2014 is about to end and we have seen social media platforms starting to take off as Internet penetration increase. When Grameenphone zero-rated Facebook for Bangladesh, there was a sudden spike of internet usage and the number of Facebook users. The first experience for many people with Internet has been Facebook, so don’t be surprised when people in the rural area recognize Facebook before the word Internet. For digital marketers, 2015 will be an important year to reach their target market faster and cheaper, it’s a time to leverage social media assets with accurate measurement tools to give better ROI – bang for the buck.
Here are some of the trends that we think will make digital marketing important for every brand in 2015:
With smartphones getting cheaper and more accessible, we predict more smartphones in the hands of the mass population. The trend isn’t just local. Global population of mobile penetration is predicted to rise from 61.1 per cent to 69.4 according to eMarketer. Companies like Symphony, Walton and Firefox have made smartphones in the lower end of the market more accessible, unlike brands like Nokia and Samsung who are yet to catch up in that price range.
This means there will be a group of early adopters in the rural demographic who will be curious to try out the new technology in terms of taking more photos, listening to music, and perhaps trying out Facebook as internet data packages are becoming cheaper every day. Their curiosity on Facebook to post photos and then connect with friends, family or keep up with what their bosses are doing, will drive more users on Facebook platform via Mobile. Facebook also allows users to connect with top brands to vent customer experience frustrations and also life frustrations. So look out for the people using smartphones and the majority will be on Android devices (prediction over 50 per cent). This means the audience size will get bigger in digital marketing.
Is Internet Just Facebook to the rural? Perhaps yes for 2015 as well, but it will change over time as more content, mobile apps and tech startups produce more content that individuals can consume. We have seen manuals of “how to use Facebook” guideline being distributed in rural areas. Internet shopping experience will also affect their definition of what the Internet is. So let’s not forget that education is required for the masses of what the Internet is and we can predict that brands will focus
budget on that through offline and online activation.
If you are going to produce content and reach mass for education, think of the language – brands will find it more successful to use Bangla vs.
English and as well as more video/audio with Bangla- perhaps a Bangla jingle on the Internet may be successful in raising internet awareness if you haven’t tried out yet. The point is trying something, collect data, see what works and re-iterate again with tweaks until you find the magic formula.
Is the Website being replaced by Facebook page?
No, it isn’t, but Facebook is very important to have now. Consumers – the 12 million on Facebook from Bangladesh search for the business / restaurant or brand to have a quick overview to know more. Why? Because social media is a conversational platform, consumers can also read comments and see what others are saying. The website is a one-way street. So If I were a brand, I would continue to invest in the Facebook page and engagement as also try out other social media assets like Twitter too. Conversations in real-time can take place on Facebook real quick which is an opportunity for brands to quickly address consumer’s needs cheaper and faster than before. Consumers expect quick replies too, so make sure to have a good customer service response team on Facebook and other social media platforms to help drive sales and value.
Knowing what type of content to post?
2015 is the year to experiment and see what type of content works best for your audience on for your social media strategy. We do face internet speed issues so video’s for mobile will be a challenge on Edge, but 3G users are getting better experiences in certain areas. That doesn’t mean you don’t go for video. The desktop still dominates Internet usage, but be smart about the length of the video and quality. Facebook is also promoting video penetration as more users watch videos on Facebook more globally. So if you have a “Boost” budget, I would put my dollar on boosting videos! Posts with images will continue to dominate as well as opinion posts, polls, and contests. Keep in mind content relevance in terms of what’s happening at that time in terms of trending topic, so have a good digital media team that can respond very quick to catch the conversation. For example the Sundarban Oil spill was talked about in December and being relevant in terms of what conversation is taking place is important. The key take away- experiment and see what works best for your audience over a period of time and then set your strategies for the year.
New Social Media Platforms to emerge in the local market
Consumers are prominently experiencing Facebook now because local telecom operators advertise Facebook heavily on ads, billboards and TV. Businesses in general are also putting Facebook address, but we do see the emergence of other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If Brands start taking social media conversations to other platforms and starts educating consumers, you will see a faster adoption together. Facebook page and a user’s newsfeed have a limited real estate space. So it’s smart for all brands to collectively promote the other platforms too. Instagram is a great way to promote “photo contests” with hash tags. Twitter is a good way to make announcements on product releases, awareness and drive sales with consumers who follow throughout the day. It’s quick, short and easy to connect with audience. Pinterest is a good resource sharing board. Though many people forget, links and articles get lost in twitter, Facebook and Instagram as there are so many updates. Pinterest is the perfect board where you can pin things so your greatest resources or content you want to share with your audience doesn’t get lost. Brands can create “fashion or lifestyle” boards where consumers can follow too.
Advertisement cost will rise on Digital Media
As more marketers spend on digital media platforms, costs will rise. Facebook ad buying has already increased as there are more people spending today than ever before in Bangladesh. Facebook stores who sell products, E-Commerce companies and large brands are heavily spending to increase “fans” and also to drive engagement and sales. It is still the most effective way to drive sales if done properly, but the Facebook ad platform has its limitations for the time being. We cannot target ads or boost posts by city in Bangladesh, yet which is a huge problem if targeting ads just for Dhaka city.
That’s where ad platforms like G&R become handy. If you are trying to promote your Facebook page to a particular city, why not try G&R ad platform with city targeting and drive the ad towards your Facebook page to have relevant fans. Alternatively, if you cannot do that, make content that is very relevant to your target cities audience or try offline events that Magnito Digital has done in the past to get local audiences to like your page and then target ads to “Friends of Friends,” Digital media means better accountability
The best part of advertising on digital media platforms is accountability and scaling. You can measure what you spend and tweak your spend strategies very quickly and also drive spend to reach more people very quickly. But don’t get me wrong, ATL will be very important in Bangladesh and will play a huge role in increasing Internet awareness over the years; Bikroy has done a fantastic job as well to educate more interest users through ATL. So don’t stop ATL but tweak your content on your ATL, so people learn about Internet. There are challenges too; digital media platforms change their policy too. Recently Facebook changed their policy on organic reach on Facebook pages. This means brands need to spend more to reach the “fans” they have accumulated over time.
The new buzzword in the street. Put simply, native advertising is a way of using content marketing on online publication sites to reach people. It is beyond what the local Bangladesh market is accustomed to which is “banner ads,” Facebook ads or video promotions, but native advertising is a powerful practice of using content to build trust and engagement with future or current customers.
Examples of native advertisement can be a Brand powering a series of articles to reach a certain, a larger audience and this content is shareable unlike Banner ads. Consumers can read associate the Brand with the content. Other examples are mentioning brands by writers or editorial staff, sponsored content about the Brand or thought leadership pieces. If you are interested in native advertising then get in touch with SD Asia,
they are leading the way.
Offline – Online integration through Events
Event engagements for Brands are still big and one of the best ways to create experiences that one can associate with. Instead of doing concerts that target just music lovers, brands need to broaden their horizon beyond the typical. Take for example Grameenphone engaging with entrepreneurs through Innovation Xtreme which was an event for entrepreneurs, investors and startups. How does it help them? Well, in future, as tech startups build relevant content, they will be inclined to get in touch with Grameenphone through the networking from these events because not only does networking happening, but they provide information and data that helps entrepreneurs think about the opportunities more deeply. Engaging multiple target audiences across the country and connecting them digitally through micro-communities will drive digital engagement to a whole new level. It’s not selling a sim-card; it’s about selling an experience.
Government Digital Bangladesh Drive is promoting Internet
Whether we like it or not, the GOB has been successful in driving the word Digital all over Bangladesh.
How everyone interprets is a different thing, but because of this, there has been a significant drive in people recognizing digital, the success of automation in various government bodies, access to information available on the Internet through the 25,000 websites launched by A2i. ICT ministry is also driving more app competitions with BASIS and other organizations to promote the internet. This will surely drive Internet penetration as people experience Internet in different ways. We see the Internet penetration widening with GOB efforts as well. An “Internet Day” nationally everyday will surely accelerate internet penetration just through awareness building.
2015 is going to be a great year for digital marketing in Bangladesh. If you don’t have any plans or strategy, you should start working on one right away. To know get help with your digital marketing strategy for 2015 get in touch with Magnito Digital or SD Asia for events related to tech and startups.