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The Evolving Digital Marketing Landscape By -Rageeb Kibria

Science & Technology

It’s only logical for brands and advertisers to put their money where the consumers are and contrary to a decade ago they aren’t in front of the TV screens anymore. There’s a thriving Middle to Affluent Class (MAC) population in Bangladesh who are not only more susceptible to new tech adoption but are often the first to leapfrog stages of adoption. They are the new gen of smartphone engrossed, tech savvy brand aficionados who are not only leading the change in consumer dynamics in Bangladesh, but are also the ones who are indirectly influencing how brands approach marketing.

The dynamic consumer group
The number of internet users in Bangladesh has increased exponentially over the last 3 years standing at 66.3 Mln as of October-2016, a 24% jump from the previous year (source BTRC) and as the net of internet inclusion increases, so does the consumer’s spending and purchase pattern online. Facebook is the primary source of internet experience for most and google is secondary. Digital marketing in Bangladesh is hence highly concentrated in social media, primarily on Facebook. Among the top ten popular pages on Facebook, three are of telecommunication operators, two are of cricketers and the rest are publications.
Likewise, consumer presence in social media, chatting applications and search are also equally representative of the digital presence of brands.  Most consumers spend at least 2+ hours online either through mobile or other tech and their internet usage also varies throughout the day in surges. Mobile internet usage is close to 95% of all internet usage (BTRC) and brands have strongly bolstered their mobile marketing strategies.
Internet usage on mobile constitute a significant percentage of the total internet usage in Bangladesh. Most users use Facebook exponentially throughout the day followed by chat apps like Whatssapp, Viber and Imo.

Presence of brands on digital media
While large brands have increased their spending on digital, small to medium businesses are also seeing the potential of digital advertisements. Even small brands with a budget of around USD 50 or less are capable of carrying out digital advertisements on Facebook. Local and small businesses are focusing majority of their spending on digital where relevant to get the best return out of their marketing investments. Industries like E-commerce and tech companies will be at the forefront of the digital drive within the next few years according to LightCastle research findings, followed by food and lifestyle segments and financial services with highly localized marketing content. The spenders in the digital marketing industry can be categorized into four segments:
Financial and NBFIs: These spenders are new to the market and are highly conservative in terms of spending. They are usually medium to large companies who are just testing out the waters in the digital marketing segment. They’ll slowly increase spending as the industry matures and their spending is optimized allowing for higher ROI.
FMCGs and Telcos: These are the largest spenders in the industry with a significant amount of time already spent in the industry. These are large companies with enough resources to invest heavily on digital marketing and have enough maturity to optimize their spending.
Online and Digital Businesses: These are primarily online based services with high concentrations of small to medium sized companies who rely heavily on digital media as a form of marketing.
Food and Lifestyle: These businesses are mainly aspirants, and majority of the fragmented spenders in Bangladesh lie in this segment. These are small to medium businesses and services that utilize digital marketing heavily for their promotion. The difference between these businesses and online and digital is that they are not solely dependent on digital marketing, nor are they only based online. Mostly food and fashion industries fall under this segment.

Future tech disruption
Tech disruption on the digital marketing industry in Bangladesh is historically slow in terms of adoption. However, a few mediums are becoming increasingly popular among marketers. Facebook video is slowly evolving to be a strong medium of communication on Facebook, especially silent videos. Very short videos similar to vines with subtitles are a unique medium of communicating with consumers. With the success of Google’s AI marketers are on the verge of adopting predictive Ais for marketing. In order to access the 1 billion users of Facebook messenger, Facebook just launched a chatbot feature. This allows brands to build their own bots in chat messengers which can interact with users as an Ai. Ghurbo.com is one such service in Bangladesh that uses chatbots to wholly plan and respond to consumers travel requirements. n

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