NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: As brands ranging from textiles, FMCG and handset majors, as well as those targeting the male grooming industry are increasingly going ‘social media only’ in their media plans for new launches and certain product categories, media experts are divided on whether it’s a good strategy for reaching consumers.
While some believe in the power of multi-media and multiple touch points, other advertisers and marketers say the focus is on getting more eyeballs on platforms like Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram and Chinese short-form mobile-video app TikTok.
“I am a great believer of multi-media campaigns, including of online and offline activations,” said Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands. “In my personal opinion, at this point of time in India brands need an integrated campaign for a multiplier effect. You have to reach the consumer via various touch points across different point of her/his journey.”
Some experts however add that brands have to chase consumers wherever they are. Sandeep Goyal, founder of Mogae Media, said that for brands which are targeting audiences which are increasingly mobile, it makes more sense to go digital or social media only. “Today’s millennial are no longer consuming media in traditional way. They are watching TV on demand and reading news on their mobile devices. So to reach them on TV or print is not possible. If a brand is chasing such audience, there is nothing wrong on going only digital or only social.”
On different roles played by social media platforms, Harsh Shah, senior vice president at digital agency Dentsu Webchutney, says that Facebook is driving consideration for brands, Instagram-awareness, and Tik Tok, advocacy.
“A lot of brands have adopted an only social-media approach. One big advantage with social media is being ‘always on’. A marketer can practically run a new campaign all the time as far as the objective is clear,” Shah said.
There are also some positive results. For instance, when French cosmetics major L’Oreal launched its limited-edition makeup line in association with designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee in India, it planned an Instagram-only placement as part of its digital media mix to drive purchase intent. The company said it witnessed a 20-point lift in purchase intent among women aged 35-44 and a 13-point improvement in brand awareness among women aged 25-34 years.
Siddharth Banerjee, director of global sales organisation at Facebook India, says that brands go the Instagram way in their digital media plans because advertising with the company has driven ‘significant business results for advertisers.’
“It allows businesses to share photos and videos to communicate the brand’s story and develop relationships with potential customers,” he added.
Marketers said brands were pushing for exclusive campaigns on TikTok after seeing its astronomical rise. TikTok has around 200 million users in India.
“Brands like Cadbury, Oppo and Amazon to those like Welspun that sells blankets are coming to us and asking for TikTok-only campaigns,” says Sumedh Chaphekar, the chief executive of influencer incubator platform NoFiltr.
Gozoop founder and CEO Ahmed Aftab Naqvi says his company runs TikTok-only campaigns for brands who want to penetrate small cities and towns. “Brand like Ace Blend, which is now one of the largest vegan protein supplement brands in India, has been built from scratch through Instagram-only campaigns. We are also using Instagram aggressively for a Beardo, which sells male grooming products,” he says.
Sachin Sharma, the director of sales and partnerships at ByteDance-owned TikTok says that brands are slowly uncovering the potential of the platform as an engaging content creation framework for a lot of new Internet users in the country. “This gives our partners an opportunity to connect with audiences across the length and breadth of the country.”
ByteDance cited the example of online kidswear company Hopscotch that ran a #MomRapChallenge on TikTok. It garnered more than 5 billion views, the company said. Hopscotch asked moms across the country to create videos that capture their experiences styling their kids while rapping to a Hopscotch song. The top ten creative entries won company vouchers worth Rs 50,000 each.
While Instagram, Facebook and YouTube continue to be a key social component in digital media plans, TikTok’s meteoric rise has indeed made the platform a new darling among marketers. Last month, however, The Walt Disney Company dispatched an internal note saying that it is putting on hold all advertising and campaigns on the platform, globally, till further notice as per a report by The Morning Context. The publication has seen a copy of the memo, as per the report.
Bhaskar Ramesh, group head – CPG, technology, auto and M&E at Google India said YouTube offers several ad products, including TrueView, Bumpers, Director Mix and Video Ads Sequencing that are designed to help marketers engage with existing customers in a more meaningful manner and ‘unlock more audiences in moments that matter.’
Some alarm bells have gone off in the past two years though as advertisers (P&G, Nestle, and McDonald’s, among them) pulled out of platforms like YouTube. Some have done so provisionally.
Yet, marketers’ pursuit of ‘virality’ remains relentless. Amardeep Singh, CEO, Interactive Avenues, which is the digital arm of IPG Mediabrands, says, “Platforms (like TikTok) help in creating viral content as they are mass reach platforms. They help drive maximum reach in a short span of time.”