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.

Shrinking Advertising Spends Make Way for the Rise of Online Marketing

by Shveta Singh8. July 2009 11:15       Bookmark and Share

 

In a recent announcement, ZenithOptimedia, a unit of French advertising group Publicis, has revised its global advertising growth forecast. They now predict that the global advertising market to decline 8.5% this year, compared to its previous forecast of a 6.9% decline. The worst hit are the North American and European markets with US leading the way with a sharp 10.6 percent decline. China and India seem to be the only promising markets as of now, with ad spends still on their way up.

 

However, globally internet ad spending is the sole media likely to grow in 2009. A rise of almost 10.1% is expected for online spends, which ZenithOptimedia has attributed to this medium’s inherent virtues of transparency, accountability and flexibility. Another recent study conducted in India, suggests a whopping 40% growth for digital media in India, even as the offline spend falls by 10%.

 

Good news for all stakeholders of the online media industry!

 

But what does this really mean for us? While such reports & predictions sound music to recession hit ears, we need to go beyond these numbers. We need to understand the present scenario and look at ways to leverage this trend.

 

When it comes to marketing online, most Indian brands are very myopic and unwilling to tread the road less traveled. For them Online Marketing is limited to homepage banners on Yahoo, Indiatimes and the likes.  Little do they know that display is the least targeted, low on ROI tactic amongst the bouquet of online activities available.  But now that the rupee is shifting online, brand marketers need to understand the medium better and look at it holistically, as a part of the complete strategy rather than a banner here or an email shot there. They need to look at online plans that ensure a consistent presence through a varied mix of tactics and channels available instead of a standalone activity.

 

Therefore, a clear responsibility for digital agencies like iStrat is to steer the marketers’ money in the right direction, so that they derive maximum returns and develop trust on the medium. And in the long run, create evangelists for this medium, who will not shift the budgets back to the traditional media even after the economy has recovered.

Social media in the war zone - Iranian twitter revolution, warning to Indian army and relief for US army

by Shveta Singh18. June 2009 09:44       Bookmark and Share

 

This past week has seen social media enter the war zone. Whether it is the Iranian twitter revolution or the use of social media by armed forces, social media has been constantly in news. Here’s a quick round up from the war zone. 

The landslide victory for the serving Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the subsequent charges of rigging by the supporters of losing candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, gave rise to a mass unrest in Iran last week. Within no time the news spread across the world, and in an effort to control the situation, the Iranian government banned all foreign media from reporting the protests. In addition to this, most popular social networking and broadcasting sites like Facebook and YouTube were also blocked to prevent citizen reporting.  This, however, has not managed to stop the flurry of information coming out of Iran. Thanks to Twitter and proxies, Iranian’s are sending out real time updates to the world. 

Here are some stats to give you an idea of the magnitude of activity happening:

Moving from Iran to armed forces… Some bad news for net savvy Indian Army men. The Indian Army has warned its personnel against the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut. This warning has been issued to prevent leak of classified information like place of posting, unit and rank to enemy agents.  On the other hand the U.S. army has issued an order unblocking social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, for the first time, for its men. This move, they feel, will allow soldiers to 'tell the Army story' and facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information.  

Progressive we must say… 

All in all, a busy week for social media on the front line.

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. 

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…

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.     

 
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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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