An Insight into the State of Digital Marketing in Kolkata

With the ever-increasing digitalization of India, marketing has evolved into digital marketing, leveraging the internet and a multitude of digital devices that are now an integral element of our lives. Digital marketing has been embraced by Kolkata too, owing to the convenience and effectiveness it brings for businesses when it comes to connecting with prospective customers.

After stepping in, digital marketing has been constantly evolving in the city with evolving technology and digital consumer behavior.

Unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing allows marketers to micro-target potential customers, which is a game-changer for a diverse market like that of Kolkata. As the city’s small, medium and large businesses are gradually recognizing how crucial it is to have an online presence today and realizing the potential of digital marketing in creating that presence, they are increasing their time and money investment in digital marketing.

This post aims to provide you with an insight into the current state of digital marketing in Kolkata. Let’s look at some aspects related to digital marketing to better understand the digital marketing landscape today.

The Beginning and Evolution of Digital Marketing

The term “Digital Marketing” was coined first in the year 1990. The advent of digital marketing was led by the development of the internet.

With the expansion of the internet in the world, the first clickable banner was introduced in 1993. Then, the first commercial online magazine, Hotwired, purchased a few banners for the purpose of their advertisement. These points marked the beginning of internet marketing. Owing to this gradual shift, several new technologies were seen by the year 1994. In 1995, India saw the inauguration of public access to the internet.

Then came “Jerry’s guide to the world wide web” following which Yahoo received online views of about 1 million within its very first year. This brought a significant change in the internet marketing space, and other corporates started optimizing their websites for them to rank higher and stand out from competitor websites.

Another massive change in the online marketing space occurred in India after the emergence of Google. Then, Hotmail stepped into India, which gained so much popularity that Microsoft bought it paying a hefty sum! The world of the internet took a new turn in the country when the small search engines were ousted by Google from the web, owing to the quality mismatch between Google and those search engines. In 2006, when the number of internet users in India reached 40 million, there was a massive increase in search engine traffic. Keeping pace with Google and Yahoo, Microsoft introduced live search.

However, Google remained an unparalleled search engine, which introduced the cost-per-click advertisement scheme, AdSense, and AdWords, which caught the interest of many Indian businesses. This is because Google laid emphasis on relevant content, unlike its rivals.

Then, Web 2.0 was launched, where the activity of internet users increased than before. This facilitated the interaction of many Indian internet users, especially businessmen, with one another. This further led to the coining of the term Super Information Highway.

The result was that information flow increased substantially. As per statistics, the digital market of India reached the mark of $3.9 billion in the year 2009.

Next, social media started to emerge that led to a dramatic change in the business trends. MySpace – launched in 2003 throughout the world – spearheaded in connecting people. With the advent of MySpace, businesses in India saw new opportunities for expanding their businesses and getting more customer reach. The trends of investment and capitalization cost also saw a shift in turn, since business owners found it easier to connect to prospective customers via social media rather than using search engines.

In India, social media marketing has immense potential, which can be assessed from several statistics. Today, India has above 200 million active Facebook users, with 80% of them accessing it through smartphones.

Facebook user stats
Source: Statista

The number of Indian WhatsApp users is 200 million, and that of Twitter users is 33 million, with 76% of them accessing via smartphones. LinkedIn is used by 50 million people and Instagram by 71 million.

Digital marketing is steadily and constantly evolving. As internet marketing grew and changed in the world out there, it grew and changed to an equal extent in India too. Today, the net earnings of world e-commerce and tech giants like Amazon, in India, are billions of US dollars. Digital marketing is prevalent in the large and diverse market of India as well as that of Kolkata and is likely to grow and evolve with the changing market.

Digital Marketing Statistics in India

Digital marketing can help you reach out to your potential customers effectively and get significant conversions, leads, and sales. Don’t believe me? Here are some statistics gathered in 2017, which are a testament to the potential of internet marketing in helping your business thrive.

Statistics on the Internet:

  • 40% of the planet’s population has an internet connection. The world has over 3 billion internet users.
  • Millennials and younger generations, who are growing in an era of digitalization, prefer ordering and shopping online.

Statistics on Websites:

  • 57% of online users don’t recommend the services and/or products of a business with an outdated and poorly designed website.
  • 88% of users don’t come back to a website that offered a bad experience.
  • 25% of visitors leave websites that don’t load in 4 seconds.
  • The loading time of a website should be 500 milliseconds or less, and that of a page should be around 2 seconds or less.
  • A business’s credibility is assessed by the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) of its website. A website with outdated design elements is likely to generate a negative impact on the business.

Statistics on Online Search:

  • Google gets over 3 billion search queries every day, and Google search represents around 65% of the total searches in the world. Each second, there are 40,000 searches happening.
  • Search engines lead to 300% more site traffic compared to social networking websites.
  • Smartphones and other types of mobile devices lead to 60% of search queries.
  • 67% of people search for information about a local business online first before physically visiting the store or making a purchase.
  • By 2019, spending on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) will rise up to about $45.49 billion.
  • The ad at Google search results page’s first position gets Click Through Rate (CTR) of up to 7.94%.

Statistics on Online & E-commerce Purchase:

  • 2 out of every 3 retail sales happen online.
  • 58% of online shopping revenue comes from mobile websites rather than native apps.
  • 88% of online shoppers refer to online reviews prior to making a purchase.
  • 80% of online users research a business/product/service through mobile phones prior to making a purchase.
  • Lost orders worth $260 billion could be recovered through changes in checkout flow and design.

Statistics on Content:

  • 70% of consumers come to know about a company/brand through a blog rather than an ad.
  • Companies that do regular blogging get more inbound links by 87% compared to companies that don’t blog.
  • The effectiveness of daily blogging is about 25% greater than monthly blogging.
  • 92% of companies that blog more frequently saw a greater generation of leads and conversions.
  • 32% of businesses have a proper content marketing strategy so as to receive greater returns out of planned efforts.

Statistics on Email:

  • B2B companies get around 4300% ROI through email marketing.
  • Over 50% of business professionals like to get an email prior to a meeting or discussion call.
  • Every second, about 5 million emails are sent.

Statistics on Social Media:

  • 1 out of 5 consumers gets influenced through recommendations on social media.
  • 55% of B2B buyers conduct research about a vendor/business/product as well as their reputation over social media.
  • 84% of professionals that are on executive-level, research about a brand/service/product over social media prior to making a purchase.
  • 75% of B2B shoppers take the help of social media for supporting their purchase decision.
  • 13% of small businesses saw an increase in ROI after employing social media for communicating with their customers.
  • 75% of brands use Facebook marketing for promoting their brands.
  • 500 million users actively use Instagram monthly.
  • 40 million small businesses have their own Facebook page on social media.

Statistics on Advertising Spending Distribution in 2016 & 2017 in India:

  • For Television, spending in 2016 was 37.8% and in 2017 was 37.2%.
  • For Newspaper, spending in 2016 was 37.8% and in 2017 was 37.9%.
  • For the Internet, spending in 2016 was 12.5% and in 2017 was 14.3%.
  • For Outdoor, spending in 2016 was 5.6% and in 2017 was 5.5%.
  • For Radio, spending in 2017 was 3.6%.
  • For Magazine, spending in 2016 was 1.9% and in 2017 was 1.7%.
  • For Cinema, spending in 2017 was 0.8%.

Statistics on Advertising Revenue in 2016 in India:

  • For Print, the revenue was 201.3 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Television, the revenue was 201.2 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Digital, the revenue was 76.9 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Out-of-home, the revenue was 26.1 billion Indian rupees.
  • For Radio, the revenue was 22.7 billion Indian rupees.

Statistics on Advertising Spending Distribution in 2017 in India by Sector:

  • For FMCG, the spending was 27%.
  • For E-Commerce, the spending was 8%.
  • For Auto, the spending was 8%.
  • For Retail, the spending was 7%.
  • For BFSI, the spending was 5%.
  • For Telecom, the spending was 6%.
  • For Real Estate, the spending was 3%.
  • For Education, the spending was 5%.
  • For Others, the spending was 23%.

Digital Marketing Trends in India for 2018

The fast-paced world of digital marketing is constantly changing. To make sure your online marketing efforts are on the right track, you need to keep yourself updated with the recent changes and developments in digital marketing. So, let’s have a look at the major trends reigning in the digital marketing industry in 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Previously, marketers were hesitant in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) in their strategies. However, 2018 saw a rise in the confidence of marketers in applying it. This is because the ambiguity regarding results is lower now as the number of industries is reaping substantial benefits.

The presence of artificial intelligence was felt in the previous year via its supplementary processes like Machine Learning, the Internet of Things, and big data. This year, a visible impact and changes were noticed brought by AI application.

The year 2018 has proved to be groundbreaking for digital marketing powered by AI. Here’s how artificial intelligence has impacted online marketing this year.

  • AI facilitated user experience personalization to a large extent
  • AI brought forth image recognition used to receive greater ROI
  • AI helped in easier & simpler decision making with predictive marketing

2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

The makeup app of L’Oreal employs virtual reality (VR) to let users virtually apply makeup. This allows users to know how they will look after applying the products. Recently, Elle Magazine leveraged virtual reality for creating its photo shoot’s 360-degree virtual tour.

Brands in India are also making use of AR and VR to offer interesting experiences to their prospective customers and audience. This year, these technologies played a big part in helping various brands stand out from the crowd.

3. More of Videos

2017 already saw a boost in content generated by video. Well, 2018 is the year in which video seems to have surpassed all other types of content! Videos are prevalent over social media as a chief form of content generation, and this trend is likely to only increase according to all the signs. Whether users are live streaming videos or not, video captivates them more than any other content form.

Platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope smoothen communication between consumers and brands, where there’s an almost infinite capacity of creating more enticing and distinctive content.

4. Interactive Content Marketing

A popular textile brand – Siyaram’s – created an interactive content marketing campaign last year in 2017. The campaign was named #10DaysofGoodwill. The brand created a contest of 10 days during Navaratri, in which the audience received one new challenge each day.

This contest encouraged people to participate and tag their relatives and friends on Twitter and Facebook. This campaign became a massive success, receiving 750 participants and 32K organic impressions on Twitter along with 100 new followers.

Interactive campaigns like these can fetch a significantly greater engagement and reach for your brand.

5. Local Marketing

2018 saw an emphasis of brands on reaching out to the local market and creating more brand awareness locally. This led marketers to focus on local marketing and local SEO, besides global SEO.

When a brand achieves significant visibility among local searchers, it gets more local traffic and local customer engagement that translates to conversions and sales. As more and more internet users research brands on the web, whether local or global, before making a purchase or seeking a service from them, the significance of local marketing is likely to only increase in the near future.

To stay ahead of the competition, when it comes to getting local customers in Kolkata, it’s important for businesses to optimize their website for local search and employ effective local SEO tips.

Future of Digital Marketing in India

In 2018, the digital marketing industry underwent many significant changes. What’s in store for 2019? Well, in 2019 too, internet marketing would continue to evolve. Marketing experts have already made predictions about what we can expect in digital marketing in the upcoming year. Some of the predicted online marketing trends for the year 2019 are emphasis on engaging content, growth of voice recognition technology, the rise of technologies like AI and VR, heightened use of live video features, and more.

Let’s hope to see the digital marketing landscape coming up with more and more interesting things in the near future. And I’m sure, the future developments will prove to be more effective and useful for businesses to flourish in this digital age!

What is GDPR and Why Every Website Owner Should Know about it?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25th May 2018, and it should matter to you if you are a website owner. To remain on the right side of the law, there are certain changes that you have to make to your website while also keeping customers happy.

One EU law for collecting personal data online

Earlier, each EU country had its individual privacy laws that are now being replaced by the singular GDPR. With the new GDPR replacing the Data Protection Act (DPA) of 1998, it will provide all EU citizens a higher control over all personal data that are collected from them online.

GDPR is all set to be the global standard for all data protection being applicable to everyone in Europe and also organizations and businesses situated outside Europe providing services or selling anything to people in Europe.

Even with UK leaving the EU within the next few months, businesses that are connected to EU residents directly come under the purview of the law.

The text below is an exact quote from the GDPR regulation:

Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.”

The penalties involved

In case your website is not compliant with the new GDPR, and it ends up floating it,

  • At first, you are given a warning and a certain time period to abide by the law.
  • The second time you are given a reprimand
  • The third time you may have to suspend all data concerning EU citizens depending on the diplomatic relationship your country has with the EU.
  • Finally, you will get slapped with a fine that can be up to 4% of your total global turnover or up to €20 million.

The elements concerned:

  • Data Subject is an EU citizen whose personal data your website collects.
  • Personal Data like name, address, online id, information about demography, health, or anything that is personal and unique to a person’s identity.
  • Data Collector could be an individual business or an organization with a website.
  • Data Processor or 3rd Party Processor to whom the data collected through the website is passed on. This 3rd party may be a virtual assistant, web developer, web host, digital marketing company, email newsletter, plugins, or any other services connected to your website.
  • Transfer of such Personal Data outside the EU is not permitted except to the authorized few countries. Canada is among the authorized countries, and a Canadian SEO company can use the data, but it can be passed out to the company’s offshore site in India as India is not among the authorized countries.
  • Even if your website lies outside the EU, it could be visited by any EU citizen. Also, a lot of people now hold dual citizenship, which means that even if they do not live in the EU and are accessing your website from a non-EU IP address, the law applies.

Immediate remedial measures for your websites

Earlier, it was enough to have a privacy policy page that was linked to every other page making users give implicit consent to give out personal data when visiting your site. This is no more the case from 25th May 2018 when the GDPR comes into place.

  • You will have to ask for the explicit consent of the users to collect their personal details such as name, email ids, phone numbers, and other information.
  • If your website had pre-ticks on the opt-in box that made it necessary for users to actively opt-out, it has to be changed. Instead, the forms should give users an active opt-in choice.
  • In case you are asking your users to accept terms and conditions, a separate form asking for their explicit consent should be in place.
  • Each process that the website carries out should ask for separate explicit consent from the user and should not have any pre-ticks.
  • The forms that take in consent should be easy to use. The user should be able to give and take away consent with a simple click.
  • Each party for whom the consent is being taken should be clearly mentioned. If your company has sister concerns for which you would want to take the personal details, the fact should be clearly mentioned in the form.
  • Your website terms and conditions have to be updated, saying for how long you wish to use the personal data received through your website.
  • In case people want their data to be moved to another provider, you will have to comply with it within four weeks, and the data should still be clearly read.
  • For e-commerce websites or any website that has a payment gateway, it is normal that the customer information is first collected by your site and then passed on to the payment gateway. Your website process has to be modified so that all personal customer data is removed after a certain time period. Though GDPR does not mention the time period, it is up to the reasonable discretion that you can defend as necessary.
  • If your website makes use of any third-party marketing and tracking software, the issue lies in the grey area. These automatons receive personal data in ways for which users have not given consent. But again, the suppliers of the applications assure that they are completely GDPR compliant.
  • In the case of a data breach, you are obliged to inform the authorities and the people affected by the breach within 72 hours of the breach intimation. Failure to do so will attract a penalty of up to 2% of worldwide annual revenue earned or €10 million, whichever is higher.

It’s your website that has to be GDPR compliant to stay away from being penalized in any way.

Be future-ready on all fronts.

In case you have plenty of personal data in different business places, get a documented record of them coming with explicit consent. Even when you have the consented data, it is your responsibility to keep them secure from all human and technological glitches. WordPress website users can make use of GDPR plugins to make your website GDPR compliant.

Sure GDPR will have an immense impact on the way that websites are designed and also on digital marketing activities, including social media. But, in the days to come, it is set to be the way that online personal data will be governed, and you have just about the time to set it all right concerning your website to be on the right side of the international law.