Data Analytics in FMCG goes beyond Advertising

Let me start by stating the obvious, data analytics is still a mystery for many mass FMCG brands.

Yet, the space is drawing more interest year on year.

Check out the number of searches going up over the last 5 years.

Data Analytics Search Query Growth

Data Analytics Search Query Growth

Everyone is bullish about Digital for FMCG

 

According to Google-BCG report, 40% of FMCG consumption in India will be driven digitally, translating to a value of $45 billion by 2020.

A lot of that bullish sentiment for FMCG in digital is courtesy de-monetisation and the boost in the digital payment ecosystem that followed. (see below)

According to another BCG report:

60% of digital payments value would be driven by local kirana stores.

Growth in Digital Payments

Growth in Digital Payments

While the growth in digital payments at the POS would work wonders for the FMCG industry, digital advertising may not offer the same level of returns.

 

Is Digital Fit For FMCG Advertising?

 

As a category, mass FMCG is completely dependent on push based digital advertising, without much clarity around its real purpose or efficacy.

While some of the brands have been successful in grabbing attention with millions of views & fans on their social channels.

But that’s just “Advertising Success”.

Growth in Ad Blockers

 

A lot of 3rd party reports hide or under play in their summary, is that the audience is consuming more “digital content” and not “digital advertising”.

In fact, they are increasingly using ad-blockers to block advertising and are willing to pay for “quality digital content”. ( see below )

Ad Blockers usage is growing

Ad Blockers usage is growing y-o-y

Audience Screen Sizes Are Shrinking

 

India is almost on the verge of becoming a “mobile only” marketplace.

Mobile Time Spent as percentage of Total Digital Minutes

India Becoming Mobile Only Marketplace (source:comScore)

Does that change anything for FMCG?

Absolutely!

Ad spends Growth Rate in Media for FMCG

For years, FMCG has been the major spender on Television ads (see above).

Hence, it was natural for the FMCG sector to pour millions of dollars in Mobile Marketing (especially Mobile video).

And reports like this one added fuel to the fire.

To counter such fake reports, here’s what Harvard Business Review said:

These balky, Lilliputian ads represent the state of the art in mobile advertising—and they don’t work. Few people click on them. In surveys, four out of five people report disliking them.

Audience is willing to pay to get rid of ads

 

Till few years back, I thought it is just a passing hype.

I mean who pays for content in the age of piracy?

But the subscriber growth numbers of various OTT platforms proved me wrong.

According to latest Frost & Sullivan report:

There are 66 million unique & connected video viewers in India, of which 1.3 million are paid subscribers.

Recently, Hotstar India leveraged the much awaited HBO series of Game of Thrones – Season 7, to maximise their paid subscribers in the country.

But, can we really leverage digital beyond the realms of paid media?

DATA ANALYTICS IS THE MISSING LINK FOR FMCG MARKETING

 

There are enough trends which indicate that current digital audience respond to pull based marketing.

Understanding digital data can also help mass FMCG brands to deep dive into their audience customer journey and identify their buying triggers, their search habits, continuously changing media behaviour and create real time interventions to build brand consideration.

Below are few simple but meaningful applications of data analytics for any mass FMCG brand.

Also read : Understanding Digital data types in Data Analytics

Using Social Listening To Map Audience Interests

 

Social Media is the hub of all digital consumption.

Audience Reach of Top social media platforms in india

According to the latest Comscore Mobile Metrix report (see above):

Audience Reach of WhatsApp & Facebook is 80% & 25% respectively in the Indian Digital space.

Now with such a high consumption happening on social platforms, there is enormous amount of audience behavioural learning to be mined in the form of data.

Social Media Data  offers rich pool of real time audience insights based on rapidly changing customer preferences and allows any mass FMCG brand to take faster marketing decisions.

Using Search Marketing Data To Map Digital Customer Journey

 

For FMCG, Search marketing is beyond getting their SERPs and keyword rank.

eCommerce is altering the customer journey of digital consumer

eCommerce is altering the customer journey of digital consumer

According to comScore’s latest Mobile Metrix report, Amazon app is ahead of Google Search in terms of user’s preference.

Clearly, this has altered the FMCG customer journey for all categories. This could well cut down stages of decision making for a lot of product categories.

However, search data is still a big piece in the product discovery.

Search trends also help us understand the impact of our ATL brand campaign in shifting audience preference.

Search trends are now offering minute by minute, real-time information from more than 100 million searches monthly. It’s in the hands of the marketers now to evaluate the search trend during different times or on some special events like Oscar occasion, IPL match, FIFA, World Cup. You can choose any period of time to get minute by minute reports.

Keyword planner tool in Google Adwords is great way to do in-depth research.

 

Using Website Analytics To Decode Brand Engagement

 

With the rise of social networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, audience consumption of content shifted from websites to social media.

FMCG marketers & digital agencies are well aware of this changing digital trend.

However, a lot of FMCG brands who have a long term perspective on their digital strategy are still committed to investing in owned assets.

Arguably, there is a tremendous merit in building brand loyalty through website.

Tools like Google analytics offers deep insights to FMCG brands into their digital communication strategy.

Also read : Google Analytics Visitor Segmentation: Users, Sequences, Cohorts!

Features like audience reports and custom segmentation helps the FMCG brands to visualise their marketing metrics in a meaningful way.

Adopting an integrated data analytics approach can truly transform the way FMCG marketing is leveraging digital.

Role of Data Analytics in Digital Marketing

There is a lot of misunderstanding over role of digital data analytics in modern day marketing.

Most of the people in digital industry (especially the agencies), put the data, ahead of the consumers and audience.

While the data analytics tools have made rapid advancements in the last 5 years, understanding different data types in marketing, and how do we use those data types for making real business decisions, is something which gets sidelined .

‘How can we use the data for marketing?

As David Porter, VP of Media AAR for Unilever, says in one of his interviews:

Consumers are after all people, not numbers. These aren’t just hands that need washing or stomachs that need feeding. These are real people who need real communications. Data is just the way to help us get there.

 

Data analytics FOR simplifyING DIGITAL STRATeGY

 

Too much of data can really complicate the matters for the brand.

According to a Google Insights Report:

61% of marketing decision makers said they struggled to access or integrate the data they needed last year.

 

The report also mentioned, that the issue of data integration isn’t going away, as the amount of data being created continues to grow.

What’s the point of capturing and collecting so much data which makes us lose our focus?

A clear strategy around managing your data analytics systems is the most fundamental aspect in every digital strategy.

But alas, the idea is not as obvious to many people in our industry (that includes the clients and digital agencies)

DATA ANALYTICS FOR Choosing the DIGITAL METRICS

 

We live in divided times, both politically and commercially. You either believe in the power of digital metrics or you don’t. Sitting on the fence is no longer an option.

With so many different platforms, marketing channels and complex ad-tech systems, understanding or selecting the right metric has become a never ending nightmare.

For beginners, even before you choose metrics, you must create a measurement plan matching your business requirement.

In a world, where there is infinite data sets available at our fingertips, it can be tempting to go crazy and analyse the whole lot, but fine-tuning and being precise is vital to ensuring that ROI remains high and time is not wasted.

Data Analytics For FINDING MARKETING Insights

 

Neither data, nor analytics can be called sexy.

For a marketer, the sexy side of data analytics is called ‘the insights’.

Also read : Difference between Data, Analytics & Insights

No wonder the presentations are not done on Microsoft Excel.

Needless to say, marketing teams love insights.

And not just any insight, insights which are actionable.

Hence, role of data analytics is not just to spot trends but convert them into meaningful insights.

Data Analytics for CUSTOMER JOURNEy MAPPING

 

Data Analytics for Customer Journey Optimisation

According to a study conducted by MarTech company Signal, just 6% Of marketers have a single view of the customer (see above graphic).

With so many marketing channels influencing the purchase decision, customer journey is no longer linear.

Thanks to social media channels, customers can connect and interact with the brands in real time.

More often than not, Marketers have to deal with a moving puzzle due to lack of inter-operatability between various digital marketing platforms.

Role of data analytics is also to track & optimise marketing communication at every touch point and provide best possible channel attribution for maximising ROI.

Understanding Data Types in Data Analytics

Year 2005 was arguably the most important year for data analytics.

In November 2005, Google launched their analytics service, after acquiring Urchin in April 2005.

Since then, data analytics has transformed the perspective of marketers around the globe.

Every time advertising ROI was discussed, below statement was quoted:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

 

Marketing cloud players like Oracle, Adobe & IBM are positioning their data analytics platforms just to address the above problem.

With data impacting every aspect of business, CMO’s believe their role is no longer restricted to brand marketing.

(Also Read: RIP CMO, VIVA CDO )

To understand this  further, we must know the types of data sets relevant in digital marketing.

Marketing Data TYPES

 

Data Analytics - Marketing Data Types

Marketing Data Types in Data Analytics

 

Usually, it needs an understanding of your customer journey, but most of the above data sets are common for various customer journeys.

For simplification, I have divided it into 2 broad segments:

Audience Data Analytics or Advertising Data

 

This data is usually acquired through multiple marketing touch points and it is also the most complex of all to interpret.

Most of this data is used for making better & faster marketing decisions.

You can divide audience data into following:

Market Research Data / Survey Data 

 

This data is acquired using primary and secondary sources to understand:

  • market competition analysis
  • audience behaviour in a category
  • offline communication effectiveness

It is extremely valuable for designing your brand communication.

Social Media Analytics Data

 

As more adults acquire smartphones, they’re spending an increasing amount of their time on social media.

Also Read : Time Spent on Social Media – By Nielsen

Social Analytics Tools

Social data analytics tools offers a deep insights about the life and preferences of modern day digital audience in the form of following data sets:

  • Audience Interest – what are their likings and dis-likings etc.
  • Affinity / Behavioural Data – Content consumption behaviour
  • Category Conversations – what are they talking about or discussing?
  • Brand Sentiment – benchmarking sentiment against different competitors.
Search Analytics Data or Intent Data

 

While social data helps us to understand their content consumption behaviour, search data helps us understand current market trends and brand preference.

First, to fully understand search data and its impact, one must know how to use Google Trends (see below)

Second, SEO data can be obtained from either the google webmaster tool or your own Google Analytics account.

This data further helps you to find out:

  • Key audience searches in your category
  • Competition brand preference
  • Content ideas for blog and social media
Website Analytics Data

 

If planned well (Read this post by Avinash Kaushik) , this data type can offer the most in-depth amount of insights to any marketing team.

Any website analytics tool (like Google Analytics or Kiss Metrics) allows you to find out:

  • Quality of your assets (like blog) and content (videos)
  • Quality of your landing pages ( UI and UX )
  • Audience customer journeys
  • Conversion Attribution (if you are generating lead or e-commerce)
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Effectiveness
  • Key Traffic sources
  • Return on marketing Investment

Customer Data or CRM Data

 

This data is extremely sensitive from a digital privacy standpoint.

It is very important to capture this data in the right format and keep it updated & consistent.

Top CRM Tools

Top CRM Tools

The customer data is often stored inside a CRM tools ( see above  )

Modern CRM tools can captures and store the following information in an actionable manner:

  • Customer PII ( Personal Identifiable Information like Name, Gender, Email, Contact etc )
  • Purchase Data – Details of all the products / service purchased
  • Loyalty Data – contains details connected to any customer loyalty program customer has subscribed to.

Digital data analytics can offer very deep insights, but only if you plan your data priorities in advance and also choose the matching tools at each stage of your marketing.

9 Digital Marketing Trends ‘relevant’ for every Indian CMO

Finding the most relevant and unbiased digital marketing trends in India is quite a task for marketers and digital strategists.

Unlike some of the evolved western markets, digital media research is not taken seriously in India. Most of the published studies are sponsored by a SAAS technology player like IBM/Adobe/CISCO etc., which often gives a very biased POV about the digital landscape in India.

Due to lack of India specific trends and insights, most of the Digital marketing trends used by the digital agencies, are global macro indicators which may of may not have any implication for their Indian client.

Needless to remind, as a market, India is an aberration for many reasons.

While most of the digital evangelists keep repeating the same old boring numbers around growth of digital in India, Internet penetration, mobile usage, e-commerce transactions etc., hardly anyone goes beyond the 30,000 feet view to offer more actionable insight to the brands.

Also Read4 Digital Trends which are utterly useless for any CMO in 2017

There are a ton of 3rd party digital trend reports published by various media research companies, digital consulting companies, digital media agencies and marketing tech providers. Often a lot of data is colliding and contradictory.  Also, other than the fact, that everyone is talking about some really “Big Numbers”, there is very little unique insight you can draw from each report.

Out of all, Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report is perhaps the most comprehensive and much discussed in the mainstream business media.

If you are an Indian client,  even that requires a bit of curation. With so much of visual data mentioned in the reports, marketers have a tendency to miss out on simple digital insights which could bring much needed focus to their digital marketing efforts.

Below are 9 digital marketing trends (and corresponding insights) which are super relevant for every Indian brand.

Digital Marketing Trends For Indian CMO

Forget the Desktop

With 80% share in the overall web traffic, Mobile is no more just a ‘part of strategy’. Mobile is the “STRATEGY”

( Also Read : How to approach mobile as a CMO? )

Social Media is becoming a black hole

According to Times DMA Asia CMO Survey, while social media is getting a lion’s share (~35%) in the overall digital marketing budget(including content production). over 1/3rd of CMOs feel that there is immediate need to bring better attribution to their social media efforts.

Clarity on Digital Measurement Metrics would be the most important area of focus in the coming years.

Voice Search would soon replace text

Thanks to enhanced NLP in android assistant and Apple Siri, 70% voice searches are based on natural conversation language.

According to a recent Google release, over 20% search queries have moved to #voice . Clearly, this would have a serious impact on near future digital marketing efforts. SEO & Content teams should start looking for cues in the natural language.

Digital Audience Hate Advertising

According to Mary Meeker study, 1/3rd mobile users are using some or the other ad-blocking app on their phone. Almost a similar number is willing to pay for the content to get rid of ads. Continuously falling CTRs and increased subscribers for OTTs are a case in point, that digital audience hates pure advertising,

In order to stay relevant and get higher engagement, brands must offer more content, less advertising.

Local + Vernacular Content

Local & Vernacular are climbing the charts across all digital studies.  Demand for local and vernacular content is going up YOY. Almost 50% of the current content consumed in India is ‘non English’

Creating ads in multiple languages and tailoring the message for different regions and audience segment is no longer optional if you are looking for wider audience reach.

Audience Trends

Millennial First Audience

Young Millennials are controlling the web, 65% of digital users are in the age group of 15-34 which makes 35% of total population. With such a huge and exponentially rising share in the overall digital landscape, young millennials needs special care during planning.

Every brand must try to gather audience specific trends (especially their digital customer journey) to craft their Millennial First strategy.

Customer Journey Matter More Than You Think

No of customers who stop doing business with a brand after single poor experience is going up every year. Omni-channel customer experience can’t be a non- priority anymore.

Honestly, as a brand, you should stop fiddling with the idea of doing digital. If you are doing digital, you must be prepared to optimise every aspect of your audience’s digital footprint that matters.

4 Digital Trends which are utterly useless for any CMO in 2017

In the words of Dashiell Hammett:

“Who shot him? I asked.
The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: Somebody with a gun.”

 

If you are reading this post, there is a great chance that you’ve seen, how digital trend (or trends) are presented in various seminars & digital client pitches.

At times, the most basic and obvious information is presented as a “strategic insight”.

Below tweet is an example:

Needless to say, some of these digital trend can make any digital pitch excruciating long and boring.

Also read : How to hire digital marketing agency in India?

A lot of these “so called digital trend” ( & audience behaviour ), which is presented in the name of digital insights by publishers & media planners, adds little value to any strategic discussion.

I am sure clients are equally tired to see these slides in various conferences and pitches.

Below are few examples, which I believe are no longer “digital trends”, they are in-fact “a fact”, and we (as digital strategists and practitioners) must stop discussing & presenting them to our clients, not because they are not true, but because they are “too stupidly obvious to state in 2017“.

I’ve also listed these commonly spotted “digital trends” in the order of their extreme irrelevance.

Digital Trend #1

Digital is growing in India

Dude, like seriously?

If it was not growing, you wouldn’t have been standing there to present it in first place. Our industry has become a 10K cr industry talking about this for years.

From a strategic point of view, what is more important for a client to know is how their category is growing in the digital space.

Digital Trend #2

India Internet Users To Touch X Million by 2020

Fine, there are 200 million FB users, 250 million WhatsApp users etc. etc.

Is that even relevant for any brand? Clearly, no brand would like to target all of them.

Beyond a point, the “grandness” of these numbers are statistically irrelevant for any marketer.

The point that any brand would really like to know is:

a. how to find relevant audience

b. how to scale up their marketing in this large and ever so growing digital landscape of India?

Digital Trend #3

Mobile is BIG!!!

 

Honestly if you ask me, anyone (be it agency or publisher), who is caught even whispering that “Mobile is growing in India”, should be executed in G.O.T style.

I mean cmon guys!

The fact that mobile is a more powerful medium than desktop (or even television) in India, is like announcing that “Pandavas won the battle of Mahabharata” as Breaking prime-time News on Republic TV.

The smartphone growth, or the volume of smartphones getting sold is no longer of “strategic importance”.

What clients really want to hear from their digital agency, is how to create a truly “Mobile first” digital strategy in this complex digital landscape of India.

Digital Trend #4

Video and Content Marketing are like King and Queen

Dude, its like saying “hyper-link would be the next big scientific innovation of 2017”.

I understand, that many clients may not have the same level of digital maturity but calling video and content “as next big thing” is hilarious.

Last I checked, online video is eclipsing TV by a huge margin.

What would be interesting however,  is to tell any brand, how they can create quality engagement on the back of digital video content, which would also impact some meaningful metric in the real world.

7 questions we never asked about the role of Digital Strategist

Who is a digital strategist?

A question which has bothered me every single day. More so now, because after all these years, my designation finally says “Digital Strategist

Does that mean that I was not doing any digital strategy before?

Wrong! On the contrary, I was more immersed into digital strategy while I was doing hands-on execution. 

Does that mean I’ve stopped looking into execution now?

Wrong again! I am doing a lot more sharper execution now since I’ve got a much broader perspective about digital.

I’ve tried searching many times in the past, here’s what google has to say about “The Role of Digital Strategist”

Who is digital strategist

 

I guess the operative phase in that definition is “create and oversee the execution” of a plan.

However, the real problem Is..

When it comes to digital strategy, there are plenty of problems. Most of them are man made.

In some way, all of us in the business of advertising or communication, are equally responsible for contributing to the master problem.

Most of the brands hire their agencies / digital partners to answer the following question, “How to solve the complex digital marketing ecosystem?”

(Also Read : Gartner Digital Transit Map )

But the real question remain un-answered.

WHAT PROBLEM DO WE WANT DIGITAL TO SOLVE?

And then, there are below questions which are never asked.

Why?

Because nobody bother to ask them.

Why?

Because everybody think nobody knows the answer.

May be they don’t even discuss. They do what they do every time when they don’t know, THEY ASSUME!

 

7 NAQs (Never Asked Questions)

 

Q. Is digital strategist someone who knows everything?

Ans. While startups and agencies are looking for a candidate “straight out of Marvel comic books”, I doubt if that is even possible? If yes, someone please tell me how to find such talent? 

 

Q. Is digital strategist not supposed to execute things?

Ans. That would be disastrous, because in my opinion, no digital strategy can be created without keeping an eye on its execution.

Also read:  How to build digital strategy for execution?

 

Q. At what point someone becomes a digital strategist? 

Ans. Buddha once said: “Everyone has a buddha inside”. In case of digital marketing as well, everyone has a bit of digital strategist inside.

 

Q. In that case, is digital strategist really a skill? 

Ans. That’s a great question, but in order to answer this question, we must first answer “IS STRATEGY A SKILL?” (Read : Difference between skill and strategy). Role of strategy in digital ( and again, that’s just my POV ) is to have a strong aptitude to curate a solution for a marketing problem.

 

Q. Can we quantify the effort a digital strategist? 

Ans. Quantifying the effort of a digital strategist is like quantifying the effort of a “Chief Chef” in the kitchen of a 5-star fine dine.

 

Q. Does the responsibility of a digital strategist gets over after a pitch is won or when the campaign is approved?

Ans. Ideally no, because he/she may not execute the campaign (also depends upon the seniority of the person), a strategist must keep an eye on the campaign / marketing metrics to see if his work is going in the right direction.

 

Q. How can a digital strategist own the end outcome of his strategy, if he/she is not executing things? 

Ans. I personally like the analogy of a “Chief Chef” with Digital Strategist. Most of the times, a chef may not cook himself, but he does something more critical like defining the flavour of the day for his customers, hand-picking the supplies, ensuring quality control and work hygiene in the kitchen and most important, the presentation.

The Conclusion

Strategy vs Execution

I don’t think it is either-or in case of Digital Strategy and Execution.

Depending upon the person’s experience, caliber, organisation requirement and team structure, a digital strategist may or may not be executing or managing the operations.

But, one thing all of us (as digital strategists) must own, is the end outcome of our work.

Adobe Digital Insights 2017 – A Summary For Indian Brands

A new Adobe Digital Insights report, Best of the best JAPAC, was released, highlighting the internet usage trends demonstrated by consumers in the developing countries and the role played by smartphones in driving new internet users.

Below are the top 5 trends and digital insights from the adobe report:

Shift to Mobile

Adobe Digital Insights Report 2017

Smartphone traffic has grown across all markets, which is also contributing to adding new (first time) internet users.

But that is no longer a new trend, what matters is how the audience in various regions using their devices. Below are the factors which separate the trends from one region to other:

  • Stickiness to content
  • Personalisation

Performance Metrics

Metrics are shifting from Acquisition to Repeat Customer Visit. Below are the key variables for success adopted by most of the enterprise brands :

  • Relevancy & Targeting
  • Customer Experience

Social Media

The new social discourse is all about enabling one to one relationships. Millennials are willing to leave a brand if they do not get active one-to-one attention. This trend is common across all markets.

Website Traffic

Adobe Digital Insights Report 2017

Adobe Digital Insights Report : On Site Website Engagement Going Down

While the traffic volumes are still high in markets like India, but less time is spent on the website content across all key regions (including India).

For Indian advertisers, Paid Search coupled with personalised content is highly recommended to dominate share of wallet in the category.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking in any vertical should be based on following factors:

  • Where are top spenders allocating their marketing money?
  • What is the engagement metric used commonly in the vertical?
  • How to tailor-made tactics and metrics for smaller spends?

India Specific Digital Insights From The Report

  • Volume in smartphone traffic is growing in India across all industry sectors, but grew fastest in Retail with 45.3% average year on year growth, followed by Media & Entertainment sector at 39.2% and Travel & Hospitality at 34.4%.
  • Gaps in smartphone traffic widened dramatically between the best industry performers in the Finance sector as well as Media & Entertainment. Leaders are pulling away to capture higher share of traffic versus their competitors. In this respect, the best performers in Retail had the greatest gap between the best and the rest, with smartphone share totalling 67.8%. Top performers in Media & Entertainment sat at 53.0%. Top performers Finance recorded a much lower performance of 22.1%, suggesting there’s still room for fast-moving and innovative players in this sector to attract customers post-demonetisation phase in the country.
  • Desktop share of visits were down YoY in every industry except for Finance, indicating consumers in India continue to access financial content on the desktop device. Desktop share of visits in Travel & Hospitality and Retail sector decreased the fastest in 2016.
  • Mobile optimisation is playing a big role in helping consumers complete their digital needs faster, reducing their overall online time. This underscores the pressure on brands to get it right the first time, by driving innovative and personalised online engagements.
India Insights were first published on DT News Network