news and updates

Google introduces AMP for emails

  • Ayesha Rafeeq
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  • 13 May , 2019
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    • 3 min read

Page loading speed and mobile-friendliness have been among the most important Google ranking factors. To combine the two, Google has worked towards making mobile pages load faster with the help of an open-source framework which is called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP is considered to be one of the best ways to build good web pages that rank on Google and drive higher organic traffic. With the success of mobile AMP, Google developed other versions like desktop AMP. The most recent innovation with AMP involves a platform people spend a considerable amount of time on: the email.

AMP in email is offered by the Gmail Developer Preview. This helps developers in creating a more engaging and interactive email experience. Here are some of the advantages of AMP for email.

Faster actions

Completing actions with the help of AMP will be much faster, like sending RSVP for an event, scheduling appointments, or simply filling up a questionnaire within the email message.

AMP helps in keeping information of the email relevant and content accurate so that emails don’t become stale. This also makes it easy to keep information updated. A simple example would be confirming an account on a website, with the help of AMP for Emails one can access the confirmation page instantly without having to open a new tab. This makes the overall process more efficient and time saving. This new update also offers a preview for websites like Booking.com and Pinterest within the email.

To optimise your page for a faster load time check out Google PageSpeed Insights.

Benefits for SEO

AMP-powered email has potential that can be beneficial for email marketing, because the engaging content can increase CTR while also generating more interest when compared to a regular email.

Content marketing benefits from this update, as users can receive and access content on their email itself. This again improves the users experience making going through emails a more pleasant experience. This holds true even for users accessing emails from their mobile device.

To make the most of your email campaigns, check out our blog to know more about How to build a strong email marketing database.

Third party content

Companies are working on creating new customer experiences by using AMP for emails. Adding this functionality to emails helps in eliminating the need to open a new tab to finish the task; instead it can be done within the email itself.

The new format of AMP for Emails is supported by Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com, Mail.Ru, Verizon owned Yahoo Mail to list a few while it is open to other providers as well. With security and protection of personal information becoming increasingly critical lately, Google has taken several measures to safeguard this.  This is why companies creating dynamic emails will need to seek approval from Google first.

Companies which have already started supporting this format are:

  • Booking.com
  • OYO Rooms
  • Freshworks
  • Pinterest
  • redBus

The format supports AMP features like carousels, lists and forms among others, while also including the standard HTML markup for email clients supporting AMP. Google has brought in other partners who will also support the AMP for Email on their respective platforms as well. Some of these partners include:

  • SparkPost - a platform for email delivery and analytics
  • Litmus - a tool that helps in designing and marketing of emails
  • Twilio Sendgrid - an email and marketing tool
  • SES and Pinpoint - tools by Amazon used for email and marketing

AMP for emails is a much needed update for emails making them more engaging and interactive. This update for emails opens up opportunities for content creators as well as advertisers to roll out fresh content for email marketing.


Vikas Chawla featured in Times of India

  • Ayesha Rafeeq
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  • 1 September , 2017
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    • 1 min read

There is no doubt that digital technology has engulfed our world with a blanket of convenience. There is an app in our phones for literally every day-to-day activity, from booking a cab to ordering pizza. However, the lack of storage space and increased consumption of mobile data and time has led to stagnation in the number of app-users worldwide.

To address this issue, websites are now being re-designed with app-like behaviour. Frequent visits to these websites will lead to a pop-up in your phone prompting you to add a direct shortcut to the website in your main menu. The progressive functions of these app-like websites have led to the emergence of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). This new technology has taken the digital world by storm and is here to stay. Social Beat is one of the few digital marketing agencies who has incorporated this technology in our website. Following is an article from Times of India in which Vikas Chawla, our co-founder, has given us a closer insight into the benefits of Progressive Web Apps and their impact on the consumers.


Social Beat Now Part of the Facebook Agency Directory

  • Faizaan
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  • 10 August , 2017
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    • 1 min read

We are delighted to announce that Social Beat is now part of the Facebook Agency Directory. This is a recent initiative by Facebook to showcase the top digital marketing companies in each region of the world. This will allow FB to drive brands and advertisers towards certified Facebook marketing experts. 

 

Since its inception, Facebook has become central to all things social media and has also pioneered the move towards social media being used as a marketing tool for both small and large brands. Last year, Facebook India launched their SME India Council and Vikas Chawla is now a part of the Council which works closely with the platform to transform feedback from clients into working features and marketing products.

Do stay updated on Our Facebook Marketing Blog to see what’s the latest (as and when Facebook announces its new feature launches).

You may also find it interesting to read our Facebook Marketing Trends For 2017.


Social Beat Nominated for Search & Display Innovation 2017 by Google

  • Sundar Ramesh Kumar
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  • 24 July , 2017
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    • 6 min read

Since becoming a Google Premier Partner a year ago, we have constantly pushed the bar up to leverage Google AdWords and other advertising channels to deliver the best ROI. We are happy to announce that Social Beat is the only agency in India that is shortlisted for the Google Premier Partner awards for both Search Innovation & Display Innovation category. Below are two case studies showcasing some of the work we have done.

Success in Search Innovation for India’s leading self-publishing company

We work with Notionpress, India’s leading self-publishing company and our goal was to increase the number of leads by reaching out to potential and budding authors. The publishing space is an extremely competitive space, we used Google Search campaigns a key channel to achieve this goal. Right from creating a structured AdWords campaign to daily optimisation of the campaigns, we experimented with every feature that Google offers such as

RLSA & IF function

Understanding that the people who already know us and have interacted with us through the website have the highest potential to convert as a lead, we used the RSLA feature to do just that. This feature helped us target the website visitors to convert them into potential leads. This audience, however, was from different categories and their search queries were different and we couldn't show them the same ad.  The messaging needed to change and utilising the “IF Function”, we were able to dynamically change ad copies to RLSA audiences where we created a sense of urgency, which helped in increasing the conversion numbers.

Keywords of different match types to expand the audience

The self-publishing industry in India is not only a competitive one but also a fairly new industry. In order to understand the market and deliver the best results, we had to constantly think of something new and experiment with different strategies. As part of this strategy, we used keywords of different match types to engage with our target audiences to the maximum extent. This process gave us a broad list of keywords to target and understand what exactly people are searching for and gave us a 3X increase in lead flow.

Managing negative keywords

When we tried out keywords of different match types, not only did we identify many more keywords to target but also found certain irrelevant ones. These keywords were not ideal for our client so we constantly managed and added them to the negative keywords list so that it does not affect the quality of our leads. Over 6000 such words were identified and managed and this list continues to grow every day.

Use of dynamic keyword insertion to show relevant ads to the target audience

Targeting a wide variety of keywords from different categories meant that the ad copies cannot be constant. It needed change depending on what people are searching for. Using the dynamic keywords insertion, we were able to dynamically change the ad copies based on the search query and connect with our target audiences very well, thus contributing to increase in conversions.

Leveraging CPA bidding option

We explored the CPA bidding mode to optimise the bids automatically and moved most of the campaigns to this. We started focussing on other aspects such as changing the bids based on devices, hour, time and day of the week and so on.

Leveraging Dynamic Search Ads

We used Dynamic Search Ads, which is normally used for e-commerce business as DSA provides additional text on the headlines which is not possible through the expanded text ads. This unique method helped us expand our keyword base, thereby helping us get more conversions.

We also worked on creative writing and focused on engaging ad copies in increasing the number of leads.

Results

With the help of search campaigns, we were able to achieve a whopping 561% increase in the number of conversions, and 154% increase in CTR with optimal CPA. We also had a weekly check in with the client on the quality of leads. With this effort, we were able to reduce the % of qualified leads and improved the final conversion of leads to sales.

Success in Display Innovation for South India’s leading real estate company

Casa Grande, a leader in the real estate space in South India, came to us with the objective of driving sales to their properties through Google Display advertising. With the help of every functionality that Google offers, such as responsive ads, similar audiences and smart display ads, we were able to drastically increase the number of site visits and conversions for the brand.

Tapping vernacular content

In India, vernacular content via digital has been growing at a fast pace in India. Of the literate 74%, only 10% read English while the rest consume content in the vernacular medium. In fact, according to statistics, Hindi Internet users (at 201 million) are said to outnumber those accessing the web in English at 199 million by 2021. Keeping this in mind, we used vernacular language as part of our advertising strategy as well as a part of our overall digital media strategy. For a real estate company such as Casa Grande, the audience is spread across Tier I, II and III cities and are not just restricted to the metro cities. It is also true that some of the metro city audiences are more comfortable with the regional language.

Purchasing a property not only involves a lot of money but is also an emotional decision so it is highly essential to talk to them in a language they are comfortable in. We tried out display ads in Tamil, which not only helped us reach a varied set of target audience but also played a substantial role in generating high-quality leads.

Doubleclick Bid manager

When Google Adwords stopped language targeting in Tamil, we quickly turned to Doubleclick and got a license to use the platform. With the help of Doubleclick Bid Manager, we were able to explore placements outside of Hindi language, which helped us achieve great success for Casa Grande, whose target audience is predominantly non-Hindi speakers.

Smart Display Campaigns

In order to always keep a track of the latest trends in advertising, we contacted our Google support team to get us whitelisted and try out new features in the beta stage itself. Our client was delighted with the huge jump in ROI generated with a visible increase in conversions.

Similar Audiences

When the concept of similar audiences was introduced, we immediately tried it out for some of our clients and realised the huge potential it has. We’ve also executed new features such as similar audiences to generate sales and help our clients broaden their reach.

Common Strategies used for both Search & Display

Proprietary CRM for better attribution

Knowing the source of the leads generated from various platforms is highly essential. This helps us to identify which campaigns, placements, topics, and audiences are driving qualified leads in order to improve our quality and quantity of leads. Using this, we are able to understand which platform and source are working better, thereby knowing exactly where to put our money to achieve better results.

A/B Testing to understand consumer behaviour

 No advertising works well without knowing what the target audience exactly wants. Keeping this in mind, we constantly test and refine our landing pages in order to improve the % and quality of conversions that we get. We use Crazy Egg, Zarget and Optimizely for the same. From the designs to the call to action, our team proactively uses heat maps and test various permutations and combinations to understand the consumer better and give them exactly what they want. For example, we did this exercise for our Casa Grande and understood that most of the target audience is looking for floor plans and brochures when they click on the ad. So, the landing pages were optimised to give them just that. This increased our lead flow massively.

Competitor Tracking

The publishing industry being a highly competitive one with reputed and well-established players such as Amazon, we not only need to keep trying something new but also keep a track on the competitors. We use SEMRush and Ahrefs to explore the activities of our competitors to stay ahead of them in our campaigns. We also get new Campaign/Ad Group/Keyword ideas by analysing the competition.

Scripts and Third Party tool to automate smaller tasks

As a team, we are constantly on the lookout to do more in less time and deliver big for our clients. In order to automate the day to day tasks, we use scripts and third party tools, to expand and optimise the campaigns. This process saves us a lot of time and cuts down monitoring simple monotonous processes, which in turn helps us focus on other aspects of optimizing the ad campaigns. It also helps in keeping a close track of the Google Adwords Account Health Score to optimise the campaigns.

Effectively leveraging Google Analytics and Audience Insights

We use advanced audience insights to understand our customer and target them. It also helps us with creating smart remarketing lists and use it for RLSA to get better conversions and results out of our advertising efforts.

One of the key reasons that we were able to produce such results is due to our ROI driven focus. To ensure that we push our boundaries and achieve the set targets for our clients, our team relies heavily on knowledge sharing and staying up to date on the new trends. We look forward to continuing pushing boundaries for our clients.


Social Beat at ICANN-ISOC Round Table on Security

  • David Appasamy
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  • 13 July , 2017
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    • 3 min read

The Internet Society’s (ISOC) Chennai Chapter held a Round Table discussion on how Security has become a mainstream concern as part of the ICANN’s Domain Name Security Seminar (DNSSEC seminar) in Chennai on Sunday, 9th July 17. David Appasamy, Head-Brand & Strategy, Social Beat co-chaired the event along with M Sivasubramanian, President, Internet Society, Chennai Chapter, who organized the event.

The Round table was made possible by host ICANN as part of their DNSSEC initiative represented by Samiran Gupta, Head India for ICANN, and Champika Wijayatunga, Regional Engagement Manager, Security, Stability & Resiliency for ICANN Asia Pacific, who were also part of the Round Table.

The Round Table was attended by a multi-stakeholder group comprising law enforcement, academia with both students & faculty, business & start up representation, civil society with NGO participation and solutions & network representation. The discussions were wide ranging and served to sensitize those present to the increased security risks in today’s environment, both online and offline.

The conclusions arrived at during the Round Table were:

  • That most participants felt an increase in security risks in both offline and online worlds today.
  • The world today is far more complex than even a decade ago with issues of terrorism, a divided society, external threats, internal unrest, fake news, online fraud etc. all contributing to the rise in perceived increased security risk offline and online.
  • Governance & regulation cannot be left to only the experts and law enforcement but must be the collective responsibility of everyone who uses the internet.
  • Every user must display responsible behaviour online much as they do offline to ensure that security risks are mitigated.
  • However, this is far easier said than done in a country like India where online user growth is significant month on month and digital marketing is growing leaps & bounds. And when new users are from all strata of society, and not well versed with online etiquette and secure behaviour. In rural areas, for example, bank accounts are operated by groups of people using the same PIN at a government centre from where they have online access. Even in urban areas, people routinely give their credit card PIN numbers to petrol pump attendants or at restaurants while settling their bills.
  • Society is much more complex, demanding & divided today across the world, with law enforcement increasingly having to request online content sites or applications to remove content or pages placed there with the express purpose of inciting division and violence.
  • The Internet began from a defense research project, and was further developed by academia and think tanks. In the early days, users were responsible, aware and value driven so that the idea of the Internet being free, open and available to all made sense and was easily developed. Today, however, whilst it remains free and open (in varying degrees depending on countries), the need for oversight to ensure content is not misused is a reality.
  • While the need for oversight is a reality, self-regulation is still the best approach as a best practice. This is widely seen across the world where light touch regulation, ie facilitation, is the best way. Estonia and France were cited as benchmarks for Internet regulation. Law enforcement officers present also stressed that individual responsibility is still the key.
  • The Round Table concluded with the realization that to facilitate individually responsible behaviour online is a humongous task and will take enormous and sustained effort, especially in a country like India. It will have to be not just and individual responsibility, but a collective one across all multi-stakeholders.

The need for widespread awareness, and for key stakeholders to take the lead in this effort, whether governments, ISPs, online sites or applications, banks & financial services companies, payment or other apps, educational institutions, companies & businesses, parents and role models becomes key. Today, with close to 4 billion people online, the need for secure behaviour online is felt more than ever before. And will only increase in future.


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