Digital media is changing the way political parties interact with voters bridging the gap like never before. Given today's era of increasing social media usage, and growing internet penetration due to increased usage of smartphones on the one hand and saturation of traditional mediums on the other, digital media offers the perfect platform for political parties to reach audiences worldwide. The use of digital and social media increases the reach of communication efforts and allows targeting the advocacy and tailoring it as per the audiences marketers/campaigners are trying to reach. Digital media strategies are now part of the overall campaign briefs, and parties are spending an increasing amount of time and resources in digital marketing. The growing use of digital media accentuates its potent role in influencing voters and their behavior.
2014 Lok Sabha elections were the first social media election for 1.2 billion strong India with the advent of Social Media giants in India, namely Facebook and Twitter, whose users run into million from urban areas to rural areas.
Social media in 2014 India has emerged as a frontrunner in terms of Marketing and PR communications especially in the arena of politics, an area which has traditionally been predominantly dependent of modes of promotion such as television, print, radio, rallies etc. This trend was started by U.S. President Barrack Obama himself who emerged as the First Social Media President. His party adopted the now popular strategy of Crowdsourcing via different vehicles of social media for the presidential campaign in 2008.
India, which boasts of more than 200 million Internet users is especially poised for a big social media revolution. The demographic of young and mobile urban dwellers who are socially engaged, makes for the highest Twitter and Facebook usage in the world, outside of the United States, according to Alexa Internet.
Social Media had assimilated nationally into the Indian politics/election scenario much before the 2014 LokSabha elections, with the leading parties like AAP, Congress, BJP being the frontrunners and championing the cause months before the actual elections. More importantly, the impact of social/digital media is not limited only to direct access. Conversations seeded online finding their way into mainstream media, and get read, seen and discussed in every nook & corner of the country.
During the 15th Lok Sabha elections, a lot of attention was paid to conversations on social media, measuring which politicians were trending in search volume and counting retweets and followers. The first-time voters, many of whom form part of the 'connected' generation - numbered around 150 million this year, and most parties took steps to reach out to voters online and on social media.
Social networking giant Facebook said that 29 million people in India made 227 million interactions through posts, comments, shares, and likes about the elections from the day they were announced. Fanbase of leading political leaders increased with the onset of their digital campaign and during the elections. Also, according to Facebook, between the day the elections were announced, and the counting day, 29 million people made 227 million poll-related interactions (posts, comments, shares, and likes).
Even in Tier II cities, social media played an important role in reaching out to people. Even in remote areas, the reach of the Internet, no matter how limited, helped voters obtain information, not only about their favourite candidate, but the entire elections on a larger level.
Coming down to a more localized example we should have a look at the 2014 state elections in Maharashtra wherein the trend hasn’t just intensified but gone completely in a Global-Village mode wherein the concerned top players are out with Social media guns blazing and full armory of tweeting, posting, retweeting, checking for followers, blogging and enticing the voters in every manner possible. There were some very interesting social media strategies that were used by electioneers for the recent state elections in Maharashtra with a balance of realistic, bitter sweet and sometimes funny shades of messaging. We saw many interesting hashtags come up on Twitter one of which was #JhootheDin trend by critics of PM Modi. A parody of BJP’s ‘Ache din Campaign’ #JhootheDin has been trending on twitter during the Maharasthra elections. Others trending were #mahaverdict, #voteforbjp,#ivoteforcongress.
Nowadays, parties aren’t just harping on the good work accomplished by them but are also bringing the opposition’s mistakes to light by using social media platforms as their tool. And not to leave any stones unturned their social media strategy also has the shades of guerilla warfare wherein the strategists are now using Crowdsourcing to make their voters more involved and give them a sense of ownership in decision making. Let’s see some instances of the good, the bad and the ace in the pack.
The social media strategies very much depend on integration and interconnectedness of campaigns across platforms. Internet, mobiles and text messages are significant promoters of word of mouth, internet especially has a wildfire effect in terms of spreading the message. People at the receiving end quickly become accustomed to communicating with peers or groups of people via text from an electronic device and get engaged in the conversation trail.
Lately social media strategists and Electioneers have picked up this trend and are using applications like Twitter & Whatsapp as one of the favored tools to relay information. The interesting thing to take in account is that more and more of these messages/promotions are laced with either subtle ironical humor which is witty and satirical or in some instances they are in-your-face. Videos, memes, push messages with carefully created content are bombarded to the youth and others. Since the accessibility to social media applications such as Whatsapp and Twitter is so easy thanks to the tablets, smart phones etc. these two are leading the pack as the chosen mediums of promotion with numbers like 18.1Million users and 500Million users respectively. This data is closely followed by Facebook, Instagram (including the latest selfie trend) and other sites.
The most noteworthy reason for social media creating a strong ground for political campaigns is because it allows politicians to talk directly and efficiently with voters, this trend is here to stay and grow exponentially. Facebook and Twitter reach thousands of people yet still feel very personal. The conversational tone of social media means politicians can come across with more human touch and closer approach than traditional media or their opponents might portray them, messages are customized as per desired audience.
Authored by: Vinish Kathuria, COO, Digital Quotient.
At the outset, I have a question to ask advertisers. How much of your marketing budget do you spend in driving app downloads? And, how much of it is driven towards engaging with those who already have the app?
The fact is that current mobile advertising technology vendors are focused on driving app downloads for marketers. There is very little or no focus on re-engaging with users who have already downloaded and used the advertiser’s mobile app. Hence, most hard-earned app downloads result in a one-time usage at best and in the eventual uninstalling of the app.
The current mobile retargeting scenario
The diagram below illustrates the various challenges in effectively re-engaging with the existing mobile web or app user base:
Android Mobile Web: Android mobile web users can be targeted using cookies and messaged. But usually the inventory pool available on Android mobile that can support cookie based targeting is very limited. Most publishers do not support cookie based buying on their Android mobile web inventory as user based targeting is a new frontier in mobile ad-tech. Also in most geos, 50% of the mobile inventory is inside apps and cookie based targeting is not possible on this in-app inventory
iOS Mobile Web: 98% of the iOS users use Safari browser for accessing mobile websites. Third party cookies are blocked on Safari browser and hence user targeting becomes tough. Privacy compliant solutions for iOS Mobile Web user targeting are still in early stages of development.
Android Mobile App: Cookies do not work inside apps and hence the user targeting in Android apps is usually via a device id called Android_ID. However, this id is not privacy compliant as the user cannot opt out of this Android_ID based messaging.Google is introducing a new Android Advertising id that solves this privacy issue by allowing users to disable access to this id. However, this new id is still in very early stages of adoption across the mobile ecosystem.
iOS Mobile App: Cookies do not work inside apps and hence the user targeting in iOS apps is via a device id called IDFA (ID For Advertisers). This id is user privacy compliant as the user can disable access to this id. However, the IDFA is still not widely adopted in the complex mobile advertising landscape
Focusing of re-engagement of users
At present, most mobile advertising technology vendors are focused on driving app downloads for marketers. There is very little or no focus on how to re-engage with the users who have already come to the advertisers’ mobile website or have downloaded and used the mobile app. This leads to marketers reporting large numbers in user churn. The hard earned app downloads result in a one-time app usage and eventually the user uninstalling the advertiser’s app.
Authored by: Shiju Mathew, Mobile Product Manager with Vizury.
Social media has taken a centre stage and been influencing customer buying behavior. So, how can hoteliers ensure that they are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to their greatest advantage?
Online Reputation Management is essentially monitoring online opinions about your brand and using the information to create online strategies that promote your company successfully. The ever increasing reach of the internet has allowed customers to share their thoughts on every aspect of life. This ultimately includes your hotel. This is why it is so important to maximise positive comments and limit any negative commentary as much as you can. If a customer searches for your brand online and finds a multitude of mediocre or lacking reviews, it is unlikely that they will chose to patronize you. However, all is not lost; because in fact, the art of online reputation management can be mastered in three simple steps.
Tracking is the first port of call. As mentioned earlier, almost every traveler will perform online research prior to making a booking. Therefore it is important that hotel owners know exactly what is being said about them online. The use of social media networks to respond to appropriate social activity and hotel mentions will have a large effect on the hotel's overall reputation and branding. Simply obtaining and updating accounts with all of the major social networks will enable you to track everything that is being discussed in regards to hotels and your brand.
Having gathered the information, the next step is to analyze. Reputation management tools allow you to know what guests are saying about you at various sites from one single platform. You can identify your pros and cons and develop your marketing campaign based on your strengths.
It’s important that you respond to customer feedbacks, even if it’s negative. This shows your sincerity in addressing their concerns. Engage with customers as much as possible, responding to reviews positive or negative. Learn as much as you can about each specific site and its limitations. Most importantly, find and communicate with your target audience, only then will you build unique and loyal customer relationships.
And remember; social media is a constantly growing and fluctuating enterprise. Learning to be flexible and dexterous now will greatly increase your chances of improving reputation.
Authored by: Ayushi, a digital enthusiast whose interests lie in all things technology and management. She is associated with eRevMax, the company behind the innovative hotel management software, RateTiger.
We’ve seen all sorts of news coming out of Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, but it appears the biggest overall trend is a renewed focus on emerging markets. The App planet section at the event was buzzing with companies offering a suite of advertising solutions.
The five most noteworthy trends evolving for mobile advertising in emerging markets are:
#1 Mobile ad tech is on the rise
Throughout 2014 and beyond, emerging markets will see more players in the space of real time bidding, mobile retargeting, mobile DSPs, mobile ad servers and other mobile ad tech companies. Buying platforms and ad servers such as Smaato and Nexage will benefit from the industry’s shift to exchange-based and programmatic trading models. Some of the mobile ad networks seemed to find it hard to put out a coherent story around new trends and spoke about quality and data at their core. This will bring in an increased level of much needed transparency to the advertising ecosystem.
#2 Cheaper smartphones = better communication opportunities
This year handset-makers really dug in, using press conferences to vocalise their goals at nabbing the next billion users and presenting lower cost phones meant for first-time smartphone owners. Mozilla introduced a smart phone at USD 25, with the enhanced FireFox OS aimed at challenging Google’s Android play. The phone is to be launched in Q2 2014, among Alcatel and ZTE. Nokia introduced its X range of phones on Android at USD 50-80. LG introduced its L series aimed at emerging markets. As companies tackle the issue of rural market distribution and data connectivity, these phones will pave the way for enhanced ways to reach out to a mass audience on mobile, which is currently restricted to SMS and voice communication.
#3 Facebook’s commitment – internet for everyone
Facebook is clearly committed to an internet that is accessible to more people at an affordable price. This is in line with Facebook’s goal of being a ‘mobile company’.
As keynote speaker, Mark Zuckerberg spent most of his time discussing Internet.org, the ambitious project that aims to get the whole world online. As key partnerships fall in line, 2015 and beyond would only open out new advertising models that ride on cheaper and faster access to internet for emerging markets, which ease out and shift the payment for data services from end users.
#4 Entry of ad networks
Everyone is looking at APAC as their expansion market. Companies like Xad, Tapjoy, Tremor Video and so on that are predominant in the Americas and the UK are now looking at Asia markets as launch this year. From a region dominated by 3-4 mobile ad networks, we will see a diversity of networks bringing in new set of innovations in ad formats, buying models, targeting and tracking capabilities.
#5 Mobile content and discovery apps
As brands increasingly take the path to app creation, discovery apps really are becoming a key distribution path now in addition to conventional approaches such as mobile banner ads. App Gratis and App Turbo showcased their discovery and curating platform that recommends specific apps to the user. Plenty of companies are offering platforms to create mobile-ready content quickly, such as AppMachine. This offers advertisers opportunities to get mobile ready at a fast pace, if they are not already.
Authored by: Atibhi Mehra, Head of Mindshare Mobile Centre of Excellence India
Has technology started replacing the mental effort? Is it taking over our brain and turning it futile? What about big ideas? Has gennext stopped thinking because of easy referencing from the net? Where is technology moving to? Today, it has revolutionised the way we see and perceive every single thing! Its penetration has increased exceedingly in last 10 years.
It’s true and acceptable when everybody gets more techno-friendly but when it starts hindering one’s originality, it can certainly leave a bad taste. Technology is good to understand the market across the globe and interact with many minds to facilitate deeper understanding and knowledge. Losing the touch with upcoming technology could lead our business to loss. So the core issue isn’t on what technology to be used but the different ways we can actually use them.
With the growing craze for technology, the main concern for the advertising world is whether the current rage will reap benefits or can actually have negative consequences.
Earlier creativity was constrained due to lack of technological advancement. Today, technology has gifted a creatively liberating impact on the advertising community. With new technology, producing and altering ones actual ideas have become easy. With evolution of new trends in technology, ideas became more versatile, out of the box and sophisticated. But depending on technology for an idea could be potentially dangerous for the mind. An idea can only be formed by mental effort and no technology could produce an idea for you. Technology has certainly become an easy medium for referencing if you are stuck, whereas 15-12 years back the creative artists would depend on books, sourcing references from libraries. But efforts certainly made ideas more credible.
Today digital has become a big medium but understanding of communication has become weaker. Originality is lost and thoughts have just become arbitrary. Also with more data at our disposal, plagiarism may increase because of easy references for idea.
On the better side, thanks to technology, a tailor-made solution to a particular brand is possible. New technology has also helped to make things happen faster.
The dotcom era has brought about a revolution in the advertising world. Advertising is evolving to create a complimentary online campaign to a brand’s TV campaign. Now, it’s about experimenting with countless apps and networks that a customer pulls out of their pocket. Technology has paved way for the advent of social media advertising. Tweets, pop-ups, likes, web-banners, etc. have become a new branch of marketing known as viral marketing.
No doubt, the traditional medium of advertising viz. print and radio is to stay, but they have incorporated different technological advancements to stay alive. It clearly comes out that though technology has its pros and cons in advertising, the pros outweigh the cons by a great margin.
But the basic sensibilities and hard work should definitely prevail and nothing can overtake them. It’s sad that today’s generation know technology but not what to do with technology. People just beginning their careers in advertising should start using computer only when they get an idea. They should scribble, write, draw whatever, anywhere but get on their toes and not let technology take over their thinking power. Innovative thinking is theirs to keep and they should take pride in their ideas and not let technology take their ideas away from them!
Authored by: Sandeep Bomble, Founder and Creative director, Palasa.