Can A Specialist Digital Agency Help In Improving Your ROI

Asha Ravaliya, CFO, BC Web Wise

Asha Ravaliya, is CFO at BC Web Wise

In the new world of marketing, Return on Investment (ROI) has become a key performance indicator for marketing managers. The shift is towards a real-time approach to evaluate how well marketing strategy is working, and how and where money can be best spent. Ideas are still the foundation of creative strategy, but it today has to match the medium of advertising – and most importantly, deliver the goods.

BUDGETING FOR TRADITIONAL V/S DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Digital spends have started carving out a bigger chunk of the advertising pie.  But it is not just the incremental monies that are increasing. No longer do traditional/mainline ad agencies monopolize the client’s time on planning for a campaign. Most clients who have realized the digital opportunity involve their digital agencies right from the beginning of a launch/campaign. Joint meetings are held for the briefs, and thereon for shaping the entire campaign. And given the spread of digital work, often enough more time is spent in doing spadework together with the agency on all the digital touch points, and the customized communication that one needs for each.

SO CAN DIGITAL AGENCIES DELIVER BETTER

A specialist digital advertising firm thrives on digital business. Your business is critical to digital outfits, and as a result there is no choice but to be very responsible for delivering returns. Work with a digital arm of a large advertising agency, if you can treat the digital arm independent of how you treat the mainline. Expect a common spread sheet for budgeting, measuring deliverables, and you risk undermining the extent to which you can exploit digital power.

IT IS SIMPLE MATH

If your overall advertising spend has anything less than 10 per cent on digital, but natural that your full-service agency will be biased towards the medium that has the higher spends. Unwittingly digital work can get a step-motherly treatment, even if the top brasses of the network realize that digital is the next wave. This is simply because right here, right now, the team that’s working on your project has to act on the entire budget allocated to them. With campaign pressures, it would be very difficult to focus on deliverables from the smaller of the campaign elements, however critical it might have appeared at the start. Even you as a client, may allow digital to take a backseat since the agency is finally going to be measured with the total scores on the report card.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR DIGITAL AGENCY TO DELIVER BETTER ROI

Considering that you have indeed allocated smaller of the budgets to a digital agency, the best way to help the one who is working for you is by giving them a better leverage on budgets by centralizing the work on all your brands with a single agency. So other than having better understanding of the digital medium, the need for the digital agency to deliver, bigger budgets that result due to centralization can give your agency better economies of scale, be it related to optimization of media budgets, dedicated resources on your account, investing in research, tools, etc. A single AOR for digital medium for all the brands can help securing the volume the agency will need, and will finally benefit you as the client. Clients can also get better rates having consolidated their business and assuring revenue to its digital agency, all finally resulting in better ROI.

DIGITAL AGENCIES WORK WITH SMALLER OVERHEADS

Mainline agencies that have been around for a longer time, and have managed to build layers of cost that add to their overheads. Moreover digital work is often outsourced by the larger agencies, and they do add their premium to the costs actually incurred. Digital agencies have largely emerged only in the last decade. Since budgets have always been smaller for digital work, specialist digital agencies have learnt to keep their costs in control, being wary of large sized conference rooms, work stations, walled cabins, limos for their top brass, and all the perks that may have come with it. A purchase manager while negotiating and justifying why he paid more for a mainline agency simply stated that it was fair because of the overheads they had, siting the office location, the size of their office, etc. Really, it is time to step back and take a look at the amount of investment that is going into addressing nice-to-haves that your brand might not be in a position to address today.

CREATE COMPETITION & BENEFIT WITH HARDER WORKING AGENCIES

By keeping two separate agencies for traditional medium and digital medium, you do keep both your agencies on their toes. Larger agencies are waiting to grab the digital business, and the smaller digital agencies just work harder to deliver and build client relationships and incremental allocations of budgets as well as keeping any competition at bay.

Your advertising rupee will really turn to be the investment it is meant to be, and not an expense that it often turns out as, if done with the 3Rs – Right medium, Right budget & Right partner

Why Mobile Should Be An Important Piece of Your Digital Marketing Plan

There is ample awareness about mobile penetration, and an increasing number of users now getting online through their mobile phones. However, there is still hesitation on how real these numbers are and what the audience is doing via mobile internet. Compiled here is pieces of research and reports, akin to those of a jigsaw puzzle, that when put together give a clear idea on how much is the penetration, what is being accessed on mobile internet, why these numbers can go up, where is it going, and which way should your digital marketing plan be headed.

STATUS OF MOBILE INTERNET IN INDIA

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According to the last report of IAMAI and IMRB, of the total 150 million internet users in India, there were around 87.1 million mobile internet users till Dec. 2012. What’s more, on an average, a mobile internet user spent about Rs 198 towards internet expenses.

 

In fact mobile internet access had surpassed desktop in November 2012 as per Global Stats data specific to India:

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THE BC WEB WISE EXPERIENCE

In recent (mid-2013) web analytics we have observed that brands and corporates including NGOs, B2C and B2B categories, that are not updated with mobile friendly content get an average of 10 per cent of traffic on websites as well as Facebook. Clients ready with device agnostic pages and content, traffic from mobile is rising and hovering between 20 per cent to 25 per cent.

FUTURE GROWTH PROJECTIONS

According to the latest report of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), till January 2013, the total wireless subscriber user base was 862.62 Mn of which 708 Mn i.e. 82.08% were active mobile users. However, as analysed by GSMA Director General Anne Bouverot, on an average, each user has 2 sim cards and in terms of unique number of subscribers, there are about 380 million actual users – about 26 per cent of the total population.

McKinsey Research forecasts that the total number of Mobile Internet users will increase more than five-fold to 450 million by 2015. Another recent report by Boston Consulting Group stated that the total number of Internet users in India is expected to increase from 125 million in 2011 to 330 million by 2016. The report noted that, at present, around 45% of online consumers in the nation use only the mobile to access the Internet. This is expected to increase to 60% over the next three years.

India’s only official internet and mobile association – IAMAI is the most conservative in the projections expecting the number of mobile internet users reach 130.6 million by march 2014 and 164.8 million by march 2015.

THE CATALYSTS FOR GROWTH

Google and Bharti Airtel are encouraging trials to catalyse the adoption of mobile internet. Airtel mobile customers in India can freely access Google online products, including the first page of a Web site linked from search results. Customers will be prompted to purchase a data pack if they click a second link on the Web site they reached via a Google Search, or if they need to download attachments from Gmail.

Vodafone India recently slashed its 2G Internet tariff by 80 percent to 2 paise / 10 KB from 10 paisa / 10 KB earlier. Vodafone also introduced One Time Trial Packs in April this year for 2G and 3G at very affordable price points of Rs 25 for 2G and Rs 49 for 3G, together with a 500 MB data transfer package. The intent is give its customers a taste of mobile Internet and its advantages at price points that a customer won’t think twice to say yes to.

RURAL INDIA IS RAPIDLY ADOPTING MOBILE INTERNET TOO

A Financial Express feature reported that at eBay India today, every one minute a mobile accessory changes hands and every two minutes a mobile handset. It has 4,306 e-commerce hubs today, of which 1,015 are hubs in rural India, indicating that consumers in the smaller towns of India are a major force in this online growth story.

PRIMARY USES OF OF INTERNET ON MOBILE

According to a study done by Opera the Top mobile sites in India are:

  • google.com
  • orkut.com
  • facebook.com
  • youtube.com
  • getjar.com

An I-Cube Survey in June 2012 reveals a wide range of uses of mobile Internet.

Mobileinternetuses

REASONS FOR USING MOBILE INTERNET V/S DESKTOP

Here is what a device agnostic survey done by Opera Software and On Device Research revealed:

  • 49% of people who are using the mobile Internet either never, or infrequently, use the desktop Internet.
  • India has emerged as the 2nd largest base of mobile only Internet generation after South Africa.
  • For 41% Indians, mobile phone is the only possible way to access Internet

Why Mobile Internet

SMARTPHONE PENETRATION & INTERNET USAGE

If you look at smart phone penetration, and since smart phone users are most likely to access the internet, Mary Meeker’s (partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and former Internet analyst)  latest report on Internet Trends in India suggests that we will have 67 million smartphone subscribers by the end of 2013, recording a 52% growth YoY.

Google India and Ipsos study on smart phone users revealed the following:

– Only 6 per cent don’t use their phones to connect to the web.

– 94 per cent smart phone users use the phones to connect ot the web.

– 56% of smartphone users accessed the Internet multiple times a day

– 40% surf the Net at least once a day.

– 76% of smartphone users in India access social networking sites

– 77% of smartphone owners download/ listen to music,

– 33 per cent use it for download / playing games

– 32 per cent read newspapers or magazine.

PROVIDER’S OF MOBILE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY IN INDIA

  • Airtel 3G
  • Aircel 3G
  • Vodafone 3G
  • BSNL 3G
  • Tata Docomo 3G
  • Idea Cellular 3G
  • Reliance 3G

DOES YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING RUPEE CONSIDER MOBILE INTERNET USERS?

If you are building a website today, but are not planning on revamping it for the next 5 years at least, then you need to prepare not just for the internet user today, but also those who will visit your site over the next five years. If you are doing Facebook marketing, posts may be viewed on the mobile, and have to be optimized for mobile screens. And if you are doing a Search campaign, on the go search is very likely to be the most popular approach from the difficult to reach target consumer, reaching him or her on the mobile may be critical today.

To maximize your ROI, it is time to have a device agnostic approach to your content, creative and media strategy.

Top 13 Trends In Digital Marketing for 2013 – The CXO’s Guide

1. Watch Our For Tectonic Shifts In The Digital Media

Watch out for new technologies, platforms and tools, as well as advancements in that which already exists.

Will Facebook search replace Google in search dominance? Will WhatsApp, BBM, Skype, Facetime, etc. slowly but surely erode Facebook status updates, comments and likes given the way mobile users are using social networks? Will handheld devices suddenly topple traditional computing?

2. Watch Out For Facebook Changes

Facebook gave us a new brand / profile page, and also added the Timeline feature early last year. Expect more changes this year. Facebook is experimenting doing away with the thumbnail images that support the tabs such as photos, friends on individual profile pages.  Expect that this could happen to brand pages too. Facebook is also changing privacy settings for users. Will these changes affect how your brand is engaging with your customers? Keep a watch!

3. Mobile Marketing Will Be The In Thing

This year will be even more `mobile’ then 2012 with 900 million plus mobile phones out there. A Nielsen NM Incite study reveals that 46% of all social media users use their smartphones to access their favorite social networks and 16% use their tablets for the same.

In India, mobile phones are increasingly becoming the `smarter’ variant. Last reported there were 27 million smart phones in the country. What is interesting is the extensive usage of search, social media interactions and apps on mobile phones.

4. Visuals Will Be The Name of The Game

Visual messaging, visual engagement, visuals speak a thousand words and multiply your reach! It is actually just going back to basics. Why is photography/cinematography so critical in the success of a movie, or the making of an ad? The visuals are necessary and empower messaging more than just words can. Photos on Facebook generate 53 % more likes than regular posts. ‘Virals’ are not made, they `happen’.

5. Content Continues To Be King

It’s the 30-second ad that will run for the next few months v/s content everyday that engages, and aims at content excellence. As digital marketing blogger Jeff Bullas puts it: “Create online buzz and virality through liquid content. Content so contagious that it cannot be controlled.”

Plus content that’s hot out of the oven. Your brand, your company is doing things every day. Your content should consist of news, updates, or content from the brands universe that touches relevant and recognizable touch points with the consumer.

Keep the hot news ready to be served as it comes. On your website, in the social space, and all findable on search engines.

6. Breaking Digital Clutter Will Get Tougher

With more brands and corporate realizing the power of the web, they are all out there doing there SEO, SMO, Website updates, etc. etc. The digital clutter will only increase. Getting the audience to engage with you will not be easy. Getting them to click on your link will depend ultimately on what you have to offer. Refer point 5.

7. On-set of Real Time Marketing & Internal/External Communications

Yes, we know we can do real time media planning and buying. But what is going to be even more exciting is real time marketing. Buyers are engaging real time on company websites and social media with the sellers, and in every product segment. What’s more digital is becoming all pervasive. So it’s use is not just restricted to marketing any more but PR, sales, CRM, corporate communication, et al.

Brand pages on Facebook get posts that relate to purchase enquiries, and on another extreme even employees or hired help talking about low wages! CXOs have to say goodbye to advance campaign planning and traditional modes of interactions, and look at nimble-footed communication plans.

8. Importance of Off Page SEO Will Increase Thanks To Social Media

With increase in social linkages, sharing, fragmentation and spread of what is being said about your brand, your off page optimization has to be robust. Linking, monitoring, seeding content, targeting influencers and addressing the audience where they are will increasingly start counting for your Page Rank on search engines.

9. Contextual Content Marketing Will Emerge

Serving the right content in the right context of what your customer is seeking will become increasingly important. More and more `targeted marketing’ will be the name of the game.

10. Marketing Will Become More Human

A face to the voice that speaks will become increasingly important. Be it the profile of who is tweeting on behalf of your company, or the CEO’s blog or twitter account or the way you respond to your audience on twitter. A face adds credibility and the audience will increasingly look for this credibility in a highly competitive environment.

11. Opt-In Email Lists Can Give A Marketing Edge

Email is not out, email is in, we check it everyday. We click on offers from mailing lists, we read articles that interest us in the weekly news digests we subscribe to, we click on links forwarded to us via email. Smart marketers will focus on building these email lists and getting the consumer coming back for more regularly. The bigger and better your list, and better the targeting you do with it, the better your marketing returns.

12. Lead Generation Budgets Will Shift To Digital

As opposed to 2 per cent response rate in mass media marketing, digital media marketing can give 10 per cent or even higher responses. Topping this is the fact that you pay only for media that delivered, CPC (cost per click) deals are dominating digital media spends. What’s more you can control what you want to spend for the lead.

13. Device Agnostic & Device Independent

Be it through responsive design or sheer investment in content that can be served for multiple screens, marketers will realize the need to invest in either or. While compatibility across screens is any digital content designer’s dream, it will take a while. Not in 2013 at least.

But equally important, will be the need to go digital at new touch points, be it through mega-digital activations across outdoor media, at point of purchase, at events, malls or even in sub-way stations. Tesco increased their sales without increasing the number of stores by creating virtual stores at subways, considering that where the hard working Korean may actually consider shopping as they waited for their daily commute.

How the Marketer Can Prepare

Leaders of all types must have at least a high-level understanding of how social and digital technologies work. Even if your corporation is not pursuing the digital media, social and new technology – opportunities there are possibilities of unavoidable challenges and risks. Either posed by your end-consumer who has adopted these, or by the competition.

As Courtney Hunt, Founder of Social Media in organizations aptly posts in her post on Social & Digital Tech Trends : 9 Take-Aways For YOU: Being digital dinosaur is a luxury few people can afford.

What trends do you see emerging in the months ahead? We would love to hear. Please post your comments or mail us on info@bcwebwise.com