Kirthiga Reddy, Head of Facebook India, gave some insights on the future of social and digital media at the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2014 in Mumbai on February 19, 2014. Talking about the vision for Facebook, she said that Facebook believes in connecting people. “There are 2.7 billion connected people in the world, of those 1.2 billion use Facebook on a monthly basis,” she shared.
To highlight the impact of these connections on marketers, Reddy showcased an AV highlighting the message – “All the people that matter to you, where they are, discovering what matters to them. Every day, everywhere.”
Reddy further spoke about her three key predictions for social media in 2014. The first and foremost, according to her, is that the term ‘social media’ will be used less and less. Though agreeing that marketers and publishers have been in an era where the impact of social media has been looked at from the perspective of likes, sentiment and fans, she added that these metrics are now fading in significance. “These are no doubt important metrics. We have research that shows that fans buy more than non-fans. But what we are seeing more and more is that as marketers keep using Facebook for mass engagement and awareness, these metrics are fading in importance in comparison to the true focus of business objectives, like driving sales,” she said.
Her second key prediction was that brand building will go mobile, which she calls ‘Your every day, all day platform’. “In this world of global technologies, digital is synonymous with mobile and we will see marketers’ digital strategies being synonymous with mobile strategies,” she said. In the coming year, for many brands and brand messages, the first experience will come on mobile devices, she added. She cited the example of concerts to highlight this. “Earlier, people used to go to concerts to dance and enjoy, nowadays people go to click pictures and tweet,” she explained.
Reddy also pointed out the scenario in the US, where in 2013, for the first time, more content was consumed on digital platform as compared to the television; a big driver of which was the mobile. “Last year, Facebook saw a 90 per cent growth in total mobile minutes. It is a trend that all of us as marketers and publishers need to be cognizant of. You will see a lot of innovation on the mobile canvas,” she added.
Another point highlighted by Reddy was the socio-economic impact this kind of connectivity has. According to her, the digital medium should not be only about urban areas, it should be available for all classes and especially supported by a choice in languages.
Her last prediction for social media was that the focus of digital marketing capabilities would be on targeting and measurement. She mentioned content, reach, impressions and placement as the four pillars of digital strategy. Agreeing that there are still discussions about targeting and mass reach, she suggested that a trade-off is needed between efficient targeting and reaching people at scale. “The future of brand building will be on how we get the right reach,” she said.
To highlight her point, she talked about campaigns that Facebook had done with Cadbury and Lizol in the US. The campaign with Cadbury had a 21 per cent unique reach beyond TV, with 15 million unique people reached overall. Meanwhile, the Lizol campaign managed to reach women in the age group of 25-54 years (which was the target group) with 95 per cent accuracy. In both cases, she stressed that content, reach and placement were the key ingredients.
Reddy signed off by observing that two-thirds of the world is still not connected. “We can see the situation in India itself. There is tremendous opportunity for all of us in the digital space. We will be reimagining brand building every single year,” she concluded.