Google announced the beta launch of its Neighbourly app last week. Neighbourly is a location-based app that connects you to people in your neighbourhood and helps you find the most up-to-date, relevant, and credible answers to your questions about the locality.
For example, if you want to know if there is a good, affordable math private tuition centre in the vicinity, people in your neighbourhood can help you find one. Likewise, if you’re looking for a reliable electrician near you or a place where you can quickly get a print-out, the app is designed to help you.
So, how is the launch of the Neighbourly app going to impact the digital marketing landscape in India? Here are five key points:
The Neighbourly app has been launched by Google, as part of their Next Billion Users (NBU) project.
India’s internet population stood at 481 million in Dec 2017. With the population at about 1.4 billion, there are still nearly a billion Indian's yet to access the internet! It is these billion users that Google is going after with their NBU initiatives like Google Station (providing free WIFi to 400 railway stations across India) and now, the Neighbourly app.
These initiatives will accelerate the pace at which the next billion users come online and will rapidly increase the reach for digital marketing.
If you are looking for the best ways to reach the next billion users, here’s a deck that will help you:
Out of the next billion users yet to access the internet in India, over 90% of them are not proficient in English. That will bring about 900 million people online who will want to access the internet and consume content in their vernacular language.
If you want to succeed with your digital marketing efforts going forward, you must include vernacular language content and advertising as part of your strategy. Here’s an interesting case study of how a multilingual approach got us 90% growth in leads
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, has said in an interview to The Economic Times in 2017 that “Over time you will see more global products that are developed in India first.”
India’s diversity in terms of languages, regions, traditions and social strata, combined with the fact that less than half of its 1.3 billion-plus population is using the internet, makes it a great testing ground for new internet apps and products, for large global companies like Google.
Neighbourly is not the first app or initiative which Google has built with an India-first approach. Payments app Tez, two-wheeler navigation on Google Maps and missed calls in Google Adwords are other initiatives where Google has earlier adopted an India-first approach.
Going forward, we could see a lot more global companies using India as a launch pad for their tech and internet products
One of the key reasons why Google is building apps like Neighbourly is to capture user data. With apps like Neighbourly, Google can capture a lot of hyperlocal user data from millions of users. Moreover, with the growth of voice search, we are hoping the same will be integrated with the Neighbourly App, leading the next billion internet users in India to have a seamless experience. This data is invaluable and can be used not just for extensive research but also to enhance ad targeting capabilities. Which brings us to the next point.
Google Adwords has been constantly enhancing its targeting capabilities to make the platform more powerful for advertisers. Some of the more recent additions have been the inclusion of custom intent audiences and life events targeting. All these improvements become possible only when Google knows more and more about each individual. As Google becomes more data-rich with its various NBU initiatives, Adwords will become a much more potent tool for digital marketers.
It’s important to keep an eye out for these feature enhancements and test them as soon as they come in to stay on top of the game.
What are the other ways you think Google’s next billion users project could impact digital marketing in India? Do let us know in the comments below.