Augmented Reality is an interactive technology that is reshaping how customers make their decisions before a purchase. In fact, recent studies suggest that nearly 61% of online shoppers prefer brands utilising the AR tool, which can convert viewers into customers. Augmented Reality utilises advanced technology to integrate and overlap the virtual and real-world in the form of images. All this has led brands to change how they leverage digital marketing trends for 2020 with this powerful tool. The advantages of AR are many and brands have already started tapping into the immense potential of AR as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Google has announced that they are testing AR powered 3D images integrated within searches for products on e-commerce sites. This will enhance the search experience of users as they can now visualise the products in real time. Moreover, 3D images give an enhanced online experience as it enables users to visualise and understand product specifications vividly.
When a user searches for a product, the results will be displayed with the specifications and prices, and alongside these details, the option to ‘View in 3D’ will appear as well. This requires all users to have Google’s new AR update.
By clicking on this option, users will be shown the 3D image of the product through the mobile device’s camera lens. These images appear as if they are right in front of you, wherever you may be.
Users can rotate the product to any angle to explore the features and check if it matches their expectations. This allows them to visualise the product as realistically as they can, and find out if the product is a good fit for their needs, thus enabling them to make more informed purchases.
Google’s ARCore allows brands to transform 2D images to 3D models integrated with AR technology with which the users can engage with the product for a better user experience. With a set of quality reference AR images, the tool can easily model the AR experience effectively. Instagram and Facebook are well ahead of the curve, with the introduction of SparkAR to enhance the user experience on social platforms. Although there are multiple apps offering the AR experience, Google’s entry into the field is a crucial factor for SEO strategies to rank better on the search engine when there are commercial queries.
The advantages of AR have come as a boon for businesses. From increased brand awareness, enhanced user experience, refined brand engagement, and increased conversion rates, using cutting-edge technology of AR is definitely revolutionizing the way customers engage with brands. All these benefits of AR lead to the largest benefit yet - that the approach to a full-funnel marketing strategy is achievable, turning leads into customers with potentially higher retention.
23 January 2020, Mumbai - Social Beat’s fourth edition of its Digital Leadership Summit was held in Mumbai, in which the top industry leaders across sectors came together to share their insights and experiences, as well as forecast digital marketing trends for the future. Last year’s Summit, which was conducted in Bangalore and Mumbai, was a huge success, focusing on innovations across video, vernacular trends, voice marketing, and Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. This year, one of the biggest talking points of the Summit was tapping into India’s next billion data users, how they will influence digital transformation across Bharat, and leading through disruption in various sectors.
The Summit focused on the prospect of the digital space this new decade, especially this current financial year. Sectors that are expected to see transformation were also discussed, including FMCG, retail, e-commerce, B2B, BFSI, real estate, and Internet businesses. Abhinav Jain, Co-Founder of Shop101 and Kaushik Mukhergee, Co-Founder and COO of SUGAR Cosmetics took up the first two sessions. They spoke about their individual brands, and how each of them introduced their products to consumers in the Tier II and Tier III cities - targeting to reach close to 400 million new Internet users. Abhinav also shared his insights on leveraging social relationships of sellers and democratizing commerce with a seamless product. He then spoke about creating micro-entrepreneurs in Bharat, driving 70% of transactions from outside top cities.
This was followed by a panel discussion on leading BFSI through disruption. This session included Ajit Narasimhan, CMO of Sundaram Mutual Funds, and MVS Murthy, Head of Marketing, Digital and Corporate Communications at Tata Mutual Funds. Moderating the panel, David Appasamy, Head of Brand and Strategy of Social Beat, said, “While the banking and financial service sector has been slow to adopt digital, many upcoming trends and new technologies are taking efficiency and outreach to new heights. Big data, AI, and voice are just a few major trends that are likely to make a huge impact on BFSI.”
The next series of talks were led by Ravi Saxena, CEO of Wonderchef, Sandeep Lodha, CEO of Weddingz.in and of OYO, and Arjun Choudhary, Chief Business Officer and Founding member of mfine. Mr Ravi spoke about how Wonderchef has built its brand name and become a digitally-led business in a competitive market, while Sandeep and Arjun spoke about the disruption of their business fields in India, and solving challenges using the right channel mix and building great community networks. Sandeep also shed light on how innovation can impact a digital user’s behaviour, and the influence innovation has which can potentially disrupt the wedding industry.
The event came to a close with a final panel discussion on innovation and trends for 2020, digital growth, and focus on digital strategy and performance by industries across their respective fields, moderated by Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat. He stated, “The last decade saw a quantum leap in the growing number of data users. This decade will now witness the digital medium open its doors to vernacular content and marketing to a brand new audience, radically changing the landscape of digital solutions. It will be exciting to see the impact unfold.” He was joined by Vinesh Gadhia, Senior Vice President of Lupin Ltd., and Juhi Singh, Digital Evangelist, Digital Transformation and Strategy Division of Marico.
The year 2019 has been a whirlwind in terms of growth in the digital space. The number of internet users has gone up to a number that was previously unprecedented - from 483 million users in the year 2018, India has now crossed half a billion internet users at a whopping 566 million. This means brands and companies have a whole new audience to market to and multiple innovative ways to do so! If you are keen to learn more about digital marketing, do check out our digital marketing training arm, DigiGrad.
Here are 7 digital marketing trends for 2020 that we expect will see the most traction:
While user growth has slowed down across most key markets, India has shown no such trend. This is a direct result of easy accessibility to mobile internet and cheaper smartphones with the advent of Jio. This has consequently led to the huge influx of new social apps in digital markets, like TikTok, Helo, Sharechat, Vigo, Bigo, Firework and some more in the pipeline.
The year 2020 will likely see a rise of even more such apps as these have proved to be a hit with new data users, having tapped into vernacular content and the interests of people in smaller towns. And since a large chunk of internet users from rural India - 251 million to be precise - have contributed to the growth in the total number of Indian internet users this year, 2020 can expect to see a higher demand for social apps that cater to this demographic.
It also doesn’t hurt that these media conglomerates have figured out a key factor in driving growth - offering social apps with access to entertainment like short-videos, gaming and live-streaming. 2019 has already seen these newer social apps climb the rankings on Google’s Android PlayStore, with TikTok ranking number one, and Helo at a close second. Facebook currently holds the third position, which may indicate that the dominance the Facebook family of apps has had may see a negative impact.
On that note, with so many first-time internet users, the rise of a lot of social platforms have seen their tremendous growth simply because they offer their content and services in vernacular. Language-driven services have had such an impact this year, that even Amazon and Flipkart are planning to get on this bandwagon soon to catch up with new age players like niki.ai, bulbul tv and Shop101. With a higher demand for vernacular content online, brands across segments will be forced to explore and deliver too if they want to see bigger growth. Storytelling is an impactful way to engage and connect with customers, and when done in a native tongue, the outcome is very personal and unique. This is evident in the thumbstopper format that Facebook offers, which intends to tell a story without sound, in order to capture the essence of a story and be able to tell it to speakers of any language.
Featured below are the thumbstopper videos we did in collaboration with Malabar Gold to promote their ‘Men in Platinum’ collection. The campaign dismantles stereotypical gender roles and highlights the fact that men are at their best when they are in their element. With an overall reach of 13 lakh views across Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, the brand’s Facebook page witnessed a 450% increase in user engagement proving that relatability is a language in itself.
Speaking about breaking language barriers, Swiggy recently ran a campaign titled #SwiggyStarhunt - a platform for delivery partners to showcase their talent by uploading videos on popular video-sharing app TikTok. These videos come under the categories of acting, dancing, singing and musical instruments. Since the campaign was targeted at delivery partners, we created a robust social media strategy in 11 languages to grab their attention and encourage them to participate in the event. The campaign resulted in an outpour of uploads onto the video-sharing app, with a whopping 44+ million organic views, reaching a pan-Indian audience and giving Swiggy the uplift it deserved. #SwiggyStarhunt is also a testament to the fact that leveraging new social media platforms like TikTok, along with the relatability of vernacular content, is a great way to connect with consumers.
4G has taken India’s markets by storm, and Indian service providers are eager to capitalize on this moment to drive user and customer engagement. Augmented Reality can be used in a multitude of ways, changing experiences across different sectors, be it retail, live events, museums, real estate, education or automobile.
Facebook introduced Spark AR this year for the general public, which allows users on Facebook and Instagram to create filters and upload them online. Other users can then save these and apply them to their stories. Facebook has been seeing a lot of success with the launch of this product and this will probably ‘spark’ AR trends even more. Google had already rolled out Google Lens which is an image recognition technology that uses the point and shoot feature to show fitting search results. These two giants have showcased the diversity in the use of AR and how successful it can be when implemented right, driven by function.
VR will also start to pick up more as we enter 2020, but since VR devices are still too expensive for the Indian market, it is unlikely that it will pick up at the same pace as AR will.
E-commerce is the way of the future, and with search interaction having increased, leading companies will find voice a profitable technology to drive sales and revenue. This has already been evidenced in the huge investment Amazon has put into Alexa and Google into Google Home and its Google Assistant. Businesses will see voice user interface as an innovative tool that enables faster, more efficient customer engagement as voice commands surround every sphere of life, driving purchases, payments and more. Voice ordering, already a popular phenomenon in the US, will start picking up in India as well. Brands are also tying up with new-age start-ups like niki.ai to engage with the next billion internet users. These AI powered start-ups build user experiences that are not just intuitive but also in a language that the customers in the Tier II and III cities are comfortable in, making it easy for them to place orders using voice commands.
Looking for a few tips on voice search marketing? Here’s our tell-all guide:
It’s quality over quantity, always. Which is why many brands are now wanting to capitalize on their first-party data, instead of opting for second and third-party data. First-party data allows for exact, valuable insights into a customer’s direct engagement with the brand, whether it’s their individual interests, which ads they engage with, or how much time they spend on the brand’s website. This information is unfiltered, specific, and relevant, which helps to build an audience profile that is an exact match with the product or service in question. It is also cost-effective, as it’s free, and is lawful and transparent. Nike is one such company which has already announced that they will be selling only directly going forward.
Artificial intelligence fits into this equation as it can prove to be extremely beneficial in sifting through these data sets, which for a team of actual people, can be daunting. AI could uncover insights that could have been missed otherwise, identify critical data and trends, and all at unmatched speed with extreme accuracy. Thus, AI and first-party data may hand-in-hand serve to drive more personalized communication soon.
Social media platforms have seen quite a few changes this year, which were a little surprising for everyone. At one end, there are platforms like TikTok and Sharechat, which incentivized influencers, and at the other end, Instagram rolled out an update that removed the like count. The Advertising Standards Council of India has also announced that they are framing new guidelines and rules in a bid to protect consumer interests, which will include influencer marketing under its purview. With the aim to curb forms of misleading information, the reach influencers have, the kind of information they put out, and the engagement brands have with influencers may all change in 2020.
It is commonly believed that as the world became increasingly digital over the years, physical stores began to see less engagement. But this doesn’t hold true for brands that rely heavily on location, like hotels, restaurants, and auto dealerships. For such brands, online to offline attribution is extremely relevant and useful, as this metric helps brands to trace and identify which online ads can be attributed to driving in-store foot traffic.
While Google Store Visits is already live and being used across brands, other platforms will also start leveraging location data, combined with first party and CRM data, to showcase what results digital is driving for retailers and offline stores. This can be a game changer for traditional brands that did not have digital as a key aspect of their marketing campaigns. The start of the next decade will likely see a lot of brands who are not yet using digital come online to use this tool to engage with customers better and drive sales insightfully.
Store visit ads were an integral part of our campaign with retailers like Malabar Gold, Khadims and Specsmakers. We leverage a mix of Google products using detailed demographic targetting as well as geo-fence the retail stores. The ads used online to offline attribution data to measure the increase in footfall to their stores. The below case study of Malabar Gold showcases how thousands of shoppers were targetted and tracked, for the recent Brides of India campaign.
All that being said, the trends predicted show a range of exciting opportunities to be used for growth. We at Social Beat are definitely eager to see what the start of the new decade has in store for the digital marketing sector and are excited to grow with it, scaling new heights.
This article was originally published in The Economic Times Brand Equity.
Facebook has launched the Multiple Text Optimization (MTO) feature in its responsive ads. This feature is similar to Google’s Responsive Search and Display Ads. Multiple Text Optimization has made it possible for advertisers to feed in various versions of the headline, ad copy, and description for one single-media ad. The various combinations will target different audiences based on what works best for whom based on granular metrics by Facebook
This follows on the heels of the launch of Lookalike Audiences by LinkedIn and options for browser, keyword and gender targeting by Quora.
Multiple Text Optimization, or MTO, is a feature added to the Facebook ‘create ad’ section. It helps optimize each ad for the respective target audience by using different text combinations.
This new feature can be navigated to through either Business Manager or Power Editor. Using this new feature, you can put in the variations for each section of the ad. You can put in 5 title variations, 5 different CTAs, and 5 variations of the description. Of these, the titles, descriptions, and CTAs will be mixed to generate different versions of the ad.
You can view the different combinations before the ad is published, on the ‘View More Variations’ tab, to see what works together. Once published, Facebook will automatically combine different headings with different descriptions. These versions will be put out to various audience groups, which Facebook’s system will analyze. It will then optimize and generate the best performing combination using machine learning
Using MTO, Facebook will customise how your ad appears to different target audiences, based on their viewing history. While this will help customise ads according to different target groups in one go, advertisers might lose some amount of targeting control. This is because the ad will be put out according to Facebook’s algorithm and not the specifications set by the advertiser. Moreover, you can only view the performance numbers as an aggregate of all the combinations, and not how each combination worked.
You can use MTO to test different features with different audiences and to see what resonates best with whom. This testing is accelerated through machine learning, enabling faster insights. While this ad will automatically be optimized for the target audience, it will also help you create the next set of ads with more insight on audience reactions.
Another way of using MTO effectively is by advertising the new product to old customers. Remarket to your old customers by including text variations targeting those who have visited your website. Since they already know and trust your brand, the conversion rate will be easier here.
MTO is thus important for building a brand through digital marketing and making your ads effectively more relatable to customers. Since this feature is similar to Google’s Responsive Search and Display Ads, some of its uses and benefits are the same. Leveraging MTO this way will definitely prove useful in creating a successful Facebook marketing strategy for your brand.
Social Beat has got Arunima Singh on board as the executive vice president – growth in Mumbai. She will help the agency drive success with existing and new clients for the west region. Singh will work closely with the core team to drive growth and move closer towards the company’s vision of being India’s top independent digital agency by 2021.
Singh comes with more than 19 years of marketing experience, on both client and agency side. A media professional, she has a background in brand management, and marketing. Throughout her nearly two decade long career, Singh has held multiple positions, her last one being business director at Wonderman Thompson. Her journey also includes stints at AdFactors PR, L&K, Saatchi and Saatchi, and Mirum in the past. She brings with her experience in content management, SMM/SEO, website building and management, and business development.
Singh said, “Joining Social Beat, a young & agile agency, beautifully nurtured with a class apart culture and an apt environment where creativity is nurtured and nourished, is indeed a challenging platform for widening my portfolio in digital advertising. It is said that when a drop of waterfalls in the pool, it has no value, whereas if the same drop of waterfalls on a lotus leaf, it can shine like a pearl and a diamond. I am excited & looking forward to working with Social Beat and contributing to taking it to the next level with my team.”
She has worked on brands like Pidilite, Kalpataru, Godrej Group, Essar, KPCL, Parle, HCC, Lavasa, Magma Fincorp, Force Motors, Kotak Mahindra, HUL, Apollo Clinics, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Tata Housing, Intel, Piramal, Kellogg’s, HSBC,Colgate, and Flipkart during her career so far. She has also won multiple awards during her career.
Social Beat co-founder Vikas Chawla said, “We are ecstatic to have Arunima on board as an EVP in Mumbai. We look forward to working together towards realising our 10X vision to being the no.1 independent digital agency in India. With her immense experience in mainline and digital, she will be a great addition to the team and our journey.”
Social Beat is delighted to strengthen its leadership team by bringing on board Avinash Shenoy, Pratiksha Sinha and Tuhina Bapuli as Executive Vice Presidents (EVP) for Mumbai and Bangalore. They will be working closely with the team to drive growth and move closer towards the company’s vision of being India’s no. 1 independent digital agency by 2021.
Avinash Shenoy hails from a core advertising, brand management and marketing communications background. His professional journey spans across management and execution of strategies for various marquee brands. His 17-year-long professional journey includes working at various key roles in brand marketing and customer marketing at PepsiCo, in addition to managing key personal care brands for Unilever at Lowe. He was also a part of a key online jewellery brand where he worked towards delivering their growth hacking and digital marketing initiatives.
Talking about his new role as an Executive Vice President in Mumbai, Avinash stated, “The new world of the consumer is fast evolving in terms of consumption and communication, thanks to digitisation and e-commerce. It is imperative that brands and businesses are on top of the game to match these needs. I really believe that the team at Social Beat has the right passion and purpose to deliver these evolving digital needs. I am delighted to be a part of this journey and look forward to working with this young and dynamic team to create winning ideas, and solutions to build business for our clients.”
Pratiksha’s career in marketing took shape 6 years ago, with her gaining expertise in creating and executing GTM strategies for known brands across various verticals, including building client relations and business development. Her stint at Sokrati and Anarock has been instrumental in shaping her career in performance marketing. In Anarock, she was also given the opportunity to onboard and work with established brands such as Piramal Realty, TATA Housing, Mahindra, Shapoorji, Viacom, Swiggy and AJIO, to name a few.
Joining Social Beat as an Executive Vice President in Mumbai, Pratiksha shared, “In Social Beat, my key focus area would be to grow our business by almost 10x in the next 18 months, by helping our existing clients scale their customer growth through paid marketing and also onboarding new clients who are looking at driving significant scale through digital.”
Tuhina Bapuli has over 10 years of experience in the craft of core marketing having worked in brand awareness, consumer marketing and brand building. She has also gained exposure in corporate events including MICE and trade meets, and managed dealer engagements with CHA, IT, FMCG, Apparel, BFSI and automotive brands. In addition to this, she has explored structured social and digital marketing attributed to her stint at Autumn Grey - WPP.
Expressing her excitement, Tuhina said: “The digital marketing field is ever-evolving, with the need to stand out in the crowd. It is indeed exciting to step into a new journey in my professional career, working with a company that recognises talent and brings the best results. I look forward to contributing my skills and expertise at our Bangalore office, and utilising digital marketing’s dynamic nature to the fullest.”
Co-Founder, Suneil Chawla said, “As we move towards our goal of being the no. 1 independent digital agency in India, we are really excited to have Avinash, Pratiksha and Tuhina join us and play a crucial role in our growth journey. With each of them having varied experiences across branding, storytelling and performance marketing - we look forward to them accelerating our growth, nurturing talent and taking our work across some of India’s best brands. We are delighted to have the three of them be a part of this journey.”
It is safe to say that the user experience offered by the digital assets of a brand either makes or breaks its online image. The exponential growth of mobile users in the past few years has made it imperative for companies to up their game while engaging with the next billion internet users. This need gave rise to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for faster and easy access to mobile-responsive pages. However, Google has now introduced the “Swipe to Visit” option for AMP-enabled sites to seamlessly direct users to your website from an image search. Here’s all you need to know about this recent update.
Say, you search for an image in Google. Once you key in your inputs, you land on the result page showing multiple images pertaining to your search. Now, when you click on a particular image, it enlarges and suggests related images in the bottom. However, with the new update, there is a preview of the AMP-enabled website in the footer of the image search page. Users can swipe up the preview option to quickly view the corresponding web page that contains the original image listed in the search results. While reading the AMP article, in case you want to get back to the image search result page, all you have to do is to swipe down.
Recent data shows that nearly 63 percent of users performing image searches on Google, click on the image to visit the source website. Leveraging the Swipe to Visit option will now enhance user experience, which, in turn, will help in improving organic traffic to the website. This provides a chance for brand awareness and will lead to the domino effect of increased time spent on the website, due to the high-quality content available to consume. Hence, it is crucial for the website to load quickly and be SEO friendly for better results. On the whole, the Swipe to Visit option enhances the conversion rate of the product which is vital for the success of effective digital marketing. To add to that, web pages that are already AMP-enabled need not take an additional effort to update the Swipe to Visit option as it is automatically upgraded.
Although images are not the most common types of search, since a picture speaks a thousand words, your website will receive increased number of clicks due to this convenient option. Therefore, Swipe to Visit is an important break-through to naturally channelise traffic to your website and improve the quality of leads generated.
Suneil Chawla recently participated in the Pitch CMO Summit 2019 held in Bangalore. The Pitch CMO Summit is a flagship property of exchange4media group, and the presenting partner for the event was The Hindu. Each year the summit focuses on current and relevant marketing topics, in the transforming global market. This year's theme for the event was ‘Demystifying Brand Building Experience’.
The discussion started off with the topic ‘Survival of the Fittest: How Brands can win in the Digital Age’. The panelists for the discussion were Aarti B Iyer, Marketing Head, Unibic; Ashutosh Vaidya, Chief Marketing Officer, Kurlon; Mangesh Panditrao – CEO, Shoptimize; Meera Iyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Medlife.com; Samyukta Ganesh Iyer, Head of Marketing, Baskin Robbins India, and Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder, Social Beat & Influencer.in. The session was moderated by Ramesh Jude Thomas, President and Chief Knowledge Officer, EQUiTOR Value Advisory.
The discussion started off on a political note which then moved towards recognition of a brand followed by how brands need to constantly adapt to changes and keep up with new trends. Suneil Chawla speaks about the importance of gaining the trust of a customer by reaching out to them and how digital makes people create shortcuts which helps in a faster response.
The event was a grand success with insight being shared by industry leaders, helping in understanding the role of digital marketing and brand building experiences.
2nd April 2019: Social Beat, one of India’s leading digital marketing agencies, bagged two top awards in the ‘Digital’ category at the recently held ‘Maddys 2019’ in Chennai. The first, a Gold Award, is for the Best Use of Digital for Klay Schools, and the second, a Bronze, for the Best Digital Public Service for Social Beat’s road safety awareness video.
‘Maddys 2019’ is an annual award event organised by the Ad Club of Madras to honour the most creative minds of the Indian advertising industry. This is one of the top advertising awards recognising path-breaking campaigns in various categories such as Print, Radio, TV and Digital.
Commenting on the digital initiatives for Klay Schools, Vikas Chawla, co-founder of Social Beat, said, “Klay is one of our premier clients in the educational sector and our specialised digital initiatives have played a significant role in establishing them as one of the preferred pre-schools in India. We began with a refresh of their website keeping in mind factors like design functionalities and user - experience. We also leveraged their YouTube channel with a series of videos highlighting the environment and the approach adopted by Klay schools in nurturing future generations. The center-specific digital campaign strategies proved to be a great tool for increased visibility, creating brand awareness and driving walk-ins.”
In addition to this, Social Beat also won an award for their unique video highlighting the importance of maintaining good road etiquette. Speaking about this recognition, Suneil Chawla, co-founder of Social Beat said, “The video titled ‘A Day in the office ft. Bad Drivers’ highlights the bad behaviour of drivers on the road compared to everyday work life. We projected basic road safety rules such as ‘Don’t text while driving’ and ‘Don’t drive on pavements’ using some common professional etiquette examples. This video was a huge hit on all our social media platforms.”
These awards follow close on the heels of the prestigious ‘Best Digital Marketing Agency of the Year’ that Social Beat won at the Marketing Maverick Awards held in Mumbai.
Social Beat recently concluded the Digital Leadership Summit for 2019 held at Bangalore. The event was a grand success. With industry leaders sharing their insights. Mr. Atin Chhabra - General Manager, Marketing at Schneider Electric shed light on the digital transformation of B2B Customer Experience for large and diverse organizations like Schneider Electric. Here are some of the highlights of the session.
Gone are the days when companies introduced a product in the market and it had to be accepted by the consumers. Times have changed, today there are more platforms for consumers, more architectures to experiment on and more connected products. This gives rise to a demand-side play, consumers these days do not demand more products or services but a more engaging customer experience.
Mr. Atin speaks about how it wasn’t long ago when the competition was determined on the basis of products or services. Another company selling similar products or services they were considered as competition. However, that isn’t the case anymore. For a company like Schneider which deals with energy, management, and automation, the competitor for Schneider would be Amazon. This is solely because of the customer experience offered by companies like Amazon. The thin line between who competitors are and who offers a better experience is diminishing.
Traditionally competitive advantage was factored in on the basis of 2 key points which are:
However, gone are the days when competitive advantage meant low cost and differentiation. Today there are a number of companies that offer both lower costs while also being highly differentiated. One of the most important takeaways from this differentiated competitive advantage is the scale of operations and the experience they have within the specific domain. This indeed is competitive for any traditional company.
To adapt to this companies may look at case studies on big internet giants like Google, Uber, and Amazon, but this constitutes only 6% of the total companies in the world. Other than these big companies that make the 6% while the rest of the 94% of companies which have existed for more than a century or two. What is it that these traditional companies that make up the 94% have done? How do they compete with the big names? According to the statistics, these traditional companies who have implemented digital transformation strategies have seen a 9% increase in revenue. They have seen a whopping 26% increase in profitability. Not only does the digital transformation for companies help in money making but also helps in saving costs. These companies are known as digital masters.
Digital Masters look at digital transformation on two dimensions:
Digital Capabilities today are spread across 3 different functions.
According to public data, close to 70 percent of digital transformation investments go to digital customer experience. This is because over the course of time customers have also changed, this change is not limited to B2C but also B2B customers.
The change is such that 57 percent of the B2B customers have decided what to purchase even before contacting the vendor. Almost 55 percent are looking for B2B products on social media platforms other than LinkedIn. The most astonishing fact is that 86 percent is willing to pay 16 percent more price for an amazing experience. While a good digital experience is important for the digital footprint, it is important to have content to offer a good experience.
DCX or Digital Customer Experience is becoming the forefront to interact, engage and transact with customers. It is very important to get the basics of user experience correct.
Here are the four pillars for creating a digital customer experience function or strategy.
These four pillars need to be kept in mind while creating a digital customer experience strategy. As each pillar looks into important aspects of a digital customer experience this ensures the strategy covers these aspects.
Here are 4 pillars looked upon for the digital transformation agenda at Schneider:
Digital Marketing was considered to be the future of marketing until a few years ago but of late it has all boiled down to digital customer experience. This digital customer experience works across the entire company. It is important to increase the competence of the people, while hiring is possible, the most effective way is by upskilling and strong digital community program. The top-down approach helps in building a stronger digital community within an organization rather than hiring a small group.
Over the last two years, LinkedIn has become a go-to advertising platform, especially for the B2B segments. With new features such as lead ads and matched audience, advertisers have been able to reach a qualified target audience at a competitive cost per leads. In an effort to constantly improve the ad platform, LinkedIn has recently updated its ad targeting options, providing three new features – Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting and Audience Templates. These new options afford marketers the chance to scale their marketing efforts and improve ROI. Let’s take a closer look at these features.
Lookalike Audiences is a feature already used by Facebook. This powerful tool helps you target and reach audiences who are similar to your ideal consumer. LinkedIn’s new tool combines traits of your ideal consumer with their company and member data to help you reach newer audiences that are similar to your existing customers, website visitors and target accounts.
Here are the benefits of Lookalike Audiences:
Extend the reach of your ad campaigns to many more qualified prospective leads. Lookalike Audiences can help improve your campaign reach by 5-10x, while still reaching only high-quality audiences that matter to your brand.
B2B marketers can use this tool to target their ads to companies they may not have considered before. These new companies will match a similar company profile to their ideal customer. Here’s more on how small businesses can leverage LinkedIn to generate leads.
LinkedIn introduced its Interest Targeting feature in January of this year. This tool gives marketers the advantage of reaching LinkedIn users with relevant ads that match their professional interests. LinkedIn has further expanded its marketing capabilities by partnering with Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This adds an additional level of interest targeting whereby you can now reach users via the topics or content they search for and consume. All this is done in a way that completely respects members’ privacy.
Audience Templates are a boon for marketers who are new to advertising on LinkedIn or for existing marketers looking to reach newer audiences. With this new feature, you can choose from 20 predefined B2B audience templates that include characteristics like job titles, skills, groups and so on. With just a single click, you can create a set model to target specific audiences, without wasting too much time at set up.
Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting with Bing and Audience Templates are now available to all LinkedIn advertisers. Leveraging these three new features will help B2B brands bolster and scale their ad campaigns to reach a more extensive number of highly-qualified leads via digital. You can also read our blog on LinkedIn Showcase Pages and why you must use them for more information on LinkedIn’s marketing tools.
2019 marks the 11th year since YouTube’s entry into the Indian market. To help marketers and creators understand the massive impact YouTube has made in India and its importance in the digital ecosystem today, Youtube hosted the 2019 Brandcast in India.
YouTube currently has over 265M users in the country and this number is expected to reach 500M by 2020. This incredible number is in relation to the increase in the total number of internet users in India that has grown from 15M just five years ago to 100s of millions of users today. Its ability to provide a personalised media experience and offer content in various languages has made YouTube one of India’s most-used platforms.
Over the last 11 years, YouTube has become a platform for storytellers and creators to share content in different languages and reach an engaged audience in rural areas and big cities alike. It has become a success story for numerous YouTubers like ‘Mostly Sane’ who uses YouTube to discuss social issues such as mental health (the channel is currently at 3M subscribers) and more recently Priyanka Chopra, who chose YouTube to extend her audience reach with hew new show ‘If I could do just one thing’.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, says it is the preferred social platform for creators and businesses alike due to its ability to reach out to a large audience pool in a personalised way. When Pepsi ran an ad campaign on YouTube, it saw a 14% increase in sales and 3.3x return in ad spend. Alternatively, Hyundai’s ad campaign had a massive audience reach of 221M. The ability to scale and impact on YouTube can result in business leading results. Currently, vernacular content is taking centre stage and has helped increase engagement across all channels.
Mark Patterson of Group M discussed the video revolution in India and how it has changed the way brands communicate with their customers. Group M is a media advertising company that has had a presence in Asia for more than 2 decades and is responsible for 1 in 2 ads in India.
Mark highlighted the evolution of the media landscape and how mobile video has become a secret weapon for many marketers. One of the main reasons for this is the change in the way users consume content and seek entertainment. They look for three things: convenience, customisation and choice. Statistics show that 60-70% of people in India consume content on mobile video every day.
The digital spends in India remain comparatively low when compared to China where 64% of ad spends is digital while this is only at 18% in India. However, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world at a 14% GDP and digital ad spends is expected to catch up soon.
Mark Patterson also discussed the three main themes on the why and how of digital advertising in India and how YouTube affects these themes.
1. Driving results across through the funnel
YouTube has allowed marketers to have a mass reach and gain more awareness of their brand with tools such as YouTube Masthead.
2. Unlocking creativity
YouTube allows for personalised messaging that has helped deliver performance. This has resulted in a 20% uplift inconsideration, a 31% increase in awareness and a 900% increase in search queries.
3. Cross channel planning
While this is still a fairly new concept for most media agencies. Group M has taken a step in this direction by integrating YouTube reach data with Group M planning tools. This has helped them optimise maximum reach across multiple devices.
It is no secret that Youtube has become the secret weapon for many marketers to reach their target audience. To take advantage of the immense reach that Youtube offers, Social Beat collaborated with our client Sundaram Mutual to create a masthead ad to promote their new fund. This campaign generated incredible results, proving the effectiveness of Youtube as a medium to reach out to the target market.
Sundaram was launching an open-ended equity scheme and wanted to create awareness around their product within a short period of time. Digital marketing has been proven to provide finance companies with the reach they require so Youtube was the obvious choice when it came to achieving the objective.
Mastheads are usually charged on a daily basis so we used the 24 hour period we had as effectively as we could. To enable maximum viewership we ran the campaign over the weekend. For the entirety of the day any individual that accessed Youtube through their desktop, tablet or mobile device saw the masthead ad at the top of their pages. This helped us increase our subscriber base and drive traffic to the website.
The 20-second Sundaram masthead achieved phenomenal results. Sundaram’s subscriber base grew from 356 to an outstanding 56,000! It has increased since then and is currently standing at 57,000 and growing every day. The video also generated 14 million views in a span of 24 hours.
To achieve these incredible results, we adopted a digital-first marketing strategy to reach the target audience. We were also able to track and measure our results to scale the brand to new heights.
You can read more about our Youtube ad campaign with Sundaram Mutual here.
Ben Jones, Creative Director at Google says that 30% of ROI is driven by media elements and targeting data. The other 70% comes from creative. There are three elements that affect ROI in digital:
Many people assume that with all the content out there, the consumer’s attention span is decreasing but this is not true because people today prefer long-form content to short-form content. What has changed is how quickly consumers reject and accept the content they consume. The content needs to be longer, richer, deeper and grab the attention of the viewer faster.
Another way a brand can improve ROI is by understanding the customers better with more personalised messaging. They should change content according to the target audience and in a way that will allow the brand to relate to the customer better. Statistics show that customisation of the ads specific to the target market can result in a 10% lift in ad recall.
Research has shown that In India 60-70% of content is consumed via the mobile device. Therefore, when creating content, brands need to keep in mind that the shots framed and the stories told are optimised for the mobile user. It is important for agencies to rethink their digital content strategies this way so they are able to get the brand message to the target audience better.
To help agencies adopt the above strategies in their content plan, a new Rethink Council has been created to identify how brands can rethink their marketing and targeting to measure and maximise creativity to connect to the customer.
YouTube Brandcast India 2019 ended with an insightful discussion with world-renowned director Zoya Akhtar. She highlighted the importance of the role YouTube played in her recent film ‘Gully Boy’ and how she was able to discover and do in-depth research for the movie through YouTube. YouTube also played a huge role in promoting the supporting content for the movie such as trailers and interviews.
YouTube has played a crucial role in the evolution of digital media in India and YouTube Brandcast 2019 highlighted the importance of the digital platform and how it has changed the way people consume content in India.
Road safety has become more important over the years as the number of cars on the road has continued to increase. Traffic safety is essential as it helps prevent drivers of vehicles from causing accidents and hitting pedestrians. Laws are enforced to ensure the safe and efficient flow of traffic.
Social Beat recently did a video on road safety titled ‘A Day in the Office ft. Bad Drivers’. The objective of the video was to mirror the bad behaviour of drivers on the road in our everyday office life. It took a hilarious stance on road safety and covered rules such as ‘Don’t text while driving’ and ‘Don’t drive on pavements’ with the use of common office etiquette as examples. The video aimed to communicate the message that the rules you follow at the workplace should be followed on the road as well.
The video was promoted on Facebook and Instagram and had a total reach of 26,264.
It helped broaden our presence and increase engagement on social media and increase the number of subscribers and followers on different social media platforms. The video also demonstrated our expertise across different video types.
As a part of our Second Digital Leadership Summit at Mumbai, a panel discussion was held on the future trends of digital marketing - AI, augmented reality and vernacular content. The two panellists were Ms Channan Sawhney - Head, Digital Marketing, Johnson & Johnson and Mr. Prathyush Kukreja – Head, Product Monetisation at Haptik. The session was moderated by Mr. David Appasamy, Head of Brand & Strategy, Social Beat.
Prathyush from Johnson & Johnson enlightened the
audience on how the perception of AI has changed over the years. He said that
in 2015, AI was just a buzz word and no one really knew what AI was. The
preconceived notion was that AI will automate everything, leading to
unemployment. But, in 2018, the scenario has changed. Expectations have become
realistic and technology has come to a place where it can add value to
achieving the necessary business objectives.
According to Prathyush, this is an era of Conversational AI, a subset of Artificial Intelligence backed with data collected by brands and advertisers. Brands must build conversational AI to communicate with the users based on their behavioural and transactional or historical behaviour. Unlike a television commercial or a radio advertisement, conversational AI is not linear and one-to-one. When you use conversational AI in advertising and branding, each and every customer is unique and the content will be customised according to the needs of that particular user. He further added that Artificial Intelligence considers several other factors such as the buying nature and purchase frequency of the user. This where AI is today. AI is no longer a buzz word today, but, it is a tool of competitive advantage. Currently, brands are competing with each other to develop better AI to deliver better ROI in terms of acquiring users and telling better brand stories.
Channan from Johnson & Johnson said that AI technology is not utilised to its fullest in FMCG industry. If used properly, AI has the power to break the clutter and make the brand stand out. Brands can convey right messages to the user in such a way so as to create a long lasting impact on the audience. Johnson & Johnson is employing AI technology rather than AR. Google and Facebook have already started their AI and AR journey. Other brands have huge benefits from this. But, for FMCG companies, implementation of AI technology is extremely important since this is an industry that communicates with its audience on a day-to-day basis.
According to Channan, consumers are always on a look out for good content on the Internet. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, there is a huge demand for content related to pregnancy and newborn care. It is observed that most of the customers prefer consuming the content in their own local languages. If you are a market leader in a particular industry, it is important to take the lead and provide the kind of content that the consumer is looking for. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has adopted an active native content strategy. One of the biggest priorities for Johnson & Johnson is to strengthen their regional content strategy so as to deliver the right brand messages for the audience in a manner that they want to hear.
Prathyush highlighted the importance of integrating voice search and vernacular content to build the effectiveness of conversational AI. Nowdays, majority of people are accessing the Internet using vernacular languages rather than English. The Internet has witnessed a commendable shift with the introduction of voice search. This technology is much user-friendly in the sense that users can directly talk to the device without even touching it. Hence the power of voice search is immense. According to data from Google, after the introduction of voice search, Hindi is the most preferred language for content consumption. Taking this into consideration, Haptik is also working on developing a conversational AI with vernacular capabilities. Many of the leading advertisers are also leveraging Devanagari scripts and other local languages in their lead generation and branding campaigns on various digital platforms.
Channan cited that one of the biggest wins of investing in AI is that market study has become easier like never before. With the adoption of AI technology, brands can provide efficient solutions to customers in a much faster manner. This technology has the huge power to transform the way in which data is processed and maintained for delivering business results
Prathyush spoke about an interesting campaign that Haptik had conceptualised for the Bollywood movie Thugs of Hindostan. Google Maps was a great digital marketing tool for this movie. When somebody asked for directions, instead of the usual voice, users could hear directions from Aamir Khan himself. These innovations by Google and Facebook can be adopted by companies specialised in AI technology in order to help brands and advertisers offer value to their customers.
Prathyush cited a recent case study on how HDFC Life
executed a branding campaign using AI. The brand wanted to create awareness
about importance on investing in Life Insurance among the millennials. For this
Haptik created an AI personality called Shayari
wala who educated the millennials on the importance of investing in the
form of shayaris. The main reasons why HDFC strategised their campaign in this
way is primarily because millennials love story telling and they consume
content that is fun and quirky.
According to Channan, Augmented Reality is a great
story telling tool for brands if it is used for delivering the right message.
For instance, some of the brands have incorporated AR for product packaging. A
well conceptualised AR lead can communicate great brand stories to the
On the contrary, Prathyush said that the use of AR in
branding and digital marketing is still vague and unclear. There is no clarity
on how brands can measure ROI, drive sales and generate leads using an AR
campaign. Augmented reality is a great platform for education and can be easily
adopted by real estate and gaming industries. But, it will take a few more years
for AR to establish itself in the digital landscape.
AI plays a huge role in automation of ads, said
Prathyush. The time taken for education and lead generation have become much
faster with the use of AI technology. According to Channan, marketing
automation is all about programmatic ads, best custom audiences and precision
marketing that help in delivering right brand messages for the right target audience.
Channan also highlighted the importance for brands to
identify ways to migrate content users to vernacular chatbots. For this, brands
must focus on investing in real time machine learning and customised content
that can play a huge role in understanding your customers, drive sales and
This was indeed an insightful panel discussion and brand strategists from across sectors understood the need for adopting such advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to drive sales, generate leads and withstand competition.
The recently concluded second edition of our Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai saw many industry leaders sharing key insights and discussing trends in the digital marketing landscape. Among our speakers was Mr Abraham Alapatt – President and Group Head: Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services and Innovation at Thomas Cook. Mr Alapatt spoke about unlocking growth through innovation. Let’s take a look at some key insights from his speech.
Set up in 1881, Thomas Cook has been around for 137 years. Today Thomas Cook has grown in strengths from a travel agency to a brand that deals with travel, foreign exchange, business travel and many more. Thomas Cook’s massive growth since 2012 all boils down to innovation. For a brand or company to stay relevant and sustain success, they need to continually innovate to come up with new and fresh ideas for operations, products and service
Alapatt spoke about his role as head of innovation at Thomas Cook. Innovation isn’t something that is forced. Innovating your process or brand for the sake of innovation is redundant and will only do your company more harm than good. As a brand, try to look for a particular value to enhance. The easiest way for businesses to innovate is to find new customers or create a unique opportunity with an existing customer. The best way to this is by implementing a full-funnel marketing approach will help target and retain customers better. Take a look at our video on full-funnel marketing and how it can help your brand.
Many brands are still yet to make the shift from traditional marketing to digital. Today, ignoring the power of digital marketing means leaving your brand in the dust. By employing a digital-first strategy, any brand can achieve higher reach, better engagement and an increase in generating high-quality leads. Here, Alapatt cited two examples. The first was targeting people who make pilgrimage visits. The Thomas Cook website lets users create personalised tours and packages centred around pilgrim centres around the country, pre-book the darshan and continue on the holiday. This feature helped them tap into a whole new target audience including those in tier I and tier II cities. The second was adding an “Explore” feature to target millennials. The explore button gave millennials the chance to create their own personalised list of activities including adventure sports, sightseeing, etc. as well as a prompt to download an app that shows your every route needed for your vacation. The idea behind these features on Thomas Cook’s website was essential to explore new categories to tap into India’s next billion internet users.
Alapatt touched briefly upon Thomas Cook’s virtual reality feature that gives customers a sense of their planned vacation. In the last few years, virtual reality has become a significant part of mainstream digital marketing efforts. Google India’s Year in Search Report 2017 posits that the Indian travel market will hit $48 billion by 2020. Given these substantial numbers, VR is an excellent way for a brand’s audience to “experience” their products or services without direct physical effects. Not only does this help increase engagement, but combined with an effective digital marketing strategy, VR can help mould the future of marketing for your brand.
YouTube is currently the world’s second most popular search engine. In India alone, there are now around 225 million active users on YouTube, with this number expected to increase to 500 million by 2020. Brands need to leverage the power of YouTube or face losing out on a sizeable audience. From ensuring your video content uses techniques like YouTube SEO to exploring multiple formats, brands can improve performance and conversions. Videos have been around for decades, but have recently found their spotlight in terms of social media and digital marketing. Going forward, videos and interactive content will be at the forefront of digital marketing trends in 2019 and beyond.
Innovation does not need to be restricted to marketing efforts or revenue made. Several brands around the world focus on giving back to their community and society at large. Thomas Cook, too, with the aim of social impact started a Centre of Learning. The primary objective of this institution was to drive skilling and employability. They are also involved with multiple NGOs and government organisations that help uplift those in need. CSR via innovation is another way to scale up your business in 2019.
This session by
Mr Abraham Alapatt was insightful for several of the attendees. The pace of
growth today is astounding. Business models transformations that took ten years
are now changing in as little time as three years. To stay ahead of the
competition, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and brands must anticipate change
and act with the future in mind while continuing to deliver results.
One of the key highlights of the Digital Leadership Summit held in Mumbai was the panel discussion on the topic ‘Building a brand through digital marketing – Pushing the Frontiers’. The discussion moderated by Mr Suneil Chawla, the Co-Founder of Social Beat, had two reputed panellists: Mr Ajith Narasimhan from Sundaram Mutual Fund and Mr Vipin Guliani from Piramal Group. Let’s take a look at the key insights of the session.
Everyone has been talking a lot about the increasing impact of digital marketing in building a brand. But the most important factor that needs to be discussed is the nature of the digital marketing technique, which in fact, plays a major role in achieving the desired results. That very thought started off the panel discussion. So how strategic or technical is digital marketing today?
Ajith from Sundaram Mutual Fund strongly believed in the strategic nature of digital marketing techniques. To substantiate his stand, he explained how the shift of mutual funds from being a push-driven product to a pull-driven product, paved the way towards the necessity of digital marketing today.
Due to major changes brought in by GST and demonetisation, mutual fund companies no longer need a medium of distributors to sell their products. Customers from the newer generation are more interested in getting serviced by the companies directly. Therefore, it becomes very important for companies to build a connection with the customers as well as retain that connect for a very long period of time. This is why the industry gives a highly strategic approach to digital marketing. Doing that helps them understand the need of the customers and provide them with services as per their requirements.
Vipin, from Piramal Group, too emphasised on the strategic nature of digital marketing today. When the aim is to build and sustain the brand, it becomes important to strategise digital marketing. However, he gave equal importance to the technical aspect of digital marketing as well. He was of the opinion that only the technical data mattered as far as the sale of the service or product was concerned.
Both the panellists were of the same view that digital marketing has evolved to a great extent and is no longer just a marketing tool. Over the years, the type of customers who consume different products and services have changed to a great extent. The customers of this generation need to be acquired, nurtured, retained and engaged with.
The need to innovate new ideas in order to connect with and understand these customers is the need of the hour. Apart from giving companies the advantage of targeting the right customers, digital marketing also helps them to understand the needs of the customers and design their brands and services accordingly. Therefore, it becomes important to incorporate digital marketing techniques right when the idea of launching a product or a service comes into the picture.
With changing times, the kind of products and services that customers need are also changing. Ajith was of the opinion that in the coming years, there will be a need to re-categorise the products completely. The need of the hour then would be curated solution-based products and goal based offers. That is when there will be a great scope for bringing in innovation in the digital space and engaging with India's next billion internet users.
Vipin also agreed with him. The requirement now is to first find out what the customers need and then build the product. This involves a lot of research for which innovative ideas have to be developed to find the right information from the customers through the digital space.
The number of consumers has increased rapidly. And not all the people who consume data are recurring customers. There is a need for customer profiling in order to put forth the right suggestions to the customers. Both the panellists agreed that the digital strategy that needed to be applied here varied in the case of B2C and B2B.
Since there has been a shift from mass targeting to micro-targeting, strategies, too, need to be changed. Instead of bombarding all the people with the same digital ads and search ads, it is important to connect with people based on their profiles. This data-driven model would do wonders in the area of lead generation.
In the case of B2B, the target audience is very limited. Therefore, a blended strategy could be used, wherein apart from directly trying to convince the distributors, the help of customers could be taken to influence the decision of the distributors. This could be done with the help of social media platforms like LinkedIn.
The new generation needs easy access to everything. Today, it is not difficult to bring a customer on board if your products are given to them in the most simplified manner. Going the digital way makes sure that customers get instant satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to spend the money to upgrade the reach of the company.
As compared to the other mediums, digital marketing is the most objective way of measuring ROI. It becomes easy to determine the success or failure of one’s campaign if it’s ROI driven. Not only does it help to determine the number of engagements, but it also helps in finding out the right platforms that help in targeting a specific audience. With ROI driven marketing technique, brands can easily recognise the right social media platform to connect with their customers.
Both our panellists were of the opinion that digital marketing is a key player as far as the game of connecting with the customers or distributors is concerned.
The Womenwill Leadership Workshop was an initiative conducted by Google. The world’s most used search engine had invited its premium partners to nominate the inspiring female leaders of their organisations. Rachna Ganatra – Head of Strategy and Business Development – represented Social Beat in the workshop. The event was geared towards understanding gender disparity issues that women face at work. It also threw light on how to overcome systematic and personal barriers in career success, building confidence, recognising and creating strong connections and making a robust personal plan to move ahead.
The workshop was conducted by the very accomplished and vibrant team of woman entrepreneurs Jinny Riat and Neha Kalia who used a lot of storytelling and kept the audience engaged throughout the workshop. It was amazing how participants opened up about challenges, personal experiences and collectively worked on exercises that were geared towards a lot of self-reflection and taking ownership to drive solutions.
The day-long workshop was a wonderful opportunity for self-learning and reflection. Additionally, the attendees shared space with other exceptional women in the industry, with a lot of bonding over wonderful personal experiences. Since Social Beat is an organisation which has more than 65% women in its workforce, the insights were really helpful and inspirational.
However, it was not all about learning. The venue, decor, goodies and food were all tastefully done with a thematic layout across. Not only was the workshop extremely enriching and enlightening, but it also had a vibrant ambience, accounting for a day of laughter and bonding.
As the saying goes – A woman is unstoppable when she realises she deserves better. Social Beat is happy and proud to be part of this initiative. You can also read our blog on women in leadership and how to retain talent in a start-up for more insights.
Are you looking out for some really interesting, inspirational and power-packed events? Attend some of the biggest marketing and digital marketing events in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and other parts of India; that not just inspire but also give you an opportunity to network with the best marketers in the country. It’s an opportunity to listen to the finest in the advertising and marketing field – a forum that stimulates conversations and ideas around design, marketing, digital and more. You may also find it useful to read our book on digital marketing and view the Digital Bytes knowledge series on the Social Beat YouTube Channel or take up our digital marketing course at DigiGrad.
Here’s a quick glance into our compilation of top marketing events taking place across the country in 2020.
Social Beat, a digital marketing firm is conducting an innovative forum called the ‘Design Beat’. It is a remarkable platform for creative minds to pool in their ingenious ideas and thoughts to come up with solutions that impact lives. Eventually, the solution nudges users and bring about a behavioural change. The design hackathon brings together like-minded problem-solvers to crack the problem with their wits and imagination. The event is scheduled for the 1st of November. Participants will receive exciting rewards for their resourceful contribution. Get ready to grab this wonderful opportunity to showcase your talent!
Exchange4media organizes the Indian Digital Media Awards since 2010. It has always encouraged contributors in the 360-degree digital media space to keep getting better with the transformations taking place in the industry year on year. For this, it recognizes their talents, appreciates and celebrates them through these awards. It has showcased the work of many contemporary digital professionals and rewarded them for their beautifully executed digital blogs and viral campaigns. This event in itself is a huge networking opportunity for every business professional to connect and grow. Its 4th edition is being held on the 4 and 5th of June, 2020, at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.
Campaign India is back with the tenth edition of its awards on 4th June 2020 to honour excellence in digital advertising and marketing. Rechristened Campaign India Digital Crest Awards (CIDCA) in 2013, the property has evolved over the last nine years from its origins (as the Campaign India Digital Media Awards), to remain contemporary, relevant and inclusive of the dynamic changes in the digital ecosystem. It also features an award evening. Placing greater emphasis on ROI and effectiveness, significant changes were introduced in the jury composition in 2018.
Exchange4Media group boasts of another event that it hosts, the Pitch CMO Summit. It is considered to be their flagship event which gathers some of the greatest marketing minds to discuss the latest, complex and challenging marketing trends in the global market scenario. Every year, the event is theme-based. The theme for 2019 was “Reinventing Consumer Experience”. At the Pitch CMO summit on 28th February 2020, leaders from the Industry explained how to concentrate on ‘the buy’, underlines the challenges, and highlight the opportunities.
ad:tech is the original industry authority for marketing and media technology, where marketing, technology and media communities assemble to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to compete in an ever-changing marketplace. The 10th edition of ad:tech in Mumbai will take place on 27th and 28th October 2020. The summit will enable participants to explore the future of marketing and discuss the ever-evolving and complex landscape, focussing on how technology, data and content are helping brands win through superior Customer Experiences, regardless of the touchpoint.
Social Beat, a digital marketing firm present in 3 cities, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai conducts free events across these 3 cities.
Conceptualized by the online video analytics & marketing company - Vidooly, StreamCon Asia 2019 is a one-stop congregation for content creators, video platforms and advertisers from the online video industry in India. It is one of largest event of its kind in India with speakers and panelists from UC Web, Indigo Airlines, Eros Digital, Fab India, Oyo Rooms, Trent, Dailyhunt and more. It will also feature many content creators and YouTuber Influencers giving it a power packed event for anyone who is leveraging video content. It is being held on 26th March, 2020.
A niche awards night started by exchange4media in 2016, is now an annual summit. The last one took place on 7th September 2018. In the world of marketing, content has definitely changed the way marketers present their brands to consumers. As more and more brands choose creative content for engaging with their consumers, the need to stand out increases every minute. Indian Content Marketing Awards aim to promote and recognise this talent, expertise and hard work that go behind cracking breakthrough ideas & concepts to create exceptional brand stories.
The Content Marketing Summit is also going to have an Asia Summit in Mumbai in September 2020 so watch out for that too.
Adobe Symposium is one of the biggest Digital Marketing events in Mumbai. This event invites thought leaders in the field of digital marketing to redefine your experiences with Adobe partners. As their marketing promos claim – ‘Take it to another level, soar new heights like never before and extend your digital experience with courses straight from the Adobe Digital Learning Services’. Apart from these, there are several other reasons to attend this conference, including networking goals. This is the most sought-after experience for most digital professionals in today’s utmost competitive era and has been rightly defined as the event “Where digital marketing meets extraordinary experiences.” Every marketer looks forward to making the most valuable connections with their digital marketing pioneers and peers and if luck may have it, then with the digital marketing veterans and Adobe leaders too.
The next Adobe Symposium in Mumbai is scheduled to take place on 16th April 2019 at Mumbai's Grand Hyatt.
This is a grand event in Mumbai organized by the IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India). It is an endeavour towards establishing a great comprehension of the modern methods and mechanics of marketing.
Major Speakers were MDs & CEOs of leading companies such as Group M and Pepsico, top marketing managers of Times Internet, Starbucks, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, eBay and Renault amongst others. There were Panelists to take the conversations to another level. The sessions were followed by networking breaks at regular intervals.
Topics of discussion revolved around Marketing in new age Digital India and around the globe that included:
Spread across three cities, the Paul Writer Brand Summit and Hot Brands 2019 is in its second year. The summit will focus on brand engagement, content marketing and marketing AI as an emerging trend in the digital marketing landscape. The summit will also feature a special segment on upcoming brands and startups as well as celebrating those brands that have achieved massive growth and accolades the past year.
The summit will take place between 8:30 am to 6 pm in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi NCR on February 8th, 15th and 22nd respectively.
Since 2015, a two-city conclave has been organised by Reputation Today in the key metros, skipping the metro closest to the PRAXIS venue of that year. Having started in 2015 in Mumbai the conclave has seen 7 editions already. In 2018 there was one each in Gurgaon and Mumbai. Since PRAXIS will take place down south in Hyderabad, Bangalore will not witness the conclave.
It is The Largest Digital Marketing Event in India. This conference generally takes place in September - October. This year it is scheduled to be held on October 7th and 8th, 2019 online. It is a Live Conference held as a response to the massive demand and the huge response it receives. Set your goals straight whether they are primarily aiming to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or even drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON INDIA 2019’s agenda will enhance all your marketing efforts through perceptions of innovators and influential people. Pull up your sleeves for the sessions will enlighten you through remarkable insights through powerful talks on ways to build traffic, expand your brand awareness, improve customer service and finally know about today’s latest digital tools. A must-attend event that impresses you within 20 minutes, you can't afford to miss it.
CMS Asia is a premier not-for-profit event organized by the thriving marketing community across JAPAC and ANZ. This year the summit is being held in four different cities – Sydney, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai. CMS Asia will features speakers and attendees coming together to explore and discuss the various facets of content marketing, emerging trends, best practices and innovative though leadership.
The South Asia leg of the summit will take place in Mumbai on April 15, 2020 tentatively.
IAMAI introduces the 14th edition of the Marketing Conclave - Game of Marketing. A Game of Thrones-themed one-day conference, where the work of marketing gurus and professionals come alive. Its taking place on 5th December 2018. Jaime Lannister, Daenerys, Khal Drogo or the popular favourite Jon Snow - we have watched them, loved them but now it’s time to live the glory of the kingdom with a twist.
The 3rd edition of VdoNxt Asia is India’s largest convention for those who live by the promise of digital video. Having taken place on 17th January 2018, it is the complete experience: listen and network at the conference; get in touch with the latest in technology at the exhibition, and celebrate the best work in digital video at the VdoNxt awards. The next edition will be held on 29th January, 2020.
If you are based in Bengaluru, you may find it interesting to read our blog on Top marketing events in Bangalore.
Do feel free to comment below or reach out to us in case you feel any other event in Mumbai deserves to be a part of this list.
The World Marketing Congress and CMO Asia recognised the 50 most influential strategy leaders around the globe at the Mobile and Digital Marketing Summit 2018 held on the 27th of November at Taj Land’s End, Bandra, Mumbai. We are extremely happy to announce that Mr David Appasamy – Head of Brand and Strategy, Social Beat – has been selected as one of the top influential strategists from across the world.
David has an exemplary career spanning over 35 years with several leading companies such as ITC Ltd, Mudra DDB and Sify Technologies covering Business strategy, Brand and Marketing Management, Digital Marketing and Audience Engagement. From 2006-2011, David was the Co-Chair for the International Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force on Internet, Telecoms, Infrastructure and Services. In 2010 and 2011, he was also part of the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) guiding the UN Secretary-General on Internet Governance.
The 5th edition of the World Marketing Congress was held this year with the central theme of Futuristic Marketing. The conference covered various aspects such as digital initiatives, customer experience, advertising and branding. The conference also discussed the importance of linking sustainability with a brand’s identity and how to develop a sustainable brand by changing the dynamics of marketing strategies. Various industry experts also stressed the need for brands to focus on their marketing culture rather than only their products and services. The other key aspects that were highlighted are the role of brands in empowering customers by using interesting engagement initiatives to create brand perceptions and nostalgic memories.
This year’s World Marketing Congress also included the 8th edition of the Mobile and Digital Marketing Summit. This summit was organised jointly by the World Marketing Congress and CMO Asia. The main purpose of this summit was to discuss the future trends of digital marketing and the need for every brand to incorporate effective digital marketing strategies in order to establish a strong presence in today’s continuously evolving digital landscape. This summit was a great platform for industry experts to gather, explore, discuss and brainstorm ideas on formulating compelling strategies to reach India's next billion Internet users using digital marketing tools, case studies and global practices. 100 marketing wizards attended the summit from across the globe including market research experts, brand strategists and media professionals to discuss and ideate the best industry practices.
We are happy to announce that our co-founder Vikas Chawla, Head of Social Media Innovation - Anuradha Nair and Creative Head - Panisa Shah have received nominations under the first edition of Social Samosa’s 40 Under 40.
Social Samosa 40 Under 40 is a salute to pioneers in the field of marketing and advertising in India – to celebrate thought leaders and entrepreneurs who have disrupted and impacted growth within the ecosystem.
Google India’s Year in Search report estimates that by 2020, more than 650 million Indians will be online. In the last two years, digital underwent a major paradigm shift – from a support-marketing channel to a full-fledged business platform of its own. According to the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 that we recently released, 68% of brands leverage digital marketing to promote their products and services.
Those nominated for #SS40under40 are those individuals who strive to leverage our country’s growing digital audience and formulate the best strategies to engage with the next billion internet users in India.
The nominations are spread across 10 categories namely - Account Management, Analytics, Brand Management, Business, Content Marketing, Creative, Digital Marketing, Media Entrepreneurship/Leadership, Media Planning, and Strategy.
Each candidate is nominated and assessed based on creativity, planning and execution, strategy, ability to analyse numbers and trends and implement them, crafting their brand’s message and how effectively they engage with consumers.
After a whopping 450 plus entries, Vikas was shortlisted among 228 other nominees by a jury of marketing stalwarts namely:
We wish good luck to our Social Beat members in the final selection!
For more insights into the awards, visit 40under40.socialsamosa.com
At Social Beat, being imaginative and innovative is part of our DNA. We work hard to reach our client’s goals and exceed their expectations. So it’s always a wonderful feeling when accolades come our way! The recently concluded Big Bang Awards 2018 by The Advertising Club, Bangalore was a celebration of India’s digital advertising talent.
Social Beat won Silver for the Digital Award in the Real Estate Category. We were recognised for our stellar work for Brigade Group – the leading player in India’s real estate industry.
Awards like this prove why real estate brands need to shift from print to digital.
Established in 1986, the Brigade Group has a pan-India presence with a diverse portfolio that covers both commercial and residential properties. Apart from property development, Brigade’s repertoire also includes property management services, hospitality and education.
Brigade approached us with a simple objective - build user-generated content and create a buzz around Brigade’s social media handles. Keeping this in mind, we came up with a photo contest idea. While the campaign was centred on audience interaction, it reaped a two-fold benefit – the pictures sent in would promote Brigade and thus increase visibility, as well as encourage people to follow the company across social media platforms.
One of Brigade’s top priorities before the start of any campaign is to be as unique as possible, and the Photo Contest campaign did just that. Brigade’s audience was able to actively engage with them. 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.
To help spread word about the campaign, we created a small video that held all the details. The results achieved were staggering. In fact, this campaign also won Silver for the Best Social Media Brands under the Real Estate category at Social Samosa’s digital marketing awards.
There were over 15,000 views and engagement of more than 30,000 people, with more than 3000 clicks.
We received over 500 entries in response to the campaign. The majority of our audience was between the ages of 18 to 24.
This one-of-a-kind approach to creating engaging real estate marketing strategies is what sets Brigade apart from their competitors.
This award is 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While bidding farewell to 2017, Google India came out with a comprehensive report titled, ‘Year in Search’ which throws light into the way Indian consumes content. Google’s annual report offers a unique perspective on India’s most significant trends, major events and local and topical interests that reflect the ever-changing psyche of India’s online millions.
As of 2017, India’s internet users were estimated a little north of 400 million. Today, that number is closer to 450 million. While that number constitutes less than 30% of our total population, it is the second largest online market after China – and it is only growing. By 2020, the Year in Search India report estimates more than 650 million Indians will be online. That’s double the population of the United States.
Every day, more and more Indians are discovering the internet and integrating it into their daily lives – to look for information, entertainment, answers and everything in between.
The report spans 11 verticals and delves into consumer behaviour to reveal what goes on in the minds of India’s next billion internet users and the implications this has for brands and marketers. Here are the top five emerging trends identified in the report.
Non-metros in India are quickly catching up with the major cities regarding internet usage. Voice, vernacular and video are three key pillars that are showing strong and steady growth. Search queries are growing at a faster rate in non-metros than metros. In fact, 2 in 3 queries are from non-metro cities. And given the growth of regional content online, Hindi is of course still the dominant language; other regional languages like Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Punjabi are swiftly gaining prominence online.
This only goes to show that brands would have to focus on Tier II and III cities and digital marketing strategies would have to focus on languages apart from English. This is the only way to reach the right target audience.
2017 saw digital undergo a major paradigm shift – from a support-marketing channel to a full-fledged business platform of its own. According to the digital marketing industry report that we recently released, 68% of brands leverage digital marketing to promote their products and services.
Sectors like auto, banking, finance and insurance (BFSI) showed a direct correlation between online research and offline purchase. A leading OEM’s sales were driven 20% by digital. Similarly, sectors like FMCG and banking saw entire transactions being carried out online. Consumers relied on Search to educate themselves and discover products before finally converting online. For instance, consumers not only searched for hair care tips online but also looked for products that would help them solve their hair problems. As per the report, the Internet will influence $45 billion of FMCG sales in India. This is further proof of how digital will revolutionise the FMCG sector.
Growth spurts in e-commerce, travel, finance and digital media have driven online consumer expenditure, which is expected to grow 2.5 times to $100 billion by 2020. Furthermore, the report projects that India’s online spender base will expand 2-3x its current volume to reach an astounding 180-200 million by 2020. There was a 70% growth in Telco-owned owned mobile wallets like Airtel Money, Vodafone mPesa, etc. All these figures point to a robust e-commerce ecosystem.
The online and offline are merging to create a holistic story. The lines between digital and physical consumer behaviours continue to blur. Take for example – a 50% increase in search volume for “stores near me” indicating that online searches for stores are an now an integral part of a consumer’s shopping experience. Similarly, the auto industry saw an astounding 79% of car buyers making purchases after watching a video online. These examples reinforce the fact that what happens online directly affects what happens next offline.
Newer technologies like AI and machine learning are upping the ante, leveraged as marketing and business solutions. Across categories, Google’s Year in Search shows several examples of a market primed to take on the benefits of AI and machine learning. India’s auto industry saw intending car buyers take favourably to 360-degree video and virtual reality, which could potentially replace test drives. Insurance players turned to AI-chatbots to efficiently answer user queries at scale. Concurrently, content consumption patterns on video viewing platforms continue to be influenced by machine learning.
As per the Google trends in India report, online searches related to the auto sector are on the rise. This is more so in non-metros where digital sales drove 20% of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sales.
Two wheeler insurance saw a 100% increase in queries, while searches related to parts and accessories and servicing saw a 43% and 70% rise each.
The report also states that car buyers are now looking for a more omnichannel experience. This is evidenced by a 50% reduction in offline touch points during the buying process. Car buyers are relying more on the internet for videos regarding their vehicles and virtual test drives prior to finalising. In fact, 71% of consumers believe VR test drives and 360 videos could replace the conventional method of test-driving a vehicle. Videos are the simplest way of building your brand and utilising the video medium was one of the key digital marketing trends of 2017.
Business and personal home loan queries saw a massive surge, as did searches related to banking solutions and information about mutual funds. BFSI brands have also seen a significant impact on driving consideration and overall digital acquisition as a result of using a “search bar” as a call to action. Businesses also began utilising machine learning for speech to text translations and sentiment predictions in their call centre transcripts, all of which have resulted in a seamless experience and improved efficiency for customers and businesses alike. All in all, leveraging digital marketing for the financial industry has proved beneficial.
2017 was a good year for the e-commerce sector. There was a 41% growth in shopping queries, most of these coming from non-metros. The most significant growth markets are Patna, Lucknow. By 2020, digital spending and women shoppers are expected to grow by 2.5x.
The largest e-commerce category is fashion with a 53% growth in fashion e-commerce queries. Other fast-growing sectors include baby care, growing at 36% and groceries showing an average growth rate of 65-70% between 2017 and 2020. The report evidences that online shopping is increasing beyond India’s metros; searches in Hindi and other regional languages have gone up by 61% with Hindi commanding the highest share.
Education is rapidly coming up online; it comes as no surprise that learning and education related searches grew by 2x, while education content on YouTube grew to 4x. Non-metros showed more than 100% growth, with maximum interest in courses that taught new technology, i.e. machine learning, cloud computing, artificial intelligence.
For young Indians today, there are a plethora of jobs and career options you can take up with the reach and convenience of the Internet. Follow our YouTube channel Arrear Irundalum Career for tips and tricks on making it big in life by following your passion. Here's a quick video on Job Interview Tips to help get you started. You can also check out our Arrear Irundalum Career website for further career guidance tips!
Digital is spearheading business for the FMCG category, particularly the beauty industry. 2017 saw a 60% increase in beauty related searches and searches related to parenting and baby care buying decisions.
Much of this is also influenced by YouTube as there is a 4x growth in watch time for baby care videos. According to YouTube Brandcast 2018, more than 50% of women professionals watch YouTube videos for more information before purchasing in categories like beauty, real estate and automobiles.
Real estate, too, saw a 43% jump in search queries and a 49% growth in searches related to affordable housing.
Showcasing properties on digital platforms is one of the most effective ways for developers to sell their properties. With a multitude of techniques including advertising on various platforms, multilingual content and a strong search engine marketing, real estate developers can generate even a 190 crore in revenue using the digital media.
Regional content ruled all aspects of entertainment with a 100% growth in vernacular entertainment watch time on YouTube. There were high conversions and growth in watch time when viewers were exposed to a TV ad for a show online.
We have witnessed first-hand the power of regional content on YouTube. For the ‘Good Netizen Good Citizen’ Campaign by The Murugappa Group, we at Social Beat conceptualised for a video that would resonate with their audience base. Since The Murugappa Group is based out of Tamil Nadu, Tamil language content would be more natural for their audiences to understand and relate to.
These videos performed incredibly well on YouTube - one of them even received over 570,000 views. Users actively engaged with the video, commenting and sharing it on various social media platforms.
Providing shoppers with an omnichannel shopping experience is proving valuable for businesses. Shoppers Stop worked with Google to connect their offline sales with their digital marketing spends. This got them a 2.5x Return on Ad Spends (ROAS).
Our client Gehna, too, follows an omnichannel approach with a physical boutique and presence online, selling on Facebook, Amazon and on their website.
Indians in non-metros embraced India’s fast-growing internet penetration and used it to research before buying new gadgets, which resulted in a 45% growth in queries for consumer electronics. New and niche technologies also witnessed a boost in search queries to the tune of 3x more interest in smart home devices and 2x growth in both in smart homes, appliances and lighting, and smartwatches and fitness bands.
Business-related tech took off in a big way as well, with an increased interest in accounting software, website builders and HR and finance/payroll categories.
With the advent of 4G in India, most of our internet traffic this year came from outside India’s top eight cities. Consumption patterns fluctuated with searches for mobile data jumped to 70% for 4G and dropped to 30% for 2G and 3G.
With the top 4 telcos offering competitive prices, consumers took full advantage – searches for offers shot up by 141%. There was a substantial increase in payment bank searches – nearly 174% as consumers are now looking beyond cash and card payments.
India loves to travel, and by 2020, the Indian travel market is poised to hit $48 billion, with Tier 2 cities leading this growth. Voice and fast loading mobile experiences and brand awareness are emerging key factors in travel-related searches.
This report only proves that digital marketing is the most important medium to market your brand. Whether you are a real estate giant or an FMCG brand, if you have an ambitious project in mind, reach out to us.
For more information, insights and opportunities in your vertical, download the report here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.