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High CTR Achieved

In my entire career, I have never achieved this before - a CTR of more than 30%. This is a GREAT achievement and something definitely to boast of :)

I am embedding the post below which has received such a high Click Through Rate.

Ravi Bansal Rocks ;) LOL :)

Where Are Big Ideas - NASSCOM

NASSCOM is one the leading names in India with India's biggest names attached to it. Recently NASSCOM came up with 10,000 Start-Ups - an initiative to help the new ventures in India.

I am personally an ardent follower of 10k start-ups. Couple of days back I came across an interesting post on their Facebook Fan Page which made me think a lot


Every person is different from the other and so are their opinions, still everyone says 'One who thinks differently wins'. Of course we all do think differently, then why all dont win ?
Remember what Mr Shiv Khera also said - 'Winners Don't Do Different Things, They Do Things Differently'
Perception Is What Matters. 

The above facebook post talks about NASSCOM's perception as follows:

  • Obvious But Hard - People dont think differently, they can think only what they see around - hence its hard to catch those fish
  • Easy And Over Crowded - If the idea is easy, many would have thought of the same idea, hence it becomes over crwoded - making competion tough
  • Not Obvious And Hard - Once you dive deeper, its obvious that you wont find many there and here you can catch some fish, which overall makes the process hard
  • Big Ideas Are Where Few Go Fishing - here NASSCOM talks about Schlep Blindness (ideas which are right under our nose but we cant see it because we are blinded by what's easy, or easier
Coming back to what I said a little earlier - Perception is what matters, and to add to it I would say - irrespective of where you go fishing, whether crowded or few, you would catch fish if you 'fish differently'

I will try to illustrate with few examples:

A Glass Half Filled.
A common expression used widely to simple determine an individual's perception.
You are optimistic if you see the glass 'half filled' and you are a pessimist if you see the glass 'half empty'. There's a 3rd perception which is not explained here- Opportunist. 
This is how I see it - the glass is 'only half filled' and/or 'still half empty'  Its all about perception, you can win if you think differently. According to me, if you are not able to see "only" and "still" in the above idiom then you are schlep blinded, if you are able to see then you would immediately start thinking how to fill the other half.

Flipkart is the leader in eCommerce industry in India, that does not mean that Myntra or Jabong or other followers like Shopclues, Snapdeal, Fashionara, Yebhi, LensKart, FirstCry, Urban Touch, etc etc are not successful.
The founders of these portals went fishing where Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal were already fishing, didn't dive deep enough and still hold a good market share.

Social Networking:
MIRC, technically was the 1st online socializing, followed by Yahoo and then many followed. hi5 took over the market share and maximum popularity as the new gen social networking site, Orkut took over it and then Facebook took over Orkut.

Nokia was the world leader, then Apple took the world by storm. Then Samsung took over a major market share from all leading manufactures. Now, in India, Micromax is a very big name. Of course, there's no denying that we are only familiar with the name Steve Jobs and not other leaders from the other handset manufactures, but that is no reason to say Samsung or Micromax is not successful, infact Samsung is selling from mobiles than any one else in the world.

I would not go fishing where only few go. I cant start an Infosys or Apple and neither would I want to, cos my area of expertise and interest is different, and that's where I would go fishing.
And I Know That I WILL Catch Fish...


Comedy is all about mocking - how sadistic

I have noticed this almost every where - be it Russell Peters or Comedy Circus or Comedy Nights With Kapil - every stand up comedian is successful because he mocks people, race, defects in a person, etc etc

Insulting one to make other laugh - the definition of comedy has definitely changed - or is it the creativity ?

IRCTC & NDTV eCommerce

2 very old and successful players venture into eCommerce.

Though IRCTC is into eCommerce for long (online ticket selling), finally they decided to give a competition to Flipkart, Jabing, Myntra, etc

Why am I comparing IRCTC with Flipkart  and others?

  • Flipkart is the most visited eCommerce site in India, with alexa rank at 11 with majority of the traffic coming from Books.
  • IRCTC is already at an alexa rank of 61 - the sight with maximum visits from middle class population in Inda with one of the highest conversion rates in the country
  • With a wide range of product, discount upto 85% and multiple banners on IRCTC homepage, it won't be tough to generate a lot of free traffic from IRCTC home page to their shopping portal.
  • IRCTC also has a good spending capacity
  • IRCTC need not take the route of a market place and its not foreign VC funded
However, IRCTC's site is not google and customer friendly. There are lot of loopholes in the site which if not rectified can pull back IRCTC

NDTV got into eCommerce with the name Indian Roots selling lifestyle products for now and might very soon get into electronics as well. With more than 30 brands catering to lifestyle products like Home Linen, Decor, Bags, Stoles and formal/ethnic apparel.
What's surprising is that the domain is nearly 10 yrs old. Did NDTV have had plans to use for eCommerce then ?
  • The USP of Indian Roots is that it delivers worldwide
  • The sad part is that the minimum order value for Free Shipping should be 5,000 INR / 100 USD / 75 GBP
With an Alexa rank of approx 12000 in India, majority of its traffic generation is from Facebook (all from 3k fans only) with nearly 90% of the keyword traffic from the variants of 'Indian Roots'
All this achieved in last in last 6 months - its very clearly that NDTV is moving very slow

What's in for the general public ?
  • With big players like NDTV and IRCTC getting into online shopping, they are definitely going to give a tough competition to Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra etc
  • The cost of products would definitely drop - online and offline both
  • With the number of mobile internet users at a regular steep rise and with the new algorithm change from google, people are going to take advantage of this fight and technology with a good bargaining at offline stores.
All I say is - Happy Shopping :)

Flowers or Diamonds

People Say 'Money Cant Buy Love'

Ask Females -
"What Would They Prefer - Flowers or Diamond ? ?

- - - - - - - - - - 

Google Display Planner

Good news for Search Engine Marketers

On September 3rd, 2013, Google is officially transitioning Google Ad Planner to the recently launched Google Display Planner, a free research and planning tool in AdWords that delivers targeting ideas and estimates to help you build better display campaigns. 
Based on data you enter, the tool suggests places to run ads on the Google Display Network along with key related details including impression and cookie ranges for inventory, age and gender breakdowns, and historical cost-per-click information. 
You can find Display Planner under the Tools and Analysis tab in your AdWords account. You can also view this information for your own site if you’re using AdSense on your pages.

Next Steps

1. Export and save your existing Ad Planner Media Plans and Site Lists before September 3rd, 2013

2. Log in to AdWords and familiarize yourself with Display Planner to start taking advantage of these new features.

For more information on transitioning to Display Planner please visit the AdWords help center

Facebook Facts For Marketers

Little known facts about Facebook - 

  • Facebook is the most visited website in the world
  • Facebook serves 570 billion page views per month
  • There are more than 1.2 billion facebook users across globe
  • There are more photos on Facebook than all other photo sites combined (including sites like Flickr)
  • United States has the highest number of facebook users in the world with more than 180 million users - followed by India at 2nd position with approx 88 million users
  • More than 3 billion photos are uploaded every month.
  • Monaco is the only country in the world which has every person above 14 yrs on facebook
  • Facebook’s systems serve 1.2 million photos per second. 
  • China - world's most populated country - with more than 40% internet penetration has an overall facebook base of 0.05% only
  • India's facebook population is more than UKs overall population
  • More than 25 billion pieces of content (status updates, comments, etc) are shared every month.
  • With more than 53% Facebook user penetration, US has the highest population of facebook users - where as, India has only 5% facebook penetration and is nwar half of US facebook population
  • Facebook has more than 30,000 servers (and this number is from last year!)

Like Page Option Upon Sharing

I shared a link from Economic Times recently and found that sharing threw an option of suggesting to Like the page - "Want to see more from The Economic Times? Like Page"

I did little bit of google and found out that there are certain web publishers who have this feature.
Its definitely an excellent way to get more likes, for free

One thing I couldn't find out yet -
How do I as a marketer get this feature for my website. Are there are any meta tags/descriptions or api's which need to be added. If anyone has any information on this then please share it with me.

Facebook Algorithm

Facebook releases its new algorithm which is a must to know, understand and follow for all marketers. This is going to change the way Facebook marketers have been tapping their targeted audience.

The News Feed algorithm responds to signals from you, including, for example:

  • How often you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted
  • The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
  • How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past
  • Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post

Story Bumping:

Say a friend, but not a close friend, had an awesome post at 8 a.m., but it didn’t show up on your News Feed when you checked at that time, because it was too far down. With Story Bumping, Facebook is borrowing from NBC with the idea of, “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!” That post you missed from a friend at 8 a.m. is eligible to be bumped back up toward the top of your News Feed when you check again an hour or two later.

This gives a second chance for posts from users and pages who didn’t have their content shown shortly after posting.

Lars Backstrom, Facebook’s Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking, discussed Story Bumping with reporters:

What can we do to make it so people aren’t missing these important stories? Maybe the position 1 and position 2 stories were a little bit better, but that story that was just below the fold, we really would’ve preferred to see that rather than (another story) … which just happened to be the newest thing. So we had this idea, “Let’s change the model slightly.” Before, I said, whenever you come to feed, we’re going to take all the stories that are new since your last visit and put those at the top. Let’s just tweak that a little bit, and instead of taking all the new stories, we’ll take all the stories that are new to you.

Facebook has already tested this among 7,000 daily active users in July. With Story Bumping in place for these users, there was a five percent increase in stories seen from friends, an 8 percent increase in stories seen from pages, and a jump from 57 to 70 percent in overall stories read. Facebook also tested the Story Bumping change with 80 percent of its own employees, and Backstrom said that there was only one complaint. Right now, Story Bumping is in effect for roughly 99 percent of desktop News Feed users, but the team is still tweaking it on mobile.

Last Actor:

Another change Facebook announced Tuesday is Last Actor, which takes into account the last 50 interactions a user has done, such as liking a page’s post or writing on a friend’s timeline. This information is wrapped into the News Feed ranking system, so people with whom you’ve engaged most recently will be given more weight. For instance, if you’ve been liking and commenting statuses from your new coworker or best friend (or sharing posts from your favorite restaurant’s Facebook page), Facebook will push those posts up higher in News Feed.

When Last Actor was tested among Facebook employees as well as select users, Backstrom noted that there was a bit of a bump in engagement and positive reaction, but more modest than Story Bumping:

This change was less impactful than (Story Bumping), but still a nice change for feed relevance. So how does this work? Essentially what we wanted to do was try and capture your current state of mind as you’re consuming News Feed and using Facebook. A lot of the important symbols that we have in feed ranking are kind of long-term things: what’s my relationship to my friends and that kind of thing. We wanted to make this more real time, “What am I consuming right now?” So we built this new signal where we take into account the most recent interactions that they’ve had.

Facebook also tested something it called Chronological By Actor, where there’s more chronologically-ordered posts from people users have engaged with most recently, but Backstrom said that this led to less engagement from users in tests, so Facebook is still playing with this.

Backstrom noted what many users have been saying, that people still want to see things in chronological order. However, Chris Cox, Facebook’s Vice President of Product said that there’s a vital difference in operation between Facebook and Twitter.


Its very important and critical for each Facebook marketers to know who are their influencers and who can be. People with more number of friends and who are more active on facebook ( by not posting but by liking/sharing/commenting on others's posts) can be the biggest assets in achieving a wider reach.

My Quotes - Creativity

Creativity without skill is useless...unless you have the skill to apply creativity without skill

My Quotes - Shopping

Best part of taking ur gf or wife shopping is waiting outside the trial room

PayZippy by Flipkart

Many of you might not be aware of PayZippy - a payment gateway which is being built by Flipkart; the eCommerce giant of India.

What PayZippy offers to Merchants:

  • Higher conversions with less abandonments
  • User experience
  • Great merchant support - available for 12 hrs on all 7 days
  • Payment gateway for mobile as well
  • 100% secure
  • Better pricing - no sign up fee, no annual maintenance
In India most of the players revolve/aspire around CCavenue, EBS, Paypal, DirectPay. The most important factor while choosing a payment gateway is Security(for merchants and customers both), followed by the Pricing (Debit card, Credit Card, EMI)

Flipkart is definitely a trusted name when it comes to selling online, but would they be equally successful with PayZippy? Well this would completely depend on the robustness of the tool and how useful it turns out to be.
Another question which comes to mind is - would the aspiring start-ups in eCommerce space want to use Flipkart Payment Gateway. Though we do not know the answer, however we can speculate. If people would have flocked knowing its Flipkart then the name might have been shouting Flipkart name all over.
  • The "Merchant" section does not mention Flipkart owns it
  • The "Customer" section does mention this - and it sounds as if Flipkart is trying to tap their customer base. But here the VOC won't help the new founders in choosing a payment gateway. Is this desperation or the only way Flipkart could attract people ?
  • PayZippy's facebook page is the only place which mentions "PayZippy by Flipkart". Twitter also has a mention but not that prominent
  • Most important - the site does not have a 'Privacy Policy' and a 'Terms & Conditions' page. What does that signify ? Why did Flipkart choose to ignore this ?
  • PayZippy at this point of time does not support OpenCart, Magento, Wordpress - which is nearly 70-80% of the market share.
  • Given an understanding, its clear that PayZippy is a B2B model, still PayZippy is more active on Facebook and not at all present on LinkedIn - am wondering why.
PayZippy is not the 1st business model which Flipkart has ventured into, apart from online store. Flipkart owns a brand named DigiFlip. Surprisingly, there is no brand website for DigiFlip

Chennai Express Game Preview

Chennai Express - Game Preview - released for Android and iOS

SRK launches 'Chennai Express' game, challenges Rohit Shetty - this has been the talk of the town today, since morning and no wonder that in its 1st day itself this game has been downloaded by more than 10k users in android alone with a user rating of 4.7

Chennai Express is an upcoming movie of Shah Rukh Khan and this game is one of their marketing strategies to promote the movie. It isn't the 1st time that a Bollywood movie promo has take the 'gamification' road. In the past there have been few other movies as well who have gone the same way.

This inspiration / strategy has been picked by many industry leaders and trend followers who have seen major brands in US tasting great success by building android/iOS apps to promote their brands/products by engaging users to play their favorite game.

The point to ponder:
It has always been that whenever a brand wants to promote their products/brand or a launch and take the gamification route, they always pick one of the most popular games in the market and copy the same game with a complete make-over.

Chennai Express game is a copy of Subway Surfers (one of the most popular games on android) with more than 50 million downloads in its 1st month itself and a star rating of 4.7

Did SRK and Rohit Shetty did the right thing in picking the game to copy and leveraging the gaming platform to promote their movie ? The answer is Yes.
Shouldn't many other brands too think on similar lines ? The answer is Yes.

This leaves us with a question to debate on.
If all would want to go the gamification way, this could bring in a flood of games on android platform (in India). Would this bog the users, could this back fire?
Lets think....

Mobile Presence In India

Many might not be aware of this fact that India has world's 2nd largest mobile network in the world, in terms of number of subscribers and handsets both for mobiles as well as fixed lines.
India has world's 3rd largest user base with access to internet over mobile, is approximately 150 million.

Let's compare the above with the other facts we are aware of:
  • Facebook penetration in India is approx 65 million - this means that mobile internet users are 2.5 times more than facebook users. This also means that most of the facebook users have internet on their mobile. Hence while running an ad using power editor, the marketers should choose to display ads on mobile and computer both platforms.
  • Gmail penetration in India is more than 100 million. This again shows us a high potential email marketing targeting mobile users
In next few years time India will be at 1st position across globe in number of mobile handsets, subscribers and mobile internet users.

A strong mobile presence is very much required for every large scale business at national level. Though we cant expect a great ROI in terms of revenue and the buyers from a mobile would be quite few, atleast till the end of 2014. 
Let's see how others have progressed in the mobile arena:
  • ZipDial - A new and innovative concept which was seen gaining users few years back. Today its an established concept. Surveys, Votings, Demographics are the key deliverables - all it takes is a missed call. Many organizations are using this concept including reality shows seen on Indian Television.
  • Facebook is allowing free access to its portal over Airtel
  • From 1st July onwards, Indian Railway would be giving an option to book railway tickets through SMS
  • Google is about to release a new algorithm which could bring down the ranking of your desktop site if your mobile site does not have a proper SEO done
Businessess need to look at mobile as an integrated platform. Limiting ourselves to only mobile internet users would mean opening up to only 10% of the crowd.

Facebook getting rid of few features

Facebook recently launched the #hashtag with a hashtag feed URL With the advent of this new feature. Facebook also announced that out of the 27 types of ads currently running on Facebook, more than 50% of the ad types will be removed.

The above 2 announcements are really a boon for the marketers and the brands making their job easier. What sad is that Facebook would soon be getting rid of features like 'Questions' and 'Offers'. Now this is a bad news. Let's analyse the situation:

Facebook Questions is definitely a great feature and it saw extensive use post its launch. But then, slowly it started dying. Number of people using this feature kept going down with time and finally Facebook thought that there are hardly people using this feature hence lets get rid of it. This is where Facebook went wrong (atleast I think so). Instead of trying to find out what's causing its death, instead of finding out how they could revive such a powerful tool - they chose the easier path; to get rid of it.
What I would have done - If I were Facebook, I wouldn't have thought of killing this feature, infact would have tried to make it stronger. For Example - 
  • When you create a question, you don't get a URL. Having a URL for each question could have helped a lot in sharing the question apart from just using the Facebook Share option.
  • Each Facebook Question should also generate an html code which can be embedded on a blog/website. This tool then could turn to be the most extensive free 'Poll Tool' available in the market.
  • Facebook users aren't allowed to ask questions anymore, its only the pages which can do so.
  • We have an option to 'boost' a question but can't schedule it
Facebook says that marketers can still ask questions on posts, but then, will that give a report to the marketers as to how many votes were cast for each answers, is Facebook expecting us to keep counting all the answers ?

Facebook Offers is another excellent feature and an answer to Google Offer (at one point of time Google allowed businesses to create offers through local search listing). Why 'Offers' couldn't click :
  • You can't upload an image, it by default takes your cover pic.
  • Offer is a paid feature, you can't create an offer without proceeding to the payments. (Every business does not have a credit card attached to their account, and even if they have they wouldn't want to use it for every post/offer. If Facebook makes this as a free feature and gives an option to the marketers to go with a sponsored post or free offer then the number of people using this feature would grow exponentially
Integrated marketers/agencies who have been using this feature to promote offline stores, and more importantly track the number of offers saved, claimed and walk-ins. With this feature gone, though we still have lots of options to track online claims but this is the only social tool in the market to track offline claims. With no competition at all, still Facebook decides to bury this feature - Strange.

Amazon Enters India

Amazon entered India almost a year back with the marketplace
With the FDI discussions being the hottest topic of discussion in retail industry, people were anticipating that Amazon would sooner or later surely enter India market with its original brand Amazon itself.

Though not complete, but closely, Amazon launches
But its not direct selling, its yet again a marketplace like Junglee with only Amazon name.
As of now, Amazon India has been launched with only 2 categories - Books & Media (Movies & Music), with over 7 million titles in books and close to 15k Media titles.
Not just this, very soon they would everything what we seen on , hopefully Amazon Stores as well.

Strategy & Impact - 

Why did Amazon launch another marketplace in India when they already had one ?

This is definitely one of the most pertinent question making rounds amongst the e-commerce professionals in India.
Its very clear that FDI norm is still withholding Amazon from selling directly but the day is not far when Amazon will penetrate Indian market with a bang. While Amazon continues to sell products through Junglee &, its giving an earning opportunity to many re-sellers like uRead, BookAdda, etc But what will happen to these re-sellers once Amazon starts selling directly, there revenue will definitely see a huge dip.

The launch of is basically to create a shroud of confusion amongst Indian buyers. MANY Indian buyers think that Amazon has entered India market and is selling directly. The magnitude of this effect is big.
Many Indians are expected to ' Experience Amazon' and with no cap on free shipping for a limited time, we are definitely going to see a spike. Its alexa rank in India is already 651 which is much better than Tradus and few other key players. What more, almost all e-commerce player in India has seen a downward trend in traffic this week.

Does this mean bringing down Junglee ?
Well No.
Amazon would continue with Junglee letting people know that their marketplace is still there, while with it would continue making people believe (or leave people thinking) that Amazon is selling directly and has entered Indian market. Atleast, until Amazon is legally allowed to sell directly in India, it would continue this way.

Impact - Positive & Negative 
With a downward trend seen in web traffic of Indian e-commerce sites, the founders of key players have already started sharing their thoughts around.
What's best is that you can sense an uncertainty, confusion and fear in them, which they are trying to hide.

Sandeep Agarwal, founder & CEO of Shopclues (one of the leading ecommerce portal in India) in a talk says, " I personally feel that Government of India should have given two more years to start-ups before opening the doors for Amazon. This can back fire in terms of opening retail market to such a large E-Commerce company this early "
When such a big name is worried, what would be the plight of those thousands of new and aspiring founders who have or are planning to launch their portal. Would the VCs and Angel Investors be willing to invest in India (into ecommerce) at this point of time ?
This eCommerce boom in India gave birth to many start-ups who are either into selling or supporting an e-commerce portal - delivery, support, marketing, platforms, etc. If these start-ups would face a problem then wouldn't the agencies also face a downfall ?

Yes, mostly the impact would be negative except for the marketing segment. It is expected to be a boon for them. The current players will have to invest more into online and/or offline marketing to sustain their market share and place.

Truth & Facts
India being the 3rd largest internet population in the world and with population close to 1.3 billion people, India is expected to overtake China within couple of decades. This would mean that in few years time the number of internet users in India would be higher than that of United States(though the internet penetration is US is much higher than India).
This makes India one of the biggest online market in the world, hence Amazon & Walmart would definitely want to stay here. Having said this, they will definitely build expertise and 'localize' in India. A simple statement to help you understand this better would be the advent of Dell & HP brands. Can you name 5 Indian PC making brands ? :) In case if you are given an option to buy a laptop, majority would want to choose either an HP, Dell or Lenovo

With a permit to Amazon & Walmart, its for sure that Many people would definitely be effected. But who would benefit from it the most ? Its You - The Consumer :)
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