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.
With the quick rise in demand for Influencer Marketing, there is a need for tools and platforms to aid brands identify the right influencers and engage them. Many platforms have cropped up that either aid you to identify the influencers yourself via a DIY tool or connect you to the right influencers for your brand based on your requirements. Some of them are free while others are either freemium or paid platforms. Let us take a look at the top platforms to discover Influencers for your brand and help you connect and engage them in your marketing campaigns.
Klout is one of the most well-known tools in the Influencer Discovery and Engagement space. Launched way back in 2008, it analyzes the social network presence of an individual to arrive at Klout score. Last year, the tool was updated to serve as a content curation and content discovery platform for users.
BuzzSumo is a paid tool that offers content marketing plus influencer identification on a single dashboard. Quite useful for content marketing by brands, it allows you insights into what type of content works best in your industry / target audience. There are multiple subscription plans available based on requirements of your brand, with the basic plan starting at $79 per month.
Kred is a paid tool for influencer measurement that helps you to identify and engage with influencers based on its Kred Scores. The metrics behind the Kred Scores is more complex in comparison to Klout. The platform provides two types of score- the main Kred Influence Score and the Kred Outreach Score.
A simple tool from the house of Moz, FollowerWonk is a search engine & analytics tool that focuses exclusively on Twitter for Influencer discovery and tracking. Rich engagement metrics and competitor influencers following are some great insights provided by the tool.
Keyhole is a freemium Hashtag tracking tool to discover content & influencers associated with an event or campaign on social media. It can pull-out influencer profiles, conversations and top trending content using a particular hashtag.
Influencer.in is one of the leading influencer marketing platforms with more than 25,000 influencers listed on the platform. The platform offers brand influencers across a wide range of categories such as lifestyle, fashion, sports, travel, healthcare, technology, etc. They also have an excellent Influencer 101 guide.
Topsy is an interesting tool that allows you to track the influencers who are sharing a specific piece of content – it can be your competitors article, link or a tweet. It allows you to pull out all users who share a content relevant to your industry and automatically filter the most influential sharers. It supports upto 10 different languages that includes English, French, German and Spanish.
The sixth edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha was held at our office on 27th August 2016. It received an excellent response with about 15 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking an active part. The topic of discussion was the secret to a successful Influencer marketing campaign.
Here’s a quick summary of the key takeaways from the session:
Word-of-mouth advertising has always been the most powerful tool, and influencer marketing is WOM Advertising 2.0. In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).
The main reason that brands are looking at influencer marketing are:
Given that word of mouth, marketing generates more sales than paid advertising; more brands are beginning to think about influencer marketing as part of their branding strategy. In the last 12-16 months, we have seen many interesting influencer marketing campaigns in India run by the likes of Cadbury, Allen Solly, Ford & much more.
For any influencer campaign, selecting the right influencer and partnering with them is crucial. Checking the influencer's reach is the first thing you would need to do. This can be measured in terms of the number of followers/fans or the number of visitors to their blog/posts. Always remember to choose quality over quantity.
The following are the parameters you should be using while choosing the right influencer.
What ROI to expect?
Based on our interactions with influencers, the survey we ran amongst influencers, and learnings from various events such as Social Media Week Bengaluru, there are a few challenges in influencer marketing.
Those of you who missed the first four editions of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha can check them out below:
You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter! Check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai Pe Charcha meet.
It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.
The students had a lot of questions, especially around influencer marketing and its ethics. Many of these can be found in the FAQs of Influencer Marketing here.
The latest buzz word in the digital marketing world that is steadily catching up with brands is ‘Influencer Marketing’. Western companies have leveraged this strategy of marketing for the past few years and the trend is quickly catching up with Indian brands as well. Brands in India have actively come up with successful influencer campaigns for the past 2-3 years.
We also have a list of top influencer marketing campaigns that ran in 2017 and 2016.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a term that has risen from the realization of brands about the power, peer influence and customer recommendation has over other forms of marketing. Especially in a time, where consumers have started using social media in huge numbers and have been public about their views about brands and products. Brands have realized that people are largely influenced by second-hand information from opinion leaders and this has led to a lot of brands identifying top influencers in their respective fields to try and reach out to consumers better.
Once brands have identified Influencers in their particular domain, it is important that they find a means with which they can connect to them and make them speak about the particular product. The engagement plans have to be well thought out and shouldn’t look too commercial. Here are a few popular influencer marketing campaigns in India, that companies have used to engage and leverage the power and reach of influencers.
One of the top influencer marketing campaigns in the country came from Lenovo for their Yoga 2 tablet range. Lenovo hired four famous twitter celebrities namely film critic Mihir Fadnavis, gadget guru Ankit Vengurlekar, actor Ashwin Mushran and food blogger Kalyan Karmakar. Rather than using these four influencers to simply do the customary sharing of features of the tablet, they were actually shown being trapped inside a box.
The campaign invited consumers to answer questions and find clues that could help free their favorite Twitterati. Participants who answered all their questions rightly would win a free Yoga Tablet.
A few mid-range twitter influencers along with Bollywood fashion and lifestyle blogger Miss Malini were roped in to promote Cadbury Glow which targeted the super-premium chocolate market. The campaign focused on the key aspect of Cadbury Glow which allowed people to share personalized notes, songs, photo albums and videos along with it.
One of Miss Malini’s friend made a video for her and shared it on twitter which she retweeted bringing in a lot of traction towards the product.
Philips had introduced its latest kitchen appliance Air Fryer in 2012 and there were very few who knew its application and use. It allowed deep frying of a variety of food items with 80% less oil consumption. Despite such a huge feature, the Air Fryer remained relatively unknown in the market.
This is where Philips along with its digital agency Ogilvy One roped in Sanjay Thumma who is known for his cookery channel on YouTube called Vahchef. The campaign started a six month long show called “Philips Superchef” that managed to create a lot of awareness amongst consumers.
Colgate launched its new SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush and decided to bring it into public view using an innovative and unique campaign. The campaign was for 3 days where key influencers targeted by Colgate were sent an item that was completely black in color each day. The first day was a black mug followed by a WhatTheBlack Times newspaper and on the final day the black charcoal toothbrush.
At the same time Colgate also started a #WhatTheBlack contest on Twitter where bloggers and top Twitteratis had to write their top 5 black things without actually revealing anything about the brand or product. This led to a lot of speculation among consumers who came up with a variety of guesses as to what the product was going to be. These two campaigns brought about a great deal of attention to the debut of the Charcoal Toothbrush.
The Madras Song was released by the Murugappa Group to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Madras. Murugappa Group teamed up with socialbeat.in and roped in bloggers from diverse fields to blog and talk about the song. The song went viral and within 5 weeks generated almost 2.5 lakhs views.
Twitter hashtags like #FavMadrasMemory and #Madras375 Celebrations were created which turned out to become very popular among Chennaites.
IBuyFresh’s campaign to reach out to its audience interested in cooking & recipes online invited influencers to visit their warehouse and blog their experience to help spread the word. The campaign received attention from local bloggers in the respective field and helped a great deal in popularizing the brand among consumers.
Popular luxury hospitality chain Raintree started an interesting influencer campaign to promote their recently renovated hotels. They invited top travel bloggers to stay and share the experience to fellow travel enthusiasts following them. The campaign worked remarkably well in letting people know about the renovation and the various special services offered.
Opera’s latest browser, Opera Coast had features that would change the way people would use a browser in the iOS. The browser was designed without an address bar, forward and backward button and other features that made it completely unique from any conventional browser.
The campaign used kinetic sand which is a soft, stretchy and non-sticky sand that can be used to make innovative shapes. The brand identified a particular set of creative professionals as influencers which included artists, media & ad folks, illusionists, entrepreneurs and musicians. Each of the influencer was sent a surprise package containing kinetic sand and a personal note asking them to spend time making something with the sand.
The influencers pleasantly surprised by the package, shared their experience about the iOS browser and also how they liked the surprise campaign.
Ford launched Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic via social media to promote the ‘Real People, Real Experience’ approach. It invited auto enthusiasts in the country to drive the newly launched car and thereby prompted them to share their experience through their respective media.
The event was held in Buddh Racing track in Noida and the track was specially designed for drivers to discover the key features in the car. The list of people included bloggers, businessmen, photographers and designers who were all known to be auto enthusiasts. The campaign drew a lot of attention from people across various social media like Twitter, Facebook etc.
To promote the brand’s entire chino range, Allen Solly came up with the #ShootforSolly campaign. The brand handpicked 22 people across 7 cities in India consisting of 11 eminent personalities and 11 budding photographers.
The models were asked to pick up a pair of Allen Solly chinos and shirts and then coordinate with the selected photographer for a photo shoot to be planned completely by the model and photographer.
Allen Solly not only managed to make the 22 influencers talk about the campaign, but also created a buzz about the chinos and how they suited different styles and body types.
All these campaigns focused on the essential aspects of Influencer Marketing. They targeted the right influencers and built a campaign that would naturally make influencers directly or indirectly endorse their product. These campaigns are excellent examples of Influencer Marketing done right.
Voice of the Brand or Customers?
Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.
Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising
Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:
In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).
With the explosive growth of social media, the process explained above happens digitally. The influencers talk about your brand on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or on their blogs, which impacts the purchase decision of their followers.
How do you get to know if he/she is the “right influencer”?
Who knows, he might be! Okay, so a brand wants to engage with influencers to talk about the brand and their product / offerings. But, who to connect with? It can be quite tempting for a brand to connect and partner with an influencer with large number of followers but is “number of followers” the right metric?
Brand Influencer selection is very important step for a brand before jumping in. This has to be dealt with in 2 steps:
1. Qualitative Filtering
The first step is Qualitative Filtering that allows you to filter out the “Social media influencers” who cannot be “Your Brand Influencer” no matter how many followers they have. The parameters to be considered here are:
2. Quantitative Selection
Once you have a shortlist of Influencers you can associate with, comes the next step of finalizing the list of Influencers you would like to reach out to. This can be done based on the following formula:
Influencer Influence = Audience Reach*Audience adhesiveness*Quality Score
Audience reach: calculated by the no. of followers
Quality score: a relative scale of 1-10 for the expertise & credibility of the brand
Audience adhesiveness: Engagement with his audience; can be based on the number of retweets, likes and replies over the period of last 2 months
This approach can provide you a decent shortlist to kick-start the influencer marketing efforts for brand-building and lead generation. There are umpteen case studies that showcase how brands have been able to amplify their marketing efforts. Most importantly, it has not been the case only with the medium/smaller brands but the bigger brands too, are laying focus on influencer partnerships.
Miss Malini makes Cadbury ‘Glow’- a case study!
When Cadbury Glow was launched in India by Mondelez International, it turned to social media influencers to create buzz around the offering. It roped in Miss Malini and other Twitter Influencers to talk about Cadbury Glow, its special features like personalization with notes, songs, photos or videos. For example- Miss Malini’s friend did a video of her and uploaded on Cadbury website. The link was then shared and tweeted by Miss Malini.
Start building influencer relationships before need them – it’s a coin with 2 heads!
Building relationship with influencers and leveraging them, works on a foundation of quality offerings and superior customer experience. In cases of mismatch between expectations and offerings, social media easily amplifies negative sentiments about your brand. This not only puts your brand at stake, but also marginalizes the credibility of the influencers associated. It is possible for some brands that at this point you may not require influencer marketing. But, as the proverb goes – you don’t dig a well when you are thirsty. Drawing an analogy, this is the time to build a strong influencer network. Moreover, influencer partnerships act as a validator for your own content marketing campaigns. So you see it’s not a zero-sum game. One of the few ones that give you a win-win hand! Whether this rings the death bells for traditional marketing, only time will, tell but what’s for sure is that marketing shall never be the same again.
Firstly, thanks for the positive response to our article on top digital marketing courses and top venue booking websites in India. Now, we have come out with the list of top lifestyle bloggers in Chennai, as part of our series on top bloggers & influencers in India. So, here goes the list, in no specific order:
This blog, aimed at individual travelers, inspires you to cut your strings holding you back and go out exploring. A great array of experiences and cultural perspectives from her travel. The visual aesthetics of the blog is worth mentioning. The lines – “Come wander with me”, aptly describe the essence of the blog.
This blog has existed for more than 8 years now and has a good following. It has posts on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from travel, product/service reviews, event coverage and print media articles. The product / services review section is a good catch, with lots of details available for each review on autos to services.
Her blog talks about a whole spectrum of things under the sun ranging from lifestyle to health and environment. Her style of writing is unique with well-articulated thoughts put down. A tinge of poetic fervor is apparent in her writings.
It’s easy to find blogs that go gaga over Chennai or blogs that lie at the opposite end of the spectrum. One of the rare blogs to find that talks about all facets of the emotion called Madras. As the title goes – Good, Bad & Ugly Chennai, is an excellent read for someone who wants to learn about life in Chennai.
This would give you a chance to peek into the soul of “the Queen of Coromandel”. A unique thing about this blog is that one Chennai photo is posted daily here.
An excellent blog to read everything “Wow” about Singara Chennai.
An ex-journalist, her blog talks about the life and times of Chennai. Her reviews of simple aspects of Chennai life like an auto-rickshaw ride, make for an interesting read.