A study by Statista found that there are 375 million internet users in India, of which 303 million are active mobile users. Businesses need to battle with the onslaught of real-time information and the distractions of what's real and what's not, to reach, engage and win over customers. The ability to capture and retain a customer's shortening attention span is now more important than ever.
Here is our trends guide on how businesses should navigate the complex marketing landscape in 2017.
1. Does your brand speak data?
For instance, KitKat leveraged real-time social data analytics by changing promoted trends every hour to mirror what people were talking about on Twitter and then create content around it. Considering the live nature of the platform, KitKat personalised the content, depending on what's trending, to ensure users have a relevant, contextual, live and enriching break every time they check the platform and give them a never seen before, unique experience.
2. Is your brand mobile first?
Mobile is now - but brands are not ready. In APAC, 51% internet users found mobile phones the most important vs 26% who chose laptop (Source: GWI). Most people are viewing websites, reading email, and perusing social media on their mobile devices. In 2017, if you're not catering your content, ads and online experience to a mobile user, then you are missing a massive opportunity. Everything from your business website to email campaigns needs to be mobile-friendly.
3. What are people watching today?
Social video is experiencing massive popularity as a content marketing creative, and this growth is expected to continue in 2017. A Vuclip Global Video Insights report for the year 2015 shows that 85% viewers in India consume short form video content on smartphones. Live video emerges as a next-level opportunity for exclusive, interactive content, turning social platforms into broadcast media. Platforms are making it easier to broadcast live through any smartphone. In 2017, be associated with the trendsetting brands experimenting with live video. This format tends to work best for content that is exclusive or newsworthy or happening live at CES or the Golden Globes, or content such as Q&A sessions that require live audience involvement.
@Filmfare live streamed exclusive curated content from the #Blueroom on Twitter, an hour before the Jio Filmfare Awards television telecast which was available worldwide to Twitter's logged-in and logged-out audience and connected devices. The special broadcast streamed from @Filmfare had Karan Johar (@KaranJohar) and Jitesh Pillaai (@jiteshpillaai), revealing inside scoop on Bollywood's biggest stars and sharing interesting backstage trivia from this year's awards. It attracted 11.6K viewers.
4. How can you humanise your brand?
In a world of too much content and not enough time, personalisation will be a huge win for brands looking to earn the attention of their consumers in 2017. Personalisation means segmenting your content to reach different types of audience members based on their preferences, interests, habits, etc. The most common form of this strategy is through lists, where certain content gets sent to certain types of users based on which lists they've opted into. A great example of personalisation took place during the 2016 India Premier League (IPL) by Kingfisher (@kingfisherworld).
5. Are you reaching your customers at all touch points?
Increased personalisation goes hand in hand with cross-device marketing. Marketing efforts in 2017 need to address device preferences and cut across desktop, laptop, mobile and TV. However, the multiple devices that people use on their path to purchase can make measuring the impact of a mobile ad campaign difficult. Businesses can leverage conversion lift reports to better understand the ROI on mobile campaigns. In beta, we saw that people who were exposed to ads driving website conversions on both mobile and desktop devices were 52% more likely to make purchases than people who were only exposed on desktop.
For instance, Audi was the first brand to leverage a TV x Twitter campaign in India to build conversations and impact across platforms. This was a significant campaign to say the least because at once, it saw the coming together of three important Twitter elements: Influencer led Marketing, Always On Conversations and most importantly, a first of it's kind, TV-Twitter Integration. As the first of its kind in this region - Audi was able to integrate live tweets into their Launch Ad Spot. In terms of results, the video tweets saw a view rate as high as 20%, which is multiple times above the average engagement rate for social activations.
6. Is social the next marketplace?
We are moving into an age where purchasing does not need to happen on a third-party site. Users are on a social platform, so why should they have to leave in order to buy something? In 2017, we expect that social platforms will not be bound to only company-consumer conversation or attracting new prospects; instead, they will provide opportunities to improve conversion rates. Social platforms will work as new conversion channels and offer tools to convert prospects directly into buyers. The challenge for established brands is responding to these new models with digital transformation.
7. Call me @ maybe?
Anyone who's spent 30 minutes on hold while trying to reach a company for customer service has thought "there must be a better way." We have seen an increasing number of people who shared this sentiment turn to Twitter for a faster, direct experience. According to McKinsey & Company (@McKinsey), the volume of Tweets targeted at brands and their Twitter service handles has grown 2.5x in the past two years.
Direct messages on Twitter have enabled brands like Apple to have a dialogue with customers, resolving their issues while demonstrating their brand voice. In 2017, we expect more businesses to benefit from the combination of simple automation and human service in Direct Messages, that will make it easier to guide people to better customer service outcomes.
ICICI Bank became the first bank in India to implement the recently launched customer service features to its Twitter account @ICICIBankCare for social customer care. The bank activated the support indicator, introduced the message button, and embedded deep links for moving a conversation from public to private thereby allowing customers to provide feedback on a service interaction. This integration of digital customer care support features is aimed at benefiting millions of its customers with direct online response to their queries and feedback in real-time.
8. Does your brand aspire to be an innovation leader?
As brands continue to innovate in audience engagement, immersive experiences will grow in 2017 with a 360 degree viewpoint. Live 360 video is not just about taking you to places you've never been; it's about connecting you with people and letting you experience something new with them. With these videos, the broadcaster anchors the experience so you can be present with them in whatever environment they're sharing from.
Airbnb became one of the first brands to take advantage of live 360 video on Twitter and Periscope. The accommodations network presented livestreamed 360-degree videos from London, Hawaii and Detroit, in an attempt to offer people unprecedented access to local communities and help them discover the hidden gems of a city, while promoting its recently launched Experiences and Places features.
(The author is Managing Director, Twitter, India and Southeast Asia)