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Facebook works best for customer acquisition

Nikhil Rungta is the Chief Business Officer of e-retail site He has over 18 years of experience in sales and marketing, across verticals like FMCG, Consumer Durables, Finance, IT and Travel Services.

Nikhil Rungta is the Chief Business Officer of e-retail site He has over 18 years of experience in sales and marketing, across verticals like FMCG, Consumer Durables, Finance, IT and Travel Services.

Prior to joining, Nikhil was the Country Marketing Head for Google India and was responsible for managing the Google brands including Youtube, Android, Chrome and Google Plus. Nikhil’s Internet journey started with as their Head of Marketing. There he was part of the Founding Leadership Team and was instrumental in providing strategic vision and building as one of the most popular e-commerce start ups and travel services brand in the country.

In an exclusive interaction with India Digital Review, Nikhil talks about Yebhi’s marketing objectives and the importance of social media for brand promotion.

Yebhi has been using digital for both building the brand and acquiring consumers. How does the digital medium – both internet and mobile figure in Yebhi’s plans to reach out to consumers?

That is one of the key media. In fact in the last quarter or so we have only been focusing on digital media, we have not been doing any other kind of offline activities

In your category, performance based advertisement works the best. With new engagement forms such as videos coming up on internet, what are your thoughts on visual brand building exercises on internet in India?

Definitely. Internet is in an evolution state in the country. Almost every day there is something new that is coming up. We at Yebhi believe in trying out everything and then on the basis of numbers and the response that we see, we tend to scale it up. So we have divided our digital marketing strategy into three clear parts. One is for acquisition of new users, the other is for retention and nurturing existing user base and the third is customer service.

These are the key objectives that we have set out and on this basis we use different media. So social media, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest has a big contribution towards acquisition of new users plus cutomer service. We use things like emailers and SMS for targeting the existing user base or customer retention. That’s largely what we do.

Within social media, if I look at it from customer acquisition perspective, Facebook works the best for us. The kind of ROI’s we get from Facebook are the best. Twitter is a tool which helps us spread across any communication plus it is also a customer service tool.

Do you feel that online companies should build their brand on traditional media and acquire customers online?

We use the offline media very strategically at different points in time like to acquire new users, create awareness about the brand or create awareness about some services that you have launched. As of now we are focusing on online media.

One more thing that has happened in the last one to two years in the online media is that today there are over 150 million users of the internet, which means that Internet is now a mainstream medium, it is not a peripheral medium. We are an online company, so it helps us if we reach out to the people who are online.

Our belief is that out of the 150 million people online, less than 10 million people transact online, so the headroom there itself is very high in getting those people to transact with us.

How important do you think is the social media for promoting your brand in India?

Very, very important. Facebook today has over 80 million users, on a monthly basis. So especially for brands like ours which are into fashion and lifestyle, Facebook works really well. Our audiences are in the age group of 18 to 35 years and most of these are today using social media, so it is a great medium to reach out to them. Secondly, Facebook allows you to hypertarget, say if I want to reach out to students within the age group of 18 to 22 years, with specific interests in movies or books or sports, we are actually able to do that very efficiently, which only Facebook allows us to do. This is what helps us get better ROI’s.

With so many e-commerce sites vying for consumers’ attention on social media, how do you make sure that Yebhi stands out?

In any other media, you will have competition and other players competing for that space, so you tend to make your offers the best offers and try and make you products available and see the response. So that is what we also try because we are also competing for the same space and the same users.

Tell us about Yebhi’s most successful campaign so far on digital media.

We had done a Facebook a few months back and even the Facebook team told us that it was one of the most successful Facebook campaigns ever in the e-commerce category in India. This campaign promoted a range of shoes and the kind of creatives we had led to amazing numbers of visits to our site, this was the highest that any other category had seen. In fact the proof of that it did extremely well was that other competitors copied it.

Internet is said to be a measurable medium. What is your take on this? Have we overdone the measurement quotient and made this medium hard to understand for the brand marketers?

Not at all, today even the offline media is seeing granular measurement. I think it is good to have measurement because finally you are spending money. It is good to understand where each Dollar and each Rupee of yours are being spent. It is a good thing as because of online media people are learning how to measure lot of other media as well, they are applying similar metrics to other media today. Online media has done a good thing, it has made marketing a lot more scientific than it used to be.

Today you know what works and what doesn’t work and whatever works, you are able to scale it up.

How do you see your marketing objectives aligning with what the online medium offers from two years down the line?

As mentioned before the marketing objectives are customer acquisition; retention and nurturing the existing user base; and customer service. So these objectives are no something that will keep on changing every day, so they will remain and maybe there will be other media which will get added on to each of these which will help us fulfill these objectives, I think that’s what might change.

What answers do you seek from your digital advertising agencies and digital media partners while promoting your brand on internet?

Digital is very nascent in India, so a lot of companies are still trying to understand the language of Internet. Internet is also about a lot of numbers and a lot of advertising on internet is very technical. So I really hope that new digital agencies start adding people with technical skills and have a good combination of creative and technical people which will be a good thing to do. This is happening with some of the companies but this is not happening all over. 


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