In my recent digital marketing class, I was assigned a real-world challenge where I didn’t have structured data to analyze. I was asked to use social listening tools to analyze a brand (Maruti Suzuki Ignis) and the recent surge it created in search trends. I was further asked to assume that I was the marketing communications specialist of another brand (Renault KWID AMT).
My objective was to understand why and how my competition experienced a sudden surge (mid-Jun to mid-Jul 2016) in online searches and how I could optimize my marketing communications strategy.
To give you a brief background, both, Maruti Suzuki Ignis and Renault KWID AMT were first showcased at the Auto Expo 2016 and their commercial launch was timed during the festival season in 2016. So with little or no industry knowledge and limited brief on both brands, I started looking at social media chatter to gain insights. Initially, I was completely lost as to what I should see, where I should get started. Our professor had just finished demonstrating several tools and I started using them all. I used Klout, LikeAlyzer, FollowerWonk, Hashtracking and many more. Now the feeling was terrible, I was using all tools but I was unable to find anything. In fact, I did not even understand what was happening.
I look a deep breadth and realized that I am in the situation of that child who purchased Kinder Joy. For those who aren’t aware, Kinder Joy is a candy packaged in an egg-shaped plastic container that splits into two – one half contains layers of cocoa and milk cream and the other half contains a toy. Most parents believe that their kids don’t know why they are buying the candy; for the cocoa and milk cream or for the toy!
Ask yourself what’s your focus – usage of tools or your objective?
I once again gave a deep though to my objective of social listening and realized that I was using tools that were irrelevant. What insights can Klout provide on surge in web searches? Klout provides an overview on social dominance. Likewise, I realized that many tools that I just tried had nothing to do with my problem statement; rather they were creating noise. I then decided to list all tools that were relevant in this context and also write one line on why and how I would use the tool. Trust me this helped! Here is my list:
- Google Trends: To learn the historic search pattern for both, Renault KWID AMT and Maruti Suzuki Ignis. The tool helps in uncovering search trends on web, images, news and YouTube videos.
- Google News: To learn what announcements / developments led to surge in searches for Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
- Blog Search: To learn whether any recent blog or blogger helped Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
- Alexa: Did the surge in online searches affect website traffic? If yes, who contributed and what were the keywords of interest.
- Hashtagify.me: To learn if there are any keywords / hashtags closely associated with Maruti Suzuki Ignis. Has Twitter in particular helped Maruti Suzuki Ignis?
- SocialMention: To learn about volume of mentions and associated sentiments on social platforms for both brands.
- Google SERP: Not sure how I will use it; but guess Google SERP is that mother who definitely has something in store to offer!
I first analysed search trends for both brands, Maruti Suzuki Ignis and Renault KWID AMT. I could observe that Maruti Suzuki Ignis was clearly leading web, image and YouTube searches (since its first mention). Interestingly, Renault KWID AMT was able to create a sudden surge in News Search between Jun 26 to Jul 9, 2016.
Img: Web Search Trend Analysis of Renault KWID AMT and Maruti Suzuki Ignis using Google Trends
Img: News Search Trend Analysis of Renault KWID AMT and Maruti Suzuki Ignis using Google Trends
Google News Search and Blog Search Engine
Maruti Suzuki Ignis fetched about 108,000 results (0.36 seconds) on Blog Search and about 23,400 results (0.31 seconds) on News Search. On the other hand, Renault KWID AMT fetched about 50,500 results (0.28 seconds) on Blog Search and about 6,210 results (0.36 seconds) on News Search. This suggests that Maruti Suzuki Ignis enjoyed very high share of voice in media and was able to create buzz amongst bloggers. Further reading uncovered a couple of reasons for Maruti Suzuki Ignis’ popularity:
- Online chatter around specifications and features that Maruti Suzuki Ignis offered was high.
- There were fresh news articles and blogs talking about CVT, new technology offered by Ignis, which probably helped the brand enter top hundred searches on Google between Jun 19 – 25, 2016.
As mentioned earlier, Renault KWID AMT created a sudden surge in News Search between Jun 26 to Jul 9, 2016. And that was highly evident when I used Google News Search. Seemed like the PR cell at Renault was active.
I realized that Alexa may not be able to help as both brands don’t have a website. However, I decided to check Maruti Suzuki and Renault India websites. Website traffic for both companies showed a downward trend starting April 2016. Keywords that drew traffic to both websites were interesting. Renault KWID was popular and it was likely that a variant would also be well received. Another observation was Upstream traffic source for Maruti Suzuki; it had signed up for a non-likely affiliate, ESPNCricInfo. The affiliate definitely managed to drive lot of traffic to Maruti Suzuki website and perhaps Renault may like to recruit them in their campaign.
Neither Maruti Suzuki Ignis nor Renault KWID AMT was able to create traction on Twitter. Both brand names had little mention on the micro-blogging platform. This clearly suggest that both brands are presently focusing long-format content that can be distributed in mainstream media and blogs of interest (influencer marketing). I personally believe that social media activities may gain momentum a little closer to the launch. However the same platform reveals that on Twitter, Maruti Suzuki as a company is highly associated with its brands; whereas Renault as a company is associated with its contests and consumer engagement activities. Top influencers for Maruti Suzuki are mainstream news channels and this trend is missing for Ranault. This suggest that Maruti Suzuki is able to drive quality activities on Twitter.
Img: All-time Top 10 related Hashtags and Top 6 Influencers for #RenaultIndia
Img: All-time Top 10 related Hashtags and Top 6 Influencers for #MarutiSuzuki
Once again SocialMention suggests that Renault KWID AMT is improving in terms of news and blog placement in recent times; it is presently enjoying good strength (68%) and passion (82%); however, reach (20%) and sentiments (36:1) of Maruti Suzuki Ignis are highly positive and Renault KWID AMT needs to catch up.
As mentioned earlier, Google SERP always manages to surprise users with insights. There are several advertisers bidding for Maruti Suzuki Ignis keyword. SERP for Maruti Suzuki Ignis is highly structures with images and news appearing prominently.
Conclusion – Maruti Suzuki Ignis has scored it terms of new features and specification. There is huge buzz and positive sentiments around the brand. Their focus has been influencer marketing. Renault KWID AMT is catching up with Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
Strategy as Renault KWID AMT – I suggest to mirror the strategy of Maruti Suzuki Ignis by introducing and publicizing the new features of our product (KWID AMT) through top influencers like Auto Car India, India Today and Economic Times. I would also look at recruiting affiliates to generate interest (test drives). My content strategy will accentuate the new and differentiating features of KWID AMT. Also, I will monitor tweets and mentions of Maruti Suzuki Ignis in order to identify what key content and popular stories is making it trend high, based on it we can arrive on how we should place our proposition higher.
Liked this exercise? If the answer is yes, you may also like to read a post by my colleague who used various social listening tools to understand how successful was a brand launch. Here goes the link: Social Listening: Monitoring pre-release & release buzz for LeEco Le 2
I would like to conclude this piece with one disclosure – I am not an industry expert and I have never worked with an automobile brand. My observations are academic in nature and I personally realize that it’s very important to have domain knowledge to make relevant recommendations. Hope you take a look at this blog with the right perspective!