As per a report by eMarketer, the Digital Marketing Industry is a 68-billion-dollar business. As people move online to consume content of all shades, from news to movies to music, companies will have to shift their advertising strategies similarly. The industry consensus is that digital marketing growth will range between 16-20% for the next 5 years. As internet reaches more and more Indians, and smart phones become more pervasive, digital marketing is poised for an explosion. In India, there are already some companies who have made huge splash in the field of digital marketing like Razorfish, Tej SolPro etc. Fundamentally, the job of Digital marketers is to guide internet users to their brands. Some popular ways of doing it are:
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization, that is, when a customer hits search on some keywords, your site should appear close to the top. This doesn’t require partnership with the search engine.
- PPC: Pay-per-click. Advertisers pay a fee whenever their ad gets clicked.
- Web-Analytics: This analyzes users’ interaction with the website, and provides data on the web traffic attracted by the website. For example, users from which geographical area visited site, what is the preferred time, what kind of content attracts peak level activity.
Above are just three examples of the tools in a digital marketer’s repertoire. However, for these tools to be most effective, they will require to be wedded with the data.
One of the most repeated refrain these days is that “Data is the new Oil”. Internet economy is heavily dependent on the data generated by the users. And digital marketers will have at their disposal data generated from the user’s browsing habits, their interactions with mobile apps, the user’s purchasing profile etc. The data being so huge that the conventional programming and computational framework gives way to the new Big-Data ecosystem. And it will be Digital Marketers job to mine that data and provide actionable insights to attract customers.
Data mining is a subset of the data analytics field. Every action of the user on a website is logged. But that can lead to a lot of noise too. If for example, we are using the customers’ Facebook check-ins to recommend new restaurants opening up in his area; it will be prudent to not recommend to him a restaurant in a location to which he went on a weeklong vacation. Data should be pruned, and outliers removed before commencing the task of mining it. It is a real danger that the flood of data may overwhelm a marketer and a look at only selected variables, instead of a wholesale profile, can draw inaccurate picture.
Another significant point is that the digital marketers have to expand beyond the textual ads. Most often repeated adage in marketing conferences is that the “Video is the king”. Customers prefer watching a 3 minute YouTube video to reading 400-word article. The marketers have to invent ways to integrate the pitch of their product in the most seamless fashion with the ethos of the internet videos. The millennial generation craves authenticity, and jarring ads can be a big turn off.
All in all, the digital marketing space is ripe for explosive growth, and the driving factor would be the mobile internet usage.