Brands take the Facebook bait

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When Kishor Biyani announced the launch of his new business model Retail 3.0 earlier in the week, Facebook came on board as a digital analytics partner to help the retail giant gauge consumer trends. This isn’t Facebook’s first engagement with Future group. Biyani’s Big Bazaar was able to use its reach and frequency tools to push up the efficiency of its customer-engagement initiatives and reach over 17.5 million customers. The campaign resulted in 108 per cent improvement in offline sales for the hypermarket. 

Facebook has spent the past year and more striking many such alliances as more and more companies buy into the power of the digital platform. And in the midst of a ballooning global crisis over fake news and transparency, it has been sharpening and customising its business capabilities for the Indian market. 

Over 250 million out of 1.2 billion small businesses on Facebook are from India claims Facebook. This offers it great leverage and an opportunity to harness the advertising potential of the platform. “With over 217 million monthly active users in India—most of whom are active on mobile—Facebook is at the heart of a mobile-first shopping journey. We want to help all marketers and businesses drive revenue growth by tapping into the shift in consumer behaviour,” said Sandeep Bhushan, director, India and South Asia, Facebook at a recent event.

Earlier this month it introduced cross-border solutions to help businesses expand beyond their geographical borders. Now 42 per cent of people on Facebook India are connected to at least one small and medium business in a foreign country and 65 per cent are connected to at least one small and medium business within India. 

Advertisers say that they have also benefited from the dynamic language optimisation feature that is helping businesses include multiple languages in one campaign. It helps to match the message in the right language to the right person. Businesses can also use Facebook tools to find their next best customers in any combination of countries or regions. For example, the dynamic ads for travel helped online travel portal MakeMyTrip double sales through desktop. It also improved travel orders through app by 20 per cent as compared to orders received through desktops.

“FB in no time (within six months) has become one of the key contributors to our business for orders from retargeting channels,” said Saujanya Shrivastava, group CMO, MakeMyTrip.

According to Dentsu Aegis Digital report for 2017, a fourth of the advertising market in India will comprise digital advertisements by 2020. While all media streams are growing in India, digital has shown maximum growth. “Almost 60 per cent of our customers are digitally active, 80 per cent of these people are active on mobile and 60 per cent of these don’t use anything other than mobiles to engage with the bank,” said Ambuj Chandna, head, Retail Liabilities, Investments & Payment Products, Kotak Mahindra Bank. Chandna added that their ad spend on Facebook has jumped 40 times and that he found Facebook useful in identifying different customer profiles while offering an array of dynamic content. 

The FMCG brands are also harnessing the power of the medium. Alok Agarwal, general manager, Marketing Excellence, GSK Consumer Healthcare noted how female presence on social media has forced many advertisers to focus on advertising here. “Typically Internet in India is male skewed. But the large presence of women on the platform means that brands which are traditionally focused on women are also following them there,” said Agarwal.  

Brands are also drawn to the platform’s customisation potential. There are ads that can be tailored to specific products, customer profiles, languages and targeted far more finely than any other platform. This has helped brands increase purchase intent, convert intent to sales and drive footfalls to brick-and-mortar stores. Raymond and Mahindra & Mahindra have been able to drive offline sales, GSK, Vodafone, Mondelez and Myntra have leveraged Facebook’s measurement solutions to measure outcomes that matter to them and refine their marketing spends and so on.