Top Digital Trends to watch out for in 2015

The Indian digital market today has become a cornucopia of exciting action with over 200 million people using social media space and more than 250 million smart phone users. In fact as a nation of consumers who primarily use search engines to frame purchase decisions, we rank 4th in the world! Close to the heels of search engine marketing, is social networking that also accounts for a major chunk of digital marketing trends, and is expected to grow to phenomenal heights in 2015.

In Social Media, Million is just a Number!

By the turn of 2014 last year, India had reached an astonishing figure of 155 million mobile internet users with an impressive 100 Million mark for Facebook alone (http://www.digitalintheround.com/digital-marketing-trend-india-q1-2014/.

Digital marketers have instinctively been drawn towards the inherent potential of social media marketing, where every platform provides an opportunity to channelize information towards a particular target segment. Brand communications and content marketing constitute the key strategy-drivers for providing a high impetus to brands on the social media. Brands are engaging in powerful story-telling and witty ways to create that instant connect with consumers.

What Does 2015 has in store for us in terms of Digital Trends?

Digital Marketing has altered by leaps and bounds in all these years and if the companies want to stay in the game, they need to up the ante and create a seamless branding experience across all media channels. While customers have the option to access information across various channels, it is also a challenge for the marketers to tweak their campaigns as per the platforms. Here’s what we can expect in terms of digital trends for 2015:-

Content & Customized Marketing Will Lead

Digital marketers will retrace their steps and get back to the basics of evaluating and analyzing their target audience, a trend that has sadly declined in the past few years. Tailor made content and customized marketing campaigns have already reached a tipping point and the way further would be to re-prioritize resource allocation.

Value Added Selling Will Rule

Placing all your eggs in the ‘sales basket’ will no longer work. Selling alone will not make the cut and the consumers will start ignoring the ones that do nothing but sell. Marketers will now have to realign their resources and energies into adding more value to the service – very much digitized – along with the product that they are selling.

End to End Customer Experience

Digital marketing will take a deeper approach by shifting its focus from demand creation to providing an end-to-end solution to the consumer. The idea is to make it a journey and a continuous experience.

Emotional and Intellectual Connect Will Dominate

2015 is the year when digital marketing will face a paradigm shift and will gain acceptance as an ecosystem rather than being a marketing strategy. This ecosystem will integrate process of attracting, engaging and retaining the customers by giving them readily available access to information regarding what they want. Gone are the days when the marketers could get the customers on board by just preaching them. It is now about creating an excitement towards their brand that provides information and connects with the prospects at intellectual and emotional level.

Innovative Interaction Will Win

It is likely to see many large brands usurping media channels to gain a more loyal base of audience as end-user patience runs low, while competition is at an all time high. More human contact is expected through the intensive digital marketing strategies as the dull and boring campaigns stand no chance to sustain the mounting competition. It is the age of innovation and human interaction through video marketing and short, witty messages.

Transparency & Genuine Relationships A Must

Virtual story telling is the name of the game in emerging digital trends. This will not only help the brand stand out but will also help them engage with the target customers at a one-to-one level. Brands will now focus on creating genuine connections online if they want to earn trust and loyalty of their target customers.

Mobile Data Analyitcs Will Evolve

Mobile data will be the crowning glory of 2015 when it comes to digitization. It helps in eliminating barriers between receiving a message and then taking a subsequent action. Smart digital marketers should be able to use the mobile user base as the unifying principle to create effective strategies that can integrate marketing and human centric business models.

Youtube & Facebook

Facebook may continue to be the main tool when it comes to connecting with users, despite becoming a platform that will get more expensive to reach your use base, and will be shoulder to shoulder with Youtube to iwhere the secret to viral hits lies (http://www.digitalintheround.com/digital-marketing-trend-india-q1-2014/).

The Bottom Line

Digital trends will continue to reign supreme when it comes to 2015 and still be the preferred choice for the marketers to reach out to their target audience. However, to retain the loyalties of flippant consumers, it is imperative to keep quality of the marketing initiatives well-curated and thoroughly engage the audience by creating structured campaigns.

 

Micro Targeting Using Paid and Owned Media

Vishal Agrahari, Media Head, BC Web Wise

Vishal Agrahari, Media Head

A much more specific form of market segmentation is possible today, as opposed to the generic profiling of consumers that erstwhile marketers used to conduct. This provides impetus to micro targeting- personalized marketing tactics relevant for a small, well-defined group, in contrast to large-scale campaigns for broad segments.

The need for narrower segmenting, and coming up with well defined groups in order to streamline your marketing efforts, has made micro targeting gain increasing prominence.

The Crux of Micro targeting

With its original roots in the political arena of tracking, segmenting and subsequently influencing individual voting behaviors in major election campaigns, micro targeting has come a long way.

The crux of micro targeting lies in the fundamental concept that the more precise you are in tracking the needs, wants and attitudes of your potential customers, the wider are your chances of reaching out to them exactly when and how they want you to. In line with this requirement, the recent years have witnessed a rise in the micro targeting options provided by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, that include Reach Blocks, Page Post Links, Promoted Posts, Geo targeting, Sponsored Updates and so on.

For instance, if you are an e-commerce store selling anti-ageing products for women above the age of 40 years, creating a micro targeted Facebook ad would be a powerful way of reaching out to your target audience. Apart from specifying the location ( a cluster of cities, 10-50 miles in the vicinity of each other can be chosen for one ad), age (40 and above), gender (female), general interests (Health and Well Being) and precise interests (Beauty Products/Cosmetics/Beauty Tips/Anti Ageing), you also have advanced targeting (http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/4127-How-to-Target-Facebook-Ads-to-your-Audience ) options like custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

In 2013, Twitter introduced TV Targeting which is yet another powerful way of targeting specific groups, by channelizing real time content and ads to target the increasing number of consumers who watch TV on their smartphones or tabs. Aptly categorized into TV Ad Targeting and TV Conversation Targeting, a number of brands like Adidas, Jaguar and Holiday Inn reaping its benefits. (https://business.twitter.com/tv-targeting )

Owned Media: Micro Targeting for Long-Term Relationships

There is often a very thin line that demarcates micro targeting and intrusive marketing, and this can be understood better by clearly defining your short-term and long-term marketing objectives, validating your data, and paying genuine attention towards what your customers really want. The basic principle is to understand when and where the potential customer is actually looking for information, and reaching out to them only then.

Marketers tend to cross the line and become intrusive when they try to force their offerings upon customers when they are not looking for it. So no matter how alluring an offer on a random, unwarranted pop-up ad might be, it will in all probability be found to be intrusive (and annoying) by a potential customer. On the other hand, putting your best foot forward where the end-user is actually looking for a good offer, is the way to go in micro targeting. For instance, the behaviorally targeted ads of Amazon and EBay, based upon the search history and browsing patterns of users have enabled thousands of e-commerce stores to reach out to the right consumers, at the right time and right place.

As far as cost effectiveness, control, versatility and establishing a long-term rapport with a nice audience is concerned, your owned media channels will always provide you with an upper hand. In fact, the right use of owned media micro targeting techniques can work wonders for your marketing campaign. And with all the clutter that customers finds around themselves today, it is equally important to create high-impact, engaging and personalized content to stand out in the sea of mediocrity.

Stepping out of the realm of social media, even online communities offer vast potential for micro-targeting. The Geo-Educator Community formed by National Geographic has been pivotal in increasing the brand’s engagement levels with the teaching community across the world. Even the simplest of features in your owned media channels can be harnessed for targeting specific groups. For example, you can customize your Facebook pages with different custom banners or cover photos for different groups, rather than having a standardized banner for all. So if you are selling a product for pre-teens and teens, and you want to drive a message across to parents as well, your customized banners will enable you to micro target these groups separately, and in the most effective manner.

Paid Media Micro Targeting: Broadening Your Horizons

Very often, well-charted and high-budget marketing campaigns fail to bring in results, because it failed to reach the right audience at the right time. For reaching out to the group that is most relevant to your organization, opting for paid media micro targeting options, such as display ads, paid search sponsorship, or even outsourcing your requirements to an established digital marketing company, is necessary.

While owned media has its own significant role to play in projecting your brand, its scope will always remain limited. Take for instance, the significant role of micro targeting in movie promotions, as opposed to the kind of promotional activities that were conducted a decade earlier. With teasers and trailers going viral on YouTube, and content being directed towards key audiences groups on Twitter and Facebook, digital micro targeting has been instrumental in the success of many movies today. Who would have thought that a limited release, $5-million budget movie like Spring Breakers, would gross $31 million purely on account of its social media campaign, intensively targeting teenagers and youngsters on Twitter and Facebook.

The magic of micro targeting is also evident in the realm of book promotions. In the words of renowned Author Amish Tripathi, who is accredited with the fastest selling book series in the history of Indian publishing, it was the digital media that came to his rescue, when the mainstream media ignored his books. By providing the first chapter of ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ for free on his Facebook page generating instant word-of-mouth, and targeting YouTube users by creating a short, high-impact YouTube trailer based on his book (the first of its kind in the history of Indian Publishing), he was successful in selling 1.7 million copies of the book, and has paved the way for other Indian writers to follow similar digital marketing techniques today.

The Way Ahead

The key to success in micro targeting lies in focusing on the relevance of the parameters that you use for categorizing your target groups. Once you get the basis of your categorization or profiling right, it becomes easier to focus on your audience, thoroughly understand their needs and sensibilities. Leveraging multichannel campaigns with a combination of owned and paid media channels, is what comes next. For all the digital marketing professionals who haven’t started their journey in micro targeting, the time is ripe to commence now!

Aspirations, Being Replaced By Trends?

Ranjan Nautiyal, Creative Director, BC Web Wise

Writer At BC Web Wise

A lot is said about targeted advertising. That it reaches only the right people, at just the right time. That it is the perfect push, sending across the message to the perfect target audience, at that point in his or her day when they just couldn’t have done without your product. That there is more bang for buck, and that relevant advertising saves spill-over.

So no toddler will ever watch a shaving cream ad, or a teenager a diaper ad, or a married couple a college ad, or an old couple a new house ad.

Which brings us to the spill-over effect called aspiration.

Many of us grew up watching beer ads that we instinctively reached for once we crossed over to the drinking age. The bikes on our must-have lists continue to be dreams, but they have been parked there since the time our legs couldn’t reach the gear-shift. Someday, the teen out there will be a father who will see a diaper brand at a retail store and pick it up as a feeling of familiarity will run through his veins, unknown to him, as he watches it on the store shelf. A woman who just got married will take one look at a spice brand and without knowing exactly where she had seen it last, will pick it up, connecting it loosely with her childhood days.

It is well known now that the internet has narrowed our vision, killed our spirit of exploration by serving up things according to our known interests. And if treated by brands only as a means of targeting to minimise spill-overs, it might stop reaching people who would have otherwise grown up dreaming of it, aspiring to own it some day.

Which doesn’t quite mean that targetting is all bad, or misplaced. But it has a role to play. The medium itself needs to go beyond, and start sooner. And deliberately reach out to an audience that may not be in the buying stage, but is in one that will make it aspire to brands, and dream of holding them some day.

Or we will soon run out of brands, and only have trends that pass on with a generation.