India Digital Brand Index, a survey undertaken by Edelman in collaboration with Brandtology, has revealed some insights into online conversations in India. The Index also suggests ways to link that online buzz into the overall marketing strategy.
The quarterly Digital Brand Index was conducted across eight key markets in the Asia Pacific region. These include Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. The Asia Pacific Digital Brand Index monitors key brands from categories such as Internet and software, consumer electronics, mobile and telecommunications, business and consulting and IT and technology, across a list of popular online channels. These include influential blogs, forums, and online news outlets. The channels were selected by identifying conversations based on both qualitative as well as quantitative research.
For its first ever Digital Brand Index, 74,452 online conversations pertaining to 96 large technology brands, contained within 423 influential channels were monitored between July and September 2009.
Google and Microsoft topped the rankings by way of volume of conversations, securing approximately 20% and 12% of all monitored conversations, respectively. Yahoo!, Intel and Sony complete the Top 5 list, securing 14% of the overall conversation amongst them. Twitter emerged as the “buzziest” channel in India with almost 60% of the overall conversation share. Select online forums, including the Chip India Forum, TechArena Community Forum, Digit’s Technology Discussion Forum and DigitalPoint Forum, emerged as other key hubs where technology related conversations take place, securing approximately 16% of the conversations amongst them.
The study found that traditional marketing efforts result in spikes in online conversation, but the language of online communities in India is often very different to marketing communication. The key takeaway for brand owners here, the study points out, is that they learn how consumers talk about their brand or product online, and use these ‘insider terms’ to improve keyword search campaigns and to make marketing materials or press releases easier to find organically on web search engines. Also, proactively measure and manage social media to increase direct impact and overall campaign ROI.
The Index also found that online conversations mostly revolved around peer-to-peer product or service information seeking, as well as proactive sharing. The suggestion, here, for brands is to set up real-time online brand mention alerts and manage these using dashboards, so when purchase intent is detected, the brand can engage and educate relevantly. Any misinformation can also be clarified in a timely way.
Commenting on the findings, Sachin Talwar, national director, corporate practice, Edelman India said, “What is especially striking is the rising influence of social media channels such as Twitter which dominates with a two-thirds share of all conversations about technology brands in India.”
Kelly Choo, co-founder and business development director of Brandtology, says the Digital Brand Index can show a direct link between traditional marketing initiatives and online conversations and measure the extent to which online conversations drive marketing results.
He added, "The DBI shows which brand names are more active than others, but the real opportunity for brand owners is to identify and engage influential channels and voices through compelling social media content. This is what will ultimately increase their brand buzz and profitability."
The Index suggests two key indices which brand owners can use to measure the impact of their online engagement strategy. The first is Conversation Index, which is the ratio of individual instances of online branded conversations, versus the average instances of conversation for all brands locally. This indicates share of voice amongst online consumers.
The second is Channel Index, which is the ratio of total number of online channels (including social networking sites, forums, blogs and news sites) where comments about a brand are found, versus the average number of channels with comments for all brands locally. This indicates efficiency of channel engagement and targeting. By calculating Average Engagement, the DBI also provides an indicative gauge of advocacy by measuring the average comments per unique person who talks about a brand.