PepsiCo anticipates big shift to mobile

9 April 2013

GOA: Marketers may soon have to invest up to half of their digital budgets in mobile to succeed in markets like India, according to Shiv Singh, global head of digital for PepsiCo Beverages.

Singh, delivering a conference speech at Goafest 2013, said that India presented a significant opportunity, and pointed in particular to the mobile space.

He suggested that over the next four years, marketers would have to allocate an increasing share, potentially reaching 50%, of their digital marketing budgets to this area.

More generally, he advised marketers to "bet on Facebook", while at the same time warning against simply counting Likes.

"Having a lot of likes is like having a large hall with empty chairs," he said. "It's meaningless unless you have people sitting in these chairs."

But, Singh argued, "a relevant post on Facebook is as powerful as a 30-second television commercial." It is also cost effective, as "reaching over 20m relevant consumers at the same time is much more expensive on traditional media than through Facebook."

As to how that relevance can be achieved, Singh maintained that "the insights you get from social [media] impact how you understand cultures, consumers, brands and products, and how you can predict sales and measure engagement".

Digital media never sleeps, so "when the customer is listening 365 days, the brand should be there too," said Singh.

He related how Pepsi shared music news and updates every week via Twitter. "This helps the brand be an integral part of the culture, and the efforts have paid off," he stated.

"When people search for music-related content on Google, the organic search results throw up Pepsi-curated content on the first page itself, thus reducing the dependence on Google."

In discussing Pepsi's broader music strategy, Singh said that ads in the future "should not be restricted to a 20-second film" but should "make a strong impact and be a part of the culture".

He cited the example of a new 61-second video put out on social media by Pepsi in which the singer Beyoncé previews a new release. "It was not just an ad for Pepsi, but a new lens into Beyoncé," said Singh.

Data sourced from Campaign India; additional content by Warc staff