My 2014 in blogging

The WordPress.com prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Some cool stats but 2015 would be even bigger!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Want to get a google inbox invite?

akhilsethi blog randomnomics Inbox by Google GmailWorking in the digital industry has its own advantages. You can keep yourself updated with the latest developments while having conversations online on various social media channels or even offline with the industry people. Few days back, I got the invite to access Google’s inbox  from one my friends Sachin Uppal. However after getting the access, to my surprise, the ‘invite to others’ button was not visible. I thought, may the same would get enabled in a day or two. Even after waiting for 3-4 days, the button didn’t get enable. Hence I researched on the internet regarding the same and found on one of the Google’s product forums which explained that it usually takes a week to get that option in one’s inbox. This made me calm and after a week or so, I have now got the option to invite others.

akhilsethi randomnomics blog google gmail inbox 3 invites available

Coming straight to the point, from the 3 invites, I have only 1 left and would be happy to give it to someone who do the following:

1. Subscribe to my blog by entering your email-id on the top-left hand side box
2. Follow me and Rt the following tweet

3. At the bottom, where we can show our care by sharing this post with others, increase your chances of gaining the invite by sharing this blog-post on all social media platforms

So, go-ahead and follow these simple steps and increase your chances to be lucky 🙂 Don’t forget to give the links of your posts where you’ve shared this post on all platforms in the comments sections below, otherwise would be difficult for me to find your shared posts 🙂

Image courtesies: http://pureinfotech.com/ and http://static.neow.in/

P.S: As I’ve only 1 invite left, my decision of giving the invite to someone among all would be final, binding and even non-contestable! 🙂

Google unveils Inbox: The inbox that works for you

akhilsethi randomnomics blog -google-reimagines-email-with-their-new-inbox-appOn the occasion of my birthday, yes 22nd Oct :), Google introduced a new application named as Inbox which I believe would set a new trend as far as the emailing is concerned. Before going into nitty-gritty’s, let me tell you, as of now, there’s no official word from Google that it will replace the age-old gmail but if the product succeeds, I think it will eventually. As of now, Inbox is currently in beta and by invitation only (requested at inbox@gmail.com when sent from a Gmail account) or you can further request any user who has already got the access to the latest inbox!

Here is what my desktop inbox looks like currently:

akhilsethi randomnomics blog google gmail inbox

I won’t go into detailing out all the features of the new inbox app however as a digital marketer, would be providing relevant useful links which will provide you enough information about the same.

Like I told you, that it was released on my birthday, here’s the link of the official blog-post from Google to confirm the same. If you’re short of time, do check this video which equip you enough to talk about it in-front of others and make you sound more knowledgeable 😛 For a detailed version, The Next Web published a hands-on showing what it is like to use, VentureBeat explained the three reasons why it is their new favorite email app. And, Advertising Age noted that Inbox seemed to be intent on lowering the need to actually open emails, and that marketing emails will be grouped into ‘bundles’.

Apart from this, gmail and inbox are working simultaneously as of now. Gmail, as usual can be accessed at https://mail.google.com and Inbox can be accessed at https://inbox.google.com/

As far as my opinion is concerned, from the initial looks, Inbox (which can be accessed from both mobile and desktop) looks simple, neat and with no-ads at all. With last year’s gmail updates on categorization of emails to primary, social and promotions, it just takes the same to few steps further of bundling your emails to various categories by adding some cool features mentioned in above articles. Will it eventually replace gmail? I think, gradually and eventually, yes! Will I use Inbox daily now instead of the usual gmail? It certainly has the potential, but let’s see how things roll-out when it gets accessible to the whole world!

Have you got the Inbox invite? What are your initial thoughts? Look forward to your comments below.

Top Image Courtesy: fastcodesign.com

Future of marketing on Facebook: Pay to Play

akhilsethi randomnomics facebook marketing pay to play blog

I started my professional career in social media marketing way back in April 2010 and since then each day, I love to see how brands use social media in an effective way to achieve their marketing goals. Facebook being the biggest social media platform in terms of active users finds its place automatically in every brand’s social media marketing mix. One can’t ignore the possibilities it provides to interact & engage with your target audience. From posting brand’s updates, building the right fan-base using proper targeting techniques during Facebook advertising to even using applications to engage audience with the brand, it has everything. However I will not digress from the topic and would talk more on the organic performance of the Facebook posts.

It all started with the analysis done by Social@Ogilvy in Feb ’14 of more than 100 brand pages. What they found out was that for all Facebook pages, the organic reach hovered at 6%, a decline of 49% from peak levels in Oct ’13. For large pages with more than 500,000 fans, organic reach has further declined to 2% only. Even the report stated that many Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future. This report created a huge ruckus amongst the digital marketers across world who worked hard to build their brands on Facebook and hence started blaming Facebook of becoming more greedy. However, on June 5, 2014 blog-post, Facebook’s VP of Ads Product Marketing, Brian Boland, wrote an extensive FAQ to answer questions about the reduction in organic reach to pacify all digital marketers. The main reasons that he shared was the increase in content generation in terms of text, photos & videos as well Facebook’s news-feed algorithm which decides what to show on your timeline.

Even according to the recent Adobe’s Q3 digital advertising report, from the past year Facebook organic impressions are down by 50% and paid impressions are up by 5%. See the graph below for more details:

akhilsethi randomnomics blog facebook organic and paid impressions yoy 2014Because of this, brands have started posting more posts as compared to earlier.

akhilsethi randomnomics blog _ increase in quantity of facebook posts

So, as a social media marketer, here is what I recommend brands to do:

1. Emphasize on producing quality content: Despite reduction in organic reach, I still believe brands should give utmost importance on building quality content. A content which:

a) is accompanied by rich images

b) has direct Call to Action (CTA) which state specifically what do you want your users to do after reading the post

c) is worth sharing or spreading

2. Allocate specific consistent monthly budgets for acquiring new fans as well as for promoting posts: Brands need to understand the fact that Facebook of 2010 isn’t the Facebook of 2014. The number of active users as well as the brand pages have grown exponentially. Hence, to keep your brand visible, it’s imperative to allocate specific monthly budgets for Facebook advertising.

3. Ensure social media community managers to be more responsive & on top of their game: I’ve seen many brand pages where most of the users’ comments/queries are usually unanswered or answered after 2-3 days and that too with a standard response. Believe me, this not only affects the brand’s image in a negative way but also annoys the users to a large extent. Hence brands need to ensure whether their social media platforms are being handled by external agencies or by their in-house teams, the so-called social media customers managers have to be on top of their game. Not only this, they even have the responsibility to:

a) analyze and suggest what is the best time to post feeds on the page

b) give suggestions to content team on regular basis for creating posts which can increase the engagement

c) share fortnightly or monthly reports on how they are accomplishing brand’s objectives set initially

4. Lastly, have monthly wall-based contests: According to a recent report by Ethinos marketing, there are more than 112 million Facebook users in India and 72 million (around 64%) are from the age-group of 13-25 years which shows majority of the Facebook users are very young. From my experience also, this age-group loves contest and gratifications. Hence, my advice to brands is that keep coming with small contests once in every month or two months to keep users engaged.

If none of these suggestions looks relevant to you, I’m afraid to say that Facebook shouldn’t be a part of your overall social media marketing mix. Do let me know if you have some more suggestions / ways which can help brands to get more out of their Facebook marketing. Let’s discuss them in the comments sections below.

Top image courtesy: shootforth.com

Why is reading so important?

Before I start, let me tell you – I’m not into reading books. During my MBA days or even after that, I tried so many times that I read, read and read until it becomes a habit. They say, if you are into reading books, you have good command over English, written as well as verbal which just helps you to make other people understand your thoughts and ideas in a better way. But having said that, till now, I have read only 5 books namely The Alchemist, Five Point SomeoneIt happened in IndiaThe Da Vinci Code and Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. The last one is much on the lines of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Yes, I know these are some of the great books, but I wasn’t able to continue my reading (of books) after that. 🙂

Instead, I make up for this, by reading various articles, blogs, news online which keeps me updated of anything and everything professional as well as non-professional. YES, It’s absolutely imperative to READ to expand knowledge as well as your thought process. Just as other jobs/tasks, reading should also be on your job list everyday. It’s not about reading everything everyday, just reading a fair amount to ensure you are, in corporate lingo, ahead of the curve. By reading, you not only inspire yourself, but others too. And, if you’re a CEO/Head of an organization, think about your employees who are much more informed than their counterparts in other organizations. It will result in a great task-force, isn’t it?

So, coming straight to the point, here’s a list of websites (mostly related to marketing) I usually follow to keep myself updated regularly. Yes, some of the websites’ link were shared earlier with me when I started my professional career and later-on I added more 🙂

International Advertising News:

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/

www.adage.com

www.campaignasia.com/

http://www.brandrepublic.com/go/global/

http://www.adweek.com/advertising-branding

http://www.inma.org/

http://www.iab.net/

Ad Strategy:

http://bbh-labs.com

http://adverlab.blogspot.com/

Digital Marketing/Advertising:

www.imediaconnection.com

www.clickz.com

www.emarketer.com

www.mediapost.com

www.adage.com/digital

http://allthingsd.com/

http://www.rohitbhargava.com/

http://joannapenabickley.typepad.com/

http://www.twistimage.com/blog

http://blogs.forrester.com/interactive_marketing

http://wallblog.co.uk/

http://pauldunay.com/

www.digitalbuzzblog.com

www.fastcompany.com

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.jonloomer.com/

http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/

Social Media Marketing:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marketingAPAC

http://www.insidefacebook.com/

www.mashable.com

www.socialmediatoday.com

http://www.briansolis.com/

www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Others:

www.harvardbusiness.org

www.sethgodin.com

Creative:

http://creativity-online.com/

http://www.inspiredm.com/

http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/

http://www.informationarchitects.jp/en/

http://www.fastcodesign.com/

Technology:

www.techcrunch.com

http://www.webmonkey.com/

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/

http://drippler.com/ [Download the app too]

Marketing / Business Fun:

http://businessguysonbusinesstrips.com/

http://dilbert.com/blog/

http://tomfishburne.com/

http://jimsmarketingblog.com/

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

Indian

E4m

Afaqs

Watblog

Medianama

Social Samosa

Adgully

Alootechie

Campaign India

Lighthouse Insights

Digital Vidya

P.S: If you follow me on twitter, you will get to know how much I read. Anyways, do let me know if you find the list useful. And yes, feel free to add more of them in the comments section, I would love to go through them and further add them on this post with a courtesy!

Xiaomi Selling Strategy in India: Good or Bad?

India is currently one of the fastest growing handset markets in the world. According to a recent report by wearesocial on Social, Digital and Mobile landscape in India, it was found that in a population of more 1.25 billion, only 349 million are the unique mobile phone users which account to only 28% of mobile penetration. This itself suggest the BIG opportunity that the country will provide in near future to all the handset manufacturers across the world to sell their products and make a lot of money. There was a time when almost every household had a Nokia phone but owing to its persistence for focusing only on feature phones without double-sim functionality as well as non-android based smart-phones, its market share fell which provided an opportunity to other players like Samsung to enter & grow in the smartphone category rapidly. This also gave an opportunity to some of the Indian handset manufacturers like Micromax, Karbonn & Lava to enter into this growing industry and provide android-based smartphones at relatively low-prices. And now, according to a recent report from counterpoint market research firm, while Samsung still leads Micromax in the smartphone category, however Micromax has beaten Samsung to become the overall biggest mobile handset vendor in India!

Last month was full of buzz about the entry of Xiaomi (pronounced as Shiao-Me), famously called as ‘Apple of China’ in India. The company partnered exclusively with Flipkart.com to sell its products online. Till now, Xiaomi Mi 3 went on sale thrice i.e. on 22nd July, 29th July and 5th August and the next one is due to happen on 12th August. To buy, a user has to pre-register himself/herself before every sale irrespective of the fact whether he/she has registered before. However, pre-registration won’t guarantee you a unit but will only mean that you’re eligible to buy the phone.

During the first sale, Flipkart couldn’t even handle the traffic and the site crashed temporarily. Within 40 minutes, Flipkart claimed the Mi 3 was out of stock. The second batch for 29th July sale apparently got over in five seconds. And, the third batch couldn’t even stand that & got over in just two seconds. This thing brought too much of negative feedback from the potential buyers online (including their Facebook page). Highlighting some of it here:

akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments

 

 

 

 

 

akhilsethi xiaomi selling strategy blogpost randomnomics user comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do you think? Is Xiaomi creating an artificial shortage and hence a demand which is totally un-called for which could even be a part of its marketing strategy OR the company seriously didn’t expect the demand?

In my opinion, it’s more to do with its marketing strategy rather than matching up the demand with the supply. With the kind of price-point (INR 13,999) and the great features which the product boast of, I’m sure the company would definitely had the idea of the demand that would get created.

Adding on to that, providing the product only to a few customers will sustain the aspirational feel of the brand / product. These customers will mostly be the so-called early adopters of the technology and they will be the ones who will write about the product’s features & specifications everywhere online (Facebook, Twitter, Tech websites, Blogs, etc.). This will not only help the company to create the so-called user-generated content (UGC) but will also result in spreading the same without much budgets.

So, do you think Xiaomi is doing the right thing to enter into a country like India with low inventory and that too through only online-selling model? Shouldn’t it would’ve entered with physical stores where potential customers can go, see the product and then purchase it which is what Samsung did few years back.

I know I’ve touched your tech. thinking chord here. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below and let’s have a healthy discussion on the same here.

 

How to Setup and Use Twitter Cards in Your Tweets for Free!

Working in a digital industry has its own challenges. Sometimes it’s very difficult for one to keep himself/herself updated about the latest changes happening in the digital field. Be it Facebook layout changes, twitter advertising/analytics changes, new ad formats on websites or how you buy inventory from ad-exchanges, anything to everything!

Coming to the point, while working in office few days back, I saw a twitter website card as a normal tweet on one of tweeps’ account I follow which was without any promotion. This made me really curious and what I figured our next will also make you surprisingly pleasantly curious if in case you’re a fellow digital marketer. 🙂

Yes, you can now use all the available twitter cards in your tweets and that too for FREE. 

From all the cards that twitter provides for advertising, only few of them are available in India yet. Last year, I wrote a post where I mentioned that twitter tied-up with Komli media to start its advertising business in India. I checked with them and they confirmed that apart from the usual promoted tweet, account & trend…website card, lead-generation card & app-download cards are also available in India.

Following is the simple step-by-step process to create a twitter card in your normal tweet:

1) Go to your profile, click on ‘settings & help’ drop-down and then further click on twitter ads. Yes, I’m aware that twitter-ads functionality isn’t available on all twitter accounts as yet, don’t ask me why!!

akhilsethi twitter blogpost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Then click on creatives drop-down to further click on cards: akhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) After that, let’s create a website card first. Check the below screenshot for more details. I already created one earlier hence it’s shown here:twitter akhilsethi blogpost randomnomics website card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Next click on website button which will open a window like below to create a twitter website card. The same give you an option to add an image (320×800 px) which would be clickable later, a landing page URL, a catchy-headline (max. 70 characters), a call to action button and lastly the card name. So, after filling-up all the details, just click on the ‘create card’ and you’re done creating the card heretwitter website card creation akhilsethi randomnomics blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Once you click on the create card, the below window will appear which will give you an option to use this card in a tweet, edit the card again, clone the card or visit the landing page URLakhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics creating a twitter website card 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Now click on compose tweet with this card and a pop-up like below will appear which will now give you an option to compose the complete tweet. Add text before the card link and press tweet to post it

akhilsethi twitter blogpost website cards randomnomics creating a twitter website card randomnomics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) The tweet will now appear on the handle and will be something like this. This was my first tweet having website card for this blog

akhilsethi twitter blogpost randomnomics 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar way, you can also create tweets which has lead-generation card or app-download card in it.

Not only this, these days twitter also gives you free analytics in the form of impressions, engagements and engagement rate.

Now you’ve successfully created a twitter advertising card to be used in your tweets for FREE. Do let me know the results after using the same. Have you been able to increase the traffic on your website, get more leads or even managed to get the app-downloads? Would love to hear your thoughts on the same. Till then, happy tweeting! 🙂