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?


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?



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)



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 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.