Digital marketing in India alone has shown a 40 percent annual growth rate thanks to Internet connectivity and smartphone usage by more than 50 crore people. The number of online users would cross 65 crores by 2020 and 76 per cent would access the Internet through mobile phones.
The size of the business doesn’t matter either. Both the large and small scale businesses are promoting their trade online.
The findings of a not so recent study reported that offline marketing effects sales by as much as 40 percent! The respondents of the study were asked what prompted them to search online for a particular company Degion, product or service. The results were as follows:
- TV Ads: 44%
- Word of Mouth: 41%
- Magazine/Newspaper Ads: 35%
- Radio: 23%
- Billboard: 13%
Surprising? Not quite.
Also, small businesses seem more enthusiastic towards digital marketing because it requires small capital compared to offline or the traditional way of marketing. Many of these businesses are thriving today because of digital marketing.
So has offline branding lost its foot in marketing in the digital world?
Is it no longer relevant?
So if it is no longer relevant why are merchants still shelling out bucks to promote their brand offline?
Why do the biggest companies in the world still take out radio, newspaper, magazine, TV and billboard ads?
Do they not know what they’re doing?
Or is their brand strong enough to continue offline marketing and be recognized for it?
Unfortunately, big brands are not run by stupid people. They have a well-organized team of people who have a fair idea of what works and what doesn’t.
It gets you thinking of how the offline world intertwines with the internet. After all, most of our lives are spent offline. It’s only once we login to our phones or computers that we start to use that information we learned about or heard about in the real world.
So how is this still relevant?
Google has modified its code(based on their research) in the last couple of years. Previously it used to be that Google and other search engines only cared about backlinks to sites. The theory was that if a website had thousands of links leading back to the site, people found it credible.
But people abused this by selling and trading links, tainting the algorithm’s credibility.
So Google has tried to fix it by updating their Panda algorithm
The search engine is now taking “brand searches” into consideration. This means that if someone searches for your company through Google, the search engine recognises that someone has shown interest. The more brand searches, the better your rankings. This forms a small part of Google’s Panda algorithm.
And what good does it do?
So now the companies that have built too many bad links are punished by Google. If a business has thousands of backlinks, but a small quantity of brand searches, this looks unnatural to Google. However, if you have lots of brand searches, Google will reward you for having high-quality links too.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
When a user searches for a particular keyword (or your brand name), and then clicks on your website, Google counts it as a “brand search”. A connection is established between that particular search term and your domain, and the number of such connections or “reference queries” is used for modifying the number of express links and implied links (essentially, pointing to your domain).
So you see Google has you covered against people who abuse the concept of backlinks to promote their brand.
In case you are still confused, Offline branding/marketing still remains a very vital part of the marketing campaign organized today. Sure, with the advent of the internet, digital marketing has grown leaps and bounds and it will continue to do so. As more and people get access to the internet, a large part of marketing space will be moved online. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the new billboards of this generation.
But Google is not turning a blind eye to the impact of offline marketing on online search. Brand mentions (or more accurately “entity mentions”) are now an important part of Google’s search signals, and there is overwhelming evidence to support it.
So a successful marketing campaign is one which incorporates both the offline and online modes of sales and reaps the benefits of both forms.