Countdown to the Facebook Vanity URLs — Will your brand page get one?

by Shveta Singh12. June 2009 12:07       Bookmark and Share

Almost 200 million people around the world will be busy boosting their vanity this Saturday, June 13th.

What are your plans for the day?

For those who haven’t yet guessed it, Facebook is offering Vanity URLs to all its members starting Saturday, 9.31 am India time. This would allow Facebook members to get customised URLs for their profiles and pages. Currently, the Facebook URLs appear as a string of numbers that are neither user friendly nor search friendly. 


With this switch, Facebook profiles will become easily searchable and Facebook brand fan pages will become more accessible. And, we think it is a fairly strategic move by Facebook, considering the fact that some other sites in the domain, like Twitter, already have this feature.

What it means for Facebook Users and Marketers?

• Come Saturday, millions will vie for their preferred URL. Some will get, some will be disappointed and will have to settle for other options.

• For brand marketers with Facebook fan pages, it is a golden opportunity. They would want to secure the relevant URLs before a squatter does that, under all circumstances.

But what’s written in fine print?

Facebook has put in some restrictions to ensure that this exercise does not become a happy ground for cyber squatters. According to the FAQs published, a Fan Page must “have a minimum 1,000 fans as of May 31, 2009”, to be able to lay claim for a customised URL.

This is good news for some of the big brands with very popular fan pages, but bad news for start ups and smaller brands with less than 1000 fans.

So, what are the options available to brands with lesser fan base?

• Brands can protect their URLs by preventing their trademarks from being registered as usernames. All one has to do is fill up this form on Facebook.
• Wait till June 28th. Since according to a
recent revelation, the 1,000 fan restriction will be lifted on this day. Details are still awaited though.

All in all, something to look forward to. Just keep your fingers crossed and wish that your URL is not taken by someone before you get hold of it.

TheIt’s Advani Vs Congress in India’s First Digital Elections

by Shveta Singh10. April 2009 12:30       Bookmark and Share

Mr. Advani is not the only one wooing voter online now. With Congress waking up to the reality of online media, Election 2009 has truly turned into a digital war. Though Congress had stepped in late, still it is interesting to see what activities they are doing online.

 

Here are a few observations:

  • Unlike BJP where the whole Campaign is built around the communication Advani as PM, Congress’s online campaign is more party centric than personality oriented. Congress party’s ads are driving clicks to the party website www.aicc.org.in, whereas the BJP ads are linked to Mr. Advani’s website http://www.lkadvani.in
  • Both parties are using Google Adwords for their campaign. This has resulted in a unique situation where, on a single page, there are multiple ads where both BJP and Congress are vying for space from each other.
  • Congress has gone for 720x80 positioning and text-ads compared to BJP’s wide range of ads. Also it looks like Congress is offering a higher bid price, because, most ads are now showing Congress in the 720x80 positioning.
  • Mr. Advani’s blog http://blog.lkadvani.in/ has shaped up very well. His posts are frequent and well written. On the other hand, Congress’s blog http://votecongress2009.blogspot.com/ looks like an initiative gone wrong – bad formatting, errors, uneven fonts and the list goes on…
  • On YouTube, Congress seems to have got it right. The channel http://www.youtube.com/user/congressindia has 31 videos. The party’s Jai Ho Film is very popular with views as many as 40000. The BJP uploader http://www.youtube.com/user/bjpuploader?gl=IN&hl=en-GB  on YouTube is also very popular and has 260 videos.
  • Congress’s presence on Facebook and Orkut also leaves much to desire, when compared with BJP.

From whatever we have observed, BJP comes out a clear winner so far as the digital marketing strategy and execution is concerned. Partly because BJP had started its online campaign long before Congress. Now what remains to be seen is who eventually wins the elections.

 

 

Which digital marketing tactics will dominate 2009?

by Shveta Singh3. March 2009 07:13       Bookmark and Share

Economic slowdown, shrinking marketing budgets and shifting focus from traditional to digital marketing…much has already been said and written about this. However, what remains unaddressed is — which tactics and channels in digital media are drawing the maximum interest? Is the focus still on the tried and tested tactics such as SEO, PPC or is it shifting? 

 

 

TopRank Online Marketing, a leading global internet marketing company, recently conducted a poll to discover their blog readers’ preferences for digital marketing tactics in 2009. The question that was asked was, “What 3 digital marketing channels & tactics will you emphasize in 2009?

Here are the results of the poll showing top ten tactics:

  • Blogging (34%)
  • Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
  • Search engine optimization (28%)
  • Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
  • Email marketing (17%)
  • Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
  • Pay per click (14%)
  • Blogger relations (12%)
  • Video marketing (10%)
  • Social media advertising (7%)

Interestingly, out of the top 10 tactics, 6 fall into the category of Social Media Marketing. In addition to this, blogging and twitter have toppled the erstwhile ruler SEO.

 

The respondents primarily came from United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, still this poll looks like a good indicator of shifting preferences globally. Being the industry leaders in the Indian digital marketing space, we know that this trend holds good for India as well. From big corporate houses to start-ups, everyone wants to go the social media way.

All we can say is — Way to go…

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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Welcome to the iStrat Digital Marketing Blog!

This blog is a platform for us to share news, views, reviews and analysis around digital media and communications. We have just started but our plans are big. With time, we intend to evolve this blog into “The Destination” for the Indian digital media industry. We invite you to be a part of our endeavour. We look forward to your active participation in discussions initiated on this forum and featuring your views, feedback and suggestions on a regular basis.

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