e4m Webinar: 'Search is a way to drive awareness which leads to conversions for brands'

e4m joined hands with Microsoft Advertising & InMobi to unveil how search advertising is entering newer realms, its pivotal role in brand advertising campaigns and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 17, 2020 9:43 AM
InMobi webinar

exchange4media, in collaboration with Microsoft Advertising and InMobi, curated a webinar focused on 'Making Search Work for Your Brand: From Awareness to Conversion'. The virtual discussion took place on September 15, 2020.

With the spike in digital consumption, Search has become a critical channel for advertisers as millions of customer decision journeys begin with it; it plays a key part in the consumer journey cycle. Whether it is online shopping, music, maps, news or social media, Search helps brands and platforms deliver a holistic experience. There is consensus among brand experts that search advertising can help capture premium yet unexplored customer geographies and profiles. However, the only condition is to follow the established rulebook.

With the changing market scenario, search advertising is also entering newer realms - driving results throughout the purchase path with robust insights, easier search actions, automated technology and intelligent predictions. From owning the category to owning consumer mindshare, Search has become an indispensable tool of the marketing funnel from 'Awareness to Conversion.'

The virtual session was graced by speakers from across the industries: Amit Tiwari, VP Marketing, Havells; Bhavana Mittal, VP (Head) - Media and Digital, RPSG Group; Divesh Sawhney, Head of Performance Marketing, Tata CLiQ;  Jahid Ahmed, VP & Head, Digital Marketing, HDFC Bank; and Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect. The session was chaired by Rohit Dosi, Director, Microsoft Advertising, InMobi.

The discussion started with exchanges around the lockdown searches of the panelists and what topics centered their searches. All the panelists had a short- light hearted conversation over the kind of searches that kept them engaged during the lockdown.

Taking the conversation ahead, Dosi quizzed the panelists on what kind of search patterns were observed among their respective customer bases.
Mittal says, "The habits formed during pandemic will continue. As people are at home, searches for snacks online saw huge growth. We have seen a surge in search volume traffic for Dr. Ayurveda and immunity products.”

Dosi too added, "During the lockdown, we have seen a huge uptick in queries related to appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers. We have also seen a huge uplift in terms of people searching and asking queries related to finance/investments and health/immunity."

"In terms of consumer durables, people are searching for ways to fix technical glitches in their home products such as water purifiers, dish washers etc. People are becoming masters of DIY, informed Tiwari. He further added, “We have seen a spike in consumers asking for queries related to electric products around the house like wires, LED bulbs, etc."
“If people used to explore for 2 - 3 products, they are now exploring the website more and searching for a lot more options. We have seen an increase in the sales of leisure wear, appliances, homewares and smartphones," added Sawhney.

Sharing her insights, Singh said, “In the beginning of the lockdown, people were worried about general safety in terms of Covid-19 but now the queries that people are searching for have become more personalized."

Ahmed put the spotlight on people’s concern about financial uncertainty. He informed, “We saw a huge spike for SME loans. We have increased auto, particularly used cars among government employees, Tier I and Tier II cities.”

Talking about the pivotal role search can play in brand advertising campaigns and their success, Singh responded, "Search is a way to drive awareness among end users and this will ultimately lead to conversions for brands. Search will evolve in the next couple of years. “

Stressing on voice searches, she added, “It is interesting to imagine what it will end up looking like in the near future. Search will become very conversational and voice driven.”
“Currently, search engines are transforming and adding layers of personalization and will soon become personal assistants,” pointed Singh.
Tiwari also stressed on voice searches. He added, "Most of the marketplaces are already using Voice Searches. Apart from Voice, Visual will also make an impact on what a person is searching for on the internet."

As per Sawhney, “Search is more intent driven. Search plays a very important role for me but social is equally important but it leads to a spur of the moment purchase decision.”
Mittal shared her recipe of brand building. She said ,"Search is a brand marketer's tool and helps build brand imagery".
Moving forward, the session chair questioned the panelist on the new strategies for a festive season that will be celebrated during the new normal. Jahid spoke of HDFC’s idea of leveraging the festive season. He informed the audience, “We are working almost 20 hours a day to try and leverage what the upcoming festival brings our way. It's a wait and watch game. In the pandemic, HDFC Bank chose to not to go media dark and choose to focus on empathy and safety. We will leverage festival season and IPL to the fullest".
Tiwari focused on the increase of online retail. He said, "The amount of increase on online and social media platforms will increase. Good sales come in during the festival season and we are looking forward to this happening."

Guarded by optimistic vibes, Sawhney responded, “We have recorded 3x better sales than pre-Covid times. As consumer demand in fashion, retail, consumer durables has seen a spike, we expect to witness 2-3x increase in the sales than last year during the upcoming festive season”.
Singh too supported his idea. She added, “The festive season is always the time for heightened purchases. This time around, brands are gearing up for the online purchases being much higher than normal."

"Expect revival in the festive season. However spends may not go back to pre-Covid levels. All media drivers like Bigg Boss and IPL are coming back. This will help to bring back spends. Having said that the spends will not be equal to the Pre Covid-19 levels", informed Mittal.

Sharing perspectives around future of Search Advertising and how it can help capture India’s most premium yet unexplored audiences, the panelists presented varied viewpoints.
Jahid focused on SEO and key words. He said, "We identify the key words that we will use to measure campaigns. We try to map the journey of our products which helps us to understand that a product goes through."

“Digital strategies can be devised depending on the size of the business. Next, it depends on what the USP of a brand is and how to target the right consumer," added Singh.
Mittal too informed about using one’s own platform to know the insights. She said, "Insights gathered from own platform are important, this cannot be compared to marketplace".

"The virality on social media, hope we could leverage the virality on search too," concluded Mittal.
Dosi also took the audience through the ‘InMobi Microsoft Advertising Report’. The report talks about “What are India's most promising online users searching for?”

You can read and download the InMobi Microsoft Advertising Report here.

Microsoft Advertising provides intelligent solutions that empower you to deliver engaging, personalized experiences that value people. Committed to your success, the service provides you with insights, technology and proven expertise to turn data into better performing marketing campaigns.

InMobi drives real connections between brands and consumers by leveraging its technology platforms and exclusive access to mobile intelligence. Its Marketing Cloud creates new paths for brands to understand, identify, engage and acquire connected consumers.

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