We see them everywhere. People staring at their mobile phones, rarely looking away, seemingly mesmerised. They do this while walking to work, in trains or taxis, while eating their meals and even while another screen – the TV – is flickering right in front of them. So engrossed are we in our phones that we check them more than 100 times a day.
This is the new, connected consumerism practised by the ‘mobile customer’. It isn’t just that consumers are now always on; they are empowered and evolved. Many businesses, however, stick to traditional marketing methods weighed down by years of legacy thinking. We often notice that marketers fail to apply personal preferences as consumers to their methods. Digital transformation requires not just a change in processes, but mindsets. Nowhere is this more important than in the entertainment content industry.
Entertainment and mobiles: Growing together
There is an unprecedented availability and consumption of mobile entertainment content: streaming media, video on demand, mobile TV, games. There is no doubt anymore whether the demand for such services exists. The only question is how fast entertainment on mobile will grow. In fact, the entertainment industry has understood not only the potential for going mobile-first to reach this growing audience but – and this is critical – also to re-engineer production and distribution for this new reality. One of the manifestations of this is entertainment as a social watching experience and the introduction of gamification into the mix.
Take the VIVO Indian Premier League (VIVO IPL) 2019. Hotstar elevated the broadcast to India’s first social cricket viewing experience. The streaming app enabled viewers to invite friends and family to Hotstar, enabling them to watch matches and participate in the Watch N’ Play game together. Fans could compete through a leaderboard and chat about the match with each other as well as with experts and celebrities.
Strategic partnerships ensured an even greater value add. Winners of Watch N’ Play could redeem their points through a partnership with Amazon Pay. A partnership with food delivery app Swiggy meant viewers could order food from Hotstar itself, ensuring they didn’t miss any of the action on the field and didn’t have to leave the app.
Advertisers, meanwhile, were offered more efficiency than ever before – they could target 24 cohorts during the live streaming in addition to contextual branded cards showcasing offers, mini games and polls, which created a unique opportunity to engage viewers at scale.
The customer journey is now fully mobile
It is a mistake to believe that customers use phones only to buy things. It’s a lot more sophisticated; customers use phones for research, to educate themselves and to make informed choices. This is creating a new marketing paradigm. Marketers understand that modern mobile use is also a quest to be more productive. It’s a journey of discovery and also of convenience wherein app use saves time but technology allows us to also customise as per user behaviour, location and demographic, thus making content more relevant, cost-effective and likely to be consumed. This is why we’re pushing a new measurement paradigm. Marketers would focus on click-through rates but advertising units have moved beyond clicks. The range of ad formats today spans the gamut from branded cards to carousels, drive-tostore, native images, mid-rolls and even lead generation options.
Branded content is here to stay
With branded content, the key is to grab the audience’s attention and drive engagement through content. We find that branded content entertains, teaches and results in better engagement than standard content. A recent Quaker Oats campaign comes to mind. As the category leader, it wanted to be in tune with younger consumers. The brand understood that, as this audience moved away from TV towards digital, it needed an innovative and a non-intrusive approach. The research was the key – it indicated that consumers were actively searching for upcoming shows and binge watching them on their phones. They were also actively searching for healthy, quick and tasty breakfast recipes.
Partnering with Hotstar, Quaker Oats developed a show in which celebrity chef Vikas Khanna came up with delectable recipes featuring the product. The show also featured celebrities like Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and leading actors from the South like Vishu Vishal and Raiza Wilson. The show leveraged multiple ad formats to target health enthusiasts identified from the apps they used, from mid-rolls and pre-rolls to billboards and display units, to drive awareness and purchase intent. Social media posts by celebrities made the show resonate with millennials.
The data was clear about the impact: there was a significant rise in key brand metrics, aiding awareness and purchase intent. The campaign reached over 22 million users and became Hotstar’s No. 2 English show after ‘Koffee with Karan’
The new measurement paradigm
How should marketers measure on mobile? The answer lies in the leveraging of first-party data. Let’s understand this through a CEAT campaign that ran during the last ICC Cricket World Cup. It aimed to establish CEAT as the preferred two- and four-wheeler tyre brand by delivering its core proposition of ‘long-lasting tyres’. The campaign used the medium wonderfully. The brand became synonymous with match highlights through the ‘Highlights by CEAT’ video that got more than 300 million views, cutting through the ad clutter and reaching audiences beyond the live match. The campaign drove local engagement through six language feeds and retargeted website visits to drive purchase intent.
Here’s what CEAT’s data said about the campaign: direct searches for the website rose threefold, resulting in a 10% increase in website sessions as well as a 40% growth in website leads. As you can see, we need to go beyond click-throughs to actions that tie in more closely to business objectives. Even as content creators and marketers put in place relevant measurement systems, there is a lot of work left in terms of content discovery and user interface. However, it is an unstoppable force. As devices and data access get cheaper, we will see greater mobile entertainment consumption and newer technologies – all of which will make our mobile viewing experience richer.
To summarise, I’ll leave you with the following to consider:
· Mobile video is a key tool for brand-building now
· The creative must be more than a 30-second ad spot or impression. Without social, gamification and content-driven experiences, it’s unlikely to work
· RoI measurement must link to core business and marketing goals – whether that’s incremental sales to new footfalls or consumer perception changes
Written by Gulshan Verma, SVP & Head, Client & Agency, Hotstar
Source: Mobile Marketing Ecosystem Report 2020