It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing is constantly in a state of flux. What works today might be completely obsolete tomorrow. If your brand is still continuing to use the same techniques in 2019 as you did in the previous year, expect to see declining results. To ensure your brands stay on top of its digital marketing game this year, here are nine of the most important trends to stay ahead of.
An explosion of vernacular content online
The online space in India is set to get even more colourful and diverse. As even larger numbers of users get access to low-cost internet and affordable mobile phones, there will be a greater demand for internet content in the languages they understand best. To cater to this growing internet audience, brands need to push vernacular to the front and centre of their digital marketing strategy. Right from their websites, to their apps, social media campaigns, performance advertising and even social media listening, Indic languages should be the focus.
Speaking to regional audiences involves more than just taking a brand’s main communication and translating it into various languages. Instead, it requires them to develop communications aimed specifically at these audiences, keeping their unique needs, challenges and desires at the core. Only by doing this can they create that all-important personal connection with consumers. 22 Languages, one of the top vernacular startups, is designed specifically to help brands reach out to a larger audience in vernacular languages.
The seeds of voice search were sowed back in 2018, but it is in 2019 that this trend will fully come into its own. Today, it isn’t just mobile that’s driving voice search, but the proliferation of smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant. The push for voice search will also be coming from the other end of the spectrum, from users who are just starting to use the internet or who might not even know how to type. But regardless of who the audience for voice search is, one thing is certain: SEO as we know it will have to change. Traditional keyword research will become obsolete since user queries will be completely different when using voice search. Voice also means that position zero, the ‘featured snippet’ will become even more coveted. 99% of voice search results draw from the featured snippet, so content creators will have to focus even harder on optimising their content for Google to pick it up.
Be sure to watch our detailed video on a complete guide to Voice Search Marketing for more tips and insights.
Videos and interactive content
While videos have been around for decades, they have only recently started exploding on digital platforms and social media. In 2019, if your brand doesn’t have a strong repertoire of engaging, high-quality videos, you could be missing out on a sizeable audience. YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine, can become even more essential in 2019. Through techniques like YouTube SEO, brands can ensure that their content is visible to relevant audiences. 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.
But the importance of videos extends beyond just YouTube. Videos on landing pages and in emails have been shown to improve performance and conversions. Facebook is also witnessing a growing popularity of videos. In one survey, around 44% of respondents admitted to watching at least 5 videos every day on the platform.
As videos gain momentum, multiple video formats are also being developed and explored. Interactive videos are emerging as a popular option due to the higher user engagement they deliver. In these videos, users are required to take some form of action which can influence the video. This could be either in terms of the content displayed or the storyline that the video takes. Apart from interactive content, live videos are also creating a stir. Currently, they are available on Instagram and Facebook, while YouTube is also starting to introduce it. Live videos are a great way for brands to showcase ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage and develop a more personal connect with their audience.
Smarter interactive chatbots
Chatbots have been slowly making an entry from 2017, however, chatbots in 2019 will be more intelligent than ever before. Most chatbots currently have a limited script, usually offering a fixed set of options that users can choose from. Once the query is narrowed down, users are often transferred to a human representative to resolve it. With the advent of AI, however, chatbots are likely to completely replace the human aspect previous involved. They are programmed to be smarter, respond to a wide number of queries in a meaningful way and resolve issues without requiring any human intervention. In fact, through AI, chatbots are likely to be able to keep up a long conversation with users without coders having to input a long script beforehand. As the technology matures, you can expect chatbots to become even more ubiquitous as brands capitalise on their low cost and higher efficiency.
AI for better audience targeting
AI isn’t just for smarter chatbots; it is also becoming the most accurate way for brands to identify their core audience and develop core messaging for them. Through a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence, predictive customer analytics can eliminate much of the guesswork involved with digital marketing.
One way they do this is by assigning a ‘lead score’ to leads generated. AI can analyse large volumes of leads at a time, identify common patterns, group them into various buckets based on their behaviour and help you create hyper-personalised content for them. Since personalisation is key to nurturing leads, AI can almost certainly lead to higher conversions for marketers. AI can also identify similarities in current consumers and generate custom targeting options that marketers can utilise to ensure more accurate delivery of ads. This will help improve the quality of leads generated via digital.
UX and AMP for desktop
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was a crucial mobile ranking factor for websites in 2018. In 2019, the importance of AMP will not be limited to mobiles alone. Google recently made AMP available for desktops versions of websites as well. With this feature, users will be able to enjoy the same speed and easy navigation that AMP offers even while browsing on their desktop.
With the introduction of this feature, it’s time for brands to re-look at their website and how user-friendly it is. By making their websites (or at least critical, content-heavy sections like blogs) AMP-friendly, brands might be able to enjoy greater visibility on search engines. Since AMP pages are also easier for users to navigate through, an improved UX can encourage them to spend more time on the website and learn more information about the brand.
In 2019, almost 65% of all digital media buying will be programmatic. Programmatic is without a doubt the most cost-effective, efficient way for advertisers to purchase digital ad space. Unlike previous methods which required human intervention and manual bids, programmatic algorithms can determine the best media mix and automatically purchase it. This technology enables marketers to reach a scale previously unthought of. They can target larger audiences over a wider variety of channels with absolutely no time or effort lost. Since it can optimise in real-time, markets can do a lot more with their budgets and reduce their cost-per-leads.
Decline in organic search and traffic
With every new SERP feature that Google introduced, organic traffic takes a hit. Click-through-rates have been steadily dropping and 2019 will be a continuation of this trend. Answer boxes, for instance, answers a user’s query without them having to actually click on a link. So while your page might show up on a featured snippet, you might not notice a significant rise in organic traffic to that page.
So does this mean the sun has set on the SEO empire? Fortunately, no. This just means that marketers will need to re-align their SEO strategy. For example, they will need to start focusing more on creating brand awareness and driving up brand searches. When users start searching for your company’s name, Google cannot prevent users from clicking on your website. It also means tailoring your content specifically for higher click-through rates. You need to give users enough information that Google picks it up and displays it, but not enough for their curiosity to be satisfied. If users are only getting half an answer from your snippet, they are more likely to click on your page to get the full information.
Decline in organic reach on Instagram
Previously, organic reach on Facebook had taken a hit, with pages showing close to zero reach without paid promotions. In 2019, all signs are pointing towards Instagram going down the same route. As Instagram grows in popularity and adds new users every minute, it predictably wants brands to start paying for higher reach. If your company page doesn’t have adequate promotional budgets, then it’s time to scale up this year. But while showcasing your brand on Instagram might become more expensive, it’s still completely worth it. India currently has around 71 million active users and this number is only set to grow from here. Clearly, brands cannot afford to neglect this audience, paid or otherwise.
2019 is proving to be an exciting year for brands, giving them opportunities to experiment with new ad formats and strategies. By taking advantage of these upcoming trends, brands can gain a strong lead over their competition.
A while ago, we shared the worlds’ best digital marketing blogs which covered a comprehensive range of the kind of content that is being created and shared worldwide. And then we got to wondering, how well-versed in the Indian market with the digital era?
An increasing number of Indian brands are going digital and the key is to keep yourself updated with the latest marketing trends and digital discoveries and use them to the best of your capabilities to expand your business. After all, digital media is all about growing. So, after a lot of backbreaking research, we got down to rounding up some of the best digital marketing blogs in India which could help you guide your way forward in the social media and digital space. You may also find it interesting to read our book on digital marketing insights or subscribe to our YouTube Channel. If you think we missed some amazing blogs, please do comment below and let us know.
Founded by Aditya Gupta and Ankit Gaba, Social Samosa is the provenance of high-toned content which encompasses of agency highlights, in-depth case studies, interviews with prominent icons in the digital world, campaign reviews along with tips and tools that could help you grow profoundly in the social media expanse. The idea is to help businesses understand the world of social media locally and globally.
Deepak Kanakaraju is a leading marketing consultant from Bangalore. Prior to being a consultant, he worked as a digital marketing manager for leading brands such as Instamojo, Exotel, Practo and Razorpay. He is also a published author and his book “How to get your dream digital marketing job” is a handy guide for aspiring digital marketing professionals. His blog Digital Deepak covers a wide range of topics ranging from digital marketing tips to entrepreneurship.
Digital Ready is a leading digital marketing training centre based out of Hyderabad. Their blog is a comprehensive guide for young professionals to understand A-Z of digital marketing. From latest updates and best practices to tips and tricks, Digital Ready covers everything in the world of digital marketing. They also offer digital marketing certifications and placement solutions for students.
Like Campaign Asia, the blogs at Campaign India cover the trending topics in digital media and they act like a solo powerhouse of information that is adequate for online marketers. The content found on this platform is mostly news and opinions from the digital world.
Focused mainly towards digital marketers and CMOs who are looking to create a footprint in the world of digital marketing, Social Beat blogs cater to a variety of industries. The content in the blogs aims at helping businesses understand how different strategies can help them grow their business online. The blogs are enriched with quality insights and goal-oriented strategies to help brands get best ROI from their digital marketing efforts. You may also find it interesting to read our book on digital marketing insights or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
From the latest news to the top digital media trends, Lighthouse Insights provides everything. Timely interviews with eminent personalities from the creative world are also covered in their content hemisphere. These articles are something to look forward to for people who love nibbling on digi facts and understandings.
Sorav Jain is yet another digital marketing expert in India. His blog is a great platform to understand the latest tips and tricks for social media marketing. Apart from being a leading digital marketing consultant, he is also an author and a trainer. 101 content marketing tips on social media and Social Media for Business are the two books authored by him. Another striking highlight of Sorav’s blog is # DigitaltalkswithSorav where he interviews various industrial experts.
Shout Me Loud
The blogs of Shout Me Loud offer tips on WordPress, SEO, money blogging and affiliate marketing. Shout Me Loud also covers exclusive high quality content for beginners on how to make a career out of blogging. It is one of the award winning blogs that gives useful tips on how to become an entrepreneur with the help of blogging. Shout Me loud is owned by Harsh Agrawal, a blogging expert from New Delhi. Today, Shout Me Loud has attracted about 900,000 readers across the world.
Digital Vidya is one of the leading platforms that offers digital marketing courses in India. Their blog section covers all things digital and has detailed step by step guides on each digital platform. Additionally, Digital Vidya blog also has case studies on various industries, which helps brands and marketers alike.
Influencer.in is one of India’s leading influencer marketing platforms, connecting brands with bloggers and Influencers. The blog provides excellent insights influencer marketing and tips for bloggers. It is the best resource to stay up to date with Influencer marketing news and tactics for a successful campaign.
The Over-the-top (OTT) content is the next big thing in video content according to the report ‘Entertainment Goes Online’ published by the Boston Consulting Group. OTT is video content consumed over the internet as opposed to traditional media. The report states that the OTT market is estimated to become a $5 billion market by 2023. This shift in the market is a result of various elements such as the rising affluence in the country, an increase in the infiltration of data and smartphones into rural areas and the adoption of this data across numerous demographics in the market including older generations and women. In recent years, the OTT space in India has become incredibly competitive and is attracting various players with different business models such as Netflix and Amazon.
Why has the OTT market increased in India?
The study Entertainment Goes Online is a consumer survey report that aims to understand the reasons why consumers prefer OTT content over traditional forms of media. The results of the survey show that there is a demand for different forms of OTT like SVOD (subscription-based platforms), AVOD (advertising-based platforms) and TVOD (transaction-based platforms) where these models can not just co-exist but thrive as well. There are many reasons why OTT content has become so popular in India:
1. Improved connectivity in rural areas and a fall in data costs
Thanks to the introduction of Reliance Jio, data has become more affordable and accessible to people all over India. Research has shown that after the introduction of Jio, the quarterly consumption of data has increased by tenfold with the growth driven primarily by the consumption of data on a mobile device. On-the-go data consumption is more efficient and the Reliance Jio has made this accessible for all thereby creating a large market for OTT consumption.
2. Increase in the use of smartphones
In the last 5 years, there has been a large growth in the usage of TVs and smartphones in India and it has become an integral part of everyone’s lives. There are 3 billion smartphones worldwide with 450+ million of them in the Indian market. Smart TVs have also become increasingly popular and do not require a setup box allowing consumers to watch content on the web, on a mobile app or on their Smart TVs.
3. The supply of content
Indians usually consumed video content on Youtube but the OTT market started off with content from local market players. With the entry of global companies such as Netflix and Amazon, Indian consumers are prepared to pay more for compelling content. The variety of content available on these platforms has led to the growth in viewership around the country which has fed into an increase in online video advertising as well. In India, the OTT content platform Hotstar has had a massive reach in the audience and a 10x growth since its launch in 2015. Till date, there have been 350Mn installs, 180 Mn monthly active users with each user spending 43 minutes on the platform each day.
4. Favourable demographics
India is witnessing a large shift in the income distribution in the country with an increase in its affluent population. This upward mobilisation and increased access to smartphones have led to greater online consumption via OTT. One of India’s major media platforms, Hotstar, gets 88% of its traffic from the age group of 18-34. Additionally, the availability of internet in rural parts of India has expanded the demand for OTT content. Research shows that by 2020 50% of internet users will be from rural areas in India. The favourable demographics create a large market for OTT to take off in India.
Key learnings from the study
The study conducted by BCG identified three types of viewers in the Indian market:
Traditionalist– These consumers usually consume content on conventional forms of media. They watch TV but not OTT and account for 60% of those surveyed.
OTT experimenter- These are people that consume content on OTT and traditional forms of media. They are avid watchers of AVOD and account for 30 per cent of those surveyed.
Early adopter– This is a person that consumes content on OTT platforms only. While this is still an urban phenomenon, more people will join this group in the upcoming years. They are heavy watchers of SVOD and accounted for 10 per cent of those surveyed.
By 2023, it is estimated that 48% of India’s internet users will be from rural parts. This will provide a largely untapped market for new OTT players who will have the opportunity to tap into rural markets that have access to the internet. ‘‘Indian content, including music, Bollywood content and cricket, have a large following in the Indian diaspora also. OTT players with Indian content have the potential to tap into this market too’”, said Gaurav Jindal, Principal at the Boston Consulting Group.
According to Kanchan Samtani, a Partner and Director at Boston Consulting Group, ‘one of the key insights in the study were that although OTTs use top-notch hero content to attract consumers, these customers do not stick on for long unless they are engaged by strong marketing efforts on the part of the OTT.’
How can OTT players capture the Indian market?
Although the market for OTT companies is large, there is still a long way to go before the market catches up to its counterparts in the western world. The BCG report examines six ways OTT companies can penetrate the Indian market:
1. Breaking the clutter: A strong marketing challenge
Many consumers today are faced with a choice of more than 30 OTT platforms that they consider to be mostly homogeneous. Many companies assume that consumers are rational and can decide which platform is right for them, but in reality, it is the duty of the companies to guide customers to their various choices and let them know how the platform can meet their entertainment needs.
2. Differentiated content is king
The best way for OTT platforms to gain customers is to differentiate themselves from other companies. There are many companies that provide the same type of ‘hero’ content so in order to be successful OTT, companies need to create an identity for themselves and provide unique content. There are still numerous untapped ‘niches’ in the Indian market such as music and programs for kids. There is also a desire to view and listen to Bollywood music which is still a feature that is not available on most OTT platforms along with a lack of kid-specific content on the platforms.
3. The strategy needs to be geographically focused
Creating more content in a regional language that is more culturally specific is in demand among consumers in India. The vernacular content can help the OTT platform cover smaller segments such as news, religion or spiritual content. There is also a market for ‘relevant focused religious plays’ in various parts of the country. Therefore it is important for OTT companies to leverage this to their advantage and pick important markets and invest carefully. Additionally, focusing on regional content can help an OTT platform differentiate themselves from their competitors. The OTT platform Hotstar offers over 40K hours of regional programming. It is estimated that up to 40% of their users consume content in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Malayalam.
4. Consumer data, consumer insight, big data and analytics
Big data has become increasingly popular in recent years and it helps companies gain a competitive advantage in the market. Analysing data can help gain an understanding of consumer insights and the data analytics can help monetize the OTT platform.
OTT creates a large amount of data and it is vital for companies in the industry to understand where consumers come from and what they watch. This can help predict consumers interests moving forward so they can provide a service in the most cost-effective manner. Understanding customer interests at this granular level can help companies take their platform to the next level.
5. Establishing a new currency for the OTT industry for measurement
OTT companies need to create a currency to measure the impact of advertisers is synonymous with the value added. The currency is especially useful for AVOD models where the currency can help take a more holistic approach to the value and analyse the quantum, quality and segments. A common currency will also bring more acceptance among ad buyers which can help increase the number of OTT watchers.
6. Invest in the right tech, create a user-friendly, economically viable product
Consumers demand a lot from online platforms and are often influenced by various touchpoints. OTT platform companies need to be able to understand and address their concerns on technology in an effective way in order to scale their business. The companies need to create a user-friendly platform to help build critical mass. This critical mass will help platforms improve their overall customer service experience across different devices.
There is a big opportunity in the over-the-top market in India. It is important for companies to scale their business and monetise this opportunity which can help result in significant gains. With the rise in the affordability and accessibility of platforms, there will be a lot of competition in this market and only a few companies may emerge victorious.
The main challenge for a mutual funds company in India is attracting a wider audience, especially among the younger demographic. Investments are often considered too complicated for a layperson to understand, with little to no short-term gains. But while the benefits of investments remain a vague concept, individuals are all too familiar with the pain of having their salaries reduced because of taxes. TATA Mutual Funds has woven these twin concerns to raise awareness of the tax-saving benefits of investing in an ELSS scheme.
To capitalise on the growing potential of video and market their product in a completely innovative way, TATA Mutual Fund collaborated with Social Beat, a leading digital marketing solutions company. Social Beat conceptualised a video campaign for them that would break through the clutter and stand out in the competitive mutual funds space in India. Comprising of four short videos based around a common theme, the video campaign highlighted the importance of investing in an ELSS tax-saving scheme.
The idea behind the campaign
Cometh March and the heebie-jeebies flare up like rashes. One dreads to look at the pay-slip as the fear of ‘katauti’ gets amplified. Tata Mutual Fund’s latest campaign on ELSS captures this feeling of being short-changed. A series of 4 ads have protagonists across demographics including a working woman, a management trainee, a sportsman and an executive relaxing in his home.
TATA Mutual Funds looked to Social Beat to highlight this common grouse by presenting their ELSS scheme in a completely different way. Speaking about the objective behind their campaign, Mr Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat, said, “We wanted to make the ELSS scheme more relatable for audiences. The one factor that our entire audience has in common is that no one likes their income being reduced because of tax. We distilled this idea into the central concept for our campaign: ‘How people feel when they don’t get what they deserve’. This idea gave us plenty of room to play around with and communicate the benefits of an ELSS scheme in a creative way.”
Conceptualising and creating the campaign
Building on this concept, the team at Social Beat created four videos based around common storylines that most people can relate to. They used everyday scenarios that everyone, no matter what their age or gender, can identify with, for instance, shopping for groceries and ordering a pizza. The frustration that the characters feel when they get one less slice of pizza than what they expected or when the vendor gives them fewer vegetables than what they asked for, is similar to what many of us go through when our salaries are reduced because of tax. This idea was distilled into the catchy hashtag #NoToKatauti.”
The final launch
The videos are currently being promoted on YouTube and Facebook. With an incredible 225 million and 240 million Indians respectively on these platforms, they are certain to attract a large viewership. “Content is the crucial differentiator when there is product parity. Technology helps make an incisive reach to the correct set of audiences. We chose to take up video on digital because of its growth as a primary form of content consumption. Initial reactions to our films have been that of “Hey! This is exactly how I feel when my March payslip has a ‘skimmed’ salary for the month!” The Distributor Community too have lapped up the commercial and shared positive feedback. With over a million impressions and counting, this is easily amongst our most successful online campaigns,” says M.V.S.Murthy, Head – Marketing, Digital & Corporate Communications, Tata Mutual Fund
For a BFSI company looking to create brand awareness and improving customer retention, videos have clearly become one of the most effective strategies to employ.
As a landmark development, YouTube has now expanded its non-skippable ad format to more creators, brands and advertisers who are looking to monetise their content. One of the many advantages of non-skippable ads is that your brand can reach its target audience with a complete message. Also, since there is no option to skip the video, your customers have no choice, but to watch the entire ad campaign. With a duration of 15 seconds, non-skippable in-stream ads are very short in nature and pop up before, in between or after a video.
Where do non-skippable in-stream ads appear?
Ideally, non-skippable ads appear on YouTube, partner sites and apps associated with the Google Display Network. The charges for the ads are estimated based on CPM (cost per thousand impressions) bidding. In this case, you need to pay each time when your ad is shown 1000 times.
Steps to implement your non-skippable in-stream ads
Choose your campaign type and marketing objective
When it comes to the goal of your marketing campaign, your ad campaign dashboard gives you a plethora of options such as sales, leads, product & brand consideration, app promotion, website traffic and brand awareness & reach. For non-skippable in-stream ads choose your primary marketing objective as “brand awareness & reach”. The next step is to opt for your campaign type as “video”.
Set your campaign subtype as non-skippable reach
Ideally, YouTube offers 5 different forms of campaign subtypes such as standard awareness, skippable in-stream, non-skippable in-stream, outstream ads for mobile and ad sequence. So, when your marketing objective is brand awareness & reach, you need to set your campaign subtype to non-skippable in-stream ads.
Create your ad campaign
The first step in executing your ad campaign is to give the title of your campaign. Make sure your campaign name is within the limit of 120 characters. The next important task is to enter your budget value. This can be either total or daily accepted value. Once you set your budget, you can customise your campaign flight dates and other settings such as language and location. It will be great if you opt for video partners on the Digital Network to ensure maximum reach.
Set your bidding strategy
For non-skippable in-stream ads, the bidding strategy should be set to Target CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Ideally, through Target CPM, you are signing up for the average amount for every thousand times when your ad is shown.
Create your video ad
Choose an appropriate YouTube video which will be used for the ad campaign. Please note that your video ad cannot be longer than 15 seconds. If you wish to run a 20 second video ad, you have to contact the Google team for a whitelist request.
Execute your ad campaign
This is the stage in which you are all set to display your non-skippable in-stream ad to your target audience. You can measure the performance of your ad campaign by checking the completion rate in intervals of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. However, statistics such as average cost per view, number of views and view rate will not be displayed in the case of non-skippable in-stream ads, since they are measured based on impressions alone.
With so many innovations and advanced features, this is the right time for brands and advertisers to venture into YouTube advertising. The biggest advantage is that new features like non-skippable in-stream ads play a huge role in executing cost-effective ad campaigns to reach the next billion internet users in India. Apart from this, they also give you the opportunity to monitor real time insights about the views of your ad campaign.
Road safety has become more important over the years as the number of cars on the road has continued to increase. Traffic safety is essential as it helps prevent drivers of vehicles from causing accidents and hitting pedestrians. Laws are enforced to ensure the safe and efficient flow of traffic.
Social Beat recently did a video on road safety titled ‘A Day in the Office ft. Bad Drivers’. The objective of the video was to mirror the bad behaviour of drivers on the road in our everyday office life. It took a hilarious stance on road safety and covered rules such as ‘Don’t text while driving’ and ‘Don’t drive on pavements’ with the use of common office etiquette as examples. The video aimed to communicate the message that the rules you follow at the workplace should be followed on the road as well.
The video was promoted on Facebook and Instagram and had a total reach of 26,264.
It helped broaden our presence and increase engagement on social media and increase the number of subscribers and followers on different social media platforms. The video also demonstrated our expertise across different video types.