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Issue 1 | March 2019

Foreword
Priya Swaminathan, Domain Principal - DIS

Trends to Look out for in 2019

Sreepriya Swaminathan, Domain Principal, DIS


The adoption of the digital Channel has been the fastest in the last decade and the Channel has matured at an equally fast rate. Some interesting trends that we noticed at DIS during our course of business over the last year

Renewed Interest in Digitization 
Everything that can be digitized is getting digitized, the Financial industry was the first on the band wagon and now the most traditional of industries and even mom and pop shops are looking to digitize

AI and ML
A direct impact of digitization is availability of data which is spurring Automation and Machine Learning which in turn is propelling AI

AR / VR
The customer and his/her experience remains the centerpin and marketers are looking for novel methods to influence that. AR / VR is making the job effective and easy

Technology and Business shaking hands
A lot of the technology requirements of companies are more business driven.

Off shore Captive
with the abundance of data availability, and rising awareness of privacy policies thanks to GDPR, companies are moving work in house and Captives are back in fashion

What's inside this issue

Here is a kaleidoscope of opinions from within Infosys and outside on the latest trends in Digital Marketing


Perspectives from internal authors

Gopi, in his article, lists down SEO strategies for voice based search
Stephen, in his article, says video is the best format in 2019 based on industry movement in the last year
Dr. Pradeep, in his white paper, talks about providing value for location based services through data hosting

Nuggets from external authors

From the Operations Floor

Here's an inside view of how we find solutions for our business problems on the operations floor.

How to Tackle the Voice Giant?

Gopinath GA, Domain Lead, DIS


I remember the stories during my childhood always had some or the other magical responsive utility like a talking mirror, or a door/carpet which will speak if spoken to or answer questions and give information when asked. Little did I know that I'll live to see those magical things come to life with the help of technology. Audrey, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, Alexa are some of those to name a few.
These technologies are changing the way we interact with other techs, especially the way we consume information. Now as a digital marketer I spend sleepless nights whenever there's something new in the industry because it somehow resets everything that I have done and would require me to start fresh altogether. So this is an attempt to decode the new Voice Recognition technology and what a marketer should do to tackle this giant.

50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020Source: comScore

Now, what is Voice search?
Voice search is when we use voice to search in a search engine instead of the traditional methods like typing in the search query using a keyboard.

The problem? 
Well, it does simplify the way we search the internet but has it simplified the way how results are shown? The answer is No.

Traditionally we have built our websites with content focused on an element called keywords. Because users search the internet using keywords and key terms which they think relates to the information that they are looking for. And truly, keywords are the backbone of both SEO and SEM. 

Now with the advent of voice search, results are no longer shown for a keyword but rather for a sentence. This is beyond the length of a long tail keyword. Users of voice search converse with the technology to get their search results. 

Let's address this voice giant!!!
Firstly, the users tend to use Natural language to converse with Alexa or Siri, just like how they will strike up a conversation with a fellow human being. These machines are programmed to understand and process these conversations.

Question your Intent!!
So these voice machines understand the meaning of the words, and most importantly understand the Intent of the sentence to give you the accurate result. Now the focus is on the Intent and not just the keyword. The intent to buy or to know is very strong in these search queries. Unless we address the intent with our content, these voice search machines will not pick us in their results.

So now the first and most important thing to do to optimize our content to suit voice search results is to expand our content beyond a set keywords and include answers to the intent a customer or the user wants us to address. When we want to find a plumber or electrician we type "Electrician near me" or "best electrician" but when we do the same in voice search we will probably say, "do you know any reliable plumber/electrician in chennai?". The content that we add in our website should answer to this and many other questions that a probable customer might ask. Get the intent right and reframe your content to address the queries rather than pointing them to keywords.
 

The voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry by 2019
Source: Technavio

FAQ Page
One way of achieving this is by adding an FAQ page in your website. With an FAQ page it becomes easy to add answers if you don’t want to disturb the existing narrative provided by the current content. We should also focus on keywords that are long tail but highly conversational 

Use Schema's to highlight content. 
Structured markups from Schema.org helps highlight specific content from the website so that spiders can easily parse content and understand its context. The schema is actually metadata, which explains and describes the data present on the website, making it easier for the spiders to understand the context of the content.

"Near Me" is your best friend!
With the increasing number of “near me” searches in voice search, we should make use of this type of keywords to get our brand on top. To do that we need to have our business listed in the Google’s local business listing. . 

Put to use Google Ads' location extension.
Now, this is the feature when enabled, lets you show your ads along with your business address, phone number and directions. This corresponds to the “Near me” searches and when you have it enabled, it makes your ad more relevant to the local user giving you an added advantage in the Bidding.

Voice search is not just the latest trend; it is the future focused on making user’s life simple. It is the next big thing and we should all use this opportunity to transform our content relevant to the users. With all the above strategies put together, we can effectively transform our SEO and SEM strategy to suit the new voice search technology and stay on top of our competitors

Why videos are the hottest trend in digital marketing right now

Stephen Samuel Jothiraj, Senior Consultant, DIS


Videos have had a great year in 2018. From new launches to policy changes, videos have been a major talking point in 2018. We summarize the top trends and bring out pointers to show why videos can be the go-to format for digital marketing in 2019.

Video apps fight for share of attention with Netflix
By late 2017, the short-form video was becoming very popular with Tik Tok as the standard bearer. Facebook got on the bandwagon in 2018 by soft-launching its Tik Tok alternative called Lasso. Meanwhile with demand for original content rising long form video had also gained popularity. Instagram's IGTV and Facebook's Watch entering the long-form space in 2018, which is still dominated by YouTube. These long form video platforms are looking to gain share of attention from the Netflixes of the world.

Monetization policy changes and new features
While YouTube became a little harder to monetize for small channels with their recent policy changes, other platforms have opened up to the idea. One of them is Snapchat which is checking out its non-skippable ads. Facebook is wooing small channel creators onto its Watch platform with a slew of monetization options including Ad breaks, Brand Collabs Manager and paid fan subscriptions. IGTV branded the hub for vertical video, meanwhile is waiting on its monetization policy announcements. 

As original content creators search for YouTube alternatives for monetization of content, platforms like DailyMotion, Patreon, Vimeo and others come into play as well.

Exciting features available for all
The policy change in monetization has resulted in more features available for channels outside of the 'partnership' program in YouTube. This means that your channel can take advantage of these features. Cards, Custom URLs / thumbnails / endscreens, Live Streaming, Scheduling are all available for users. Facebook's new features are designed to help make the life of a creator easier - Creator App on Android, Launchpad and Creator Studio. Facebook is also testing some cool features to make their live streaming interactive with polls and chats. Snapchat meanwhile added the Bounce feature.

Live streaming growing faster
Two of the biggest draws for live video is its immediacy and authenticity which results in viewers spending more time on live videos. Live streaming is growing faster than other formats with Facebook & YouTube leading the pack in active users. Amazon's Twitch specializes in live-streaming games and is the hub for millions of gaming fans. Instagram added the feature only in 2018 and has seen some success.

Video & SEO
Google started showing video carousels in desktop search last year. Now videos can get you the top spot in SERP. Video integration can positively impact your ranking in SERP as they increase content relevancy and content quality of your page. And if your videos are hosted in YouTube (a google company), then you can expect it to impact google SERP.

Other trends to watch in this space
Vertical format videos are popular with snapchat and IGTV in the lead. Shoppable videos are in fashion with YouTube offering interesting options to this end.  360 degree videos and VR videos will gain popularity with more VR devices entering the market. Videos are going to only grow this year with exciting new platforms, formats and features.

Realizing values on data hosting platform for GIS solutions - an approach

Dr. V. Pradeep Kishore, Domain Principal, DIS


It requires a vast investment to integrate the geographical
information system (GIS) into any business. However, the investment can easily go in vain if the chosen platform and custom application do not meet the business needs. The current GIS market is moving towards the trend where target business leveraging the benefits of relying on the data hosting partners to manage their services. This enables the business to optimally utilize assets, and ability to service their needs so that client focuses only on their core business. There are both small and large players who face regular challenges in asset management and yet are not keen to invest in-house in map data and applications. In order to cater to this, the data hosting platform for GIS hosts online mapping services

Digital Labs - DIS CoE Program


Digital Labs is an ideation program that acts as a platform for employees to provide ideas to innovate existing way of doing things. We implemented it in engagements across Chennai, Bangalore and Pune in the first phase and have plans to cover Hyderabad and Jaipur in the second phase.

The program was designed to stimulate employees into tapping their years of experience in a process and apply brainstorming technique to solve existing problems in the process. To bring innovative ideas to solving problems, we also need to get the team members to think creatively. We accomplish this by a series of activities that get the team members in the right mindset to solve problems. 

Digital Labs in Bangalore
We conducted Digital Labs program in an engagement whose clients are one of the largest Search Engine company in the world. We support them 24/7 managing their ad approval process. The major challenge here was the dynamic nature of the rules for approval of ads. The process requires frequent updates on cultural norms of the region supported. This meant that accessing multiple sources of data and many checks added to the handling time. 

To solve this, the team came up with ideas to reduce time taken for the approval process. Building upon ideas, the team felt that a large screen in the operations floor with the latest updates and list of norms scrolling down for all to see will be a good solution. This would save time as the agents don’t have to double-check with peers, or access different data sources or sift through multiple versions of rules. 

Digital Labs in Pune
We conducted this program in 3 of our client engagements in Pune which included a leading bearing and seal manufacturer. As an outcome of the GDPR implementation, there was a technology change and a forecast for ticket volume hike. The challenge was to maneuver the technology shift and chart a steady course during a period of unpredictable ticket volumes. During our digital labs session, the team identified ticket que management as a key area of interest and built a solution to intelligently assign tickets. This was followed by plans for technology trainings and handouts for associates to refer to in the initial stages of the change. This kept the team in good stead during the times of change.
  
Digital Labs in Chennai
We manage end to end Enterprise Information Management for a Leading European Consumer Electronics and Health Technology company in Chennai. Turn Around Time was the chief challenge for the engagement. They were on a mission to reduce TAT by 50%.  We set out with group activities which helped the team understand different aspects of TAT and visualize the entire process to identify gaps that should be removed. The team collated the ideas and here’s a highlight: intelligent que management, collective-knowledge hub, smart SLAs, data access rights to key resources, mandated periodical update from IT, in-house SPOC list maintenance to reduce dependency. This boosted the efforts to reduce TAT by 50% in the scheduled window.