“Is seeking end user engagement in today’s environment of information overload and digitization a distant reality? Are marketers scouting for alternative online medium to promote brands by incentivizing end users? Is incentivizing the end user the new trend for engagement?
What do entrepreneurs look for?
Brands everywhere are trying to grab attention of its user base by packaging all possible product information in a limited space or time frame (read advertising), bombarding the audience with unwanted information and offers, hopeful of catching eyeballs and possibly generate revenue.
In our time of information overload and hectic lifestyle, there is hardly any time to ponder on any promotional material on the numerous available platforms until and unless there is a specific need for product purchase or knowledge. In that very case, there are over dozens of articles available online that review products or services and provide similar product comparisons. Nonetheless, advertisement as a medium is an important aspect of brand promotion, irrespective of the promotional platforms.
On the other hand, digitization’s impact on our everyday life is very evident with our dependency on the smartphone usage. From basic grocery shopping to banking, smartphones today provide all possible avenues for smart utilization of time and efforts. With over 300 million smartphone users in India, marketers are now generously diverting their budgets towards digital platforms hoping to connect with their audience, and for the past few years, the overall spends on digital platforms by marketers has only seen an upward trend. But are marketers able to connect effectively with their target audience on the digital medium? It is hard to say so even though this medium provides specific audience targeting. So are the impressions wasted on this platform too due to the lack of user engagement?
Brand focuses on end user engagement
“Marketers are forever looking at newer promotional platforms to build a sustainable model that derives higher ROI and the new contest driven promotional platforms/apps are providing them with direct consumer connect, measurable campaign, location, period & audience based activity”.
Many brands now focus on end user engagement as marketers have realized that unless there is an end user engagement, brands do not stand a chance to connect with its audience and any quantum of spend on advertising and other promotional platforms do not ensure desired outcomes. And other important user engagement tools like Loyalty programmes are effective only if the end users believe it to be so. Many marketers are of the belief that ‘brand loyalty’ as a concept is dead and effective user engagement tools are still evolving.
User engagement as a concept holds more relevance today with increased digitisation and the fiercely growing competition amongst marketers. Multiple media platforms, growing smartphone usage and ‘me too’ apps have crowded the mind space of the users.
New trend of Incentivizing
Is incentivizing the end-user the new trend? Many marketers are now trying the newly conceived contest linked user engagement tool wherein participants are incentivised for their participation. This new engagement tool, either website or an app, is designed as information based contest driven advertising/promotional platform that incentivises users for every action with expensive and branded gifts ranging from online vouchers, two wheelers, smart phones to smart televisions. For the brands, this becomes a unique platform as it provides product information, instant audience connect, is measurable, can be location or audience specific and is an inexpensive medium in comparison to other traditional or digital platforms. For the users, it is a contest that is based on simple information that allows them to win expensive items. To encourage self participation, the medium has to be incentivized for the valuable time spent with interesting offers that constantly appeal to the audience.
The market growth in this segment is slow but continuously growing with youth as its prime audience. Since, these platforms are free for use and provide expensive gratification, the word of mouth publicity of such platforms is higher amongst its audience. In a nation like India, which is youth dominated with nearly 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35, apps/platforms like these provide marketers with time bound, location based and information driven promotional activity with measurable outcomes to understand the impact of their campaign.
Similarly, an earlier report on Indian gaming habits indicated that 65% men and 35% women participation ratio with an average of 7 hours spent monthly. The research further indicated that men spent over 8.5 hours per month and women over 6 hours per month on their mobile phones playing games, with the highest playing percentage of nearly 35% belongs to the youth in the age group of 25 to 34 years. Nearly 85% of all gamers are below the average age of 44 years.
The Indian gaming industry is pegged at over $571 million with a year-on-year growth of 132% making the contest based, self participation and user incentivized platforms a more lucrative option among other promotional platforms. The growth potential for such platforms can be a direct comparison to digital advertising with the potential of surpassing them due to important factors like self participation, higher user engagement, end-user incentivizing, low cost of participation and high returns on investment.
Compared to pure selling on online medium, advertisers needs to reverse their ideology of ‘view and buy’ to ‘win or buy’ for a far more effective communication in the crowded market place.
If presented proper, it offers marketers a direct consumer connect and a great opportunity for a more meaningful consumer–brand engagement.