What is the world doing online this Diwali?

by Shveta Singh13. October 2009 07:54       Bookmark and Share

It’s that festive time of the year again. So what’s on your mind besides the obvious shopping, sweets, firecrackers and gifts? Well, did you say spending time online? Don’t worry; you are not the only one. The world is online this Diwali.

Wonder what they are doing. Let’s just take a look:

Shopping

Indians love to shop for Diwali and now more than ever this trend is moving online. According to a recent PayPal Survey Indians are expected to spend more this Diwali than they did last year despite a weakened economy. Further, 75% of the respondents intend to shop online during this festive period. This switch is primarily motivated by reasons such as availability of time, to avoid crowds and for an access to a wider range of products.

The trend towards online Diwali shopping is also very evident if one were to check the shopping category for India on Google Insights. Diwali cards, greetings, and Diwali gifts are some of the keywords building up.

 

Fireworks

Those of us who detest jostling their way through the huge Diwali rush and bargaining to buy fireworks, can now actually order fireworks online. A Hyderabad based fireworks supplier Megastar Fireworks has recently launched this facility and is receiving a good response already. http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/now-order-fireworks-online-this-diwali/372958/

Further, with heightened consciousness about celebrating Diwali the green and peaceful way virtual fireworks could turn out to be a big hit this Diwali.

Gifting

With Diwali going hi tech, how can virtual gifting be far behind. Facebook, with its 7.5 million net savvy Indian population is leading the way in virtual gifting this year.  Take a look at some of the Diwali centric Facebook applications available, most notably the recently launched “Happy Diwali” by Cadbury’s.

Diwali Special Editions

Besides lining up the usual offers and promotions, companies are now viewing Diwali as an excellent opportunity to initiate a dialogue and build relationship with its customers online. We have recently executed one such Diwali special for Family Nestlé, where visitors can get Diwali recipes, Diwali related tips, send e-cards and participate in contests (http://www.nestle.in/nestle_kitchen/home.aspx).

Now that you know what the world is doing this Diwali, it’s time to log on and celebrate a green, noiseless and eco-friendly Diwali online.

Social Media – The Weekly Roundup

by Shveta Singh13. July 2009 12:36       Bookmark and Share

Michael Jackson’s death and funeral service broke records online

He broke records not just in life, but even after his death.  Michael Jackson’s death was the most talked about subject online this past week. His fans thronged social networking sites to express their emotions and read what others had to say. Here’s a snapshot: 

MJ’s Facebook fan page following grew from 80,000 fans to a phenomenal 8.9 million as of today. This has made Michael Jackson’s fan page the most popular ever on FB, going even beyond President Obama. 

His funeral service, streamed live on the net, also created a record. According to Yahoo, the ceremony was the single most streamed in its history with 5 million streams. In addition to this, the global web traffic was as high as 33% above normal during the event, and almost 800,000 status updates related to online broadcast of the funeral service were posted on Facebook. 

Google to launch Google Chrome Operating System 

Last Tuesday, Google announced that it will soon launch Google Chrome OS, an operating system, designed to work with its Chrome browser. Seen as a direct threat to Microsoft’s Windows, the OS will be available for use by second half of 2010.

This will be a fast and lightweight OS with an ability to take the user onto the web in just a few seconds. According to Google, the software will be optimized for small, lightweight laptop computers called netbooks, used primarily to surf the web and check e-mail.

US president Obama gives African new media usage a fillip with his recent visit 

He did it again…US president Barack Obama made extensive use of social media and mobile tools to stay in touch with the people of Africa during his visit last week. 

According to sources, a very aggressive new media strategy was planned to speak directly to the people of Africa. Web users were invited to sign up to receive SMS alerts offering news and updates on his activities in the country and excerpts of his speech. Additionally, live streams of his speech were also available on social networking websites such as Facebook and the White House official blog.

Webby Awards 2009 announced. And the Webby goes to…Twitter

by Shveta Singh7. May 2009 18:59       Bookmark and Share

 

 

 

 

Twitter, the micro-blogging phenomenon, has won the prestigious Webby Breakout of the Year Award this year. This award, according to many, will help catapult Twitter into the big league, considering the fact that the previous winners of this award were the likes of YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr.  

Just 3 years old, Twitter has grown by 900% last year, and has managed to draw many a celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher and President Obama to its list of evangelists. The official Webby website goes on to call Twitter “the ultimate embodiment of the democratic spirit of the Web”, because of the level playing field it offers to one and all. 

Very well deserved we must say! 

Some of the other notable winners from the social media space include the photo-sharing site Flickr for the online community award, YouTube LIVE for online event, Digg for social networking and Pasricha's blog 1000awesomethings.com for Personal/Cultural blog category. 

In news category, NYTimes.com won the Webby for best writing and practices, whereas The Guardian was awarded the title of Best Newspaper site. Further, BBC won the webby for best news site category. 

This year the Webby Awards received almost 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries, including India. However, India’s presence in the final list is hardly anything to talk about. The two Indian mentions we could find in the “Honoree List” are the Jaago Re website and the mobile site of Moneycontrol.com.  

Hope to see some awards coming India’s way next year.

Kosmix goes beyond Google ‘Search’; it lets you ‘Explore’

by Shveta Singh16. March 2009 07:23       Bookmark and Share

Here comes Kosmix.

 

That’s the news doing rounds everywhere on the World Wide Web and even outside the web.

 

So what is Kosmix?

 

Kosmix is a newest kid on the search block. However, it would be wrong to call it just another search engine. Founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, Kosmix is not a traditional search engine. In words of Chris Shipley, from the consulting firm Guidewire, “It is Wikipedia meets Google search meets Answers.com”. In short, it’s a well-crafted magazine on topics searched. 

 

Unlike Google, Kosmix is not about finding the most relevant single piece of information; it's about organizing the Web so that one can discover relevant pieces of information. Infact, Kosmix gathers content from across the Web to build a sort of multimedia encyclopaedia entry for any keyword.

 

We did our own bit of research to test Kosmix. Here are the takeaways:

  • Kosmix has a pleasant user interface. It shows text, images and videos in a magazine style layout.
  • The results are a mix of web search results, blogs, news, videos, images, audios, conversations, tweets, community results, reviews, how-tos, shopping results and other related topics.  
  • It might not be as effective for long tail keywords where one is looking for a specific document, as it is for topics where one would want to browse information.
  • The time Kosmix takes to throw back relevant results is much higher than Google. This is an area where improvement is required.

We did a simultaneous search on Kosmix and Google for the term Food Pyramid. Here’s a snapshot of how different the results looked.

 

All in all, pretty impressive. Let’s see how well it is accepted by the loyal Google users. 

Social Networking in India Sees a Phenomenal Growth

by Shveta Singh24. February 2009 03:21       Bookmark and Share

Indians love Orkut but Facebook is soon catching up. We all knew it…now it is official. 

A recently released report by comScore on top social networking sites in India, suggests that Orkut is the most visited social networking site in India, as of December 2008. The site has more than 12.8 million visitors, and has seen an increase of 81 percent vis-à-vis the previous year. Now if you think 81% is phenomenal, read further. Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, is at the number 2 spot with 4 million visitors from India. However, the growth Facebook has seen dwarfs even Orkut.  At 150% growth, Facebook is likely to catch up with Orkut very soon.  

One very interesting revelation made in the report is the visitor base of Bharatstudent.com. It is the 3rd most popular networking site with 3.3 million visitors (up by 88 percent). SurprisedOn the other hand the much advertised and publicized ibibo.com and BIGADDA.com are not fairing too well. Looks like the initial spurt of activity triggered by the massive scale media activity has now fizzled out.  

Some of the other figures given in the report indicate an overall increase of 51% in the number of unique visitors to the social networking sites in India. The number stands at 19 million visitors as of December 2008…an extraordinary 60% of the total Indian internet traffic!!

Take a look at the table below for details: 


Top Social Networking Sites in India by Unique Visitors December 2008 vs. December 2007

Total India – Age 15+, Home/Work Locations

*Source: comScore World Metrix

    Total Unique Visitors (000)
Dec-07 Dec-08 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 26,240 32,099 22
Social Networking 12,795 19,369 51
Orkut 7,123 12,869 81
Facebook.com 1,619 4,044 150
Bharatstudent.com 1,736 3,269 88
hi5.com 714 2,012 182
ibibo.Com 1,970 990 -50
MySpace Sites 352 741 110
LinkedIn.com 293 513 75
PerfSpot.com 2,106 433 -79
BIGADDA.com 515 385 -25
Fropper.com 256 248 -3

 *Excludes visits from public computers such as Internet cafes and access from mobile phones or PDAs.     

L. K. Advani goes the Obama way — Omnipresent Online

by Shveta Singh17. February 2009 11:10       Bookmark and Share


 

The online bug has finally bitten Indian politicians, all thanks to the resounding success of the Obama online campaign. Surprisingly, the first adopter is not from the young leader brigade led by Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot, but the 81 years old Prime Ministerial hopeful — Mr. L. K. Advani.

 

Mr. Advani’s campaign team has launched a 360 degree online campaign in order to reposition Brand Advani as ‘The Leader’ for the young generation. Having started with a Web 2.0 Website and Blog, his campaign is now leveraging YouTube, Facebook, Orkut and Google Adsense to reach out to the young voter.

 

Impressive!

Impressive in terms of the scope of activity and tactics being experimented with. However, what remains to be seen is whether he can pull it off the way Obama managed. Just to bring all on board…

· On Facebook, President Obama has more than 5.4 million supporters and 570,000 plus wall posts.
· Obama’s YouTube address garnered nearly a million views.
· On Twitter, Obama sent out more than 260 Tweets to 144,000 "followers”, updating supporters on his whereabouts.
· The “My Barack Obama” community beautifully used online tools to organise offline activities and generate donations.
· All in all, Obama managed to raise $600 million from 3 million people, mainly through small contributions made online.

Coming back to the Advani Campaign. It is definitely ambitious but has had mixed results: 

· His Google Adwords campaign targeting and image ads are bang on. 
· His website is buzzing with activity. Pretty interactive with blogs, online volunteer form and discussion forum having more than 5000 posts. It has achieved an   impressive Alexa ranking of 474 and page rank 4 in just 1 year of its existence. 
· His Blog has well written posts, albeit infrequent. The last post is dated February 1st.
· His Facebook page has only 140 supporters and not much activity happening.  Whereas on Orkut, this number is 531. 
· On YouTube his channel has 191 videos and 82 subscribers as of now.

Overall, the mix of tactics is good, but the execution could have been better. His blog could do a lot better with higher post frequency and daily updates. Similarly, he would have engaged far more number of people on Facebook and Orkut, with interesting applications that let youth participate. For example – My expectations from the next Prime Minister?

 

Nevertheless, a great beginning. Hope to see many more Indian politicians engaging with their voters in the near future.

  

 
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