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.

Piyush Aggarwal

Piyush Aggarwal is Head of Programmatic Platforms Strategy (APAC) @ Brightcom Singapore | Marketing Technologist | Analytics Specialist | Digital Trainer | Startup Consultant | Kindler | iPhone Photographer...So far So Good!