This following interview of Anshul Jain, CTO, Thoughtbuzz that was featured in Mediavataar.com. You can view the original interview here.
“Generating revenue from social media has been a tough nut to crack. Twitter has done a good job with its sponsored stories bit but there is still some distance to go. Facebook is in a bit of a tangle as they are still figuring out mobile. However, I do believe ultimately they will succeed in generating long-term revenue from their users. How they would do it and in what form remains to be seen, but I believe mobile and social commerce would be the choices.” Said Anshul Jain, CTO thoughtbuzz.
Talking about the ongoing realm of Social Media, in this interaction with MediAvataar.com he reveals many issues that still remain significant for various marketers looking to counter the digital world.
1. How according to you Digital Marketing has moved beyond the realms of being a means for Customer Acquisition to being a tool which enables organizations to gain competitive edge?
Digital marketing has entered a new fragmented universe. Multiple channels, information overload and the dawn of real-time data has created amplechallenges for digital marketers. At the same time, it has created huge opportunities — most of which are yet to be fully realized. At the end of the day, it all boils down to data. 15 years ago when companies began web marketing, they devised strategies based on data that was available then. Now, with all the sharing, tweeting and liking, consumers are sharing more than just clicks and that’s where the opportunity lies. If harnessed correctly, digital marketers can use data not only for customer acquisition but for a variety of other brand-building purposes.
2. Content is the most important in building a brand image over the web, what’s ThoughBuzz’s idea of a perfect conversation?
Content and conversation are very different. Content would include blog posts, whitepapers or infographics with the ultimate idea of a getting a sale. This isn’t the same as a conversation. Ofcourse, conversations without content are less likely to go anywhere but the idea of mixing content and conversations is something I would stay away with. The best conversations are almost always about addressing a customer’s problem or helping them. The perfect conversation would be one which is ideal for the medium it’s posted on, and helps in fulfilling a customer’s need.
3. How important you think are the old practices of SEO and SEM, or they have taken a new shape now?
SEO and SEM have been around for a while and hold tremendous importance in today’s social media world. Without SEO and SEM, there would have been no concept of clicks, eyeballs or traffic. What needs to be done now is to incorporate SEO and SEM into social media and call it something like Social Media Optimization (SMO). A lot of the matrices and indexes used in SEO/SEM are applicable in social media as well. At the same time, new KPIs need to be defined as well for social media. SEO and SEM are still part of the customer funnel even when most conversations trigger on social media.
4. Facebook and other social networking sites are now getting on to arrange for some revenue lately, how far will it go you think?
Generating revenue from social media has been a tough nut to crack. Twitter has done a good job with its sponsored stories bit but there is still some distance to go. Facebook is in a bit of a tangle as they are still figuring out mobile. However, I do believe ultimately they will succeed in generating long-term revenue from their users. How they would do it and in what form remains to be seen, but I believe mobile and social commerce would be the choices.
5. Skype is the latest to join the course of calling the advertisers, what is your take on it?
I am surprised that they did not do this earlier. The ads are not annoying as they are devoid of sounds and popups and only appear for non-paying users. As a user, I don’t think I would mind them as long as the ads served are not based on identifiable information about me. For the level of service they provide for free, users won’t mind seeing non-intrusive ads. The only concern here is if the ads can be used as a way to distribute viruses or exploits. Skype needs to be careful about that because if it happens, users may start revolting.
6. How different people from diverse age groups are responding to the DNA change of digital media in India and abroad?
The best thing about social media has been the way people of different age groups are using it. The millennial generation pretty much grew on the internet and use it for almost everything from planning events to booking tickets. The older generation use social media to stay in touch with their loved ones across borders. The fact that apps like Skype, Facebook, etc. are free has been a big bonus. Ultimately I see people of all age groups using digital media one way or the other to accomplish various things.
7. Microsoft recently announced the patent wherein they will target people according to their emotions, good idea according to you?
I am not really thrilled with this idea. This screams privacy issues and I doubt if it could actually be ever put into practice. Users would revolt if Microsoft did so. Such patents are more for building patent portfolios rather than a real-world implementation.
8. Analysis and research is something which is mandatory for measuring the effect of Digital media, what according to you should be the best parameter to judge a digital campaign?
A digital campaign can comprise of different platforms all having a common goal. A user could start on Facebook and end up on a website buying the product. As such, there is no single metric to determine the success of a digital campaign. It really depends on your objectives and platforms being used to determine meaningful metrics to measure
9. Convergence is the way to go for all the marketers. According to eMarketer, in USA TV and Online Video Advertising are Slow to Integrate, do you think the trend goes similar for other countries?
Every marketer dreams of convergence. Seamless integration of different mediums to deliver a consistent and precise message to the consumer is the ideal scenario. However, in reality it’s quite difficult. The myriad of platforms available now, as well as the differences in consumer behaviour on each of these platforms poses a challenge for any marketer. Adoption rates will differ from country to country as each country has its own consumer habits in usage of different channels.
10. What is ThoughtBuzz doing to make marketers gain trust in Digital Media completely?
Looking at the way things have changed in the digital realm over the past couple of years, one would be forgiven to think that not everybody is benefiting from the digital revolution. As an analytics company, we constantly engage with digital practitioners through workshops, talks and conferences to share our experience and learn from theirs.
11. What is your company’s USP and what different does it offers to the clients?
We position ourselves as an insights company rather than just analytics. Our solutions, be it software or human-driven, are geared towards providing meaningful information rather than just data.