next billion internet users

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

  • Rhea
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  • 11 June , 2018
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    • 5 min read

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

What are Indians Doing Online?

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

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

What Has Sparked This Growth?

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

How Can Brands Engage With These Consumers?

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

Understand audiences to personalise marketing strategies

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

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

Create campaigns specifically for mobile

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

Use regional languages to reach a wider audience

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

Optimize brands for voice search

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

Utilise the AdWords 'Missed Call' extension

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

Encourage a two-way conversation

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

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


ऑनलाइनक्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट का बढ़ती

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 24 March , 2017
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    • 4 min read

हर मार्केटिंग विशेषज्ञ कन्टेन्ट मार्केटिंग के महत्व को जानता है। यह ग्राहकों से जुड़ने और उन्हें जानकारी प्रदान करने का एक बेहतरीन तरीका है। अपने लक्षित श्रोताओं के लिए प्रासंगिक और मूल्यवान कन्टेन्ट तैयार करना प्रभावी कन्टेन्ट मार्केटिंग का मूल है। भारत में मोबाइल और इंटरनेट की वृद्धि के साथ, भारत के प्रत्येक शहर और गांव में इंटरनेट तक पहुंच बन गई है। इस इंटरनेट क्रांति को धन्यवाद, ज्यादातर लक्षित श्रोता अंग्रेजी के अलावा अन्य भाषा बोलते हुए पाए जा सकते हैं। तो आप इस समस्या का समाधान कैसे करेंगे? हमारा समाधान है बहुभाषी कन्टेन्ट रणनीति।

हिंदी कन्टेन्ट की खपत 94% की दर से बढ़ रही है।

अंग्रेजी, ज़ाहिर है, न केवल दुनिया में बल्कि भारत में भी सबसे अधिक इस्तेमाल की जाने वाली भाषा है। हालांकि, गूगल डेटा हिंदी कन्टेन्ट उपभोग में 94% की वृद्धि दर दिखाता है। इसे ध्यान में रखते हुए वैश्विक ब्रांडों ने अपनी रणनीति की कला के रूप में क्षेत्रीय भाषा पर ध्यान केंद्रित करना शुरू कर दिया है। एक साल पहले, फेसबुक यूज़र्स लॉग इन पेज हिंदी स्क्रिप्ट में देख कर हैरान हो गए थे। इसके बाद अमेरिका आधारित दृश्य खोज टूल पिनट्रस्ट ने एक हिंदी संस्करण लॉन्च किया, जिससे भारत के उपयोगकर्ताओं को अनुवादित संस्करण का उपयोग करने की सुविधा मिल गई। आज, गूगल अन्य भाषाओं के साथ हिंदी, गुजराती, मराठी, बंगाली और तमिल जैसी भाषाओं को भी सपोर्ट करता है। भारत में 127 मिलियन इंटरनेट उपयोगकर्ता स्थानीय भाषा के कन्टेन्ट का उपभोग करते हैं, सभी वैश्विक सोशल मीडिया साइटों ने इस तथ्य को महसूस किया है कि अगर वे भारत में स्थानीय नहीं जाते हैं तो वे जल्द प्रासंगिकता खो सकते हैं। द्वितीय और तृतीय टियर के शहरों के इंटरनेट उपयोगकर्ताओं की आवश्यकताओं को पूरा करते हुए, गूगल अब अपने उत्पादों जैसे गूगल मैप के उपयोग को स्थानीय भाषाओं में, खासकर हिंदी में, विस्तारित करने पर ध्यान केंद्रित कर रहा है।

क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट की उपलब्धता भारत में इंटरनेट की वृद्धि को 24% तक बढ़ा सकती है।

74% साक्षरों में से, केवल 10% लोग अंग्रेजी पढ़ते हैं, जबकि बाकी लोग स्थानीय भाषा में कन्टेन्ट का उपभोग करते हैं। शेष 66% अपनी स्थानीय भाषा में साक्षर हैं। इंटरनेट और मोबाइल एसोसिएशन ऑफ इंडिया और IMRB इंटरनेशनल द्वारा किए गए एक नवीनतम अध्ययन के अनुसार, क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट की उपलब्धता भारत में इंटरनेट के विकास को 24% तक बढ़ावा दे सकती है। भारत में 70,000 से ज्यादा अख़बार छपते हैं और लगभग 90% या तो हिंदी में या अन्य प्रादेशिक भाषाओं में छपते हैं। क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट के महत्व को महसूस करते हुए, भारतीय ऐप डेवलपर स्थानीय ऐप वितरण प्लेटफॉर्म की आवश्यकता को भी पहचान रहे हैं। अंतर्राष्ट्रीय ऐप स्टोर खुद को अत्यधिक भारत-विशिष्ट क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट की आसान खोज में अनुकूलित नहीं करते हैं।


क्षेत्रीय भाषा के कन्टेन्ट का विकास: एक मामले का अध्ययन

उद्यमियों और उद्यमशील पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र को बढ़ावा देने के लिए भारत के प्रमुख मंचों में से एक, Yourstory.com ने, हाल ही में क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट के लिए अलग-अलग अनुभाग शामिल किया है।

उनकी क्षेत्रीय सामग्री रणनीति बहुत अच्छी तरह से बनाई गई है और दर्शकों से उसे सकारात्मक प्रतिक्रिया प्राप्त हुई है। जैसा कि आप देख सकते हैं, हिंदी के लेखों के 650 शेयर हुए हैं और तमिल कन्टेन्ट के 200 से अधिक शेयर हुए हैं। वेबसाइट अपने क्षेत्रीय भाषा के पेजों को दिलचस्प लेखों के साथ हर रोज अपडेट कर रही है। वेबसाइट 10 अन्य भाषाओं में भी सामग्री प्रदान करती है जिसमें मराठी, तेलगू और बंगाली शामिल हैं।

इसलिए यदि आपको विश्वास है कि क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट विपणन महत्वपूर्ण है, तो यहां पर विचार करने के लिए कुछ चीजें दी गई हैं।

दर्शक प्राप्त होना और ग्लोबल SEO संचालित करना

यदि एक प्रमुख भाषा बहुमत बनाती है, तो अन्य भाषाओं को अनदेखा करना आसान होता है। हालांकि अंग्रेजी बहुमत बनाती है, एक ऐसा भी खंड है जो केवल एक क्षेत्रीय भाषा में ही कन्टेन्ट का उपयोग करता है और यह खंड आपके सबसे महत्वपूर्ण लक्षित दर्शकों के रूप में हो सकता है। एक अंग्रेजी रचना 0.1% से 0.15% क्लिक थ्रू अनुपात (CTR) प्राप्त करती है, जबकि एक भाषाई रचना 0.4-0.5% CTR प्राप्त कर सकती है। इसलिए अगर एक भाषा की सामग्री और रचना में आपके उत्पाद या वेबसाइट पर अधिक ट्रैफ़िक आकर्षित करने की संभावना है, तो उस पर अधिक ध्यान क्यों न दें?
 

 ग्राहक अपनी मातृभाषा के कन्टेन्ट पर बेहतर प्रतिक्रिया करते हैं

जब आप अपने ब्रांड की एक क्षेत्रीय भाषा में मार्केटिंग करते हैं, तो यह दर्शकों के भावनात्मक भाग को आकर्षित करता है। इसलिए कन्टेन्ट का स्थानीयकरण (लोकलाईजेशन) सृजन प्रक्रिया का अभिन्न अंग होना चाहिए। उदाहरण के लिए, मैकडॉनल्ड्स उत्पाद विकास के शुरुआती चरण में अपनी अंतरराष्ट्रीय टीमों को शामिल करता है, यह सुनिश्चित करता है कि जहां उसके अभियान चल रहे हैं, वहां के प्रत्येक विशिष्ट संस्कृति के लिए अपनी सबसे अधिक प्रभावी मार्केटिंग रणनीतियों का अनुकूलन कर सकता है। इसकी स्थानीय अनुवाद और स्थानीयकरण (लोकलाईजेशन) टीम सुनिश्चित करती है कि कन्टेन्ट प्रत्येक देश में उपयुक्त तरीके से लिखे जाते हैं।
 

सोशल मीडिया और कन्टेन्ट मार्केटिंग को एकीकृत करना

सोशल मीडिया में भाग लेने का आपका अंतिम लक्ष्य अपनी वेबसाइट पर ट्रैफिक वापस ले जाने की संभावना है ताकि आप उन दर्शकों को लीड में परिवर्तित कर सकें। एक बार जब आपकी क्षेत्रीय कन्टेन्ट तैयार हो जाता है और चलने लगता है, तब उस रणनीति को अपने सोशल मीडिया और पेड विज्ञापन के साथ एकीकृत करना एक बढ़िया विचार होगा। यह उपभोक्ताओं को आकर्षित करने के लिए महत्वपूर्ण हो सकता है और कई ब्रांड अपने विदेशी मार्केटिंग प्रयासों में इसे सफलतापूर्वक अपना रहे हैं।


How digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India

  • Sneha Balasubramaniyan
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  • 17 March , 2017
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    • 5 min read

Be it a blog, an e-mailer or even posting a simple creative online, a business reaps all the benefits of digital marketing. While the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital, is it the same case even in Tier II and Tier III cities in India? One might still be doubtful on how a business in Bihar, or in a small town like Tiruchengode might make use of the digital medium but Social Beat begs to differ.

With more than 3,133 cities that fall under the tier II and tier III category, comprising of almost 31.16% of India’s total population, one cannot simply avoid taking them into consideration while discussing advertising and marketing online. According to a report by one of world’s leading media investment management group, 2016 and early 2017 was supposed to see a 51% increase in digital marketing in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are also seeing a lot of traction with digital content in regional Indian languages.

How to make digital marketing for Tier II and Tier III cities possible?

 

 

With internet access and as well as buying power of smart phones, thanks to the initiatives of the Government and some of India’s biggest internet companies, business in these cities now have a larger playground. Since almost 32% of the rural population with the above facilities access the internet on their mobile phones, it is important to generate such content for higher reach and engagement. For example, Facebook now has 160 million users in India, which are spread not just in the top cities but also in smaller towns and even some villages.

Firstly, to leverage digital for smaller websites every digital asset needs to have a great experience on mobile. Be it a website/landing page or a simple single creative – whatever helps in lead generation or branding of a business, it needs to be mobile-friendly. On small screens, the call-to-action button as well as the navigation button needs to be crisp. The copy has to be short, quick and easy to grasp.

 

 

Vernacular Ads work the best with respect to lead generation / marketing your brand:

 

 

Not just vernacular Ads but vernacular websites work miraculously well for business that either have their base in Tier II and Tier III cities or if they want to target their potential investors in such cities –

 

 

While running a Facebook Ad, it is important to understand that the target audience (TA) first needs to be someone in-and-around the city. For example, if it is a real estate project in Trichy selling affordable homes, the TA needs to be someone who when views the Ad will be able to:

A – Relate to the project in terms of location, approachability etc.

B – Compare the price of the project with other such builders

C – Visit the project with ease

D – Take a decision

While the project in the example cited above is in Trichy, the target audience can be just Trichy to start with but will not have a lot of reach unless we explore the little towns and cities in-and-around Trichy itself.

 

 

Selecting even the tiniest of towns that we might think will not make a big difference will definitely show results. The potential reach crosses over 730,000 people out of which there is a chance of a bare minimum of 40% to convert into customers.

 

 

With regards to the interests and behavior of the target audience, it is always better to keep it a little generic such as focusing on job titles, important IT companies / industries around the city etc. including minor yet vital details like their interest in Business magazines, stocks, shares, etc. If the campaign does well, and if it is for a real estate project in particular (where you think NRIs would like to invest in), go ahead and try a few NRI targeting options too – you never know, it might work wonders!

 

 

Looking at utilizing Google Adwords as a platform to advertise in Tier II and Tier III, it is highly recommended for the below reasons:

  1. Less competition in Tier II and Tier III cities which is good for businesses trying to create an identity for themselves / acquire leads.
  2. Better ‘Search Ad’ results due to the high search queries
  3. Good quality leads since the TA is niche and the demand for product is more

The keywords used for these Ads are usually very simple, straight forward terms. For example, for an e-commerce organic food store business, Google AdWords are likely to work better for keywords – ‘healthy food’, ‘organic vegetables’, ‘fresh organic food’ etc. rather than keywords like ‘organic grocery’, ‘organic farm food’ etc.

Planning to start up a business from the tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India? Follow our YouTube channel Arrer Irundalum Career for more insights. Here's a short video to get you started:

Tier II and Tier III cities’ have the potential for most businesses and these cities are growth drivers of the future. Tell us how which strategy has worked for you in smaller towns!

 


Mobile First Strategy to leverage micro moments of consumers

  • Srilakshmi
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  • 5 July , 2016
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    • 5 min read

Micro Moments has become a buzzword in the digital marketing environment in recent times. Especially, after Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, came up with this phrase, more and more digital marketers are trying to utilize the micro moments to benefit their brands.

To start with, more and more consumers are using smart phones for most of their browsing. According to two different Google consumer surveys, almost 68% of smart phone users say that they check their smart phone within 15 minutes of waking up every morning; also, 30% of these users admit that they actually get anxious, when they don’t have their smart phones with them. In most countries, searches happen more via mobiles than desktop computers. This means that digital marketers, who intend to make an impression with their clients, should adapt mobile first strategy religiously.

According to the often quoted KPCB Internet Trends Report, it is said that most people check their phones about 150 times a day and they spend 177 minutes on an average with their phones per day. This means that, on an average, a mobile session lasts for just 70 seconds. Apart from texting their partners, sharing their selfies or travel pictures, commenting on their friends’ photos, there is a specific point of time where people look at their smart phones to get influenced by brands. These small moments where the consumers look for information on their phones are the micro moments that every digital marketer should utilize.

Four types of micro moments

According to Think with Google, these micro moments can be classified into four, namely:

  1. I-want-to-know moments: More and more users are looking up for information online. On the go, many users search for different information ranging from routes to their destination to deals in ecommerce sites. The amount of such consumers have increased significantly in the past few years.
  2. I-want-to-go-moments: More than ¾ of users use their smart phone users use search engine via their phone to look for any local store or company. Even to look up for something as trivial as an electrician or florist, people use their smart phones. According to Google Trends report, in the year 2014-2015, there is 2x increase in “near me” based search interest.
  3. I-want-to-do moments: While doing a task, most users use their smart phones to look see instructions. Be it any DIY craft or a simple day-to-day recipe, people use their smart phones to check how to do what they want to do.
  4. I-want-to-buy moments: This is the most explicit micro moment. Before purchasing a product online or offline, more than 80% people actually look up their phones for consultation before buying. Also, mobile conversion rates for ecommerce sites have significantly increased in the recent times.

These are the four micro moments that are crucial for any business. With consumers’ online attention span being very low, i.e. as low as few seconds, to leverage these micro moments of consumers, brands must adapt mobile first strategy.

Four ways to leverage consumers’ micro moments:

To grasp your consumers’ micro moments, a brand must refine all its contents to be mobile responsive and follow these four approaches.

1. Being there for the users always

One of the interesting facts about most consumers is that they might not be rigid on what brand they want. If they are looking at their phone for information or merely browsing, they might be more interested to buy your products if the information you provide interest them. Especially, while looking for information, users pick the business that are there in their search results and that have the most attention-seeking content.

By being there always in their smart phone, via both paid and organic methods, you stand a more chance than your competitors to convert them into your customers. One may think that by merely being there in the social media, how can a brand make the smart phone users become its consumers. The true fact is that by being there when users need some information, your brand is helping customers in their decision journey.

Also, at this point, mobile first strategy plays a major role. Since most of the searches happen via mobile phones, your website, landing pages, ads, posts, and any content should be mobile responsive. Also, it must be interesting and crisp to be read within those micro moments.

2. Providing users the information they need

While you can make an amazing first impression with the first approach, to make the users your clients/customers, you need to do something more; in fact, you must do something more powerful. Bounce rate of many sites and uninstalling of many apps are on a rise; the main reason for this is that most of these brands fail to be useful to their customers in the four micro moments explained above.

If your consumer is on a search engine searching to buy a product related to your brand, he or she is more likely to pick your brand over a hundred others when your content is useful than the others. We have a detailed strategy on how to create 10X better content than your competitors. With mobile first strategy, you are in a good spot because it allows you create and showcase more pertinent content in these micro moments. This is why in our view a blog is important for every business. Using information like their past search history, location, time of search, and keywords, one can efficiently decide what to showcase to which user.

For example, if you are a brand that has multiple products, based on the target group, their preferences, you can use retargeting to showcase products/creatives that are useful to them. Rest assured, you would have definitely leveraged their micro moment.

3. Catching up with users’ speed

If your mobile site or app takes a long time to load, the users are more likely to leave your site/app for other that of other brands. All your efforts of providing useful content and being there goes waste, if the speed at which your information loads is slow. To optimize your mobile site and app speed to suit the speed of your customers, you must follow these steps:

  1. Keep it simple: Having too many forms, additional or redundant steps, etc. makes your customer bored. Have a one step sign up form, i.e. via Facebook or Google. Also, enable click-to-call options, instead of displaying phone numbers. Similarly, all addresses must be linked to GPS to open via maps directly. This way, the users will be able to do what they want to do without any hindrances.
  2. Foresee users’ expectations: From predictions to drop down menus, from enabling auto-fill option to getting past browsing history, try everything that will speed up the process. You can also display products/services on the app based on their past search history.
  3. Combine the best UI with simple design: As much as an attention-seeking UI is important, it will be of no use, if it takes too long to load. Therefore, the app/mobile site must not only be designed to be user-friendly but must also be designed in a way that it loads quickly.

Almost 40% of users wait not more than 3 seconds for a site to load before leaving the site, if you do not optimize your site better, all your other efforts becomes futile.

4. Measuring your strategy

You have done your best by being there, being useful, and being quick. With mobile first approach, these efforts will definitely reap results. The results can either be customers or leads to prospective customers. However, on the longer run, measuring and reviewing your micro moments strategy is what helps you to refine and evolve with the evolving trends.


2014 Review of The Indian Blogosphere

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 23 August , 2014
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    • 2 min read

Content is King

In the age of content marketing, blogs form the major chunk of content on the web. One of the oldest forms of social media communication is still going strong. They are the fastest growing medium on the web in India, with a growth rate of ~48% in the last calendar year. Apart from providing necessary information to potential customers, active bloggers are a brand in themselves.

The IndiBlogger & BusinessWorld Study 2014 - A Review

IndiBlogger & Business World studied the Indian blogosphere in Dec last year and came up with interesting statistics. The survey in itself was one of the largest of its kind, done across 1059 responses to a questionnaire, 318,059 blog posts submitted on IndiVine and 35,464 blogs.

Unsurprisingly, English is the primary blogging language for 88% bloggers with Hindi being a distant second at 5%. The study reinforces the fact that blogging and social media is essentially a young generation phenomenon with approximately 80% of the bloggers under the age of 35 but what surprises is the fact that 75% of active bloggers are male.

Blogs on Healthcare grew at 90% in 2013

Food and Drink, Travel, Movies & Technology seems to be the preferred blogging topics but healthcare has seen the highest growth last year. Twitter & Facebook were the top-2 social media network but with LinkedIn now jumping in the competition with the blogging platforms with its “Create A Post” feature; it will be interesting to watch the impact of LinkedIn in 2014. Currently, with 63% share, BlogSpot is the hot favorite.

Bangalore, Mumbai & Chennai are the top-3 cities in terms of blogger base

It’s the metros that rule the roost currently with 12% bloggers from Bangalore & Mumbai each. 86% bloggers monetize their blog in some way or their other & 56% of the blogs influence buying decisions. With a steep rise in the usage of social media by brands, blogs have become an integral part of the marketing & brand-building strategy. Hence it’s not surprising that guest blog posts stand at a high of 35% among all posts.

 


Will Hindi as the official language of communication help India?

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 20 June , 2014
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    • 2 min read

BJP-led NDA government's directive asking central government employees to use Hindi while posting tweets or messages on social media channels, has not gone down well with many sections in Chennai.

After DMK Chief, Karunanidhi opposed the move yesterday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the urgent amendment of an instruction that asks government departments to use Hindi for tweets and other social media posts.

Amidst the unwarranted controversy, BJP spokesperson, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has come out with an explanation that Hindi is the soul of India and this should not be seen as a move to disrespect English or any language; rather as a way to enhance the pride of being an Indian.

In a diverse country like India, it will not be easy to impose any language for official communication across the length and breadth of the country. There is a belief that it would be undemocratic to impose it. This line of thought feels that the government is trying to promote Hindi at the cost of other regional languages though this has been denied by the Ministry of Home Affairs. In this regard, another tweet was sent out yesterday by the Home minister’s tweeter handle: "The Home Ministry is of the view that all Indian languages are important. The Ministry is committed to promote all languages of the country.”

The arguments put forth by the other school of thought points out that Hindi is the 5th largest spoken language in the world and the concerns of being undemocratic are misplaced. It is strange that English, a foreign language is acceptable as a means of communication to learn and move ahead but cannot embrace Hindi. Take the example of United Kingdom, which consists of English, Wales, Scottish & Irish but English was accepted as “THE” language of communication.

Earlier this week, a news report had said that the central government has directed its employees and employees of central undertakings and banks to use Hindi or both Hindi and English on their official web pages in social media like Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Google. It is a debatable issue and the unwarranted debates are expected to continue.

In the light of above controversy, one thing is sure that regional language content is indeed going to gain prominence online in the coming years and Facebook, Twitter, Google and other sites already having multi-lingual sites for Indians. Indians will continue to use multiple languages and cannot be constrained to only consume content in a single language. It will be interesting to keep a tab on how this entire episode unfolds and what are its’ implications for social media.



Hindu Metro Plus covers us – Driving Social Change

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 21 February , 2014
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    • 1 min read

People are using social media effectively to campaign for human rights, woman empowerment, female literacy and efficient governance. Geeta Padmanabhan of Hindu Metro Plus tracks this trend - Read more at http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/driving-social-change/article5705803.ece


Amazon India tries to capture the 50m userbase & 10,000 cr market

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 5 June , 2013
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    • 3 min read

 

The digital commerce market in India was valued at INR 47,349 Crores in 2012 and is expected to grow by 33 percent. It is undoubtedly the fastest growing online market in the last 12 months when compared with the other BRIC Countries. According to the latest Digital Commerce Report, by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International.

The report finds that while Online Travel, which includes booking rail, air, bus tickets, hotel accommodations and tour packages comprised a majority 71 percent of the whole Digital-Commerce market in 2012,E-Tailing, which includes purchases of various consumer products/services such as electronics, apparels, footwear, jewellery, home & kitchen appliances, consumer durables, furnishings, constituted only 16 percent of the overall share. This is the segment which all ecommerce companies including Amazon India are trying to target.

Financial Services, which include services such as paying insurance premiums and renewals, paying utility and mobile bills, trading shares and securities amounted to 6 percent of the overall share. B2B and B2C Classifieds (jobs, matrimony, car, real estate etc.) contributed 5 percent, whereas other online services such as online entertainment ticketing, online food delivery, buying discounts/deals/vouchers etc. constituted 2 percent of the overall digital commerce market in 2012.

With more and more people planning their payments and Financial services online, market was valued at INR 2,886 Crores in 2012 and is expected to grow by 25 percent and reach to INR 3,607 Crores by the end of year 2013. According to the report, Classifieds market has seen a significant growth and has reached INR 2,354 Crores in 2012. Classifieds as a category has grown with a CAGR of 45 percent growth from 2009 and is expected to grow by another 30 percent to INR 3,061 Crores by 2013.

Online travel industry in India has on an average grown by 32 percent from INR 14,953 Crores in 2009 to INR 34,544 Crores in 2012 and is estimated to grow by another 30 percent and be valued at INR 44,907 Crores by the end of December 2013. The travel industry also sees interesting fact about the average cart value of goods purchased ranging from 17$ in IRCTC to about 204$ and 166$ in Make my trip and Yatra.com respectively.

The E-Tailing category has grown from INR 1,550 Crores in the year 2009 to INR 6,454 Crores in year 2012. With the entry of the world's largest online retailer, Amazon through the launch of its online marketplace in India, Amazon.in and hundreds of start ups emerging, this category is estimated to grow by 55 percent and cross INR 10,000 crores by the end of 2013 December.

India represents Amazon's tenth marketplace where buyers can browse through a catalogue of 7 million books and 12,000 movies titles initially. The company is planning to expand its product footprint to cameras, mobiles and other electronics devices.

With the Digital commerce market having so much to offer to the country, one could only see internet and Ecommerce reaching not just the metropolitans and the major cities in India but also hitting the Indian Villages soon. Of course, it comes with its humongous set of challenges forcing even Flipkart to follow a marketplace (no-inventory) model. For now, its time to watch the big players battle it out in the ecommerce market


Pure offline business adopting the internet

  • Suneil Chawla
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  • 4 May , 2013
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    • 3 min read

Offline and Online : Getting the mix right

The recent Havell's advertisement "Havaa Badlegi" aptly sums up many of the changes we are seeing in Indian Businesses today. Entire industries are beginning to get disrupted by technology and innovation. While businesses have been doing things the same way for decades, the drastic changes in the landscape, both globally and in India, have prompted many senior executives to relook at their digital strategy. While some industries have already seen massive changes in the last 5 years, for some industries, the next 5 years are going to be even more impactful.

Sectors where we have seen significant impact already

Offline Retailers: Offline Book retailers have been one of the first casualties of the ecommerce space. With a standardised product and ease of shipping, ecommece players have undercut book prices to take away a large chunk of the book market. Similarly, mobiles and small gadget sales are growing significantly online. Apart from sales, pre-purchase research online now plays a decisive role, where one recent survey showed over 80% of urban consumers now look up for research online prior to buying a mobile. Window shopping at stores and then going online to buy has prompted many large players in the US to shut shop. We haven't seen a similar impact in India as yet, but this shift from offline to online is irreversible.

Travel Booking: Travel booking for nearly all segments - flights, trains, buses, taxis and now even Autos in some cities, have seen significant market share being taken by online players. While holiday booking has some strong online players (e.g. SOTC, Thomas Cook and regional players like Raj Travels), online travel companies are now going aggressively after the holiday market. Expect more people to book their holiday packages online in the near future. As per a report by the IAMAI, over 80% of online commerce is travel related, reaching Rs.15000 Crores in 2012 and growing at a staggering 40% annually.

Recruitment / Hiring: Technology has changed the way someone searches for a job. From mass market sites like Naukri to Linkedin and Referring friends for jobs on Facebook, technology disrupted the way the 1990's head hunter worked. The HR agencies adopted to add value on top of these platforms instead of taking them head on, ensuring profitable growth. Due to the smart repositioning by off-line players, Online portals account for only 3% of the $250M market, while still playing a critical role in the ecosystem.

Upcoming sectors where technology will drive change

Education: Elearning has been a buzz word for a while, but there have been no large education companies which have nailed learning in India. Schools have changes, with smart blackboards, digital media lessons and online report cards, but the fundamental way of teaching and learning has not really shifted. On the other hand, globally, there are companies really breaking out. Successful examples include Coursera which allows anyone to take a virtual class from the best universities in the world on a wide range of topics to Codecademy, where one can learn computer programming. These global companies are seeing traction, even from Indian consumers. Some Indian players like Sikkim Manipal University have started initiatives like the EMBA course. It won't be too long before innovations in elearning change the way we learn.

Healthcare: Hospitals and Doctors in India are being swamped by the number of patients. While the leading hospitals and chains have invested a lot in technology, seamless connect with the patients pre-treatment and post-care is missing. New initiatives like booking a doctor appointment online to storage of reports on the cloud are seeing traction amongst the more adaptable medical organisations. Read our Healthcare Digital Marketing Case Study.

In our upcoming blogs, we shall discuss more about the options you have in your industry to adapt and lead the digital revolution.


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