Will eMail become a better channel for promotion & commerce?

Posted in Ideas, Marketing & SoMe, Technology

Google has already made some great progress with Gmail. The recent changes with Inbox further provides easy categorization of mails automatically.

Even before Google announced Inbox, Gmail started categorizing promotion mails under “Promotion” folder. Many thought that will make such mails redundant. But maybe not.

With Google experimenting Grid view for promotion mails, they can actually find more people looking at the promotion – people who are really interested in exploring . Plus these folks need not click a mail, a painful process, to see the details.


They have so far not made this feature available to all, so there is not much data available.

Another interesting possibility is to actually allow marketers to provide specific product promotion and buy button within the mail itself. If the offer is too good, why not let eager shoppers shop immediately?

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The Math behind A/B testing to ascertain which site is better

Posted in Analytics, Decision Making, Marketing & SoMe, Technology

Assume you have two website designs – A & B on your eCommerce website, and you end up with 45 conversions out of 100 visitors for design A and 50 conversions out of 100 visitors for design B.


What’s the chance that design B is better than design A?

10%? No, that’s wrong. Design B is actually 76% better than design A and to make the switch, this probability has to be > 90%. Part-2 above also provides a shortcut formula to make this calculation.

The below three part series provide very good English and Math explanation on how to evaluate results from split testing on two designs.

Part – 1, Part – 2, Part – 3


How Happy Birthday is said on greeting channels today

Posted in Analytics, Data visualization, Marketing & SoMe

I was researching digital marketing and social media concepts on my birthday. And I could not stop myself doing some analysis on all the greetings that I received. I plotted 200+ greetings that I got via various channels on “Personalization” and “Convenience” axis.


“Personalization” reflects how much personalization is possible via a given channel. It is not about you but about the ability and common usage of a given channel.

“Convenience” reflects convenience of people to use a given channel to send greetings. I received a large number of greetings on Facebook and hence the convenience factor is high for this channel. It is clear that new social media channels provides high degree of convenience and allow us to use special occasions to be in frequent touch.

I should clarify – it is the channel that does not allow personalization. And not the people. Over a phone, you will talk more. Over a facebook greeting, you will be short. This is how I do. I write short messages on Facebook or whatsapp for greetings and find it very convenient to wish my friends.

To all my friends,  once again thank you for your wonderful wishes.

eRealtor market in India

Posted in Marketing & SoMe

The Indian reality market has seen huge explosion in the last decade. In response, there are several players who have emerged in the eRealtor sector providing online assistance and brokerage that can help you buy, sell or rent homes of different shapes and proportions. Some of the notable ones are –

1. IndiaHomes
2. 99acres
3. Housing.com
4. CommonFloor
5. Makaan
6. Mabicbricks
7. IndiaProperty
8. PropTiger
9. HomeShikari

Realty Market

As a core function, all the eRealtors provide services such as map based listing, filtering features, mobile support, verified listing, site photographs, information about nearby locality etc. For a consumer, it is difficult to select any one of them based on features alone – since there is some uniformity about the hygiene features that everyone provides.

Which one are preferred by customers?

I did research on traffic share and technology used by the eRealtor companies and the analysis point to a certain usage and search pattern but I feel it is finally the overall experience of doing business and service that makes customer stick to some eRealtors compared to others. Secondly, marketing plays a very important role in driving traffic in a multi-player market that offer little perceived differentiation. Some of the players like 99acres and Magicbricks are big on marketing and receives top traffic in this sector.

Lastly, company that gets attention from consumer is the one that establishes leader status in a niche position. For example Housing.com with its map-based innovative search got much media attention that helped them get significant traction from new customers.

I will publish the research matrix in one of my next blogs.

How LinkedIn is reinventing itself

Posted in Analytics, Hot, Ideas, Marketing & SoMe

Linkedin used to be a quiet place where professionals would go to update their profile, make new connections or know about what their friends and peers do from a professional point of view.

What’s new

This is all changing. These days I do notice lot more activities from Linkedin. LinkedIn is sending three types of mails to me on a regular basis.

1. Linkedin message on who viewed your profile.

2. LinkedIn pulse on new articles recommendation on Linkedin.com

3. Linkedin updates on job changes and work anniversaries of your connections. This allows you to stay up-to-date on your connections and “say congrats” much like “say happy birthday” feature of Facebook.

These changes are very interesting and my visits to Linkedin have somewhat increased. I never considered it to be a place to post my new blog articles but Linkedin is now 3rd topmost traffic driver to my website. Instead of a burst in traffic, it provides a steady traffic flow to my blog.


What is driving these changes?

So, the real question is what is driving these changes at Linkedin? Let us try to look at some important statistics.

– Linkedin has around 60 million users
– 85% use the free account
– 50% spend 0-2 hours/week

It is clear that Linkedin needs to make people spend more time with them if they want to be able to monetize a huge 85% of their user base. The question then is what should they do? Let us look at some more statistics.

– The 3 most helpful Linkedin features, based on recent statistics are – “who’s viewed your profile (70%)”, “people you may know (65%)” and groups (60%)
– Consider trends in social media. According to Pew Research, 78% of Facebook users mostly see news when on Facebook when they have logged into Facebook for other reasons. They are consuming news against their original intention. This is significant. It reflects human ability to pay more attention to news when it is coming from a known/trusted source.

Connecting data to Linkedin strategy

With this information, it is easy to see that Linkedin needs to do something that will help drive traffic to Linkedin.com. Providing regular mail updates on who’s viewed your profile makes sense. This is what their users have found most useful.

Using the latest trend in the way people consume news on social channels is an excellent way of reinventing itself. LinkedIn is focusing a lot on providing stories and news articles. This will allow them to move to monetization via sponsored stories.

The third piece of the puzzle is to engage users by making them do something when they visit Linkedin.com. This leads to higher page time and can be translated into various monetization and growth strategies. Endorsing your connection and “say congrats” is a good start.

However, this is also an area where much is left to be done. And I think Linkedin needs some sort of user experience refresh to allow them to take this engagement to a higher level.

iPad Mini is Apple’s priced possession

Posted in General, Marketing & SoMe

Someone recently pointed out to article mentioning Gartner report titled Apple’s iPad Mini makes up 60 percent of iOS sales

Are you surprised?  As a value buyer, I am not surprised. I always thought of buying iPad Mini as it provides the greatest value for what premium tablet can provide.


It will be interesting to know if this trend started in 2013 or earlier. Will there be pressure on Apple to provide higher value for every $ that customers are spending? It can perhaps consider three options –

1. More features & no price change
2. Same features & less price
3. New model (like Mini) with less features and less price.

Interesting time ahead for Apple 🙂

Can your product or application talk? It can be good for marketing!

Posted in General, Marketing & SoMe

When you develop a software product or application, a major concern is if users will adopt and use the product or application. Many startups have mastered the art of elevator pitch that can be delivered effectively in person. But when you are targeting a large user base, how can you deliver this pitch? How about making your product or application talk the pitch?

An important question then is why make it difficult to write the first demo or test application? Here are top three reasons why first application should take less than XXX minutes to develop.

1. Overcome fear of learning
This is one of the biggest reason that creates resistance to adoption If a user knows he has to spend an entire day or even more to write the first application. That day may not come (not till there is a major push or incentive).

2. Instant gratification
Being able to write an application (even if it is “Hello World”) and seeing the results quickly can be very satisfying and lead to quicker adoption.

3. Improves decision making
A user can build a better sense of value that your product offers by quickly trying it out. Even the marketing materials, customer quotes and case studies start to make much more sense. Better understanding leads to better decision making.


I explicitly left out recommending any ideal time. What do you think should be maximum time for first trial usage? Does it depend on type of product or application? If yes, what are those parameters? How can you overcome them?

Is there a bigger challenge for large, matured products with update cycles where core product is already built? How can such products make it easy for users to try out new features?

How to destroy an expensive marketing campaign – Cadbury story

Posted in General, Marketing & SoMe

Cadbury, India’s #1 chocolate brand relaunched its Bournville brand of dark chocolates in India in 2009. This was backed by a campaign with a punchline of  “You don’t buy a Bournville you earn it” .

They used a tv commercial showing an American travel host speaking to the camera in the village of Bournville in Britain. The commercial was aired extensively in India and I think it was very well done. It was also successful in the sense that the punchline did find its place in the long term memory storage of many folks and people started associating the Bournville brand with the idea of earning it!

But very recently Cadbury released an offer of free Bournville with Dairy Milk Silk.


I don’t know if Bournville is a commercial success or not but Cadbury has ruined the entire brand perception that they created with their campaign.

You no longer need to earn Bournville, you get it for free! What a waste.


Facebook Page report – How much data can you really digest?

Posted in Data visualization, Marketing & SoMe

I was recently playing with Facebook page report and could not help noticing the endless number of sheets that are present in the downloaded Excel file.

The excel file contains 63 sheets with one of them having 75 columns of data. Most other sheets have 6-10 columns. Roughly 500 data points that are available to you to analyze and compare. Ironically, the sheet with 75 columns is labelled “Key metrics”!

too much data

I tried of thinking of ways where I would need information from all data points. I think this is too much information that is presented in a way that makes any analysis difficult. Can you really digest so much information? How do you deal with such large data sets? Ignore it? Create a coefficient out of it?

My topmost key information is “People Talking about This” (PTT) that encapsulates following actions by user:

– Like your page
– Posts to your page wall
– Likes, comments on or shares on page posts
– Answers a question you posted
– Mentions your page
– Tags your page

What interesting data points that you have found in Facebook report? Should Facebook cut down on some of the irrelevant data points that no one ever cares about?