In 2008, ADAG backed Big Adda spend money on advertisement campaigns to get eyes balls. Not stopping at that they hosted Amitabh Bachchan’s blog and ran promotions. The cost of all the spends on advertisements and promotions was about 5 crores. The other prominent spender in the social networking space in 2008 was iBiBo.com with its “Balti nahi Bolti” campaign. The spends were budgeted at 60% on the traditional mass media and 40% on the online audiences. The results of those efforts is that while total internet audience in India surged by 22% and the Social networking numbers surged by 51%, BigAdda lost 25% of its audience and iBibo lost 50% of its audience.
On the contrary sites like Bharat Student, Linked In, Orkut, Face Book,hi 5 and others didnot invest in any marketing activities and yet they registered significant growth beating the median (growth of the market).
Does this lend credence to the fact that online marketing is more than eyeballs. Probably it is content related, probably more features to do more things, probably the No 1 social networking website Orkut is riding a threshold mass. Probably it is do to with being “in”, as in Facebook. I have a inkling that while in 2008 Orkut rode Threshold and Facebook was “in”, in 2009, Orkut will saturate, Facebook will ride the threshold and Twitter will be “in”. Probably it is to do with your positioning, e.g Bharat Student or serving a speciality, LinkedIn.
In absence of a clear hook, IBibo and BigAdda spent a lot creating awareness, but were after all not able to make a clear and uncontested spot in the mind of the user (positioning themselves effectively). That could lead them to a “aslo ran” status. That could be one of the reasons of their negative inspite of the social networking scene being in 50%+ positive.
Lessons from the day 1. Dont try to be too many things to every consumer. He will seek you out if you deliver the benefits. 2. Traditional media vehicles may create awareness. But if the offering is not sticky enough, you cannot get your consumers to stay back. (I believe in.com is headed the same way) 3. Postioning is as relevant as ever.
One important thing is Monetization bit. How do you monetize the 3.3 millions users on your books.