and cost-effective for smaller businesses as well as for those familiar with WordPress.

Pros:

  • Easy setup – WordPress requires very little time to get familiar
  • Runs on Wordpess – so does not have powerful servers requirements
  • Good number of lower-priced add-ons and themes available
  • Huge WordPress support community
  • Easy Integration with emailing platforms such as Mailchimp so that you can stay in touch with your customers

Cons:

  • Might not work for mid and large size businesses or for businesses looking to scale up soon

Magento:

With nearly 13% of the world’s top 1 million ecommerce sites (in 2015 21%  of the websites) are built on the Magento platform*, it is a popular and one of the best ecommerce CMS’ being used today. Its biggest advantages are the large number of plugins and extensions available which allow the addition of any new functionality, the ease of availability of experienced developers as well as a lower overall development and maintenance cost.

Pros:

  • Robust platform with a high level of functionality and customizability
  • Large number of marketplace extensions available
  • Highly active community for assistance with tutorials and troubleshooting options
  • More SEO-friendly as compared to most other platforms
  • It is highly-scalable – no need would arise to upgrade to another platform while scaling up in future
  • Easy Integration with emailing platforms such as Mailchimp so that you can stay in touch with your customers

Cons:

  • It requires sufficient server space to operate efficiently at high speeds. Smaller servers may cause speed and other related issues
  • Might be too complex for businesses that are too small

osCommerce:

osCommerce is one of the earliest open-source platforms available, it has a huge support base and a very active forum, though some users find that updates to the platform have not kept up with the times.

Pros:

  • Easy installation and an easy-to-use interface
  • Active forum with a large support base
  • Large number of plugins and add-ons allowing the addition of most functionalities

Cons:

  • Some users find that the software updates and designs have not kept up with times and remain slightly outdated

Top 1 Million ecommerce websites using Open Source technologies – Source – Builtwith.com

Drupal Commerce:

Drupal used to be a popular open source website content management system after WordPress and Drupal commerce is the plugin for ecommerce sites built on this platform. Its seamless integration with Drupal makes creating a blog or forum much more convenient than most other ecommerce content management systems.

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with the Drupal CMS framework gives it an edge over other platforms when it comes to blog integration and content marketing
  • Allows for easy implementation of SEO strategy

Cons:

  • The support community/forum is not as large or active as Magento or osCommerce.

Opencart:

Opencart is another open source CMS for ecommerce. Though it has one of the easiest to use backends, its support systems are not as comprehensive as compared to the other platforms listed.

Pros:

  • Easy to use back-end
  • Feature rich with large number of plug-ins
  • CSS can be edited from within the admin

Cons:

  • Some users report difficulty in installation of some themes
  • Support documentation is not comprehensive enough

Magento vs Woocommerce vs Drupal Commerce vs Opencart vs osCommerce Magento vs Woocommerce vs Drupal Commerce vs Opencart vs osCommerce

5 Best hosted ecommerce platforms

If you’ve decided that an online store creator would better suit your business, then below are the 5 best platforms available for you to choose from. Two of these – Zepo and Kartrocket have been chosen with the Indian market in mind, as being mostly domestic players, they might have a better understanding and feel of the local market.

Shopify:
Shopify is one of the first names that comes to mind when one thinks of an online commerce platform. With close to 7,75,000 sites using Shopify*, it is the most popular hosted ecommerce platform, coming second only to WooCommerce.

Pros:

  • Large number of add-ons as well as beautiful and professional templates to choose from for a beautiful storefront
  • 24/7 customer support – Can be reached by phone, online live chat or email.
  • SEO Compliant

Cons:

  • May work out slightly more expensive as compared to other platforms
  • The back-end UX is slightly complex to understand in the beginning

Pricing**: Basic – $29/month, Professional- $79/month, Unlimited – $299/month.

BigCommerce:

Bigcommerce is another popular platform, with 17% of the top 100,000 sites using hosted ecommerce solutions; and 51,977 sites overall*, being built on Bigcommerce.

Pros:

  • A large knowledge base – The Bigcommerce university provides extensive help resources
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • Some users claim that customer support is a little unreliable at times

Pricing**: Silver – $29.95/month, Gold – $79.95/month, Platinum – $249.95/month

Volusion also has nearly as big a share of the top 100,000 sites using hosted ecommerce solutions – nearly 17%*; with over 90% of its market share is in the United States

Pros:

  • Wide variety of features
  • Personalized service from account specialists
  • Easy to use interface

Cons:

  • Volution stores use a mobile site as against a responsive design
  • Add-on store is not as large as Shopify or BigCommerce
  • No Blog setup available

Pricing**: Personal – $29/month, Professional – $79/month, Business – $299/month

Zepo:

Mumbai-based Zepo supports more than 1200 ecommerce stores at the moment and has also raised an undisclosed amount of funding in December 2014 to drive its expansion plans.

Pros:

  • Local brand – local support as well as a better understanding and feel of local market
  • An easy interface, especially for newbies
  • Hosted on Rackspace servers – so you can expect a better speed as compared to most platforms.

Cons:

  • Limited Images per product on the lower priced plans

Pricing**: Custom Pricing based on requests

Kartrocket:

Delhi-based KartRocket has powered over 1900 stores via its platform and snapped up close to $2 million investment in January 2015 to fund its expansion as well as develop innovative and India-focused product solutions

Pros:

  • Good choice of storefront templates
  • Usability – Clean backend interface
  • Local brand – better understanding and feel of local market

Cons:

  • Comparatively new player in the market as compared to the others above

Pricing**: Essential – Rs. 3500/month, Premium – Rs. 7000/month, Platinum – Rs. 12,000/month

Top 100000 websites using Hosted Solution technologies - Builtwith.com

Top 100000 websites using Hosted Solution technologies – Builtwith.com

 

Conclusion

Every platform and CMS has its plus and minus points and choosing the right one depends on your business model and requirements. If you are going in for a hosted platform, Shopify or Zepo (if you prefer a local player) might be the best options, while if you are looking for a Content Mangement System, then WooCommerce would most definitely work best. This, however, is based on our experince and we would love to hear what your experience says.

As the last word, switching platforms or content management systems after a store is up and running is not really a straightforward process and can truly be a nightmare. So, make sure you take a prudent and informed decision with a good amount of foresight.

If you’re a retailer looking to get onto the e-commerce bandwagon, please feel free to contact us and we would be glad to assist you.

Once you’ve zeroed in on the right platform for your ecommerce business and need to decide on the best payments solution you could use, you can check out our blog on the top payment gateways for e-commerce websites.

*Statistics from builtwith.com
** All price data is from the respective websites as on 5th January, 2019

How a masthead ad for Sundaram Mutual delivered phenomenal results

YouTube might have initially been conceptualised as a platform for users to upload and share videos with friends, but today it has evolved into the second largest search engine in the world. This platform has also been quickly gaining popularity among the Indian internet audience. At the YouTube Brandcast 2018, it was revealed that an incredible 225 million Indians are actively using YouTube every month. Clearly, brands cannot afford to ignore the immense reach YouTube offers them.

To take advantage of this, Social Beat collaborated with our client, Sundaram Mutual to leverage a ‘masthead’ ad to introduce their new fund. This strategy achieved unprecedented results for our client, proving that it’s time for brands to shift to YouTube ads from traditional advertising.

What are Masthead ads?

Sundaram Mutual YouTube Masthead

Mastheads ads are one of the fastest ways for brands to garner high views and build awareness among viewers. These videos are displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for the entire day. Because of this, any viewer going onto the platform will be able to see the video. By creating compelling video content that converts, these ads can even be an important tool to generate leads.

Objective behind the campaign

Sundaram Mutual is an asset management company with over 20 years of experience in fund management. The company’s biggest differentiator is their strong customer base, built on a foundation of sustained outperformance in the mid-cap space. In keeping with this philosophy, Sundaram Mutual was launching an open-ended equity scheme for which they wanted to generate awareness in a very short period of time. With the reach that digital marketing for finance can provide, YouTube was the obvious choice to help them achieve their objective.

Because of the nature of the product, the target audience was very wide. The primary age group targeted was been 25-55 and included individuals from tier 1, 2 and 3 regions of India. Since the target audience was broad, a masthead ad would be the most effective tool to reach out to them and generate awareness almost overnight.

Execution

Masthead ads are charged on a daily basis, so we had to make the most of the 24 hours we had at our disposal. To do this, we ran the campaign during the weekend to achieve maximum viewership. For the entirety of that day, all individuals who visited YouTube, either through the mobile app or through the desktop version, would see the masthead ad at the top of the page.

 

 

This approach would help us gain video views, increase the subscriber base and drive traffic to the website.

Results

Our 20-second masthead ad surpassed our expectations, delivering incredible results for Sundaram Mutual. In the 24 hours that the masthead ad was live, Sundaram Mutual’s subscriber base went from just 363 to a whopping 56,000! Currently, the number of subscribers has increased even further, standing at 57,000+. The video also garnered 14 million video views in the 24 hour period.

These unprecedented results only strengthen the fact that brands need to have a digital-first marketing strategy. Through targeted marketing options and easy trackability of results, YouTube can help your brand scale new heights. Do reach out to us to learn more about our Video Marketing services.

Unlocking growth through innovation – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

The recently concluded second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai saw many industry leaders sharing key insights and discussing trends in the digital marketing landscape. Among our speakers was Mr Abraham Alapatt – President and Group Head: Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services and Innovation at Thomas Cook. Mr Alapatt spoke about unlocking growth through innovation. Let’s take a look at some key insights from his speech.

The need for innovation

Set up in 1881, Thomas Cook has been around for 137 years. Today Thomas Cook has grown in strengths from a travel agency to a brand that deals with travel, foreign exchange, business travel and many more. Thomas Cook’s massive growth since 2012 all boils down to innovation. For a brand or company to stay relevant and sustain success, they need to continually innovate to come up with new and fresh ideas for operations, products and service

Formalising the innovation process

Alapatt spoke about his role as head of innovation at Thomas Cook. Innovation isn’t something that is forced. Innovating your process or brand for the sake of innovation is redundant and will only do your company more harm than good. As a brand, try to look for a particular value to enhance. The easiest way for businesses to innovate is to find new customers or create a unique opportunity with an existing customer. The best way to this is by implementing a full-funnel marketing approach will help target and retain customers better. Take a look at our video on full-funnel marketing and how it can help your brand.

Digital-led innovation

Many brands are still yet to make the shift from traditional marketing to digital. Today, ignoring the power of digital marketing means leaving your brand in the dust. By employing a digital-first strategy, any brand can achieve higher reach, better engagement and an increase in generating high-quality leads. Here, Alapatt cited two examples. The first was targeting people who make pilgrimage visits. The Thomas Cook website lets users create personalised tours and packages centred around pilgrim centres around the country, pre-book the darshan and continue on the holiday. This feature helped them tap into a whole new target audience including those in tier I and tier II cities. The second was adding an “Explore” feature to target millennials. The explore button gave millennials the chance to create their own personalised list of activities including adventure sports, sightseeing, etc. as well as a prompt to download an app that shows your every route needed for your vacation. The idea behind these features on Thomas Cook’s website was essential to explore new categories to tap into India’s next billion internet users.

The emergence of Virtual Reality

Abraham Alapatt

Alapatt touched briefly upon Thomas Cook’s virtual reality feature that gives customers a sense of their planned vacation. In the last few years, virtual reality has become a significant part of mainstream digital marketing efforts. Google India’s Year in Search Report 2017 posits that the Indian travel market will hit $48 billion by 2020. Given these substantial numbers, VR is an excellent way for a brand’s audience to “experience” their products or services without direct physical effects. Not only does this help increase engagement, but combined with an effective digital marketing strategy, VR can help mould the future of marketing for your brand.

The power of video

YouTube is currently the world’s second most popular search engine. In India alone, there are now around 225 million active users on YouTube, with this number expected to increase to 500 million by 2020. Brands need to leverage the power of YouTube or face losing out on a sizeable audience. From ensuring your video content uses techniques like YouTube SEO to exploring multiple formats, brands can improve performance and conversions. Videos have been around for decades, but have recently found their spotlight in terms of social media and digital marketing. Going forward, videos and interactive content will be at the forefront of digital marketing trends in 2019 and beyond.

Innovation and social impact

Innovation does not need to be restricted to marketing efforts or revenue made. Several brands around the world focus on giving back to their community and society at large. Thomas Cook, too, with the aim of social impact started a Centre of Learning. The primary objective of this institution was to drive skilling and employability. They are also involved with multiple NGOs and government organisations that help uplift those in need. CSR via innovation is another way to scale up your business in 2019.

This session by Mr Abraham Alapatt was insightful for several of the attendees. The pace of growth today is astounding. Business models transformations that took ten years are now changing in as little time as three years. To stay ahead of the competition, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and brands must anticipate change and act with the future in mind while continuing to deliver results.

Building a brand through digital – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

One of the key highlights of the Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai was the panel discussion on the topic ‘Building a brand through digital marketing – Pushing the Frontiers’. The discussion moderated by Mr Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat, had two reputed panellists: Mr Ajith Narasimhan from Sundaram Mutual Fund and Mr Vipin Guliani from Piramal Group. Let’s take a look at the key insights of the session.

Building a brand through digital marketing

Summary of the panel discussion

  • In order to build and sustain a brand, you must strategise your digital marketing techniques.
  • Digital Marketing is no longer just a marketing tool.
  • The customers of this generation need to be acquired, nurtured, retained and engaged with.
  • Today, customers are more interested in curated, solution-based products and goal-based offers.

Strategic nature of digital marketing

Everyone has been talking a lot about the increasing impact of digital marketing in building a brand. But the most important factor that needs to be discussed is the nature of the digital marketing technique, which in fact, plays a major role in achieving the desired results. That very thought started off the panel discussion. So how strategic or technical is digital marketing today?

Ajith from Sundaram Mutual Fund strongly believed in the strategic nature of digital marketing techniques. To substantiate his stand, he explained how the shift of mutual funds from being a push-driven product to a pull-driven product, paved the way towards the necessity of digital marketing today.

Due to major changes brought in by GST and demonetisation, mutual fund companies no longer need a medium of distributors to sell their products. Customers from the newer generation are more interested in getting serviced by the companies directly. Therefore, it becomes very important for companies to build a connection with the customers as well as retain that connect for a very long period of time. This is why the industry gives a highly strategic approach to digital marketing. Doing that helps them understand the need of the customers and provide them with services as per their requirements.

Vipin, from Piramal Group, too emphasised on the strategic nature of digital marketing today. When the aim is to build and sustain the brand, it becomes important to strategise digital marketing. However, he gave equal importance to the technical aspect of digital marketing as well. He was of the opinion that only the technical data mattered as far as the sale of the service or product was concerned.

Purpose of digital marketing

Both the panellists were of the same view that digital marketing has evolved to a great extent and is no longer just a marketing tool. Over the years, the type of customers who consume different products and services have changed to a great extent. The customers of this generation need to be acquired, nurtured, retained and engaged with.

The need to innovate new ideas in order to connect with and understand these customers is the need of the hour. Apart from giving companies the advantage of targeting the right customers, digital marketing also helps them to understand the needs of the customers and design their brands and services accordingly. Therefore, it becomes important to incorporate digital marketing techniques right when the idea of launching a product or a service comes into the picture.

Innovation in digital space

With changing times, the kind of products and services that customers need are also changing. Ajith was of the opinion that in the coming years, there will be a need to re-categorise the products completely. The need of the hour then would be curated solution-based products and goal based offers. That is when there will be a great scope for bringing in innovation in the digital space and engaging with India’s next billion internet users.

Vipin also agreed with him. The requirement now is to first find out what the customers need and then build the product. This involves a lot of research for which innovative ideas have to be developed to find the right information from the customers through the digital space.

Targeting customers with the right strategies

The number of consumers has increased rapidly. And not all the people who consume data are recurring customers. There is a need for customer profiling in order to put forth the right suggestions to the customers. Both the panellists agreed that the digital strategy that needed to be applied here varied in the case of B2C and B2B.

Since there has been a shift from mass targeting to micro-targeting, strategies, too, need to be changed. Instead of bombarding all the people with the same digital ads and search ads, it is important to connect with people based on their profiles. This data-driven model would do wonders in the area of lead generation.

In the case of B2B, the target audience is very limited. Therefore, a blended strategy could be used, wherein apart from directly trying to convince the distributors, the help of customers could be taken to influence the decision of the distributors. This could be done with the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Is digital marketing worth the money?

The new generation needs easy access to everything. Today, it is not difficult to bring a customer on board if your products are given to them in the most simplified manner. Going the digital way makes sure that customers get instant satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to spend the money to upgrade the reach of the company.

As compared to the other mediums, digital marketing is the most objective way of measuring ROI. It becomes easy to determine the success or failure of one’s campaign if it’s ROI driven. Not only does it help to determine the number of engagements, but it also helps in finding out the right platforms that help in targeting a specific audience. With ROI driven marketing technique, brands can easily recognise the right social media platform to connect with their customers.

Both our panellists were of the opinion that digital marketing is a key player as far as the game of connecting with the customers or distributors is concerned.

7 tips to create compelling videos that convert

Looking for ways to create thumb-stopping content for your brand? Then videos are definitely your best bet! Video content was one of the biggest digital marketing trends of 2018 and is here to stay. Thanks to the cheaper data plans available in the market today, videos can easily be streamed online, without any hassle, on screens of all sizes. Furthermore, smartphones have evolved with high-precision cameras, editing suites and a plethora of video-based apps, making videos easily shareable on all platforms. Moreover, with so much content being shared in the digital landscape, brands are looking for newer ways to stand out of the crowd. These reasons have paved the way for videos to be the lever in boosting conversions for a brand.

Now that you are convinced that video marketing is the way to go, let’s take a look at a few fool-proof video editing tips to make compelling videos that increase conversion rates for your business.

Be precise and direct

Plan your video in such a way that it is crisp, short and communicates your message quickly and effectively. The first 3 to 4 seconds of your video are most crucial. Make sure your brand name and objective of the campaign is communicated within this time. According to a recent Facebook survey, you can expect a 20% increase in the number of people finishing the video by practising this technique. Additionally, it is important to incorporate text on videos since most videos are watched in mute, especially on mobile. You can use text in the form of subtitles or any other medium to keep viewers engaged and communicate your brand story even with no sound.

You can also experiment with short versions of your video instead of treating it as one big aspect. One of the best video editing tips is to cut it down with multiple storylines. You can also add effects and use the multitude of formats offered by Facebook and Instagram to make it interesting. By doing this, you can create multiple videos that target different audiences, widening your chances of going viral. Here is a sample video that we did for a real estate builder:

Tap trending topics

Emotional content works wonders on viewers, especially when portrayed in the form of a touching video. Increase the visibility of your brand by tapping trending topics that may not directly speak about your products and services but creates a stir because of the emotional quotient. This is one of the most effective video making tips that will help in creating soul-stirring original content which is always a hit in the digital space.

When Sundaram Mutual – one of the top clients in the finance sector – approached us for a video campaign, we decided to go outside-the-box and create a vox pop video. The video was launched on Father’s Day and spoke about the various financial lessons you’ve learnt from your father.

Go across platforms

When it comes to video making tips, it is best to tap audiences across all social media platforms to get the most out of your campaign. With most platforms giving priority to content that drives more engagement, videos have the potential to be your trump card to get ahead of your competitors. Leading social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram also give users the chance to share your videos, increasing the chances of them going viral. However, it is important to make sure the videos are targeted at the right set of audiences who relate to the product or service being showcased.

With 225 Indian users active on YouTube every month, a lot of brands are making the shift from traditional forms of advertising to YouTube ads. You can choose from a wide range of types of YouTube ads based on various factors like reach, budget and length of the ad, to name a few. Featured below is a YouTube bumper ad of one of our real estate clients – Asta Properties – who leveraged the reach of YouTube ads to introduce a newly launched project.

The ad played in Tamil and English, witnessing an outstanding reach of around 18,000 users with more than 4,000 clicks. The ad was targeted to users who were interested in a real estate investment of Rs. 1.5 crores, within the age group of 35 to 54 years.

Speaking about going across platforms, one of the most important video editing tips is to check the aspect ratio of your video for full-sized viewing on hand-held devices. As per a recent study, 97% of consumers access Facebook through mobile and Instagram has witnessed a 150% increase in video consumption in 2018. A traditional 16:9 video occupies very less space on mobile screens. Instead, change the aspect ratio of your video to 1:1. This will occupy the entire mobile screen and reduce distractions from other posts. Here’s a video on how to optimise your video for Instagram and Facebook for more insights:

Optimise your videos for discovery

Just like any other form of content, videos too need to be optimised to be discovered on search. As per a recent study, 74% of active social media users follow brands on YouTube, stressing on the fact that search engine optimisation for YouTube is now as important as ever. Additionally, with voice search emerging as a top trend in digital marketing, ensure your video is optimised with long-tail keywords that answer the public. Create a comprehensive on page and off page SEO strategy with the right meta-descriptions, a custom thumbnail, a click-worthy title and alt text to ensure your video ranks on the first page of search engines. It is also important to add an appropriate call-to-action and social share buttons to push potential consumers further down the marketing funnel. These are the most crucial video making tips that can either make or break a campaign.

Optimise your videos for discovery

For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Do not forget your landing page

Landing pages are known to be the weapons of mass conversions and what better way to engage with your potential consumers than an attention-grabbing video? Videos provide a lot more information about your brand with much lesser effort and half as much time. This creates a win-win situation for users being able to get a better understanding of your services and your landing page generating a good amount of high-quality leads for your brand.

We leveraged the reach and high engagement of videos in a landing page for Shriram Properties – one of our top real estate clients. The video provided users with a walkthrough of one of their new projects, giving them a closer look at the property even before the site visit. This, in turn, generated a higher rate of conversions.

Do not forget your landing page

Apart from attracting users with engaging content, brands can also generate a list of potential leads who have viewed the video through event tracking on Google Analytics. These leads can then be retargeted and further nurtured until they ultimately convert to your brand.

Try influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques that give your brand the visibility it deserves with a word-of-mouth approach. Pick an influencer that resonates with your brand and come up with influencer marketing campaigns across the platforms that are relevant to your audience. Influencers come up with trendy and engaging videos that extend your brand’s reach to their loyal follower database. This, in turn, can open up new opportunities for your brand and boost sales.

We partnered with BioMiracle India to create awareness about their new collagen sheet masks with the help of top beauty and lifestyle influencer Sushmita Agarwal. The video featured on her Instagram handle threw light on how the sheet masks need to be used with peppy background music, driving high engagement and brand awareness. It received almost 8,000 views with profound reach.

Try influencer marketing

Go vernacular

With the introduction of cheaper data plans by Reliance Jio and the drop in the prices of smartphones, Internet usage has seeped into the tier 2 and tier 3 regions of India, releasing a whole new wave of consumers waiting to be targeted. Videos are now more relevant than ever, with brands going the extra mile to engage with India’s next billion users. In order to reach India – all of it – it is important to incorporate videos in vernacular languages for increased brand awareness. This is one of futuristic video making tips that will ensure conversions!

We leveraged the power of videos in regional languages for Cholamandalam Finance by creating an animated video on the life-changing financial lessons one can learn from an ant. The video was targeted at small business owners and people in tier 2 and tier 3 regions. The video received around 96,000 views with 3,116 shares. The same video was created in Hindi which received a whopping 2.3 million views and 80,528 shares, proving that the growth of regional content online is here to stay!

 

Whether you are a real estate company, leading FMCG brand, a top financial organisation or a leading insurance firm, make sure you incorporate these video editing tips and ideas in your next video campaign to increase your conversion rates and boost your sales.

Top Marketing Events in Bangalore

Events and conferences are a great time to network, showcase your product/service and learn from the best in the industry. However, choosing the best marketing events to attend can get a bit tricky. From the line-up of keynote speakers to the panel discussions held, there are a number of factors you need to consider before you head out to one. Read on for our hand-picked compilation of the top digital marketing events in Bangalore that you need to attend to enlighten your team and grow your business.

BEEGITAL: Digital and Social Media Marketing Summit

BEEGITAL’s digital and social media marketing summit is every digital marketer’s paradise, packed with the latest digital marketing tools, strategies and cutting-edge techniques. It is a one-day event that throws light on the use of social media to catapult your brand’s digital presence. Sign up for a day full of insightful sessions on Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots and Big Data Analytics presented by industry experts.

Where: Courtyard by Marriot, Bellandur, Bangalore

When: 15th February 2019, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Digital Leadership Summit by Social Beat

Digital Leadership Summit in Mumbai, Bengaluru & Chennai is a CXO event which brings together Business Leaders and CMOs to discuss how to drive business results through digital marketing and share innovation across Video, Vernacular Content, Voice, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. The business leaders and attendees would be from across sectors, including FMCG, BFSI, Real Estate, Entertainment, Education and Internet Businesses. The last Digital Leadership Summit is in Bengaluru was in February 2019. The one prior to this was on 15th Nov 2018 in Mumbai. The first edition of the Digital Leadership Summit was held in Chennai in 2016.

Paul Writer Hot Brands 50

Brand Summit & Hot Brands is a regular event by Paul Writer and they do this across Bengaluru, Mumbai & Delhi. Paul Writer is known for its marketing through research, peer learning, and sharing best practices. The Brand Summit is conceptualized as a power-packed day of masterclasses, discussions, sharing, and learning along with celebrating the achievements of the Hottest Brands in the respective cities. The impressive line-up of jury members includes industry experts and marketing professionals from various renowned organizations of the nation. The keynote speakers include Ravi Desai – Director of Mass and Brand Marketing – Amazon India, Burhanuddin Pithawala – VP Growth and Conversions – OYO and Vivek Sunder – Chief Operating Officer – Swiggy, to name a few.

Where: Taj, MG Road, Bengaluru

When: 8th February 2019. 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.

5th Inflection Digital Transformation Summit and Awards

Join the industry thought leaders as they come together to discuss the digital transformation of the innovative business world at the 5th Inflection Digital Transformation Summit and Awards. Hosted by the Alden Global Value Advisors, the summit is packed with an impressive line-up of panel discussions, forums, insightful keynotes and unmatched networking with the best of the best from the industry. The event also includes an award ceremony where industry leaders are identified for innovation and excellence in logistics, procurement and supply chain.

Where: Vivanta by Taj, Ulsoor, Bengaluru

When: 23rd January 2019. 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

DigiMarCon India 2019 

What better way to celebrate the growth and transformation of the digital hemisphere than by conducting an online digital marketing event? DigiMarCon India 2019 is a larger-than-life online conference and exhibition scheduled to be hosted online – live and on demand. It will be the online hub of leading digital marketing professionals with sessions on a multitude of topics including digital strategy, content marketing, customer engagement, email marketing, programmatic advertising geo-targeting, growth hacking and all things digital. Learn all you need to know about digital marketing with keynotes, bold talks and big ideas presented by industry leaders from across the globe.

Where: Online – Live and On Demand.

When: 4th and 5th September 2019.

121 Digital Marketing Summit

With seven keynote speakers covering seven powerful marketing topics that are the need of the hour today, 121 Digital Marketing Summit is a one-stop destination to learn all about digital strategies and branding. From the growth of influencer marketing and how digital marketing in India will change in 2020 to innovative ways to measure the impact of your branding campaign, it covers it all. Attend the session to learn what strategy works best for your business today and the digital approach you need to take up to stay on top.

When: 31st January 2019. 8:45 am to 6:00 pm.

Where: Novotel Hotel, OuterRing Road, Bengaluru

Whether you are a leading real estate giant, a top FMCG brand or a well-established financial organisation, make sure you attend these insightful events to keep up with the fast-evolving digital landscape. You can also check out Digital Bytes – our YouTube channel on the latest digital marketing trends in the industry.

ROI Through Digital Marketing – Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai

The second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit was a grand success with key insights shared by industry leaders from across India. Among the interesting topics discussed, one of the panel discussions was on ROI through digital marketing videos. The panel was moderated by Vikas Chawla and our panellists included Pradeep Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, Monish Ghatalia of Focus Communications and Prashin Jhobalia from the House of Hiranandani. They discussed the industry-wide approach to digital marketing.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • Adopt digital marketing as a vehicle and understand the digital behaviour of a person
  • In the real estate industry, identify the individual, their needs and reach out to them at the appropriate time
  • Digital marketing gives businesses the ability to show numbers as proof and justify spends
  • Focus on the number of leads and not just the number of impressions.
  • Don’t spend 99% of the budget for leads to covert, a sizeable amount is enough to achieve brand loyalty
  • There is no one secret sauce to digital marketing, the solution lies with the marketer. Understand your objectives and use relevant information to remarket to customers
  • People are going to become more aware of privacy so digital marketers need to err on the side of caution when using customer’s data
  • Although everything about marketing will change in the next five years, the way a customer thinks will not. Use that to leverage your business’ position in the market.
leadership summit, digital marketing, 2018, social beat.

How has digital marketing impacted your business?

According to Pradeep Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, the impact of digital marketing can vary from each organisation as they have a different outlook on its success. Some people in the organisation view it as a long-term strategy where the payoff occurs over time while others have a short-term view and look at digital marketing as something that should bring them value on a quarterly basis.

He says that the success metrics depend on the discovery, conversion and repurchase components of the main cycle. The impact of discovery on digital marketing is often hard to measure, so companies usually look at their engagement and conversion rates as the major success metrics.

Monish Ghatalia of Focus Communications said that one of the key metrics of the business is to understand the digital behaviour of the person. That is how they behave when they watch a commercial on TV vs when they watch an advert on Youtube. As customer behaviour changes, the mindset of the company has to change as well. Additionally, this shift from traditional to digital marketing can also affect various sectors of the business as they start thinking digitally. Statistics show that 5-10 per cent to 15-20 per cent of a business’ marketing budget is used towards digital marketing when acquiring a new client.

“For the real estate industry, many companies are not as marketing savvy as they would like to be,” said Prashin Jhobalia of the House of Hiranandani. “This is because they find it a challenge to segregate their customers into different buckets.” However, the impact of digital marketing in the business is its ability to put up numbers as proof. This helps them understand what the money is put towards to justify spends and measure return on investment.

How has attribution changed the business?

Real estate needs depend on the need of the client and the stage of life they are currently in. Jhobalia believes that a business is able to market its brand to the company if they are able to identify this individual and reach out to them at the appropriate time.

“The customer journey is different for each business,” said Nidamarthi. For example, with Reliance Capital’s general insurance policy, if a person has decided that they want to buy insurance, they have already done the research on the different policies available before approaching Reliance. At this stage of purchase, there is not much the company can do to change the customer’s mind other than the price. Therefore, digital marketing does not have an impact if the customer is already aware of the product. But for products like mutual funds, digital marketing has an impact as the discovery process is longer. He adds that brands should not just spend money on impressions but should also give importance to the visits that lead to your digital property and the interaction with the customer.

What is the secret sauce of digital marketing?

Monish Ghatalia says that the fundamentals of marketing believe that more is more (that is, more budgets, more people). However, with digital marketing, the mindset has shifted to less is more. Digital allows us to build the core customer base and because we live in a sharing economy, we can convert this customer base as well. He believes that if 100 core customers are acquired and nurtured, they can lead a business to its next 1000 customers. Therefore, the secret sauce for the business is in its approach to acquiring clients and adopting the framework of the current digital marketing industry. Additionally, businesses should aim to move their customers from conversion to brand loyalty. Instead of spending 99% of the budget on lead conversion, they should spend only a  particular amount of the budget to go beyond just conversion and encourage customers to become loyal to the brand.

In the real estate industry, Jhobalia says that the secret sauce lies with the marketer and there is no single solution to success. The business needs to understand its objectives and use relevant information to remarket the brand to the customers.

All businesses have a digital marketing funnel and it is the duty of the companies to either drive people through the funnel or improve conversion through the funnel. Take a look at our in-depth video on full-funnel marketing here for more information.

Alternatively, the business needs to drive the right people into the funnel at the right time. According to  Nidamarthi of Reliance Capital, there are 4 steps that all companies need to use to maximise their digital marketing strategy:

Collate

Collect and collate your data from all the sources available. This can help you build the user journey from discovery to repurchase.

System

Once you have collected all the data, you should have a master view of all the channels used by the business. That is the channel used to promote a good or service and the frequency at which the ad is shown.

Process

The CRM process needs to be streamlined and constantly updated.

People

You need to have employees who are native to the digital world. They should have a good understanding of how digital marketing impacts the customer journey.

Having a good understanding of all these four components can help a business master their business digital marketing strategy.

Overcoming key challenges

Reliance Capital has numerous lines of businesses and each of them is in different stages of digital marketing with different regulators across the board. The biggest challenge for the companies over the next three to four years is that the common man will become more aware of privacy and will interpret it differently. When it comes to the use of data and systems, companies need to be more careful about how they use customer’s personal data and err on the side of caution.

According to Ghatalia, the biggest challenge faced by businesses is their ability to converge traditional marketing, digital marketing, technology, Artificial Intelligence and data. Companies need to understand that although these components will change in the next four to five years, the way a customer thinks will not. As a future marketer, they need to leverage this idea and be able to marry vehicle one (digital) to anything else in the digital market.

In the real estate industry, Prashin Jhobalia says that the ability of companies to recreate traditional content for digital media is a challenge. Another problem is the overpopulation of ads that creates competition within the industry. The developer might create an ad to target their customers while the distributors and brokers create different ads to target the same customers, this self-inflicted competition can create a lot of confusion in the industry. In order to overcome this challenge, businesses need to understand and react to the customer’s changing needs in a timely and efficient manner. One way of doing so is making use of vernacular ads.

The panel ended with a discussion with the audience, the panellists provided numerous thought-provoking ideas on the the future of digital marketing and improving ROI.

The Womenwill Leadership Workshop by Google – For women, by women

The Womenwill Leadership Workshop was an initiative conducted by Google. The world’s most used search engine had invited its premium partners to nominate the inspiring female leaders of their organisations. Rachna Ganatra – Head of Strategy and Business Development – represented Social Beat in the workshop. The event was geared towards understanding gender disparity issues that women face at work. It also threw light on how to overcome systematic and personal barriers in career success, building confidence, recognising and creating strong connections and making a robust personal plan to move ahead.

womenwill workshop

The workshop was conducted by the very accomplished and vibrant team of woman entrepreneurs Jinny Riat and Neha Kalia who used a lot of storytelling and kept the audience engaged throughout the workshop. It was amazing how participants opened up about challenges, personal experiences and collectively worked on exercises that were geared towards a lot of self-reflection and taking ownership to drive solutions.

Key takeaways from the workshop

  • Understanding gender disparity in digital agencies
    • Women in digital agencies make up 53% of entry-level employees but only 19% become C-Level executives.
    • 7% of leadership positions within Google Premier Partners are held by Women.
    • Campaign Diversity Research shows that only 9% of leadership positions within the industry are held by women, while 89% of women are motivated to lead.
  • Recognising our unconscious bias: This requires a lot of mindfulness to understand and classify the bias as it occurs in our own thoughts first. Brands need to use logic and build a common ground to deal with each of the following:
    • Likeability Bias
    • Performance Evaluation Bias
    • Performance Attribution Bias
    • Maternal Bias
  • Tips to get rid of self-doubt that most women suffer from: It was an eye-opener to learn from Google that women are the worst critics of themselves. As per recent Google statistics, a woman applies for a job when she has a requirement level of 90%, but a man applies when the level is just 60%. Also, women are bad negotiators when it comes to salary.
  • Accepting your achievements and owning them is clearly important and women should train themselves to understand that they deserve it all. The “I AM REMARKABLE” session, conducted by Sujatha Kumar, was specially designed to get participants to recognise their key qualities and why they were remarkable both at work and personal life.

womenwill workshop - I am remarkable

The day-long workshop was a wonderful opportunity for self-learning and reflection. Additionally, the attendees shared space with other exceptional women in the industry, with a lot of bonding over wonderful personal experiences. Since Social Beat is an organisation which has more than 65% women in its workforce, the insights were really helpful and inspirational.

However, it was not all about learning. The venue, decor, goodies and food were all tastefully done with a thematic layout across. Not only was the workshop extremely enriching and enlightening, but it also had a vibrant ambience, accounting for a day of laughter and bonding.

womenwill workshop - Eatables

womenwill workshop - Decor

As the saying goes – A woman is unstoppable when she realises she deserves better. Social Beat is happy and proud to be part of this initiative. You can also read our blog on women in leadership and how to retain talent in a start-up for more insights.

Vernacular videos for brand awareness – A case study

Ashok Leyland is a pioneer in the commercial vehicle space and is the 12th largest manufacturer of trucks and 4th largest manufacturer of buses in the world. Below is a case study of a video campaign we executed for them.

Objective

Being one of the leading manufacturers of trucks in the nation, Ashok Leyland wanted to honour and express their gratitude towards truck drivers for their love, support and unrelenting efforts. The brand was looking for an engaging video with an emotional connection to celebrate the true unsung heroes this Diwali. The objective was to bring out the fact that it is because of the tireless efforts of these truck drivers that the entire world can celebrate Diwali with great pomp and gaiety.

Our approach

Since a majority of the target group for Ashok Leyland are small business owners from the tier 2 and tier 3 cities of the nation, we took up a multilingual approach for better reach. Affordable data plans and drop in the prices of smartphones has led to an increase in consumption of vernacular content.  In this regard, adopting a multilingual marketing strategy is crucial as it has enormous power to influence the next billion internet users in India.  Since most of the truck drivers communicate in regional languages, we recommended a Hindi vox-pop video as the best medium due to its engaging and interactive nature. Hence, the video “Diwali Ke Asli hero Kaun Hai?” was born. As part of this vox-pop digital marketing campaign, people were questioned about various aspects of their Diwali celebrations. They were also asked to guess the people who worked continuously without taking a day off even for Diwali. The most common responses of the people were soldiers, doctors, milk vendors and security guards. Few respondents spoke about the role of truck drivers in transporting raw materials from various production hubs. Due to its conversational nature, the video was extremely powerful in recognising the valuable contributions of the truck drivers towards nation building.

The Reach

“Diwali Ke Asli hero Kaun hai?” was promoted on all the major social networking channels of Ashok Leyland with the hashtag #YehDiwaliBadiNirali. This was also one of the most trending vernacular vox-pop videos of 2018.  The video garnered over 2.5 lakh views across platforms with 3.1K comments and 400+ shares. Another highlighting feature of this video is that it was extremely successful in tapping the emotional chord of the audience. The viewers were enlightened on how happiness reaches them with the help of these truck drivers. The campaign has greatly uplifted Ashok Leyland into a socially responsible brand by throwing a positive light on the company and portraying it as a goodwill ambassador of its stakeholders.

These numbers are proof that multilingual marketing is the way to go. The reach of vernacular content and interactive nature of videos go hand-in-hand in widening your audience and telling your brand story. For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

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