Is SEO really dying? It’s complicated

Quite possibly no other component of digital marketing has been as subjected to the imaginations of conspiracy theorists as SEO has. Almost every year, new claims come out about the death of SEO which are then consequently debunked by experts in the field. But this time, the assertion isn’t coming from marketers pushing for more PPC campaigns, but from concerned content creators themselves.

So why are experienced professionals in the field worried that 2019 could signal the death knell of SEO? Here are a couple of factors that might explain their fears.

  1. Organic CTR is the lowest it’s ever been

With every SERP feature that Google adds, click-through-rates take another dip. In the past, if a user were to search for the weather, they would have to click on a result, enter the website and look for their answer on the page. But now? The search results would look something like this:

is seo dying

This feature is great for users who can now get their queries answered faster, but for a website? Not so much!

These new features don’t just affect broad searches but long-tail queries as well. A first-time real estate investor, for instance, might search for ‘how to calculate stamp duty’ to clear up their questions on it. When they do that, Google will present them the answer neatly packaged in this featured snippet:

is seo dying

If you are wondering how to get the coveted featured snippet. Here is an interesting video:

Since the user already has the answer to their question, they might not feel the need to actually click on the website. What this means for content creators and website owners is that while their search rankings might improve, overall organic traffic to the website might not grow proportionally.

  1. Google Maps eats up local search traffic

Businesses, understandably, want users to visit their website for all information related to them. This is especially important for local businesses such as restaurants and cafes since purchase intent is typically higher for local searches. However, Google might be hoarding most of this traffic for itself. If a user searches for cafes or restaurant, for example, their search results today looks very different than it did just a few years ago. In the past, they would see a restaurant listing when searching for ‘Chinese food near me’, click on the website link that appealed to them and check out the menu and contact details on their website.

Today, while they will still see restaurant listings, clicking on one will take them to Google Maps and not the restaurant’s website.

is seo dying

 

is seo dying

 

Of course, a user will still be able to utilise the information provided by Google to visit the restaurant or make a reservation (and thereby convert into a customer). But a business’ website might have less reach and decreased organic performance.

  1. Mobile search is most heavily impacted

For the last few years, a mobile-first approach to SEO (and almost everything related to digital marketing) has been adopted by marketers everywhere by implementing strategies like AMP. The number of mobile users and mobile searches have also been on an upward trajectory in the last few years, underlining the importance of mobile SEO. However, recent statistics about the nature of mobile searches have emerged, making marketers wonder if mobile SEO still has the same ‘do-or-die’ effect that it did a year ago.

According to Rand Fishkin of Moz, mobile no-click searches have grown by 11 percent, almost 2.5 percent higher than no-click searches on desktop. With these seemingly gloomy numbers, it’s no wonder that websites and brands are worried that they might be losing out on a chunk of their organic mobile audience.

  1. Voice search is increasing no-click searches

Voice search can be interpreted as both a boon and a bane for marketers. On one hand, it’s a growing new platform to make their brand more visible to users and one of the biggest digital marketing trends of 2019. On the other hand, no-click searches are most prevalent on voice search. For brands and marketers, this poses a unique conundrum: is voice search worth ranking for or will it provide absolutely no value in terms or traffic and brand awareness?

But does this mean SEO is dying?

The simple answer to that question is, no. With SEO, when one door closes, another opens. There are certainly many facets of SEO that are dead or dying today, but that has always been the case since its inception. As users, platforms and Google’s algorithm evolves, SEO needs to adapt to keep up.

Instead of getting bogged down by all the alarming statistics being thrown around about the end of SEO, marketers should instead focus on realigning their SEO strategy in the following ways.

  1. Grow branded searches

If there’s one keyword that Google cannot steal traffic from, it’s searches for your brand. For example, if a user were to search for just ‘digital marketing companies in India’, Google would first list out map listings of companies.

is seo dying

However, if they were to directly search for ‘Social Beat’, none of Google’s SERP features would show up to distract them from clicking on our website.

is seo dying

Going forward, therefore, brands need to focus on building the strength and volume of branded searches if they want relevant traffic on their website.

  1. Shift focus from volume to CTR%

Most keyword research today consists of analysing keyword volume and difficulty alone. But with the new SERP features, high volume keywords don’t necessarily guarantee high traffic from them. To counteract this, content creators should include a third dimension when choosing keywords to optimise their content with: CTR percentage. By carefully choosing a keyword that has a high click-through-rate, content marketers can be assured that they will be creating content that will drive organic traffic to their website and not just adding to Google’s no-click search percentages.

is seo dying

You can do a simple CTR analysis through most keyword research tools. In this example, we used Ahrefs to dig deep into our focus keyword, ‘digital marketing blogs’. According to the results that the tool gave us, this keyword is worth trying to rank for as 65% of those searching for the keyword have clicked on a result.

  1. Design content for SERP features

In the case of SERP features, content marketers are better off following the adage, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them!’. A featured snippet, can either steal traffic from your website or increase it depending upon how you tailor your information for it. If a user can get all the information they require for their query from the snippet without having to actually click on the link, chances are they aren’t going to visit your website. But if you can offer users just enough information and intrigue them so they click on your link to read more, then the featured snippet can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal to drive traffic to your website.

For example, if a user knows that this list includes 10 mobile wallets, but the snippet only displays a few of them, they will be more likely to click on the link to read the full list.

is seo dying

  1. Develop innovative content based on long-tail keyword

Creating 10x content and using long-tail keywords have always been the cornerstones of modern SEO, but they were never more important than they are today. The goal for content marketers today is to create in-depth content on nuanced topics that cannot be pigeonholed into any of Google’s SERP features. Essentially, the longer a keyword is, the greater the chance of your actual website ranking for it and not an answer box or any other feature.

Even if parts of your content can snag a featured snippet, it should offer your audience several useful elements that they need to click on your link to explore. The demand for interactive content is on the rise and thankfully, Google hasn’t found a way to display interactive tools directly on SERP yet. Tools like calculators, interactive maps, planners and more can drive organic traffic to your website and offer immense value to your readers.

If SEO is dying, then the one thing offering it CPR is pillar content. This unique comprehensive content format has created waves in the SEO sphere, promising almost an instant surge in traffic and even several high-quality leads. The secret ingredient that makes pillar content so powerful is that it is linked to several related articles within your blog, providing instant link juice to each of them. Because of this, organic traffic to your blog and overall website improve dramatically.

is seo dying

For example, we created a pillar for our client Shriram Properties on ‘A Complete Guide for First-Time Homebuyers in India’. Within a matter of weeks, it started ranking for over 1000 keywords in total and for 100 keywords on page 1. Achieving similar results for a regular page within such a short time span would have been close to impossible with a regular page.

is seo dying

  1. Meta titles and descriptions still matter

If there’s one thing that has stayed constant in the ever-fluctuating landscape of SEO, it’s that meta descriptions and titles can make or break your organic traffic. These two elements are the simplest, yet most crucial aspects of SEO. If all your hard work has helped your content reach Page 1, but the title and description aren’t compelling enough for users to click on it, your traffic is unlikely to show any improvement. It is also important that content creators don’t get disillusioned by the variety of SERP features available today. A study by Ahrefs found that featured snippets get only 8.6 percent of clicks, while the next result gets 19.6 percent of the clicks!

is seo dying

So even if your brand has lost out on the featured snippet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your organic traffic will drop because of it.

  1. Branch out with barnacle SEO

Instead of putting all your eggs in a single basket, barnacle SEO offers you a way to spread your chances to drive more traffic and increase brand visibility. Today, ‘aggregator sites’ are more visible on Google than they ever were. These sites, for example, Zomato, Urban Clap and Little Black Book, list companies and services on their website. If a user were to search for best massage parlour in Chennai, their search results are most likely to throw up aggregator sites and not individual massage parlour websites.

is seo dying

Is this disheartening for individual businesses? Not necessarily. Trying to compete with aggregator sites will be a David vs. Goliath situation since these sites are typically larger and have a higher domain authority. Instead, businesses should try to get featured on aggregator sites to make their target audience aware of their brand and increase traffic to their website. Getting featured on a compilation can also increase the brand’s credibility in the eyes of the user.

  1. Get a headstart on YouTube SEO

With all the panic about Google’s CTR shrinking, many marketers tend to forget the second largest search engine in the world: YouTube. YouTube is beneficial for marketers for two reasons: 1. It’s a new platform to reach out to users and 2. It can help brands rank on Google as well.

The number of subscribers and video views on YouTube is growing exponentially – particularly in India. If you are finding it challenging to rank for a relevant keyword on Google because of high competition, YouTube could be an excellent way to circumvent this. You can read our in-depth blog on YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos to get started!

The second reason to optimise your videos for YouTube is just as important. One of Google’s SERP features is video listings pulled from YouTube that are related to a search term. If your brand is able to create a video that also ranks on Google’s SERP, then you will automatically be able to increase visibility and awareness of your brand.

is seo dying

This strategy is a great way for marketers to beat Google at its own game and use SERP features to their advantage.

You can also check out our video on ‘YouTube SEO: 8 Powerful Tips to Help Rank Your Videos’.

  1. Gear up for voice search

Voice search can be viewed as a disruptor or facilitator, but one thing’s for sure: marketers cannot afford to ignore it. Here are just a few incredible statistics on the growing importance of voice search:

  • 28% of search queries in India are through voice
  • By 2020, 50% of all global searches will be in voice
  • There is a 270% YoY growth in voice searches in India

To avoid being left behind in the voice search wave, marketers need to optimise their websites and brands to appear for voice queries. This can also help them reach out to new internet audiences, those who are from tier 2 and 3 cities and are more comfortable using voice than typing out a query.

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s that content marketing backed by continuous optimisation still has the highest ROI compared to any other type of campaign. By getting an early head start and implementing these elements in your content strategy before your competitors do, you can cement your position on Google’s SERP.

Social Beat and TATA Mutual remind taxpayers to say #NoToKatauti

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.

This article originally appeared in Campaign India.

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.

Digital Marketing for Pharma: Why Your Brand Can’t Afford to Neglect It

Digital marketing will be the next frontier for pharmaceutical companies as many of them are scaling up their consumer businesses and introducing an array of consumer brands. Traditionally, marketing innovation in the pharmaceutical industry has been stunted by heavy regulatory restrictions. Historically, pharmaceutical companies have had little to no interaction with their end-users-patients-since they depended entirely on their health care providers for medical knowledge and advice. With the digital medium democratising information in every sector, however, there is a huge opportunity for the pharma industry to develop patient-centric strategies and transform their fundamental business models. In fact, as patients become more digitally-savvy, the lines between pharma companies and patients will most likely become increasingly blurred. Digital marketing for pharma and healthcare will undoubtedly become the key differentiator for brands charting out a futuristic growth strategy.

There are five factors which make digital marketing for pharma companies essential.

Patients are better informed

Patients are not just passive recipients of prescriptions anymore. They are playing a more active role in their healthcare, researching various drugs and exercising their right to make the final decision about their health. This easy accessibility of information has both a negative and a positive side to it. On one hand, it means patients are more educated about their health than ever before. This empowers them to take more informed decisions about their health and fully understand side-effects that various drugs can have on their body. On the flip side, however, all information isn’t necessarily accurate information. To counter this, digital pharma strategies can help brands develop authority by providing patients with accurate, reliable information. By building a strong presence online and answering queries that patients might have, pharmaceutical brands can also develop a closer connection with their audience.

Shift from ‘patients’ to ‘consumers’

As a direct consequence of accessibility to information, end-users for pharma brands might soon be perceived as ‘consumers’ rather than ‘patients’. Marketing solely to health care professionals will not be viable in the long run as these might not be the actual consumers in the future. Armed with greater awareness, patients are in a better position to request or reject specific brands. The consumerisation of healthcare means that pharma companies will need to take a larger step towards consistently engaging users throughout their journey, ‘in good times and in bad’. Developing a strong and trustworthy brand image through digital pharma techniques has never been more important.

Transparency is forcing greater accountability

One patient’s experience with a drug no longer operates in a vacuum. The ability to track key physiological responses, progress and efficacy of medication (made possible through wearables and the interconnected Internet of Things network) has given individuals greater visibility into their healthcare. If they have a negative experience, they are very likely to share their journey publicly over social media and cause large-scale damage to a pharma company’s brand image. Unlike in the past, companies cannot control how much information about their product is available and how it is distributed. In this environment, digital marketing for pharma brands can effectively communicate the USPs of their drugs and develop a bond with consumers to win their trust.

New competitors are closing in

The pharmaceutical industry is unlikely to preserve the oligarchic market it enjoys today. With the proliferation of technology making user’s vital information more accessible, patient healthcare information is no longer in the sole control of healthcare providers. This has led to the emergence of new competitors in the pharma space -particularly from the tech industry. These digital pharma companies are moving beyond just drugs, providing patients with high-tech solutions that offer them greater visibility and control of their healthcare. Some of these include wearable activity trackers, ‘chips’, AI, VR and other potential disruptors in the space. If traditional pharma companies do not realign their strategy, they might not be able to compete with recent entrants to win the new age ‘consumer/patient’.

A wealth of data is available

With the huge volume of data available today, pharma companies cannot afford to neglect it. Brands can get a unique insight into their consumers concerns, behavioural habits and more. This data, that was previously unavailable, can help pharma brands build a more comprehensive digital strategy to engage with their end-users.

Top strategies in digital marketing for pharma

Since pharma brands have operated largely in the offline space, venturing into the digital medium can seem daunting. However, with these key digital marketing for pharma strategies, companies can soon start building a strong digital-first presence and engage with consumers to drive greater business results.

Content marketing

With the tight regulations and severe penalties that the pharma industry has to operate within, it comes as no surprise that most are hesitant to test out new marketing strategies. Under Indian law, companies are restricted from advertising drugs, with exceptions made in only a few cases. Content marketing is the ideal digital marketing for healthcare strategy as it can deliver long-term results without companies having to openly market their products. With the information-seeking mindset most consumers today possess, building a useful knowledge resource through content marketing can establish an enduring, positive brand association.

Pharma companies can use content in a number of different ways. The foundation of their content strategy, of course, should be a strong, comprehensive blog. The blog should cover a wide variety of topics that deliver value to readers. The focus shouldn’t be on using it as a purely marketing platform but leveraging the blog to build a community of engaged, responsive consumers.

Other forms of content marketing that pharma companies should deploy include:

  • Videos
  • Guides for consumers or healthcare providers
  • Industry reports

For our client, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, we created a video based around the concept, ‘Winning @ 90’. This video celebrated patients who had triumphed in their struggle against diabetes and reached the age of 90. Through the emotional content, Dr. Mohan’s was able to build a closer connection with their audience on social media. The campaign performed phenomenally well on social media, garnering close to 2 lakh views on Facebook.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO and content marketing go hand in hand; one cannot work without the other. Search Engine Optimisation a crucial component of digital marketing for pharma brands to gain visibility and organic growth. Ranking for important keywords demonstrates expertise in that field; a crucial factor for pharma companies to develop credibility among patients and healthcare providers alike. It ensures that visitors, which can include doctors and patients, land on the company’s website when searching for a related query. Why is this so important? Because on their website, a company has complete control over the accuracy of information shared and the brand image projected. Once on the website, users can be compelled to explore the content on it, watch videos, learn more about the service and even fill in an enquiry. This is an important technique for brands to improve the quality of digital leads generated.

Online Reputation Management

Unfortunately, the pharma industry has to deal with negative coverage and inaccurate information from niche groups. Left neglected, this type of coverage can do major damage to a brand’s reputation in the market. Online reputation management is the art of detecting negative coverage and charting strategies to tackle it.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by search saturation. This is just an extension of Search Engine Optimisation, but with a different purpose. Instead of ranking for branded keywords alone, companies should be vigilant about negative keywords related to their brand. After identifying them, brands should target the same keywords and create new positive content based on it. This way, they can ensure that negative coverage is kept to a minimum.

Build a comprehensive website

The one place where pharma companies have complete control over the accuracy of information shared and the brand image projected is on their website. Since both patients and doctors are looking to do intensive research before consuming or prescribing drugs, the website needs to deliver all the information they will require to make this decision. It should contain details about possible side-effects, benefits, recommended dosage amounts and anything else that might be pertinent. Details about clinical trials, in particular, are a very important feature to have on the website as they build credibility.

digital marketing for pharma

For IHHC, we developed an AMP landing page to improve a user’s experience with the ad and the website. Through this strategy, we achieved a 33% lower cost-per-lead as compared to previous campaigns.

Build a strong brand through social media

Social media is the core of any digital marketing for pharma strategy. With such a significant portion of their target audience and consumers present on these platforms, pharma companies cannot afford to ignore them. The approach for companies is slowly shifting from merely communicating the benefits of a drug to healthcare professionals and medical reps to developing an emotional connect with patients themselves. Facebook is the perfect stage for brands to humanise their brand and reach out to a wider audience on a more personal level. Marketing for most drugs on Facebook might violate their policies, however, digital pharma strategies can include promotion of wellness and lifestyle-related posts. Emotional content is also something brands can always bank on to resonate with audiences.

digital marketing for pharma

For Himalaya Pharmaceuticals, for example, we leverage Facebook as a tool for building awareness of certain products as well as of the brand as a whole. We do this through a series of informative, entertaining and emotional posts around topics our audience is interested in. As a result, the brand has achieved greater brand awareness through a highly engaged Facebook audience.

digital marketing for pharma

We also leveraged influencer marketing to generate awareness about their facial wipes. This helped us reach a much wider audience through over 150 influencers.

You can learn more about this campaign on Client Case Study: Influencer Marketing for Himalaya.

Nurture consumers through online communities

Social media, like for most other industries, is equally important in digital marketing for pharma as well. But unlike in a typical B2C, the winning strategy for B2B companies like pharma will be to use social media platforms for community building rather than for brand awareness alone. This strategy is useful to engage with both, physicians as well as patients.

The platform brands choose to focus on will largely depend upon their audience. To reach out to physicians, LinkedIn might be better suited as users are looking to broaden their industry knowledge and grow their network. Platforms like Facebook, on the other hand, can be a useful tool to get faster brand awareness among a wider audience. Brands can engage with users here through a mix of informative and emotional content to build a strong personal connect with them.

Chatbots

Chatbots have emerged as one of the biggest digital trends that is having an impact on every sector. As the technology gets more sophisticated, chatbots are beginning to sound more ‘human’ and are even proving to be more effective than actual humans. Pharma companies can use chatbots on their website as an innovative digital marketing for healthcare strategy to communicate directly with consumers, doctors or medical reps. They can be used to market their products and offer assistance on how to use them. ‘Virtual nurses’ can help patients maintain their prescriptions, book appointments with their doctor and even send them alerts when they need to take medication. To engage with patients on a more consistent basis, brands can even develop ‘health assistance’ chatbots to offer them guidance on leading a healthy and active life. Chatbots for doctors can give them information about a drug’s recommended usage, clarify questions and even direct them to research conducted for a specific drug.

Develop a multilingual strategy

Medical jargon can be intimidating and confusing for most patients. This is further compounded by the fact that much of it is in English; a language most Indians aren’t comfortable with. Pharma companies typically have markets that spread across geographical boundaries. To cater to this diverse audience, communicating to them in just one language might not be effective. A website can provide in-depth information, but unless it is in a language that the user understands, it serves no use. Adopting a multilingual approach is one of the most important pharma digital marketing trends to look out for. Offering content in a number of different languages on the website, blog and social media posts can help brands reach India’s next billion internet users. As 70% of Indians find content in their regional language more reliable (according to a report by Google and KPMG), using multiple languages can help pharma brands build greater credibility and inspire trust.

In order to use multilingual content to its full potential, it isn’t enough for brands to simply translate their existing content in various languages. Instead, they need to develop messaging specifically for various markets, keeping their desires, challenges and lifestyles in mind. This is why we have developed 22 Languages, a platform to create and amplify content in vernacular languages. The power of a multilingual approach will be the only way to reach the huge audience beyond India’s metros.

pharma

For Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, we created a series of posts in Tamil for the campaign ’10 Commandments of Dr. Mohan’s’. Since Tamil was the language a large portion of their audience was most comfortable with, the campaign outperformed many English language campaigns run in the past.

digital marketing for pharma

We also saw similar results when we ran Tamil campaigns for SIMS Hospital. Clearly, without a comprehensive regional strategy in place, pharma companies might not be able to gain adequate traction.

Digital marketing for pharma has the potential to completely change the face of the industry. Getting a head start and adopting a strong digital strategy will give pharma companies the edge they need to stand out from the competition.

WhatsApp for business in India: Everything you need to know

Since it first launched, WhatsApp has quickly taken over SMS as the most preferred form of messaging among Indians. WhatsApp currently has 225+ million users in India, which is around half of the total number of internet users in the country.  It a mobile app that’s here to stay in India.The growing number of Indians using WhatsApp can be attributed to the sudden drop in data costs and the introduction of low cost smartphones. Because of this, the app quickly became popular among Indians of all ages and economic backgrounds as it offered a free, simple way to connect with each other. But WhatsApp wasn’t just used for personal conversations among friends and families. For a long time, owners of small businesses like grocery stores and tailors used the app informally to communicate with their customers. Taking notice of this huge potential, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp for Business, a feature which can help brands engage with India’s next billion internet users. This new feature aims to simplify the process for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to connect with their customers.

How Does WhatsApp for Business Work?

WhatsApp for Business is currently only available as an Android app which can be downloaded for free from the Play Store. iPhone users will have to wait a little while longer until WhatsApp for Business rolls out an iTunes app as well. WhatsApp for Business is exclusively for business owners to communicate with their customers. In other words, businesses will use WhatsApp for Business to speak to their customers who will receive these messages on their regular WhatsApp account. To register on it, businesses will need a number that isn’t connected to their personal WhatsApp account. If you don’t have a separate business number, you will need to either get one or transfer your personal number to your WhatsApp for Business account. Once the app verifies your number, you can start setting up your business profile and begin communicating with customers.

Business Features Available

 WhatsApp for business looks almost identical to the regular WhatsApp, however, there are a few key differences. A number of tools have been added to the business app, facilitating easier communication for business users.

Business Profile

whatsapp for business

Once on the app, WhatsApp allows you to create a ‘Business Profile’ on your account that needs to contain important information such as your business’s email ID, contact number and address. There is also a location feature which allows business to locate their store on the map. Filling in this information will help users understand your business better. Over time Whatsapp also aims to verify each business and link their FB profiles as well, so that only authenticated businesses and stores can reach out to their customers.

Messaging Tools

Whatsapp messaging tools

WhatsApp for Business also makes it very simple to engage with your customers, even if your consumer base grows very large. The ‘Messaging Tools’ feature allows you to create message templates which can be sent out to your customers automatically. ‘Quick Replies’ allows you to set message templates to questions that your customers frequently ask, so you can easily respond to them. These include ‘thank you’ messages every time your customers order something or details about your products and prices. You can also set up ‘Greetings’ messages which are sent when you are first interacting with a customer and ‘Away’ messages which are sent when you are unable to respond to them at that time.

When Whatsapp for Business was first showcased to our team at the FB SME Council in India, it was made abundantly clear that it is not going to serve as a bulk/promotional messaging service. The intent is to provide customers the convenience to reach brands and vice versa. So its ideally meant to keep in touch with existing customers or leads.

Message Statistics Tools

Whatsapp Statistics

One of the key features WhatsApp for Business offers is an easy way for business owners to understand how well their messages are performing. For now, the current version of WhatsApp for Web offers basic statistics such as the number of messages delivered and number of messages actually opened. The data collected from these statistics can offer business owners invaluable information on the efficacy of their message strategies. This information allows them to identify the type of content their target audience will find engaging. This can help them come up with more targeted message strategies that will resonate better with their audience. While the current statistics offered are very straightforward, future updates of WhatsApp for Business might include more detailed statistical tools.

How Will This Affect Current Users?

One of the biggest hurdles that WhatsApp for Business faces is that non-business users might not like receiving business messages in their WhatsApp inbox. Most of our SMS inboxes are filled with promotional messages from businesses with barely any messages from our actual contacts. With the introduction of WhatsApp for Business in India, especially since it’s free, these businesses might start using WhatsApp instead to message people. Because WhatsApp is such a personal form of communication, the fear of spam is ever-present, with users expressing concern over their WhatsApp inbox also becoming flooded with promotional messages.

However, WhatsApp has ensured that it is putting the users first even with the introduction of WhatsApp for Web. If users are receiving too many messages from a business or they aren’t interested in the business, they can easily block the business or report it as spam. The rigorous verification procedure ensures that the business on the app are legitimate, reducing the chances of spam. WhatsApp is also introducing a verification badge against businesses if their WhatsApp for Business number matches the number registered against their business. This feature will help users understand which businesses are authentic.

How Will WhatsApp Payments Affect WhatsApp for Business?

After the success of an initial beta version of the service, WhatsApp launched the WhatsApp Payments feature in India for Android during early February of 2018. This feature is very similar to other digital payments services like PayTM as it operates through the United Payments Interface (UPI) and supports most of the major banks used in India. Once you have verified your bank account details, you can directly transfer money from your account to other users through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Payments and WhatsApp for Business in India are two new features which can work together in synergy. It can enable small business to reach out to their customers who can then pay for their products or services directly through WhatsApp. Since the upper limit for the amount of money which can be transferred through WhatsApp Payments is set at Rs. 5,000, it makes its features best suited for SMEs. For example, using WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Payments, users can easily order and pay for their weekly groceries from the local convenience store. This can go a long way in helping small business improve their sales.

Other frequently asked questions

How does WhatsApp for business work?

As the name suggests, WhatsApp for Business works like a typical WhatsApp account but has additional privileges that are tailor-made for businesses. Aptly titled “WhatsApp Business”, the app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Once downloaded, you can register with a phone number that is exclusively used for your business. You can then stay connected with your consumers with interactive tools that let you respond to messages easily, sort your messages as per your preferences and automate your replies, among other functional tasks.

How much does WhatsApp for Business cost?

Just like the regular app, WhatsApp for Business is also free. The only expense you will face is setting up a distinctive mobile number that will be used exclusively for your business. You will need this to register your business on the app. However, WhatsApp may begin charging businesses in the future for these services.

How to apply for WhatsApp Business?

You begin by downloading the app titled “WhatsApp Business” from the Google Play Store. Once you agree with the terms and conditions, you will have to register with a phone number used exclusively by your business. Once the number is verified, you can begin using the app to stay connected with your consumers.

How to download WhatsApp for Business for iPhone?

WhatsApp for Business is currently available only on the Google Play Store. You will need an Android device to download and use it. However, the app is under development for iPhone users and will be available on iStore soon.

How is WhatsApp for Business different from WhatsApp?

Apart from it being exclusively designed for businesses, WhatsApp Business has a distinctive feature called “Business Profiles”. This tab helps consumers generate more information about the business such as the official email ID, website and store address. This tab also accommodates a small description of the business to give consumers detailed insights into the kind of products or services offered.

WhatsApp for Business also offers a plethora of handy messaging tools to make it easier for to interact with consumers by sorting messages, creating automated replies and designing frequentlyused templates for messaging.

What are the messaging tools offered by WhatsApp Business?

There are many messaging tools available in WhatsApp Business that make it easier for businesses to interact with their consumers. For example, you have a “Quick Replies” option to send instant answers to frequent questions. You can also create a template to greet your consumers with a greetings message or a thank you note. Additionally, you can create a customised “Away Message” to let your customers know you are currently not available and will get back to them shortly.

Apart from tools for easy execution, WhatsApp Business also offers statistical data of your messaging pattern. You can keep a tab on the number of messages sent, delivered and opened to give you a fair idea of how consumers are responding to your messages.

While WhatsApp for Business is still in its nascent stage, it definitely has the potential to explode in India. Evolving digital marketing techniques in tier 2 and tier 3 cities should definitely begin to utilise WhatsApp for Business in their strategies. For small businesses, it could prove to be an important tool to help them expand their profits in the face of growing competitions from larger corporations. We also understand that APIs to allow for managing larger number of conversations is on the cards so the future of Whatsapp for Business is indeed exciting.

Are interactive ads changing the way brands advertise?

Interactive ads allow users to engage with them or explore them in new ways. The average digitally-active user is exposed to hundreds of ads every single day! With so many ads bombarding them, people automatically turn on their filters and are able to ignore a majority of these. While this coping mechanism might help a user wade through an ads-saturated world, it can also be a source of great concern for brands. With brands spending huge amounts on advertising, they can’t afford to have their audience simply ignore their ads. So how do you prevent a user from scrolling past, turning off or forgetting about your ad? The answer might lie in the new format of advertising: interactive ads.

What are interactive ads?

Interactive ads create immersive experiences for audiences that capture their attention completely. The rich technology that has fuelled interactive ads allows users to experiment and engage with your ads. This helps create a lasting impression on your audience, as a result of which ads perform better. While these ads work on desktop and tablet too, mobile is the platform showing greatest results. As more users spend most of their screen time on mobile phones, this is another reason why brands should start experimenting with interactive ads. Modern-day audiences, millennials, in particular, don’t want to be passive spectators. While digital advertising as a whole offers users a personalised two-way form of communication, interactive ads go one step further.

Why you should start using interactive ads

Interactive ads have delivered clear results for brands using them. If you start using the magic of interactive ads in your strategy, be prepared to see these four results:

1. Better engagement on ads

You might have a beautifully designed landing page, but how do you get users to actually click on it and submit their details? Most interactive ads also come with a call-to-action which takes a user to the brand’s landing page or product page. Since interactive ads are more engaging than other formats, users are more likely to actually click on the button. Interactive ads are also more fun than most other forms of advertising. Interactive campaigns in the past have witnessed a 300 per cent higher CTR, positive brand perception and higher recall than other forms of advertising.

2. Higher lead conversion

For most brands, the metric they’re chasing after isn’t just lead generation, but actual conversions of those leads. Interactive ads have an average of 3x conversion rates than other formats like video ads, with this number going up to 7x for some campaigns. On the face of it, interactive ads might appear to have a higher CPL than other forms of advertising like display. However, users who engage with the ad can be retargeted via display campaigns, leading to higher conversions and improved quality of leads generated via digital.

3. Generates more data

Data is the foundation of every marketing strategy and is immensely valuable to marketers everywhere. Interactive ads offer a huge goldmine of data that can go deeper than other kinds of ads. You can gain granular information on how long people viewed your ad, what they clicked on, if they answered any questions, whether they replayed it and if they shared it with others. This data can help you formulate a more refined approach, improving the performance of future campaigns as well.

Interactive ad formats

Like other forms of advertising, the platform you choose for an interactive ad will also depend upon your target audience and your defined metrics for success. Here are the top-performing interactive ad formats that brands need to sit up and take notice of.

1. mCanvas

mCanvas is a rich media ad format that helps brands communicate their story in an experiential way. It is designed exclusively for mobile, a platform that is becoming popular in India.

Ads designed for mCanvas are beautiful and visually appealing, which plays a large role in attracting higher CTRs and user engagement. After clicking on an ad, mCanvas is able to detect smartphone sensors, allowing users to interact with the ad by shaking, tilting or speaking a command. mCanvas also allows brands to reach out to their consumers in a more focused way through a number of targeting options.

For Piramal Mahalaxmi, we decided to look beyond the commonly used digital marketing strategies for real estate in India. We used captivating images of the view from the property to create interactive experiences through mCanvas. Through mCanvas ads on premium placement sites, we were able to direct a number of high-quality leads to our landing page. We retargeted them through Google Display Network, which fetched us a sizeable number of conversions. In this way, mCanvas was an innovative strategy for digital marketing for real estate that helped us push leads through the conversion funnel.  

2. Rich media ads

A rich media ad includes interactive features like videos, audio, gifs and other elements that make it stand out from a static display ad. With rich media, there is no limit to the creativity brands can use to captivate their audience. These ads are created through HTML5 technology, allowing multiple content formats to be placed in the same ad. An ad, for example, can play a video and conduct a poll simultaneously. Rich media ads can help brands achieve the twin objectives of higher CTR and greater brand awareness.

One of the best examples of how rich media lets brand push creative boundaries is Nissan’s 2016 World T20 tournament campaign. Nissan detected an opportunity in the fact that many Indians weren’t able to watch television and keep track of live scores. They developed a series of rich media banner ads that also kept track of live scores. The ads were also interactive because they asked users to vote for their favourite teams before a match started. Nissan’s innovative approach helped them stand out from the numerous other brands advertising during cricket season. Their rich media interactive ads delivered a 4x increase in website visits and 10x higher interaction rates compared to industry standards.

A commonly used form of rich media ads is Lightbox.

Lightbox

 

interactive ads

interactive ads

 

Lightbox is a format of interactive ads developed by Google. When you click or hover over a Lightbox ad, it responds by expanding. A Lightbox ad can expand to fill your entire screen, play a video or take you through a carousel of images. The ads also generally end with a link to your website. Since these ads are more engaging than traditional formats, it increases the likelihood that a user will actually click on your website link. Lightbox ads automatically adapt themselves to fit your screen size, so they work perfectly on mobile, tablets and desktops. The same display targeting options are also available for Lightbox ads, helping brands ensure they reach the right audience.

3. Interactive video ads

Video ads are one of the best-performing advertising mediums with 64 per cent of viewers buying the product after watching branded videos. When combined with interactive features, they become even more effective. Interactive videos transform what is usually a passive viewing experience into one that actively engages with them. Viewers can answer questions during a video, influence sequences of the storyline and even play games. Interactive videos capture your audience’s attention completely and can be a powerful way to generate leads or send viewers to your website.

 

 

At Social Beat, for example, we used an interactive format for our Team video to make it more fun and engaging. Questions popped up at regular intervals and viewers could click on them for answers. This held their attention for a longer time and even helped them learn more about our brand in the process.

Interactive ads have delivered proven results across the board for FMCG, BFSI and B2B brands. With audiences today looking for greater value from advertisements, interactive formats certainly have the upper hand.

Social Beat wins big at the SAMMIE 2018 awards

Our creative, quirky campaigns have always won the hearts of our clients, but when they win awards too, it’s always an added perk! The 2018 edition of Social Samosa’s much-anticipated digital marketing awards was held on July 31 and included 19 categories with 14 special categories.

 

sammies 2018

 

Social Beat has won two Silver awards for the Best Social Media Brands under the Real Estate category. This was in recognition of our exceptional work with Brigade Group and Casagrand, two of the largest real estate developers in South India. These awards are further proof of why real estate brands need to shift from print to digital.

Casagrand’s original social media approach

Casagrand is one of the most reputed developers in South India, with a 14 year legacy behind them. Established in 2004, Casagrand has developed over 12 million sq.ft. of premium residential real estate across Chennai, Bengaluru and Coimbatore. Their core values of innovation and quality have translated into their engaging real estate marketing strategies.

Some of their best-performing social media campaigns were able to tap into the variety of emotions that make a house a home.

#FeelAtHome

 The #FeelAtHome campaign by Casagrand was a creative representation of the small things that make our homes special. This campaign featured day-to-day things most of us do, but often take for granted. Each post was crafted along the lines of the philosophy that it’s emotions that go into making a home and not just four walls and a ceiling.

 

sammie 2018

 

This post, for example, depicted a colourful rangoli, a staple at the doorway of almost every South Indian household. It performed very well on social media as a large part of the audience were able to relate to it on a personal level. The familiar feeling of waking up in the morning to the sight of rangoli being drawn at the entrance of the house is something most had grown up with.

Experimenting with new formats

 

 

sammie 2018

One of the factors contributing to Casagrand’s win was their willingness to experiment with new formats and push the boundaries. During the Wimbledon season, we created a 3D post for Casagrand, which also acted as a quiz for the audience. It featured a tennis ball and users could move the 3D image around to check which side of the court it was on. The post was also able to creatively plug in a mention of Casagrand’s amenities in a non-intrusive way.

Brigade’s best social media campaigns

 The Brigade Group, first established in 1986, is focused on property development. Apart from residential properties, Brigade has a multi-domain portfolio covering commercial property development, property management, hospitality and education. The same attention to detail and drive for excellence that sets their projects apart also drives their social media marketing strategy.

Creative promotions of projects

One of Brigade’s key differentiators is their unique way of showcasing new project launches. For Brigade, we have looked past the usual promotional posts and instead, depicted new projects in a way that captures their true essence.

 

sammie 2018

For the Brigade Woods launch, we structured the entire campaign around the abundance of greenery that was the biggest USP of the project. These watercolour-style posts depicted the joy that comes with owning a house in the midst of lush green spaces.

Audience Contests

sammie 2018

 

Brigade’s social media approach also involves using creative ways for their audience to actively engage with them. One of the best-performing contests by Brigade is a photo contest. Each participant had to send a maximum of 5 images, of which at least two had to feature Brigade properties. Participants also needed to add specified hashtags to their posts and follow them on social media platforms. This helped Brigade gain visibility and increased their social media followers.

These awards are further proof of Social Beat’s commitment to pushing the boundaries and delivering only the best in digital marketing for our clients.

You can also read our Complete Guide to Digital Marketing for Real Estate for more insights.

9 trends for FMCG brands to level up their social media marketing game

The most important factor that will compel consumers to choose one brand over the other is not the actual benefits of one, but the existing relationship they have with the brand and their perception of it. The most effective digital marketing strategy for FMCG brands is to consistently engage with their customers by reaching out to them through social media platforms. With consumers spending more time on social media than ever before, digital has been driving FMCG sales in India. The Google India Search Insights 2018 revealed that by 2020, $45 billion of FMCG sales in India will be influenced by the internet. Households who have internet access spend 2x more on FMCG products, making them very important for brands. But effective social media marketing goes deeper than merely posting a few updates. Here are the top social media trends that are taking the FMCG sector by storm.

1. Personalise every aspect of your messaging strategy

 Customers don’t respond well to generalised messages. They want to feel like a brand truly understands their needs and is personally speaking to them. This is why brands need to communicate to their consumers as individuals and not as a homogenous group. Social media offers brands a number of ways to create personalised messaging strategies. Brands can target specific psychographic segments and developed specialised content for them. Retargeting allows brands to showcase products that consumers have already expressed interest in along with similar products. This offers customers a curated selection of products which can improve the quality of leads generated and increase conversion rates.

2. Respond to and encourage brand mentions

 The biggest advantage digital marketing has over traditional marketing is that it allows brands to have a two-way conversation with their customers. Doing this humanises a brand for consumers, which helps them develop a more meaningful relationship with it. For brands to encourage a conversation with their customers, they need to be active on relevant social media platforms and keep a close track of all brand mentions. Many times, consumers will specifically mention brands they are currently using or ones that they love. Responding to these consumers will help them feel closer to your brand and will encourage brand loyalty, which is crucial for the FMCG sector.

 

fmcg trends

 

However, not all mentions are positive. When your consumers have a negative experience with your brand, they are very likely to speak about it on social media. Ignoring these instances can do even greater harm for brands. Instead, brands can turn this into an opportunity to improve their brand image and retain customers. By responding to negative brand mentions, offering compensations or special goodies, FMCG brands can change perceptions and turn negative comments into an opportunity for relationship building.

3. Get in touch with your customers through chatbots

 

fmcg trends

 

While personalising your marketing strategy is undoubtedly important, the challenge for brands is to do this while talking to thousands of customers. With rapid improvements in AI technology, chatbots have become one of the most popular tools for brands to interact with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to customer queries, gain information about them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In the realm of online shopping, chatbots can act as personal shoppers, helping customers finding products related to what they’re looking for and suggesting others that they might be interested in. With chatbots now available on Facebook Messenger, it has become easier than ever for brands to implement them on their pages.

4. Keep consumers engaged through Instagram Stories

 

fmcg trends

Instagram Stories are one of the most useful features brands need to take advantage of. While the concept of ‘ephemeral content’ first originated on Snapchat, Instagram Stories has quickly overtaken it to become the more popular medium for it. Staying active on Instagram Stories helps you engage more with your customers, tell your brand story in a creative way and promote your products. A key feature which makes Stories more valuable for brands than Snapchat is that it allows you to tag and link to pages. This can help FMCG brands drive traffic to their website or shop for products. Stories can also increase user engagement through polls, contests and user-generated content.

5. Collaborate with powerful influencers

 Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful avenues for FMCG brands to explore in 2018 and beyond. It helps brands build credibility, widen their consumer base and even drive sales. A study by Nielsen found that 92% of consumers trust earned media (such as recommendations from influencers) over brand communications. By promoting your product through a network of relevant influencers, you can build awareness in a more organic way.

fmcg trends

When Himalaya launched their new facial wipes, they activated a large pool of influencers for their campaign #WipesOnTheGo. These fashion and lifestyle influencers posted extensively about the facial wipes on their social media channels. Bloggers also wrote reviews of the product so their followers could learn more about it. By using influencer marketing, Himalaya was able to build awareness of the product among their target audience in a very short period of time.

6. Tap into the potential of regional content

 A rise in disposable income along with the widespread penetration of affordable smartphones and mobile data have made consumers in tier 2 and 3 cities increasingly important for brands. While these cities have always been major markets for FMCG brands, especially those in the lower and middle segments, traditional marketing for these brands have always focused on traditional mediums like television and print. But as more of these audiences come online, brands will need to reach them through digital platforms as well. A Google and KPMG report found that almost 90% of rural users are more likely to respond to digital ads that are in their local language. Communicating with these users in the language they understand best also helps brands build trust.

 

kovai pazhamudir using multi lingual content

One of the best examples to illustrate how powerful bi-lingual content can be for FMCG brands is Kovai pazhamudir Nilayam. With almost all their marketing efforts targeted towards audiences in tier 2 and 2 cities and towns in India, Patanjali has made extensive use of regional content. This could be an important factor in their dominance of the Indian FMCG market.

7. Make products easily available through social platforms

While brands have primarily used social media for brand building and awareness, the role of social media today extends far beyond that. FMCG brands can now use social media to directly drive sales. Reducing the amount of time and steps required for a consumer to purchase a product can motivate them to complete a purchase. In the traditional marketing process, consumers would gain brand awareness and recall through social media and then decide on whether to purchase the product at a later stage in an offline store. By making products easily available when promoting a product, brands can speed up a consumer’s decision-making process and compel them to actually make the purchase.

fmcg trends

Facebook has enabled brands to showcase products used in a video or post along with a link to where users can purchase it. When users click on the link, they are shown a description of the product along with an option to purchase it on the website. Instagram is also rolling out a new ‘Shop’ feature that can help users purchase products that are tagged just by clicking on them. Making your products easily available on digital platforms is crucial for a complete social media strategy.

8. Use videos to communicate your message more effectively

 Videos aren’t just the future of marketing, they’re an important tool brands should start using immediately. For FMCG brands, in particular, video content could directly translate into sales. Surveys have shown that around 74% of users who had watched an explainer video about a certain product, eventually purchased it. Videos can be one of the best ways to help your audience understand your product better in a very short period of time. If you are selling your products online, creating videos is even more important. 57% of consumers have responded that they were more confident about purchasing a product online after watching a video about it.

 

But it isn’t just explainer videos that convert. Videos with humour content perform extremely well on social media as they connect with consumers on a personal level. They also help you build a relationship with your audience that goes beyond just your product offerings. One of the best examples is On1y, a premium spice brand with a signature grinder to ensure you get maximum flavour. They chose to speak about their product USP in an unusual way and effectively use humour to capture the attention of their audience.

9. Take a stand on current issues

 Brands have for a long time kept a safe distance from social issues, for fear of alienating a large section of their consumer base. Doing so today, however, might not earn brands any benefits. Millennial consumers, in particular, are more likely to have a positive perception of a brand if it takes a stand on pressing social issues. According to a study by Sprout Social, around two-thirds of consumers want brands to voice out their opinions on social issues. Showing support for a social movement can help build a brand’s personality and help them form an emotional bond with their customers.

 

fmcg

 

While getting involved in political issues can still be tricky, there are many social and environmental issues that brand can and should take a stand on. But this doesn’t mean that brands should voice their opinion on every social issue that crops up. The key here is to ensure that your message is in line with your brand offerings and that it doesn’t seem opportunistic. Nothing can alienate consumers faster than a brand that appears to be using a social movement for profit. You don’t have to look further than Pepsi’s controversial video that trivialised social protests to understand how insensitive communication can backfire on a brand.

If a customer’s relationship with your brand is on a purely transactional basis, then they are unlikely to develop any loyalty or emotional connection to your brand. These social media trends can help brands create a personalised, user-centric marketing strategy which will help create a lasting connection with consumers.

 

Latest Facebook updates for Business Pages shift the focus to utility

In the last two years, Facebook has become immensely crucial for business owners. Small businesses, in particular, largely depend on Facebook for promotions and customer acquisition. However, as the number of businesses on Facebook increase, the total space available on the platform is diminishing. Organic reach on Facebook is at an all-time low, virtually eliminating the possibility of a customer becoming aware of your brand on Facebook without promotions. To compensate for the falling reach, Facebook has now redesigned their Business Pages. These pages will no longer be just a marketing tool, but a place for customers to gain actual utility from.

Here are the top changes you can expect to see in your Business Page.

1. User-oriented Business Pages

 Stressing on its commitment to providing audiences with greater utility, Facebook will now include use-specific options on a Business Page. A restaurant page, for example, will have an option for users to see the menu or make a reservation. A beauty salon could have a CTA to make an appointment on their page. To give audiences a more reliable idea of a business, Facebook is also going to showcase recommendations made by users on the Business Page. When users write reviews on the page, it will now be limited to 25 characters to improve clarity.

2. Stories enabled for Business Pages

Ephemeral content that contributed to Snapchat’s success has become immensely popular and a social media commandment brands swear by. Facebook has utilised this previously through Instagram and Facebook Stories. Now, Business Pages will also be able to use Facebook Stories to engage with their audience. This can be very useful for small businesses because it gives them an opportunity to promote their brand beyond just the NewsFeed.

 3. Local bookmark added on desktop

Facebook has already launched a Facebook Local app, but now, it also has plans to roll out a Local tab on the desktop version. This tab can be very useful for small businesses as it will help relevant audiences discover them. It can even help circumvent the issue of declining reach as it offers businesses a new way to connect with their audience. With Facebook updating its privacy policy to block third-party data providers, the local bookmark can also let a business find new customers and widen its base.

 4. Related business to appear on Business Page

 In what might be seen as a double-edged sword, Facebook will now also showcase related pages on a Business Page. For example, when users visit the Business Page of their local bakery, they will also be able to see pages of other bakeries nearby. On one hand, this feature can help small businesses become more discoverable. At the same time, however, it might also distract audiences and lead them to a competitor’s page. The exact implications of this update are yet to be seen.

 5. Job applications tab will be introduced

 Facebook hasn’t traditionally been used as a job search platform in the way LinkedIn is, but that might soon change. A new job applications section will be introduced to help businesses with staffing. It can also be a new way to become more visible on Facebook.

These updates will be very valuable for businesses competing for presence on a crowded News Feed. Apart from increasing reach, the updates will also help them have more meaningful interactions with their customers.

To learn more about how Facebook can help your business, read about how we achieved 4x higher return via Facebook for Mahindra Lifespaces and how Casagrand generated a record 190 crores in revenue via Facebook.

 

How in-app ads delivered 76.38% lower Cost per Lead

A recent study by Nielsen and BCG revealed that India has a $100 billion opportunity for brands as the amount of time consumers spend on mobile and the number of digital transactions conducted increases. As 81% of users research their options on a mobile phone before actually making a purchase, reaching them through mobile platforms is becoming increasingly important. This is why, for digital marketers, in-app marketing has become one of the most important channels to drive customer awareness and generate leads.

Mahindra Lifespaces took advantage of this trend in their lead generation strategy. The phenomenal results they achieved proved that a mobile-centric approach might be the future of advertising for brands.

Background

Mahindra Lifespaces is one of India’s leading real estate developers with multiple projects spread across the country. They are the pioneer in developing environmentally sustainable projects and deliver premium living spaces to their customers. To match the company’s novel approach, they also needed an innovative digital advertising strategy to help them stay ahead of competing brands and expand their customer base.

Goal

For this campaign, the objective was to leverage in-app ads to drive more leads for Mahindra Lifespaces at a significantly lower cost per lead as compared to other targeting strategies previously used.

Approach

For the Mahindra Windchimes project in Bengaluru, we made extensive use of in-app ads to tap into a huge potential consumer base. In-app ads are placed strategically within selected apps, so customers are exposed to it while spending time on the app. With consumers today spending more time on essential mobile apps, reaching them through this medium has proved to be one of the most effective strategies. In-app marketing will also prove to be one of the biggest ways digital marketing will transform the real estate sector.

To do this, we implemented a three-step approach to developing an effective in-app marketing strategy.

Defining the Target Audience

The demographic targeted for this campaign was the 35+ age group as this would be the segment who were advancing their careers and looking to buy a home. All marital statuses and both genders were also targeted, however, males performed better.

Selecting App Platforms

After setting the target audience, we then needed to research into what kind of apps this segment would be most active on. Based on their interests, we targeted apps that belonged to the following categories:

  • Business – document editors/viewers, email management, job searches, etc.
  • Finance – banking, digital payments, financial news, ATM finders, tax calculators, etc.
  • Photography – camera and editing tools, photo management, file sharing, etc.
  • Books and reference – book readers, reference books, dictionaries, thesaurus, etc.
  • House & Home – house and apartment searches, interior decoration, home improvement, mortgage calculators, etc.

These apps would be the most effective ways to maximise reach among our target audience.

Utilising Powerful Images

As in-app advertising is a largely visual medium, the display creatives used needed to be catchy, informative and entice customers to visit the page. A mix of high-performing standard display creatives was successfully used to capture the target audience’s attention.

using powerful images

Results Achieved

With this advanced targeting strategy, we were able to generate unprecedented results for Mahindra Lifespaces. Utilising in-app ads helped us not only generate more leads but also led to higher conversion rates.  These ads helped us accomplish two major outcomes:

  • With in-app ads, we were able to deliver conversions that were 76.38% cheaper than other display targeting campaigns.
  • In-app ads also helped us increase conversion rates by 267.92% compared to previous display targeting campaigns used.

In a nutshell, in-app advertising helped us gain higher conversions at a lower cost. This proves just how effective platform apps can be for brands looking to boost their lead generation and conversion strategy.

With the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 stating that 40% of brands are looking for lead generation through digital marketing, implementing in-app ads could be one of the most important methods for them to achieve this goal. The faster brands adapt to this advertising strategy, the better equipped they will be to reach larger customer bases.

 

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

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

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

what is AMP?

How do Accelerated Mobile Pages work?

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

AMP for better Blog UX

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

Why should brands use AMP for a content heavy website?

  • Lower bounce rate & better time on site

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

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

Get lower bounce rate through amp pages

  • Better mobile SEO rankings

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

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

AMP for blog

  • Tracking is made easier

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

AMP pages traking made easy through analytics

AMP for Landing Pages to get better Conversion Rates

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

Advantages brands can gain through AMP-enabled landing pages

  • Higher conversion percentage

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

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

  • Greater monetisation from ads

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

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

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

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

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

IHHC conversion rates after AMP

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

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

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

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

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

What are Indians Doing Online?

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

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

What Has Sparked This Growth?

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

How Can Brands Engage With These Consumers?

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

Understand audiences to personalise marketing strategies

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

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

Create campaigns specifically for mobile

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

Use regional languages to reach a wider audience

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

Optimize brands for voice search

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

Utilise the AdWords ‘Missed Call’ extension

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

Encourage a two-way conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Internet Adoption: Wifi vs. Mobile Data

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

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

2. Internet usage growth: Falling vs. rising

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

 

mary meeker 2018

 

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

3. Mobile sales: Plateauing vs. skyrocketing

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

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

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

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

 

mary meeker 2018

 

 

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

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

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

 

mary meeker 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

Will Facebook’s updated terms and data policy affect brands in India?

After the Cambridge Analytica controversy, Facebook has taken several important steps to tighten their data security. The multi-billion dollar social media platform recently announced a new set of amendments to their data policies. The question that has arisen is whether or not the recent changes in policies will affect brands and their advertising strategies. However, most of the new terms involve reiterating existing ones, which is unlikely to affect brands’ marketing strategies. Here are some of the most important announcements Facebook has made about their revised data policy and the impact it is likely to have on brands.

Revoking permission to dormant apps

One of the most significant policy changes Facebook is making is to revoke access to user information for third-party apps that haven’t been used by them in over three months. There will also be a more visible button on the news feed which will allow users to restrict access to certain apps by themselves.

Impact: This change will only improve privacy and safety for users with zero impact on brands and advertising. Since apps that users consistently engage with will not be affected, brands will still have access to their main target audience.

Transparency about data-sharing

Facebook has reiterated their commitment to protecting user data by tightening their data-sharing policies. They will no longer sell private user information or allow partners to use this information in ways that violate their privacy policy.

Impact: This new policy is a step in the right direction towards better security for users. The improved privacy settings will help users be more confident about actively participating on the platform. For brands, this is a positive change as it means that their consumer base on Facebook will remain largely the same.

Closing third-party data providers

Earlier, through a feature called Partner Categories, advertisers on Facebook could target consumers based on very personal insights provided by third-party data agencies. But now after details of these providers exploiting private user data has come out in the open, Facebook is shutting down Partner Categories.

Impact: The Partner Categories feature allowed brands who lacked an existing customer database to find a target audience. While brands can continue using Facebook’s database as well as their own customer data through the Customs Audience tool, the exact impact of this change is yet to be seen.

Greater control over ads

Users will now be able to decide which ads they want to see appearing on their newsfeed. This is also an important step towards personalisation of a user’s newsfeed.

Impact: This feature has always existed on Facebook, the only difference now is that it will be more prominent. As long as brands are using the right targeting, they will be unaffected by this change as users will be interested in their ads. Brands with inaccurate targeting, however, are very likely to be negatively impacted.

Exact reach not shown for custom audience

 Advertisers who upload their existing database onto the custom audience tool will not be able to see the exact reach of their targeting. This is to prevent advertisers from being able to see exactly how many of their customers are on Facebook.

Impact: While advertisers will not be able to see the exact reach when using the Custom Audience tool, they will still know how many customers were in their database. This will give them a reasonably accurate idea of how big their reach is.

Facebook still rules the digital marketing landscape

The revised data policies are unlikely to have any significant impact on the way people are using the platform. Currently, India is Facebook’s biggest market with 240 mn monthly active users, overtaking even the US which has 230 mn. Far from decreasing anytime soon, these numbers are only going to grow. By 2020, there will be around 250 million new smartphone users and 100 million new internet users. A significant portion of these users will also start using Facebook.

For brands, Facebook is and will continue to be one of the most effective ways to reach out to their consumers. Despite the new terms and conditions, the number of Facebook users in India has not shown any significant decline, nor is it expected to. With their customers still active on Facebook, brands need to maintain a strong presence on this platform in order to build brand awareness and encourage customer loyalty. Advanced social media analytics tools, can also provide detailed targeting for brands. As the number of users will only continue to grow from here, Facebook remains one of the most important platforms for brands to engage with India’s next billion internet users.

As our Digital Marketing Industry Insights for India 2018 also points out, Facebook is one of the best-performing platforms to help brands meet their business goals. Through Facebook, we have even been able to generate a 190 crore revenue for Casagrand. The recent privacy changes Facebook has implemented is a positive step towards protecting a user’s personal information online. Brands in India are unlikely to face any negative impact over this decision as the number of Facebook users are only going to grow from here.

Digital marketing industry insights for India – 2018

Highlights:

  • 68% of brands leverage digital marketing to promote their products and services
  • 42% of brands continue to use social media marketing as their primary form of digital marketing
  • 33% of brands allocate over 40% of their marketing budget for digital
  • 40% of brands say lead generation is their primary objective behind digital marketing

Social Beat, one of India’s leading digital marketing solutions company, released its Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 after the first edition, Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016. The second edition of this annual report provides a comprehensive look into how companies today are using digital marketing to promote their brands. 212 CMOs, CXOs and Brand Custodians across a variety of industries in India participated in this survey over a period of one month. The various industries that were covered in this survey included Startups/Apps (16%), Real Estate (14%), Education (12%), Media/Entertainment (12%), E-Commerce (9%), Retail/FMCG (7%), Healthcare (6%) and Travel (2%). The remaining 22% comprised of industries falling beyond these 8 sectors. With such a diverse sample, this report provides a complete picture of digital marketing in India. Social Beat also publishes a book and has an active YouTube Channel covering digital marketing insights. Please do also read our latest predictions on digital marketing trends for 2019 in India.

The survey revealed the growing influence of digital marketing, with 68% of brands currently using digital marketing in their promotional strategies, while less than 9% use print ads, radio and television. Commenting on the findings of the report, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat said, “One of the most significant insights gained from this report is that brands across all industries are beginning to use more of digital strategies in their overall marketing efforts, as compared to traditional media. This is very encouraging because it means that the use of digital marketing is going to become increasingly important for brands.”

Along with the increased use of digital marketing, brands are also beginning to allocate larger portions of their overall marketing budgets for digital. While 57% of brands surveyed spend less than Rs. 50,000 per month on digital marketing, as many as 21% spend between Rs. 50,000-2 lakhs per month. Additionally, 33% of brands allocate more than 40% of their total marketing budget for digital marketing alone. This increase in digital spends is crucial for brands if they want to reach out to India’s next billion internet users in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and towns.

The report also reveals what results brands are looking to achieve through their digital marketing efforts. 51% of brands use social engagement as the primary parameter to measure the efficacy of a digital marketing campaign. Speaking about this, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat said, “This shows that brands are hoping to establish a personal connect with their consumers by keeping them engaged on social media. Maintaining a strong digital presence can encourage brand awareness and loyalty among audiences.”

Facebook continues to dominate with 49% of brands saying that it gives them the best results. Following closely is Google Plus with 32%, while LinkedIn and Instagram have 13% and 7% respectively. The 2018 report also shows a diversification in the platforms used for digital marketing. While previously, 89.25% of brands used Facebook according to the 2016 report, they are now trying out a larger variety of digital marketing channels. 50% of brands now use Google and Instagram, while 40% use Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. This also clearly points to the immense popularity Instagram has gained over the last year among digital marketers.

One of the most interesting findings from this survey was the shifting marketing objectives of brands. In the 2016 Digital Marketing Industry Report, 72% brands reported brand awareness was their primary goal. In the 2018 report, however, a majority of brands said lead generation and sales were their biggest goal from digital marketing. David Appasamy, Head of Brand and Strategy at Social Beat said, “These numbers mean that brands are realising the potential of digital marketing and seeking measurable results from it. Digital marketing in India is showing a clear evolution in terms of quality and execution.”

Leads have clearly become one of the biggest priorities for brands, with 42% saying that generating high-quality leads was an area they would like to improve upon in the future. Effective strategies like personalised home pages for lead conversion are likely to become more important.

For most brands, social media marketing continues to be the biggest form of digital marketing used. While 42% of brands use social media, brands are also using landing pages (21%) and search engine optimization (7-8%) for their digital marketing efforts. Content marketing, influencer marketing, display advertising and mobile apps are also growing in popularity.

The Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 clearly shows the growing importance of digital marketing in every industry. Digital marketers in India should seize this opportunity to deliver quantifiable, significant results for brands through a variety of innovative strategies. Read our complete guide for digital marketing for real estate for more information. 

 

Digital-Marketing-Survey-Report-2018-Social-Beat (6) (1)

 

You can also read the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016.

For a further list of marketing books you need to get your hands on, do take a look at our video on 7 best marketing books, every Indian marketer needs to read

Google case study – how a multilingual approach got us 90% growth in leads

With the Indian real estate space getting increasingly crowded, it has become a significant challenge for developers to differentiate themselves from their competitors. In order to stand out, real estate developers need to try something unique to gain the upper hand. With the tier II and tier III cities being active on the Internet and most of them using vernacular language to consume content, Casagrand formulated an innovative vernacular ad strategy to engage with India’s next billion internet users. Here’s how Casagrand utilised vernacular content in their ads as one of their key real estate digital marketing strategies to reach this market and achieve an incredible 90 percent increase in leads.

The Objective

Casagrand Builders is one of the biggest real estate developers in South India, with a large presence in Chennai as well as projects in Bangalore and Coimbatore. They are committed to building aspirations and providing homes that offer families the highest quality and value. Casagrand had two main objectives:

  1. To capture the mind space of potential buyers so they could stand out from their competitors
  2. To increase the number of leads, but drive down the Cost per Lead (CPL)

Sales Approach

In order to meet these objectives, we formulated a multi-targeted approach which would capture the attention of potential buyers at various stages of the buying process. This would ensure that Casagrand would occupy a high position in the consumer’s mind space and give it an edge over its competitors. To do this, we utilised three main strategies:

1. Localised Vernacular Ads

 

cg local ads

 

According to the Google and KPMG report, the number of regional language speakers online in India will reach 76 million within the next five years. As this audience base grows in size and influence, it’s important that brands start creating multilingual content targeted towards them. Casagrand capitalised on this opportunity and developed a regional language-focused approach in their marketing strategy. We identified the Tamil-speaking consumers as the primary target audience since most of Casagrand’s projects are located in Chennai. Based on this, we began developing vernacular ads in Tamil so we could reach out to these consumers directly. We used vernacular ads extensively for specific projects like Casagrand Uptown. Speaking to this regional audience in the language they were most comfortable with, Casagrand was able to develop a relationship built on trust and comfort with their target audience. This played a pivotal role in helping us generate high-quality leads for Casagrand.

2. Maximising the Potential of Google Display Network

We identified the Google Display Network as the most effective way to reach our target audience to create maximum impact. Google Display Network allows us to find the right target audience and deliver our message contextually. One of the tools we used to maximise reach through custom affinity audiences. Building bucketed Custom Affinity Audiences allowed us to reach out to our specific target audience to ensure the right people were coming across our message. Gmail Ads displayed at the top of a user’s inbox also proved very effective in creating awareness and generating leads.

3. Leverage Brand and Generic Searches

One of the most important ways digital marketing is transforming the real estate sector, is by creating brand awareness right from the initial stages of the buying process. As one of Casagrand’s primary objectives was to occupy the mind space of potential buyers, maintaining a high impression share across relevant keywords was very important. Through competitive bids on generic keywords (eg. 2 BHK apartments in Chennai), as well a brand-specific keywords, we ensured that users would continuously come across Casagrand’s ads in their search results. This helped increase the number of quality leads generated.

Results Achieved

 

cg landing page

 

Through this extensive and in-depth approach, we were able to generate an unprecedented increase in the number of leads for Casagrand. Our strategy of utilising vernacular ads helped grow Casagrand’s leads by 90 percent QoQ and also increased the overall click volume by 85 percent QoQ. Vernacular ads were extensively utilised in the Casagrand Uptown project marketing strategy, with 50 percent of total spends being allocated to Indic Display Creatives and targeting. This approach delivered significantly higher leads and a CPL that was 60 percent lower than that of normal display creatives. These results prove that vernacular ads offer massive benefits not just in terms of increasing brand awareness, but also in delivering higher ROI.

As the number of regional language users growing at a faster pace than English language users, they are quickly becoming one of the most important segments for brands to focus on. The phenomenal results Casagrand achieved by implementing a strong vernacular ad strategy is proof that brands cannot afford to ignore India’s regional audience. To learn more about our work with Casagrand, you can also read how we helped Casagrand generate a record 190 crores in revenue via Facebook.

Facebook shuts down ad targeting based on third-party data providers

In the wake of the backlash that Facebook has been facing after millions of users personal information was leaked, the company has decided to cut off access to third-party data providers. Ad-targeting based on consumer data provided by third-parties allowed advertisers on Facebook to target consumers based on very personal, deep insights. This was made possible through a feature called Partner Categories, where Facebook partnered with external consumer data providers. Now, however, Facebook has ended this feature after details came out of Cambridge Analytica, also a third-party data provider, exploiting private user information. The company also announced that this was a part of their larger efforts to improve security and integrity of the platform for users.

What does it mean for advertisers?

For advertisers, this move means that they will have to re-think their targeting strategies on Facebook. While they might not be able to rely on consumer insights provided by external agencies, they can continue using the Custom Audience tool on Facebook. The Custom Audience tool will not be affected by Facebook’s new policy because the data used is owned by the advertisers themselves. Facebook also uses third-party data providers for advanced social media analytics and will continue to do so. However, they have announced that they will be reviewing the integrity of these external agencies before going forward.

The company has insisted that removing the Partner Categories feature will not put Facebook at a disadvantage in the competition between its rivals like Google. Instead, they believe that it will prove their commitment to protecting consumer data and placing privacy of their users above all else. With the growing number of Indians joining Facebook, it is very likely that the platform will continue to be one of the most important ways for brands to engage with India’s next billion internet users.

Facebook expects that their new policy will come into effect gradually over the next few months. This gives digital marketers an opportunity to rethink and refine their ad targeting strategies.

What brands can learn from YouTube brandcast 2018

To mark its 10 year anniversary in India, YouTube hosted Brandcast 2018, an event to help marketers understand how Indians consume video content. Since it first launched in 2008, YouTube’s rising popularity has been inextricably linked with India’s own growth story, giving it a special understanding of the Indian internet audience. Today, around 225 million Indians actively use YouTube every month just through their mobile phone. This number is set to increase to 500 million by the year 2020. With such a rapidly expanding audience base, YouTube is becoming increasingly more important for brands to effectively leverage. Interestingly, YouTube’s reach is over 80% amongst the 55+ segment.

Brandcast 2018 provided invaluable insights into who is accessing YouTube, what content they are watching and how they are consuming it.

Opportunities for Brands on YouTube

YouTube has become one of the most important platforms for brands to engage with their consumers. The most remarkable feature of YouTube is that ads here have a very high reach and a viewability rate of as high as 95%. The viewability rate refers to the number of audience members who have actually viewed the ad. YouTube’s audience is one of the most engaged across all platforms and is also the best way to create a brand story. Brandcast 2018 revealed how actively users consume content on YouTube:

  • 65% of YouTube viewers subscribe to their favourite channels while 85% of them watch newly uploaded videos within two days.
  • 7 out of 10 viewers watch ads on YouTube with the sound on.
  • More than 50% of female professionals watch YouTube videos for more information before making a purchase in categories like beauty, automobiles and real estate.

Clearly, YouTube can be extremely effective for brands to capture the attention of their audiences. You can learn more about creating videos that rank on YouTube in our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Case Study: On1y #ForkTheBananaLeaf Campaign

 The use of creativity and engaging content works very well on YouTube since audiences are more inclined to spend a long time viewing your video. For the #ForkTheBananaLeaf campaign, On1y created a funny, unusual video to advertise their brand and to keep their viewers engaged. On1y is a premium spice brand with a signature grinder to ensure you get maximum flavour. They chose to speak about their product USP in an unusual way and effectively use humour to capture the attention of their audience.

The Concept:

On1y wanted to steer away from the predictable storylines and advertise their product in a way that would increase brand recall among their audiences. To do this, they depicted a traditional South Indian wedding with the couple waiting to be served food on a banana leaf. However, instead of traditional South Indian food, they are served international dishes like pasta and pizza. While confused at first, they begin to love the food once they sprinkle seasonings by On1y over them. The idea of food with a twist was a unique play on the ‘twist’ of the grinder that is one of On1y’s biggest USPs.

The Results:

This video worked phenomenally well for On1y and went viral in a very short time. The overall reach for the video was over 10,000,000, the total views on YouTube were over 480,000. Capitalising on the huge success of the video, they also release a ‘Behind the Scenes’ video which also garnered a high number of views. This clearly showed that audiences were so engaged by the original video that they were willing to watch the second video about the same product.

Special Features on YouTube to increase brand presence

YouTube has a number of different features and advertising options to help brands achieve their business goals.

Bumper Ads: 6-second videos which can increase brand reach

TrueView: In-stream ads which play when a viewer is watching another video

Video Ads Sequencing: A customised video funnel brands can create to take viewers through a journey

Director’s Mix: Make different versions of background copy on the same video based on various parameters of the target audience.

These tools allow brands to increase brand awareness, brand recall, physical store visits and ultimately, sales.

  • Livon (Marico Industries) got a 7X conversion rate through the TruView Ad format with 65% increase in modern trade and e-commerce.
  • Duracell created a Trust is Power campaign and used six-second bumper ads to complement their longer hero ads to increase brand awareness.
  • Uber saw a 63% increase in first rides at an 18% lower cost/first trip after a YouTube Director’s Mix campaign. Additionally, Australia’s Campbell’s Soup used the tool to generate customised creative for different audiences, leading to over 1.5M total views and a 55% increase in Campbell’s Simply Soup sales.
  • Zain, a leading Saudi mobile and data services provider, achieved a 50% increase in brand search queries through video sequencing

Influencer Marketing – A growing trend on YouTube

Influencer marketing has emerged as one of the most effective strategies brands can use to build brand awareness and credibility. India has witnessed a growing number of powerful influencers in many different categories. Many of the biggest influencers today across all categories can be found on YouTube. From just 16 YouTube channels in India with over a million subscribers in 2014, there are now 300 channels. Indians today are using YouTube as a way to gain more information, rather than just for entertainment. They turn to YouTube influencers they trust to provide them with reviews, tips and tutorials. The Brandcast 2018 event revealed very important figures about how powerful influencers on YouTube really are.

  • 7 out of 10 people relate to YouTube influencers more than celebrities
  • 76% of businessmen who regularly consume video content say that YouTubers shape their perception of culture
  • 65% of audiences who view videos have brand opinions which have been strongly influenced by a YouTube influencer they follow
  • More than 75% of moms’ brand opinions have been shaped by YouTube influencers

These numbers prove that YouTube is an indispensable platform for brands trying to widen their consumer base.

Rising Importance of Regional Content

The biggest avenue for growth is going to be regional audiences in tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India. While English-speaking audiences have almost peaked, regional language users online are only going to grow from here. Access to the affordable high-speed internet as well as the availability of low-cost smartphones has made the internet more accessible than ever before. Brandcast 2018 also revealed figures which prove that multilingual marketing is going to be becoming increasingly important for brands.

  • 90% of time spent on digital videos in India is not on English videos
  • 60% of video content is consumed by cities outside the top 6 cities in India

It has almost become a necessity for brands to explore regional language content in their marking strategy.

Case Study: Murugappa ‘Update Azhagi’

At Social Beat, we have witnessed first-hand the power of regional content on YouTube. For the ‘Good Netizen Good Citizen’ campaign by the Murugappa Group, we conceptualised ideas for a video that would resonate with their audience base. As they are based out of Tamil Nadu, their target audience would be able to better understand and relate to Tamil language content.

The Concept:

 The goal of the video was to effectively utilise humour to spread a message about responsible sharing on the internet and to be a good ‘netizen’. They created funny, yet thought-provoking series of videos on internet etiquette. From a young woman who over-shares every mundane detail of her life with strangers to the way Whatsapp rumours are spread, these informative videos are aimed at raising social awareness on the responsible use of social media and the Internet. 

The Results:

These Tamil videos performed incredibly well on YouTube with one of the videos even getting over 570,000 views. Users also actively engaged with the video, leaving comments and sharing it on various social media platforms. Undoubtedly, the fact that the video was in Tamil, played a very important role in the fact that it went viral. You can watch the entire series of the Good Netizen Good Citizen videos here.

According to the latest numbers, Tamil is currently the most used regional language in India among internet users with 42, while Hindi follows with 39 percent. Clearly, unless brands incorporate a strong regional language strategy in their marketing, they will be unable to engage with India’s next billion internet users.

 YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for brands to reach out to their consumers. As its reach in India continues to grow, brands will need to learn how to effectively utilise it to grow their presence.

My internship experience – John Suhaan Appasamy

I first heard about Social Beat through my uncle, who happened to be working there as the Head of Branding and Strategy. I had been searching high and low for a good place to do my college internship for a few months and after reading and hearing so much about Social Beat all over social media, I figured I should take up the opportunity to intern there and signed up to intern with the Content and SEO team.

I already had about a year’s experience of working part-time, writing blogs and handling social media for a photojournalist in Chennai. I was also pursuing my Bachelor’s in Journalism at Madras Christian College. Working at Social Beat showed me that whatever I had done so far was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing and digital marketing. I got into the game on my first day and realised that there was so much more to creating content than just writing a couple of paragraphs for a blog, publishing it and calling it a day.

Over the course of my internship, I learned how to ideate, research, write, publish and maximise the exposure of the content that I was creating. In other words, I learnt how to make content bigger, better and much more visible to readers on the web. I also learnt about software like Google Analytics from training sessions and the Chit-Chat meetings, and how useful they could be in boosting the views and ratings of content published online.

The attitude of the people here and the work environment was extremely amazing and it is rare to find companies like Social Beat that have fun employees and a positive, productive work environment. I had no idea about digital marketing and wasn’t really that interested in the idea before joining Social Beat. After the internship, my attitude towards digital marketing and knowledge of the subject and field has changed for the better.

The office wasn’t all work though. We had many fun moments during the birthday celebrations, the team lunches, the Christmas celebrations and the 5th-anniversary outing to Wild Tribe Ranch. Chatting with friends while working or during lunch made the days really fun too. Most of the people I’ve met here are really humble and good folk who made my internship extremely enjoyable. I am glad to have worked and interacted with each and every one of them.

John internship

I found great mentors in Nandita Raman and Ayesha Rafeeq, who oversaw my work and gave me the best and most valuable advice and help. They were always open to clearing my doubts and gave me very constructive feedback for my work, which in turn helped me improve my skills by leaps and bounds.

I found great friends in Rhea and Ashika (my teammates on the Content Team) and people from other teams like Boobalan, Sankar, Prachi, Druhi, Sundar, Akshita, Natasha, Sanjana, Srinidhi, Shradha, Pournima, Bavadharini and many more. Many of the Heads like Suneil, David, Anuradha and Vikas were extremely helpful and supportive and always gave me great advice and help whenever I needed them.

I have always felt welcome at Social Beat and I’m glad that I chose to intern here. This experience has helped me grow not just as a working individual but also as a person. I wish nothing but the best for everyone there and I hope that the company continues to grow and reach further heights. Thank you, Social Beat, for an amazing internship experience.

How digital marketing for FMCG brands will revolutionise the sector

Digital media is changing the landscape for marketers everywhere, especially in the FMCG sector. Traditionally, campaigns for every FMCG product would depend upon determining the right marketing mix of the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) that would best influence the target audience’s purchase decisions. Today, however, consumers are making buying-decisions differently and with this, strategies aimed at impacting this process need to evolve as well.

Consumers now are exposed to their phone and laptop screens more than they are to traditional media like television, newspapers and billboards. There are also a growing number of consumers who prefer to shop online for FMCG products rather than visit a physical store. According to a report by Google and Bain and Co. $11 billion, or two-thirds, of the total sales in beauty and hygiene products will be influenced through online marketing. In today’s digital era, a strong digital marketing strategy is indispensable for FMCG brands

Adapting the 4 P’s for Digital Marketing

 Digital marketing for FMCG companies doesn’t mean retiring the tried and tested 4 P’s which formed the holy grail of marketing for years. Instead, it involves tweaking the marketing mix for FMCG products to bring them into the current era. Digital marketing trends in FMCG allow marketers to not just capture the consumer at the final buying stage, but also to establish a relationship with them from the start, something that was not possible before. This requires marketers to formulate a holistic FMCG digital strategy to not just influence their consumers, but also to personally engage with them.

How Digital Marketing Can Benefit FMCG Brands

 Incorporating a strong digital marketing strategy in the overall marketing mix offers many clear advantages to brands.

1. It helps distinguish your brand

The FMCG sector is marked by a large variety of similar products, which offer consumers a wide range to choose from. One of the biggest advantages of having an effective digital marketing strategy in place is that it helps brands create a unique brand identity. This helps consumers form a strong opinion of the brand, which will ultimately influence their purchase decision.

2. It provides an innovative way to display your brand

 In traditional marketing for FMCG, the product display was considered one of the most important factors which influenced purchase decisions. Consumers are visual creatures, so the more attractive your packaging, the higher the chance of it being noticed by them. In much the same way, digital marketing for FMCG companies can be approached as a virtual shelf display. It is even more effective than a physical display because it helps you reach your specific target audience, making your overall marketing strategy more cost-effective. This enables top-of-mind awareness, which can influence purchase decisions. Like physical shelves, digital marketing also allows you to position your products contextually. Through tools like AdWords Smart Display, you can showcase your products while consumers browse through similar categories. For example, if you are a skincare brand, you can display your ads next to beauty blogs your consumers are browsing through.

3. It Allows You to Gain Consumer Insights and Increase ROI

 One of the biggest advantages digital marketing has over traditional marketing is that it helps you track every facet of your marketing efforts. FMCG brands spend large sums on hoardings, TV commercials, print ads, radio ads and more. However, the results of these campaigns are very difficult to measure effectively. While speculative figures can be produced, there is no way to arrive at a definite conclusion.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, helps you track and measure every aspect of your campaign. With the help of analytic tools, brands can recover information about number of impressions, clicks, conversions and more. It also lets them find out exactly which ad prompted the consumer to make the purchase. Advanced analytics can even let you gain deep consumer insights. This can help you create campaigns and content that your target audience will actually find engaging. With the ease of tracking digital marketing offers, FMCG brands can refine their strategies and make it more cost-effective.

4. Mobile usage is only going to grow from here

Offline purchases might still form the bulk of FMCG sales but the future belongs to mobile phones. Mobile phones and high speed, affordable internet have penetrated almost every section of the Indian audience. A significant portion of Indian consumers are shopping for FMCG products online through various apps and this number is only going to grow. Digital marketing trends in FMCG need to keep up with the increasing volume of customers who prefer to shop online.

digital marketing for fmcg

Via seosolutionsindia.com

One of the biggest areas of growth in mobile usage will be in tier 2 cities and small towns in India. FMCG brands need to stay up-to-date on the constantly evolving digital marketing trends in these tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Unless brands solidify their FMCG digital strategy now, they are going to witness severe drawbacks in the future.

FMCG Digital Strategy Techniques

 Digital media offers a number of streams for FMCG brands to market themselves. These various platforms also help brands meet a number of marketing objectives, right from creating awareness and brand building to driving conversions and cultivating brand loyalty.

1. Build strong communities through content marketing

 For a long time, the focus of marketing strategies for FMCG brands revolved around a one-way promotion of their products. Today, however, digital marketing trends in FMCG are shifting the focus to creating user-centric content that brings actual value to consumers’ lives. By creating informative content, you can drive conversation among your consumers and build strong communities. Having a solid community is crucial to developing a loyal consumer base. Digital marketing can help strengthen your brand’s community through a number of innovative content marketing strategies that work.

digital marketing for fmcg

Clever use of content marketing is essential because it helps establish your authority in the space. For example, Johnson & Johnson created BabyCenter.com, a website for moms to share information and engage through helpful forums. While not overtly a part of Johnson & Johnson, all ads displayed on BabyCenter.com were for the brand. This allowed Johnson & Johnson to build a strong community of moms they could tap into to sell their products. This kind of user-focused marketing is unique to digital marketing and helps brands promote their products more effectively than ever before.

Another facet of content marketing that is essential for FMCG brands is creating SEO-friendly content. Incorporating a strong SEO plan as well as including strategies for content amplification is crucial because it drives consumers to your website, enabling them to become more aware of your brand. Keyword-optimized content also helps consumers find you when they have a query, which goes a long way in establishing your brand’s credibility in that domain.

2. Strengthen digital presence through social media

 Facebook is undeniably one of the biggest avenues for digital marketing. Through advanced tools for social media analytics, you can find your target audience, refine your marketing strategy and even drive conversions. The Facebook custom audience tool can help you widen your target audience and reach them through your campaigns. FMCG brands can also use Facebook to get deeper insights into consumer behaviour. For example, Raaga Professionals innovatively used an audience poll on Facebook to simultaneously understand the needs of their consumers as well as advertise their products.

digital marketing for fmcg

However, your consumers aren’t using only Facebook and as a brand, neither should you. Digital marketing for FMCG brands needs to be integrated over various channels to have the maximum impact. This includes ads which play before a Youtube video, promotions through Twitter, Instagram posts and much more. Effective digital marketing for FMCG even includes SEO-friendly content, so your brand shows up when consumers search for a related need. With an increase in the number of FMCG products showing up online, Google Ads are also another important avenue for FMCG marketing.

3. Consistently engage with your audience to encourage brand loyalty

 Traditionally, FMCG advertisements were a one-way interaction, with brands informing consumers about their products over TV commercials, radio spots and print ads. Advertising was done mostly when there was a new product or service to promote. Buying space in traditional media is expensive and only allows for a one-way communication. This is why brands were unable to consistently engage with their consumers.

Digital media is changing all of that permanently. Digital marketing has a clear edge over traditional marketing when it comes to generating user engagement. Digital marketing trends in FMCG products are aimed towards establishing your brand as a constant presence in your consumers’ lives. Through shareable content, helpful information and meaningful interaction, brands can continue to stay relevant at all times. This helps consumers recall your brand at the time of making a purchase decision. Whole Foods, for example, utilised chatbots in their digital marketing strategy to engage consumers and direct them towards completing a purchase.

4. Widen consumer base through Influencer Marketing

 Influencer marketing is proving to be one of the most important digital marketing trends in FMCG. Through the use of influencers, your brand can tap into their huge number of followers and increase consumer awareness of your products. Influencer marketing is also very useful for FMCG brands because consumers are more likely to believe in the credibility of your brand when an influencer whom they trust recommends it to them.

5. Drip email marketing

 A one-size-fits-all marketing campaign is no longer effective for FMCG products. While email marketing in general keeps your consumers updated on latest products and promotions, drip emails in particular are a groundbreaking way to personalize your marketing tactics. Drip emails, also known as automated emails, are a set of emails that are sent to consumers based on a specific set of parameters. For example, there will be one email that is sent to consumers when they first sign up, one that will be sent if consumers add products to their cart but leave without completing the purchase, one that will be sent after a purchase is made and so on.

digital marketing for fmcg

Via chasenewmedia.com

Drip email campaigns are one of the most effective lead nurturing strategies. These automated mails can target consumers at a number of different stages, ultimately guiding them towards making a purchase. This technique can prove a very effective step in digital marketing for FMCG companies by helping influence the consumer decision making process. Automated emails which are sent when consumers abandon their shopping carts are particularly effective, because it pushes the consumer to complete the purchase. Drip emails also help you retarget consumers who have already purchased your products. Research show that consumers who have purchased your products in the past are more likely to do so again in the future.

6. Sell Your Products Online

 While this may sound self-evident, not many FMCG products actually sell their products online. To this day, even if FMCG advertisements are being displayed on digital media, their marketing efforts are aimed at influencing the consumer’s in-store purchase decision. But with the launch of many websites that let you purchase FMCG products online, an increasing number of consumers are beginning to shop online. In this case, even if a consumer has every intention of purchasing your product, they will choose a competitor’s product if yours is unavailable online. FMCG brands can choose to sell products through Amazon and Facebook or similar sites to increase sales.

Selling products online also gives you the advantage of being able to reach consumers beyond a limited geographical location. For example, a local makeup brand can start selling their products nationally by making it available online. This ultimately increases the consumer base for FMCG products, a key factor in eventually increasing sales. With a few simple steps, selling online through Amazon and other sites is a very easy way for FMCG brands to increase their online presence. For example, Raaga Professionals, a personal care brand, sells their products through Nykaa. In this way, their content marketing through blogs can direct consumers to a clear point of purchase.

digital marketing for fmcg

7. Run campaigns in regional languages

 For most FMCG brands, tier 2 and tier 3 cities offer the next big avenue for growth. At the same time, most consumers in these areas are becoming more digitally connected. While the number of English-speaking users online has more or less peaked, regional language users are only going to grow from here. This has been facilitated in a huge part by the dual penetration of mobile phones and internet connectivity in India’s smaller towns. A study conducted by Google and KPMG estimates that the number of non-English speakers using the internet will grow by around 18 percent annually. Additionally, 99 percent of these users will access the internet primarily through their mobile phone. For FMCG brands, this offers a huge opportunity to leverage digital marketing to attract this new wave of consumers. The growth of regional content online will be one of the key factors that can influence FMCG sales in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

 FMCG Digital Marketing Case Study: Cavin’s Milkshake

 Cavin’s Milkshake is one of the top-selling dairy-based drinks sold by the parent company CavinKare. These milkshakes are sold in single-serving sized tetra paks, and are known for their delicious flavour variants and high adherence to quality standards. Cavin’s is also one of the best examples for a well-thought out digital marketing strategy. Through the use of creative and engaging posts over social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, Cavin’s was able to successfully utilize social media for their brand building efforts.

Facebook Posts

Cavin’s Milkshake maintains an active Facebook profile, with funny, creative posts that attract a large number of comments and shares. They also have a very large, vibrant community on Facebook who actively engage with the brand by writing positive reviews on their page and interacting with their posts.

digital marketing for fmcg

Cavin’s Milkshake is a staple in most school canteens and the product brings back a flood of nostalgic school memories. The #JustHighSchoolThings campaign for Cavin’s stuck to the same theme, by associating the brand with school memories most people have in common. The campaign showcased the most common characters most of us were familiar with in school such as ‘The Geek’ and ‘Cutest Couple’ through Cavin’s Milkshakes. These posts were very popular throughout social media, garnering a high reach and number of audience reactions. What is most noteworthy about these posts is that they have performed well organically, proving that excellent content is the most important aspect of digital marketing for FMCG companies

digital marketing for fmcg

Instagram Posts

digital marketing for fmcg

Cavin’s Milkshake utilized Instagram extensively for brand-building. Through the use of striking visuals, their posts on Instagram were able to generate high levels of engagement from their followers. Their Instagram posts involved the clever use of popular memes, special events and engaging artwork tied in with their products. In this way, digital marketing for FMCG companies can help keep brands relevant by immediately cashing in on the latest trending topics.

digital marketing for fmcg

Instagram was also an important channel for Cavin’s to rope in their followers and build a strong community. With the hashtag #Cavin’sSuperstar, each month, Cavin’s Milkshake showcased one of their followers and asked them a few fun questions about their love affair with Cavin’s. This was an excellent social engagement technique to foster brand loyalty and encourage participation.

digital marketing for fmcg

Influencer Marketing

Cavin’s Milkshake was able to successfully utilize influencer marketing to reach moms who would ultimately purchase the product for their children. One of the key influencers roped in for Cavin’swas RichaChoudhary who runs the blog All That’s Mom. As part of the influencer marketing campaign, RichaChoudhary wrote a blog post on Cavin’s Milkshake, along with 2 social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, plus a short video for Cavin’s. These posts performed extremely well on the blog as well as on social media. Through the innovative use of Cavin’s Milkshake in recipes as well as her posts on how much her child loved Cavin’s Milkshake, the product developed a positive brand perception from her huge follower base.

digital marketing for fmcg

Apart from macro-influencers, Cavin’ Milkshake also worked with a number of micro-influencers on Instagram. These micro-influencers put up a number of posts where they talked about their positive experiences with the brand, used it in recipes and recommended it to their followers.

digital marketing for fmcg

Through the innovative use of various social media platforms, Cavin’s Milkshake was able to build their brand identity and reach out to their consumers.

Developing a Cross-Channel Marketing Mix

 The perfect marketing mix for FMCG advertisements involves a customized combination of digital and traditional media. Developing this unique mix requires a deep understanding of your consumers. Consumers often use their phones and laptops in tandem with other forms of media. For example, they might be browsing on their laptop while watching TV or checking their phone while listening to the radio in their car. This is why digital marketing for FMCG companies also need to develop strategies that effectively blend both these channels. With campaigns and FMCG advertisements that are spread over multiple platforms, brands can develop consumer awareness and influence purchase decisions.

If you are looking for the best digital marketing agency in Mumbai and best digital marketing agency in Bangalore and Chennai, reach out to us and grow your business.

 

 

7 reasons why you need to use Quora in your digital marketing strategy

At first glance, Quora doesn’t seem like it would be an important tool for a marketer. However, underestimating the value of Quora can be one of the worst mistakes you can make for your brand. Quora has 1.5 million visitors every month. That’s 1.5 million visitors who have the potential to discover your brand and become prospective leads. This is why one of the biggest digital marketing trends of recent times has been the growing focus on Quora. Quora has a distinct edge over other question and answer forums because of its highly monitored content. User profiles are strictly verified and content is routinely checked for quality. Building your brand’s presence on Quora can help increase awareness of your brand, increase traffic to your site and even generate leads. Here are seven crucial reasons why your brand needs to make use of Quora in its overall marketing strategy.

1. It Helps Your Consumers Find and Learn About Your Brand

The biggest advantage Quora offers is that it is made up of a large community built on trust and whose members rely on each other for information. When you provide informative answers to questions users pose, you’re automatically increasing the credibility of your brand. Quora allows you to engage in meaningful conversations with your target audience and establish your brand as an expert in your field.

However, it’s important that you never attempt to oversell your brand on Quora. The community on Quora is distrustful of marketers and hates self-promotional material. When you’re marketing your brand on Quora, ‘less is more’ is a strategy that always works. Instead of speaking about your brand in great detail, focus instead on providing informative answers to the questions being asked. This will gradually build your brand credibility and bring users organically to your site.

2. It Can Improve Your Search Result Rankings

Google search results often include Quora posts among its highest ranking sites. This makes Quora a powerful SEO tool to drive organic traffic to your site. You could even increase your chances of showing up in the top results by strategically using important keywords with the help of keyword research tools. However, you need to make sure your content is relevant. Dropping keywords with abandon and speaking extensively about your brand with little to no connection to the actual question will decrease your chances of showing up in search results.

3. It Helps You Find Crucial Influencers

One of the biggest digital marketing trends this year has been the growing importance of influencer marketing. If you’re struggling to find key influencers for your brand, Quora could be a great resource. There are many users who are identified as key contributors by Quora because of their highly informative answers. Users rely the most on these key contributors because they have repeatedly established their credibility. You can engage with these contributors by answering their questions or by providing comments to their answers. You can even directly reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in helping you promote your brand.

4. It Can Help You Market Your Content

If you have excellent content and blog posts on your brand’s website, then Quora is one of the best ways to amplify your content. Again, the key here is to be subtle about promoting your website. Instead of replying to a question with, ‘Visit my website for information about this’, introduce it slowly within your answer. Your answer needs to cultivate interest that will actually make users curious enough to visit your blog. Provide key information within your answers and link your content to it by saying that you’ve written about it in more detail on your blog.

You can also use Quora to crowdsource information for your article. You can mention that you’re writing a blog on ‘How to Improve SEO Rankings’ and ask users for their tips on the subject. When users feel like they have actively contributed to a blog post, they will even be more likely to share it themselves.

5. It Helps You Gain Insights into Your Target Audience

You don’t need to conduct expensive, complicated surveys when you have a simple resource like Quora at your disposal. Instead of guessing what your target audience needs, why not let them tell you directly? The questions on Quora are an invaluable source of information about what type of content your target audience will find engaging. If a number of people are asking questions about the same problem, can your brand be the solution to it? Questions (and their answers) are great ways to learn more about your customers, the way they think, what they use and what they need. By actively catering to their problems, your brand can continue to stay relevant.

6. It Can Help You Come Up With Content Ideas

If you’re stumped for new content ideas, trawling through Quora can help you ideate. A good blog post needs to provide answers to relevant questions anyway so what better place to find these questions that Quora? For example, if a number of people are asking, ‘How do I increase my Instagram engagement?’ then you immediately have an idea for a relevant blog post. Using questions on Quora to ideate for your blog also serves up another advantage. You can link the blog post you’ve written along with your answer to the question and amplify it further.

7. It Can Help You Establish Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a coveted badge every marketer wants for their brand. Establishing thought leadership makes your brand an authority in its field and increases trust in it. Building thought leadership can take some time, but the payoff makes it all worth it. One of the best ways to establish thought leadership is through Quora. By providing meaningful, informative answers to your consumer’s questions, you’re demonstrating the extensive knowledge you have on the subject. Many brands struggle with building thought leadership because they don’t know how to steer a conversation in the direction of their brand’s offerings. Quora saves you the trouble because the conversation already exists; you just need to contribute to it.

Clearly, no marketer can afford to ignore Quora if they want to successfully build their brand’s digital presence. Quora is even more essential when it comes to marketing for a start-up because it helps new consumers come across your brand. So take full advantage of this site for a well-rounded digital marketing strategy.

This article was previously published as Quora: A must-have in your digital marketing playbook on Business Line on Campus.

Casagrand generated a record 190 crores in revenue via Facebook

Casagrand is one of India’s fastest growing real estate companies and committed to building aspirations and delivering value. It offers superior homes in premium locations of Southern India. To date, the developer has delivered dream homes across 68 landmark properties to over 4,000 happy families.

We are delighted to announce that Facebook has published a case study on Casagrand’s meteoric success using Facebook marketing solutions. This is an important example of how no brand can risk ignoring the power of social media in today’s digital landscape. In the last financial year, Casagrand, a real estate company based out of Chennai has generated an incredible 190 crore in revenue using Facebook marketing solutions and at a 60% lower cost per lead compared to other digital channels. Find out about how we helped our real estate client grow with real estate digital marketing for Facebook marketing solutions.

CG Facebook Case Study

 

The goal

Casagrand came to us with the objective of increasing their residential project sales through online enquiries and reducing their acquisition cost by 50%. To do this, we knew we had to devise a unique approach to Facebook marketing. We couldn’t afford to use Facebook as just a brand building tool, but also as a sales channel to boost residential sales. In all, we used 8 Facebook marketing tools to generate record sales for our client through online enquiries alone. Each of these tools was crucial in brand building and lead generation.

How did we do it?

To help our client achieve their goals, the first thing we did was to run video ads on Facebook. Video is one of the key trends in social media to increase brand awareness and recall. Once we knew which of our target audience had viewed the videos, we were able to build a Custom Audience and target them again, using lead generation ads. These lead gen ads came with a pre-filled form with key information such as name, email and phone number so all the potential customers had to do was click on the ad and enquire. Additionally, the builder also created lookalike audience of these leads and targeted them as well. The sales team too was quick to follow up on these leads and convert them into buyers.

Using Facebook’s reach and frequency tool, Casagrand pushed a specific offer to potential buyers for five days. This method increased both brand awareness and leads. To expand the reach beyond Facebook, the builder also used the audience network and Instagram platform to reach their target audience.

Using a combination on lead ads, slideshow ads and Canvas ads, Casagrand was able to achieve their targets with real estate digital marketing using Facebook marketing solutions.

This case study is an important example of the power of social media marketing. With higher sales numbers and lower cost per lead, digital marketing has transformed the real estate industry. Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive guide for digital marketing for real estate for a more in-depth analysis.

5 Ways Chatbots Can Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Chatbots are taking the world by storm as a unique, personal way to reach out to potential customers. With many messaging apps developing platforms for chatbots, an increasing number of people today are interacting with them in some form or the other. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has led to chatbots that sound human, have a sense of humour and can keep users engaged in a conversation. So what does all of this mean for brands? Chatbots allow brands to interact with their customers directly, obtain useful information from them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In short, brands today cannot afford to ignore the chatbot invasion taking place. Here are five ways you can harness the potential of chatbots to maximise the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

1. To answer customer queries

 Visitors to your site are impatient. They want information and answers to their questions quickly or they will leave. Every brand wants to answer potential customer’s queries and increase their engagement on the website. However, not every company has the resources to employ a full-time customer service team to do this. Chatbots can swoop in as a low-cost effective solution to answer questions and keep customers informed. Giving your chatbots a name and profile picture are great ways to make the interaction more human and pique the interest of potential customers. But brands aren’t the only ones benefiting from chatbots. A recent survey found that most customers also prefer asking questions over chat instead of over an email or phone calls

Chatbots are shaping up to be one of the defining trends for real estate in 2017. Social Beat has developed a chatbot for Casagrand to personally welcome each visitor to the website and help them navigate the website easier. The chatbot helps make the website more interactive so each visitor can get quick answers to their queries.

If you are looking to set up the live chats for your website, read our blog on the top 10 live chat software for your website.

2. To increase sales of your products and services

One of the most exciting avenues for chatbots to exhibit their true potential is within the realm of sales. More people today are shopping online than they ever were before. As a brand, your website will have more than a few products and you do want your customers to go through them all and make more purchases. So how do you make them see all the products, especially since people might get tired of finding exactly what they are looking for or something they might like? Chatbots come in very useful in this scenario. They can act as a personal shopping assistant. Through a series of personalized questions, the chatbots understand what a customer is looking for, what their taste preferences are and based on this information, it offers a curated selection of products for them to choose from. Customers are willing to talk to these chatbots because they sound friendly and most importantly, ‘human’.

In 2016, when Tommy Hilfiger introduced their new collection, they also did something revolutionary; they introduced chatbots for the first time. The bot welcomed users and asked them questions about their favourite prints, the occasion they were shopping for and so on. Based on their responses, the chatbot displayed pieces from their collection that matched the customer’s preferences. If users liked the outfits, the chatbot would direct them to the website where they could actually shop the look. In this way, Tommy Hilfiger was able to guide their customers’ right from the exploration to the purchasing step.

                                        tommy

3. To Understand Your Customers Better

Every brand wants to know exactly what type of content their target audience will find engaging. Most times, brands get this information by asking their customers to fill out surveys. Unfortunately, most consumers aren’t willing to go through the tedious process of filling out a long questionnaire. Chatbots are a simpler way of getting to know your customers better in a more interactive manner. Customers are also more willing to give away personal information when they know they are talking to a bot and not an actual human. Chatbots have the ability to store information that the customer provides, keep a track of their purchasing patterns and even understand any difficulties they’re facing with their shopping experience. This helps you optimize your products better to cater to their specific needs.

Harper Collins launched a chatbot that would interact with users and suggest books for them based on their preferences. Keeping track of their customer’s tastes also helped Harper Collins understand what genres to keep well stocked and what kinds of books their customers are reading.

Haprper collins bots

4. To Increase User Engagement On Your Website

A good chatbot can make a customer stay on your website and keep them entertained for a long time. The one characteristic that sets chatbots apart from other forms of marketing is that they are dynamic. Chatbots adapt according to the person they’re talking to and can keep customers engaged in fun conversations. They can also increase the number of site visits by providing your customers with relevant links and information about your products and services.

Whole Foods created a chatbot that would entertain customers and ultimately lead to more store visits. Customers could send a random selection of food emojis to the chatbot and it would come up with a recipe that utilized all of the emojis they had selected. Whole Foods would then ask their customers if they wanted to make the recipe and would direct them to their nearest Whole Foods outlet to buy the ingredients they needed. Users spent a long time on the chatbot purely because they found it a lot of fun. This left a long-lasting impression upon them and increased their overall engagement with the Whole Foods website.

bots3

5. To Personalize User Experience

Nine out of ten customers reported that personalization played a huge role when they decided to buy something. Today, digital marketing has been able to reach out to more people than ever before. However, customers aren’t likely to be attracted to your brand unless they feel that you are speaking to them directly. When you are talking to thousands of customers as a whole, how do you ensure that each of them feels like your marketing strategy is directed specifically at them? Chatbots can go a long way in helping you achieve this. When a registered user opens your site, chatbots welcome them by name, in a very friendly manner. Even though users know they’re not real people, the human tone most chatbots have can still make the experience feel a lot more personal. Chatbots can also keep a track of each customer’s previous search history and purchases, which help them, offer product suggestions that are tailor-made for each user.

Ixibaba is a chatbot developed by the travel website Ixigo to act as a personal travel agent to their customers. Ixibaba answers all of their queries, help them find flights, book hotels and discover restaurants near where they are staying. Ixibaba can also keep track of all the places customers have travelled to, helping it customize suggestions for each user.
ixiba bots

Chatbots are quickly emerging as one of the top digital marketing trends of 2017. Which one of these are you going to try for your brand? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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