India is right now positioned at an interesting threshold encompassing technology, business and Internet which has never been witnessed before. If ecommerce market was worth $3.8 billion in 2009, then it became $17 billion in 2014 and exploded to $23 billion in 2015. By the time 2016 ends, Indian ecommerce will swell to $38 billion (Rs 2.5 lakh crore), which is an increase of 67% compared to last year (Assocham report).
In 2015, 46% of all Internet users in India consumed videos, and as you are reading this post, 15,418 hours of videos is being accessed every second on sites like Facebook and Youtube.
Out of 900 million Whatsapp users worldwide, around 65 million active users are from India, who share 3 billion messages every day on this platform.
And the most exciting part is that, only 25% of India’s population has come online as of now!
Out of 30 crore Internet users and almost 100 crore mobile phone users (both feature and smartphone), only 5 crore Indians did any form of online shopping last year.
Broadly speaking, we have barely scratched the surface here. As per various reports, we will soon overtake US to become World’ 2nd largest user-base of Internet and online shoppers.
So, what is driving this exponential, incredible and never-seen-before growth of Internet usage and ecommerce in India? How can entrepreneurs and marketers leverage this exciting platform and expand their business, vision and ideas?
How can artists use this incredible platform to spread their ideas and art with the world?
Just like last year, we are back with the Digital Marketing predictions for 2016; and some of the upcoming trends may provide these answers:
1) Integrating Offline With Online: New Dawn of ROI
For the busy entrepreneur, ROI or Return on Investment should be the only measure to check the progress and growth of his business. In Digital business, every impression, click and action can be tracked for calculating ROI, but still, there exists a lot of gap in this niche.
For example, how to integrate the offline with online campaigns? How to measure the effectiveness of a campaign which involves activities related with physical world?
A startup called SilverPush has developed a technology which can do precisely this thing. SilverPush’s technology allows TV to emit an ultrasonic beam, which is tracked by the smartphone and allows the advertisers to understand the reach and impact of their campaigns.
2016 can witness more such emerging technology which connects offline with online and redefine calculation of ROI.
2) Messaging Apps Will Turn Into eShops
50% of all Indian Internet users definitely access these two apps: Facebook and Whatsapp. This clearly indicates that messaging apps is the next big thing in terms of platform for digital marketers, and 2016 will be the dawn of that age.
In China, there is an messaging app called Weixin, which is a localized version of WeChat app. Around 600 million Chinese are hardcore users of this app; but there is a twist in this story: Besides chatting with their friends (and making calls), users of Weixin also shop heavily on this platform. In fact, average revenue per user on Weixin is $7, which is 7 times that of WhatsApp! They book air tickets, order food, play games, fix doctor’s appointment and lot more.
Very soon, this will become a norm in India as well.
3) Tier II and Tier III Cities Will Became The New Battle Front
Inside the slums of Govandi, Amazon India has initiated a brave new trend of eMarketing; which is revolutionary and useful at the same time. At a location where there are no proper toilets, hospital or schools, Amazon is attempting to introduce e-shopping through their portal.
Amazon has enabled several small traders with kiosks and a laptop with Internet in this slum area, wherein they sell products from Amazon directly to the locals. Note here, almost none of these shoppers have any bank account or PAN Card; but still, ecommerce is booming.
Govandi is in Mumbai, but this phenomenon will soon spread into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India. Infact, the process has already started: As of now, Tier 2 and 3 cities account for 70% of all Snapdeal’s orders, and almost 2/3rd of all transactions on Flipkart’s mobile app.
This trend will soon become a norm in 2016. More than 100 million middle class Indians are living in 4000+ small towns and cities in India; and 95% of these locations don’t have any physical retail outlet.
Internet and technology will soon change everything we knew about retail in these smaller, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
4) New Layer of Content Marketing: How You Make Them Feel
Strategists and analysts of Digital Marketing have realized that content marketing needs some major revamp in-order to work wonders for online businesses. And one such major change which we will discover in 2016 is the emotional quotient of digital marketing.
Although this is not something new: Since ancient ages, businesses have been using story-telling to attract, engage and convert their customers. And this new age paradigm of ‘feel factor’ is infact part of this story-telling experience.
But using technology, Internet and smart gadgets, marketers can now go one step ahead and actually make their customers feel great.
Imagine that its your birthday, and you are watching an Akshay Kumar movie in a theater; and all of a sudden your routine e-shopping app receives a notification that Akshay’s autographed and endorsed products are available at a special discount outside the auditorium, just for you.
Integrating consumer behavior, localization factors and by infusing personalization, digital marketers can do wonders in 2016.
5) Big Data Will Become Bigger
It is a well known fact that Paytm is the first Indian brand to have 100 million users; but very few know that there exists a remote team located at Toronto, Canada, which closely monitors the usage pattern of these 100 million customers.
Using big data this small team employs UI elements, execute UX manipulations and deploy high level of marketing intelligence to understand Paytm’s customers.
This is a special, stealth big data team of Paytm, which not only helps them to increase their revenues, but also prevents frauds and scams. Toronto is the location because it’s the big data capital of the world.
As we had shared last year, Big Data will continue to soar, and convert into an essential business vertical of any digital business. As more traffic comes in, more conversions happen, and more users are hooked onto your products and services, the understanding and appreciating Big Data will soon become a necessity from a luxury right now.
(Bonus) 2 observations about this industry:
a) Search Industry Is Finally Changing: Be Prepared
Last year, while Bing.com gained 1.5% & Yahoo gained 2.2% in the global search market, Google lost 3% share globally. Bing is now no more a money-sucking venture of Microsoft: It helped Microsoft to earn $1 billion in profits last quarter.
What does it signify? No, its not RIP Google yet, as it’s still the #1 search engine in the world with 64% share. But if you are thinking long term; say 10 year+ regarding your digital business, then it’s high time that an alternative to Google strategy be created, and small steps taken to ensure that you don’t miss the bus.
b) Universe Has Expanded; But Screens Shrunk
I am talking about mobile here. For the last 5-6 years, every digital marketer has been predicting the rise of mobile (some have even repeated this year).
Mobile marketing is no more an optional marketing channel; it’s mandatory now.
2015 introduced lots of new content creation tools, high tech gadgets to click that cool photograph, better, sharper gadgets to shoot videos and lot more. But at the same time, the screens to consume this content have shrunk drastically. Now, more content is accessed via mobile than any other medium; and this has posed an interesting question: How to maximize that tiny mobile screen, and still enchant, entice, attract the end user?
I would love to receive your opinions and feedback on these predictions about the Digital Marketing industry. Do share them right here![Header Image Source: Shutterstock.com] "5 Digital Marketing Predictions Which Can Change Equations of The Game",