It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing is constantly in a state of flux. What works today might be completely obsolete tomorrow. If your brand is still continuing to use the same techniques in 2019 as you did in the previous year, expect to see declining results. To ensure your brands stay on top of its digital marketing game this year, here are nine of the most important trends to stay ahead of.
The online space in India is set to get even more colourful and diverse. As even larger numbers of users get access to low-cost internet and affordable mobile phones, there will be a greater demand for internet content in the languages they understand best. To cater to this growing internet audience, brands need to push vernacular to the front and centre of their digital marketing strategy. Right from their websites, to their apps, social media campaigns, performance advertising and even social media listening, Indic languages should be the focus.
Speaking to regional audiences involves more than just taking a brand’s main communication and translating it into various languages. Instead, it requires them to develop communications aimed specifically at these audiences, keeping their unique needs, challenges and desires at the core. Only by doing this can they create that all-important personal connection with consumers. 22 Languages, one of the top vernacular startups, is designed specifically to help brands reach out to a larger audience in vernacular languages.
Read our case study on How Multilingual Ads Helped Generate Higher-Quality Leads With Lower CPL to learn how vernacular techniques can produce unprecedented results for your brand.
The seeds of voice search were sowed back in 2018, but it is in 2019 that this trend will fully come into its own. Today, it isn’t just mobile that’s driving voice search, but the proliferation of smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant. The push for voice search will also be coming from the other end of the spectrum, from users who are just starting to use the internet or who might not even know how to type. But regardless of who the audience for voice search is, one thing is certain: SEO as we know it will have to change. Traditional keyword research will become obsolete since user queries will be completely different when using voice search. Voice also means that position zero, the ‘featured snippet’ will become even more coveted. 99% of voice search results draw from the featured snippet, so content creators will have to focus even harder on optimising their content for Google to pick it up.
Be sure to watch our detailed video on a complete guide to Voice Search Marketing for more tips and insights.
While videos have been around for decades, they have only recently started exploding on digital platforms and social media. In 2019, if your brand doesn’t have a strong repertoire of engaging, high-quality videos, you could be missing out on a sizeable audience. YouTube, the world’s second largest search engine, can become even more essential in 2019. Through techniques like YouTube SEO, brands can ensure that their content is visible to relevant audiences. For tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.
But the importance of videos extends beyond just YouTube. Videos on landing pages and in emails have been shown to improve performance and conversions. Facebook is also witnessing a growing popularity of videos. In one survey, around 44% of respondents admitted to watching at least 5 videos every day on the platform.
As videos gain momentum, multiple video formats are also being developed and explored. Interactive videos are emerging as a popular option due to the higher user engagement they deliver. In these videos, users are required to take some form of action which can influence the video. This could be either in terms of the content displayed or the storyline that the video takes. Apart from interactive content, live videos are also creating a stir. Currently, they are available on Instagram and Facebook, while YouTube is also starting to introduce it. Live videos are a great way for brands to showcase ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage and develop a more personal connect with their audience.
Chatbots have been slowly making an entry from 2017, however, chatbots in 2019 will be more intelligent than ever before. Most chatbots currently have a limited script, usually offering a fixed set of options that users can choose from. Once the query is narrowed down, users are often transferred to a human representative to resolve it. With the advent of AI, however, chatbots are likely to completely replace the human aspect previous involved. They are programmed to be smarter, respond to a wide number of queries in a meaningful way and resolve issues without requiring any human intervention. In fact, through AI, chatbots are likely to be able to keep up a long conversation with users without coders having to input a long script beforehand. As the technology matures, you can expect chatbots to become even more ubiquitous as brands capitalise on their low cost and higher efficiency.
AI isn’t just for smarter chatbots; it is also becoming the most accurate way for brands to identify their core audience and develop core messaging for them. Through a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence, predictive customer analytics can eliminate much of the guesswork involved with digital marketing.
One way they do this is by assigning a ‘lead score’ to leads generated. AI can analyse large volumes of leads at a time, identify common patterns, group them into various buckets based on their behaviour and help you create hyper-personalised content for them. Since personalisation is key to nurturing leads, AI can almost certainly lead to higher conversions for marketers. AI can also identify similarities in current consumers and generate custom targeting options that marketers can utilise to ensure more accurate delivery of ads. This will help improve the quality of leads generated via digital.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was a crucial mobile ranking factor for websites in 2018. In 2019, the importance of AMP will not be limited to mobiles alone. Google recently made AMP available for desktops versions of websites as well. With this feature, users will be able to enjoy the same speed and easy navigation that AMP offers even while browsing on their desktop.
With the introduction of this feature, it’s time for brands to re-look at their website and how user-friendly it is. By making their websites (or at least critical, content-heavy sections like blogs) AMP-friendly, brands might be able to enjoy greater visibility on search engines. Since AMP pages are also easier for users to navigate through, an improved UX can encourage them to spend more time on the website and learn more information about the brand.
In 2019, almost 65% of all digital media buying will be programmatic. Programmatic is without a doubt the most cost-effective, efficient way for advertisers to purchase digital ad space. Unlike previous methods which required human intervention and manual bids, programmatic algorithms can determine the best media mix and automatically purchase it. This technology enables marketers to reach a scale previously unthought of. They can target larger audiences over a wider variety of channels with absolutely no time or effort lost. Since it can optimise in real-time, markets can do a lot more with their budgets and reduce their cost-per-leads.
With every new SERP feature that Google introduced, organic traffic takes a hit. Click-through-rates have been steadily dropping and 2019 will be a continuation of this trend. Answer boxes, for instance, answers a user’s query without them having to actually click on a link. So while your page might show up on a featured snippet, you might not notice a significant rise in organic traffic to that page.
So does this mean the sun has set on the SEO empire? Fortunately, no. This just means that marketers will need to re-align their SEO strategy. For example, they will need to start focusing more on creating brand awareness and driving up brand searches. When users start searching for your company’s name, Google cannot prevent users from clicking on your website. It also means tailoring your content specifically for higher click-through rates. You need to give users enough information that Google picks it up and displays it, but not enough for their curiosity to be satisfied. If users are only getting half an answer from your snippet, they are more likely to click on your page to get the full information.
Previously, organic reach on Facebook had taken a hit, with pages showing close to zero reach without paid promotions. In 2019, all signs are pointing towards Instagram going down the same route. As Instagram grows in popularity and adds new users every minute, it predictably wants brands to start paying for higher reach. If your company page doesn’t have adequate promotional budgets, then it’s time to scale up this year. But while showcasing your brand on Instagram might become more expensive, it’s still completely worth it. India currently has around 71 million active users and this number is only set to grow from here. Clearly, brands cannot afford to neglect this audience, paid or otherwise.
2019 is proving to be an exciting year for brands, giving them opportunities to experiment with new ad formats and strategies. By taking advantage of these upcoming trends, brands can gain a strong lead over their competition.
This article was originally published in Campaign India.
If you're looking for more information into digital marketing trends that will shape India in 2019, doc check out our co-founder Vikas' in-depth video
Interactive ads allow users to engage with them or explore them in new ways. The average digitally-active user is exposed to hundreds of ads every single day! With so many ads bombarding them, people automatically turn on their filters and are able to ignore a majority of these. While this coping mechanism might help a user wade through an ads-saturated world, it can also be a source of great concern for brands. With brands spending huge amounts on advertising, they can’t afford to have their audience simply ignore their ads. So how do you prevent a user from scrolling past, turning off or forgetting about your ad? The answer might lie in the new format of advertising: interactive ads.
Interactive ads create immersive experiences for audiences that capture their attention completely. The rich technology that has fuelled interactive ads allows users to experiment and engage with your ads. This helps create a lasting impression on your audience, as a result of which ads perform better. While these ads work on desktop and tablet too, mobile is the platform showing greatest results. As more users spend most of their screen time on mobile phones, this is another reason why brands should start experimenting with interactive ads. Modern-day audiences, millennials, in particular, don’t want to be passive spectators. While digital advertising as a whole offers users a personalised two-way form of communication, interactive ads go one step further.
Interactive ads have delivered clear results for brands using them. If you start using the magic of interactive ads in your strategy, be prepared to see these four results:
You might have a beautifully designed landing page, but how do you get users to actually click on it and submit their details? Most interactive ads also come with a call-to-action which takes a user to the brand’s landing page or product page. Since interactive ads are more engaging than other formats, users are more likely to actually click on the button. Interactive ads are also more fun than most other forms of advertising. Interactive campaigns in the past have witnessed a 300 per cent higher CTR, positive brand perception and higher recall than other forms of advertising.
For most brands, the metric they’re chasing after isn’t just lead generation, but actual conversions of those leads. Interactive ads have an average of 3x conversion rates than other formats like video ads, with this number going up to 7x for some campaigns. On the face of it, interactive ads might appear to have a higher CPL than other forms of advertising like display. However, users who engage with the ad can be retargeted via display campaigns, leading to higher conversions and improved quality of leads generated via digital.
Data is the foundation of every marketing strategy and is immensely valuable to marketers everywhere. Interactive ads offer a huge goldmine of data that can go deeper than other kinds of ads. You can gain granular information on how long people viewed your ad, what they clicked on, if they answered any questions, whether they replayed it and if they shared it with others. This data can help you formulate a more refined approach, improving the performance of future campaigns as well.
Like other forms of advertising, the platform you choose for an interactive ad will also depend upon your target audience and your defined metrics for success. Here are the top-performing interactive ad formats that brands need to sit up and take notice of.
mCanvas is a rich media ad format that helps brands communicate their story in an experiential way. It is designed exclusively for mobile, a platform that is becoming popular in India.
Ads designed for mCanvas are beautiful and visually appealing, which plays a large role in attracting higher CTRs and user engagement. After clicking on an ad, mCanvas is able to detect smartphone sensors, allowing users to interact with the ad by shaking, tilting or speaking a command. mCanvas also allows brands to reach out to their consumers in a more focused way through a number of targeting options.
For Piramal Mahalaxmi, we decided to look beyond the commonly used digital marketing strategies for real estate in India. We used captivating images of the view from the property to create interactive experiences through mCanvas. Through mCanvas ads on premium placement sites, we were able to direct a number of high-quality leads to our landing page. We retargeted them through Google Display Network, which fetched us a sizeable number of conversions. In this way, mCanvas was an innovative strategy for digital marketing for real estate that helped us push leads through the conversion funnel.
A rich media ad includes interactive features like videos, audio, gifs and other elements that make it stand out from a static display ad. With rich media, there is no limit to the creativity brands can use to captivate their audience. These ads are created through HTML5 technology, allowing multiple content formats to be placed in the same ad. An ad, for example, can play a video and conduct a poll simultaneously. Rich media ads can help brands achieve the twin objectives of higher CTR and greater brand awareness.
One of the best examples of how rich media lets brand push creative boundaries is Nissan’s 2016 World T20 tournament campaign. Nissan detected an opportunity in the fact that many Indians weren’t able to watch television and keep track of live scores. They developed a series of rich media banner ads that also kept track of live scores. The ads were also interactive because they asked users to vote for their favourite teams before a match started. Nissan’s innovative approach helped them stand out from the numerous other brands advertising during cricket season. Their rich media interactive ads delivered a 4x increase in website visits and 10x higher interaction rates compared to industry standards.
A commonly used form of rich media ads is Lightbox.
Lightbox is a format of interactive ads developed by Google. When you click or hover over a Lightbox ad, it responds by expanding. A Lightbox ad can expand to fill your entire screen, play a video or take you through a carousel of images. The ads also generally end with a link to your website. Since these ads are more engaging than traditional formats, it increases the likelihood that a user will actually click on your website link. Lightbox ads automatically adapt themselves to fit your screen size, so they work perfectly on mobile, tablets and desktops. The same display targeting options are also available for Lightbox ads, helping brands ensure they reach the right audience.
Video ads are one of the best-performing advertising mediums with 64 per cent of viewers buying the product after watching branded videos. When combined with interactive features, they become even more effective. Interactive videos transform what is usually a passive viewing experience into one that actively engages with them. Viewers can answer questions during a video, influence sequences of the storyline and even play games. Interactive videos capture your audience’s attention completely and can be a powerful way to generate leads or send viewers to your website.
At Social Beat, for example, we used an interactive format for our Team video to make it more fun and engaging. Questions popped up at regular intervals and viewers could click on them for answers. This held their attention for a longer time and even helped them learn more about our brand in the process.
Interactive ads have delivered proven results across the board for FMCG, BFSI and B2B brands. With audiences today looking for greater value from advertisements, interactive formats certainly have the upper hand.
Over the past few years, social media marketing has been one of the key marketing strategies for leading real estate developers to reach out to their potential buyers. For some developers, over 1/3rd of their sales comes from the digital medium. Advertising your property on social media platforms is a guaranteed way to showcase your property to the real estate investors and increase the possibility of a sale. However, just posting images of your next upcoming project may not be captivating enough. Here are some new trends that real estate developers can leverage upon.
What if you could give your potential home buyers the luxury of a walkthrough of their new apartment without them leaving their homes? Sounds too good to be true? The latest trend of 360 videos will let you do just that. It is an excellent way to connect with your target audience and show them home buyer what is in store for them if they buy your apartment or villa.
While virtual reality is making an entry in the marketing scene, it is not mainstream yet because of the cost of the VR gears. However, if you are looking for an engaging video, then a 360-degree video is a good starting point. These videos can be created through low-cost tools as well.
This trend is highly beneficial for real estate for developers to showcase their upcoming projects. Apart from the 360 videos, developers can also use 360-degree photos to showcase an immersive 360-degree experience. Both the 360 video and photo produce more engagement and message retention than regular videos or photos.
Casa Grande, one of India’s leading real estate developers, have used this marketing strategy to connect with their potential customers. For the launch of one of their projects in ECR, Chennai, they used 360 videos to exhibit to the potential clients what is in store for the project.
With organic reach on Facebook almost dead, brands are using focused advertising to reach their potential audience on Social Media. While the regular lead generation and website conversion ads are a great way to reach your target audience, it is also important to engage with the potential audience to understand them to improve the quality of your leads. A good way to do this is by using interactive ads. Interactive ads are the next generation of ads, which has taken social media marketing by storm. These ads increase the engagement by interacting with potential customers. A typical example of an interactive ad are the Facebook live polls hosted by companies to produce user-generated data to study what the customers are interested in buying. For example, a real estate developer can put up a poll on Facebook to check if their clients prefer sea-facing apartments or pool-facing apartments. This will give them a rough insight of what their customers want and can even use this data in pricing their property.
If you are looking at the next level of interactive advertising, try out M-Canvas ads, a mobile-only advertising service with very interactive and engaging ad formats. They are unlike any other format available on social media. They are highly interactive and uses a mix of images, video, and carousel to create a memorable and stunning visual experience on mobile. Moreover, these ads allow you to interact within the publisher i.e while you are reading your news article on the same page you can interact with the ad, rather than going to a different page. Once you click, the ads expand and give your further information and ensure the viewer interacts with the ad to take the next steps.
It is one of the best ways to showcase real estate products. For example, if your end goal is for your customer to enquire about the project, you can show a sneak preview of the project’s interiors with Call to Action that prompts viewers to take the next step. An audience who's interested enough to swipe all the way through your ad is likely willing to click through to your website and make the enquiry. These canvas ads are a new concept that is catching up, and we see it as a trend that is here to stay.
Micro-targeting is a marketing strategy of using consumer data and demographics to identify the interests of specific individuals and then influence their action of making a purchase. If a property is for sale on OMR in Chennai or in Whitefield in Bangalore or BKC in Mumbai, with three bedrooms, three baths and is close to the IT corridor, then it is most likely to be bought by a working professional in his 30s with a family of two kids. With the help of micro-targeting, real estate developers can reach out to their target audience by specifying the demographics and the geography of the potential customer on Facebook. You can even target users around the world whose hometown matches the city where the project is. Hence, their ads are displayed to a more specific and niche crowd making the probability of selling the property even higher than before.
Hindi Content has been growing faster than English content, and this is likely to increase even further in 2017. This is not only the case for content but also advertising. if you looking to reach a wider audience, especially in the tier II and III cities, then using regional content is a must. Ads in regional languages have started rolling out, and marketers have begun incorporating this concept into their marketing strategies to reach out to their target audience. When a potential home buyer reads an ad in his regional language, he develops a bond of trust and comfort with the seller and is more likely to make a purchase, or at least recommend that product to a friend.
For example, Aryan Housing, one of the leading real estate developers based out of Mumbai, ran a campaign of ads in Marathi to connect with their local audience and received a phenomenal response.
While the majority of the first time home buyers are researching online, they make the end decision of buying the property offline only. So for a real estate company, integrated offline and online marketing efforts is highly essential. While it is important to run ads and get leads, it is also important to understand that consumers do not make purchase decisions based on a single ad or message alone. Potential buyers gather all their information from various channels and this data gathered through several stages of the buying process are the building blocks of sales.
If you have a potential lead from an online ad and your sales team is following up with them, it is important to also reach out that potential lead online as well. You could use automated email or drip email to reach them until they actually make the purchase. Real Estate developers can target and constantly stay in touch with a group of people based on certain criteria. Let's say that a customer has visited property website and shown interest by coming for a site visit, digital marketers can use the information provided by the customer to send emails about the development and completion of the property and news on various other related properties. Drip emails are a powerful lead nurturer, with statistics showing a 119% increase in click-through rate via trustworthy emails.
Advertising across social media platforms is all about building your brand and making it a household name for people to connect to and rely on. In “Across the Funnel” marketing, real estate developers build their brand names through four essential steps. They initially start the process by running engaging campaigns on social media, which explain their products and attract potential buyers. Then, they work towards increasing traffic to their websites and drive site visits and enquiries through their conversion data. Lastly, they customise their audience by eradicating cold leads and focus on customers who have actively shown interest in their marketing campaigns. With Facebook’s Brand Reach & Frequency campaigns, brands can even get assured visibility and reach, similar to what a front-page newspaper ad gives.
All of these social media marketing strategies are currently trending in 2017 and are here to stay! Which of these techniques will you be adopting in your social media marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below. Content marketing blogs to follow.
In the meantime, go through our complete guide for digital marketing for real estate.