EMAAR Digital Marketing Strategy: It is All about connecting the dots…

Emaar, a group this big, if wants to escalate its Digital marketing crusades then it’s all about connecting the RIGHT dots… at the right time.

Dots…

  • Process Flows
  • Departments (Marketing, Legal, IT, Operations, Finance, Alliance, Corporate etc.)
  • Activities (Which can influence Marketing & Sales in any sense) includes all Digital, Event, Database etc.)
  • Channels [{offline: Print/Press/TV Media, Events like Trade Shows, Property Fairs} {online: Digital including all channels i.e. Organic, Display, Search, Video, Social Media, Email, Referral & Direct}]
  • Conversion/Customer acquisition Techniques [Retargeting, Emotional Intelligence using offline and online techniques] {This zone is all about innovation}
  • Budgets
  • Automation [Campaign Execution, Brand Monitoring, Data Tracking/Analysis, Optimization & Repeat]

All of the above are gears & cogs which have to work together to attain the desired objective of the company, which for any company is “Revenue” so the macro KPI for any marketing activity be it digital or offline would be ultimately measured by customer acquisition.

18th Aug: Update, I published this blog on 16th Aug evening at around 8 PM, and checked the status on GOOGLE at 10 PM 18th, it ranked on the key phrase “EMAAR digital marketing strategy” on 1st and on “EMAAR digital marketing” at 3rd rank on the first page.

In this blog-post, I will just focus on Digital Marketing, I will try to externally audit current digital activities, identify the “GAP AREAS” and try to provide my recommendations as of how “EMAAR” can escalate its current DM crusades.

Emaar Digital Marketing Strategy 1

Contents:

  1. EMAAR… a Little Enlightenment On the Group.
  2. Let’s Audit… how deep are they?
    1. SEO Highlights!
    2. Website design… the oomph factor!
    3. Technology… Did they automate?
    4. Reverse Engineering the Traffic … What they have on the platter?
    5. Advertisement… What, Where & Why are they Spending?
    6. Social Media… Where do they stand?
  3. Test the Waters… What to Spend? (Budgets)
  4. Honey Show Me the Money? (Objective & KPIs)
    1. Product… What has to be sold?
    2. Sales Approach…
  5. Digital Marketing Process Flow
  6. Digital Implementation Strategy… What exactly will give results?
  7. Conclusion

EMAAR… a Little Enlightenment On the Group.

As per Wikipedia, Emaar Properties was founded and incorporated in 1997 by chairman Mohamed Alabbar. As one of the leading developers in the UAE, Emaar gradually diversified interests in real estate including both commercial and residential property development, as well as malls and hospitality. Emaar has collective presence in 36 markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America

EMAAR is listed as no #801 in worlds biggest public companies by Forbes, with a current market cap of $14.6 Billion

Some of the iconic projects of Emaar properties are Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina & Downtown Dubai.

The Dubai Mall officially opened in 2008, and Burj Khalifa in 2010. By 2014, Emaar was holding over $11.4 billion in real estate investments.

Emaar Properties is also listed on the Dubai Financial Market and was the first property company to offer shares to foreign nationals.

The Company with a strength of 10000 employees reported its 2016 revenue as $4.307 Billion, so we are talking about a company which needs no recognition but of course, there is always a scope to grow, to go to the next level.

Let’s Audit… how deep are they?

If you have a competent experience working with corporate then you can easily articulate that researching 4Ps of marketing, doing SWOT analysis of the product and creating process flows is still the easy part but actually implementing them on ground with a consensus of all the departments is a difficult drill, the same way auditing a website and creating a digital marketing plan is the easy part but to actualize them with perfection that can actually invoke the desired result is the challenging part.

Let’s take up the challenge, …well I have already taken it 🙂

SEO Highlights:

The website is in 2 languages – Arabic and English with the total of 27035 URLs in which 9961 are HTML URLs, missing titles are 7059 and duplicate are 2898 … that’s awful don’t you think so?? well wait, there is a small glitch.

Each of the URLs has 3 versions and all are live i.e. no 301 redirects are been done.

E.g.

  • https://www.emaar.com/en/what-we-do/communities/uae/downtown-dubai/29-boulevard.aspx
  • http://www.emaar.com/en/what-we-do/communities/uae/downtown-dubai/29-boulevard.aspx
  • https://emaar.com/en/what-we-do/communities/uae/downtown-dubai/29-boulevard.aspx

Although it shouldn’t damage the SEO as Google is smart enough to just crawl one of the versions (or you can set it in webmasters) but the smart move would be to keep it clean.

So ideally we should divide the total URLs with 3, but again even if the no would be close to 3319 URLs, how come 2/3rd titles are missing, that’s a huge no. On a careful scrutinization, a major flaw came into cognizance. 

All the press releases which are the actual source of brand awareness and are fresh content for the company lacks proper marketing strategy.

For E.g.

  • https://www.emaar.com/ar/media-centre/detail.aspx?itemId=tcm:223-46845  [ some Arabic versions are actually English with right to left alignment it is better not to put them online ]
  • https://www.emaar.com/en/media-centre/detail.aspx?itemId=tcm:223-46840

and all of them miss Titles, Images, Open graph protocols, Twitter cards etc, I didn’t even bother to check schema :). Basically, they have populated for the sake of doing it and nobody is harnessing the full value of the newly generated content. SM marketing which is a great source of brand awareness is nil for these articles which is rather sad.

If you will delve a little deep on to marketing pitfalls 90% of the organizations struggle for new content generation and I could see that Emaar content creation is regular &  huge i.e. 70% of URLs are with new content i.e. PRs/Blogs, but due to the lack of defined content marketing strategy there is a GAP.

This is strong gap area and Google resonates with the same i.e. in nearly 2300 content pages, Google indexed only 494 Arabic pages and 342 English pages (with a hustle of https, http and with/without www versions of same URLs) this means Google Webmasters needs a health check.

I did a random time check on Google and noticed that Google has not indexed any PR of Emaar from past 30 days, I went on the website and found that they have published 7 PRs and Google didn’t even crawl one of them.

Google-has-not-crawled-PRs-from-past-30-days

*None of the above PRs are indexed (as per present date 10th of Oct)

Conclusion: Clearly there is a need for a defined content strategy, proper implementation process flow with a clear objective.

*Please note am omitting small SEO checks and backlinking profile as this article is not about Complete SEO AUDIT am just using all the DM tools to identify major gaps at strategic and implementation level.

Website design… the oomph factor!

They have taken a very clear design with a Lead conversion landing page approach which normally is taken for instant lead generation, I won’t comment on design as I need to audit analytics to analyze the performance of the design, but on an external view my comment would be that design is missing some spot when it comes to luxury experience. It is oversimplified and images are over optimized i.e. they have lost their glare, the glam feel which is actually needed as per say, the brand image of Emaar is missing.

Real estate is all about heavy investments with USP of lifestyle experience, basically, when you are selling a premium luxury lifestyle then you have to be damn convincing before you are in a position to ask for contact details. Point is, till the time user has not felt the luxury, conversion is not likely to happen, so the first screen with “Register your Interest” doesn’t seem to be a proper call to action.

Emaar changed the design of website on June 3rd, 2017, so they should compare the bounce rate, no of pages per visit and other metrics to analyze the design change impact, I can sense that bounce rate might have gone up. 

Technology… Did they automate?

If we study the tagging structure of the website, they have a clean tagging structure, they are using GTM for all the tag management and we can easily make out what technologies are been used by Emaar.

Emaar Tag analysis

In Advertising, they are using

  • Adobe Audience Manager
  • Cretio
  • Double Click (Adwords)
  • Eloqua
  • Tubemogul
  • Twitter Advertising

In Analytics

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Audience manager
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Crazyegg

Surprisingly they don’t have Facebook Pixels installed, I mean this is strange for me, using Twitter advertising and not using FB ad engine, FB ads cover nearly 80% of social media i.e. Facebook & Instagram database plus their audience partners like Skout etc. 

This a strong opportunity for the company, GAP area identified, I will talk about it later in my strategy section.

Emaar is also using Salesforce & Workplace by Facebook so it’s good that they have automated a lot of things and process is smooth. They have a separate portal for Agents powered by Salesforce, where all Emaar Agents can log in and collaborate with Emaar.

Reverse Engineering the Traffic … What they have on the platter?

Now it’s time to do some productive job i.e. analysis of Emaar’s traffic. It would give us great insights on how their current strategy is working.

As per Similarweb Emaar is enjoying approx 2.58M visits per month, please note data provided from any tool over the web is not reliable so consider it as a hypothetical no, it will not be even close to the actual metrics but for the research purposes, it helps to gain a perspective.

Emaar_com Analytics - Market Share Stats & Traffic Ranking

*Ignore the other metrics also i.e. Avg visit duration/Pages per visit and bounce rate, as they are not at all reliable. 

But yes, thing to watch for is the graph, if we do a comparative study i.e. see the graph and upward marking trend of traffic, (I verified the same with another tool as below) we can easily identify that after May 2017 Emaar DM team has pumped up some budgets in campaigns to receive some extra bit of traffic, July 2017 and Aug 2017 are doing good as compared to May and June. (We will cover it in ad analysis)

Channels:

Traffic Overview & analytics_emaar_com

As per the above chart, we can study the trend of the traffic and the channels which are contributing the most i.e. Direct, Referral, Search and Social are strongest, so no doubt they have an excellent brand presence. If we do some maths we can easily make out that nearly 90% traffic is organic i.e. coming without any paid marketing effort which is really awesome. In our strategy section, we will strategize how to harness the power of organic traffic to increase the Conversion Rate of Emaar.

Traffic by Countries_analytics_traffic_overview_emaar_com

OK so I can resonate with the countries from which traffic is falling in, even if the data above is not accurate one could make out obviously the maximum contribution would be from UAE, but yes they have a strong presence in North America too, you can have a look at EMAAR USA, in India they have Emaar MGF, which has a portfolio of projects in several destinations in India, covering residential, commercial, and hospitality. It is the joint venture of Emaar Properties PJSC with MGF Developments Limited of India, so it makes sense.

One other tool shows India at 2nd position with US traffic share with low percentage, anyways whatever be the metrics as we know that they have collective presence in 36 markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Pan-Asia, Europe and North America they will receive traffic from all across the major markets and top countries with traffic share would be UAE, USA, India, KSA, and Egypt.

Holy Cow!! I forgot to give you the organic keyword search traffic analysis, which is very important for our strategy. Let’s cover it.

Emaar is enjoying traffic from nearly 2000 keywords but the major chunk is coming from below 12 keywords i.e. 71.5% of the Search traffic.

Top 10 keywords bringing organic search traffic to Emaar

and below are 10 URLs giving EMAAR maximum traffic, now this information of top keywords and top URLs can reveal a great stuff about the brand. OK! did you saw something unusual in these search results, something confusing? Did you notice that maximum search keywords are in English but results are in Arabic? Well, I first thought this is a technical glitch of the software pulling the results, but after checking the Cache of the around 6 results I was 100% sure that searches are made in English and results are ranking in Arabic.

Below is the proof: 

Dubai Creek 12 september search result in arabic

 

To authenticate, I pulled the list of TOP 10 URLs which are fetching maximum organic search traffic for Emaar, and mostly all are Arabic. Well I could be wrong as my analysis is totally dependent on external crawling and data pulling but still, I will work on the theory based on what I have.

Top 10 urls bringing maximum search traffic to Emaar

Now applying a little common sense can solve this riddle easily, it is simple to understand.

Searches @ EMAAR are been mostly done by Arabic community be it locals, expats or from other countries [Segmented data can be easily pulled in Adobe audience manager or Google Analytics] but mostly Arabic community is interested and they are using English keywords which are quite generic/brand keywords but language settings on their mobile/desktop is Arabic.

OK one question, now that you have the above information, if you are given a task to devise their SEM strategy what will you do :)… ??

*One thing to note is that English versions of the same URLs are ranking on google.ae  on browsers with language settings as English.

Advertisement… What, Where & Why are they Spending?

This analysis will give us a clear picture of their objective and KPIs i.e. simply what they are expecting from Digital Marketing, this will actually create the base on which our DM strategy will effectuate.

OK so basically they have started running Search ads from June 2017 via AdWords on nearly 242 keywords and their complete focus is on UAE currently so I don’t see any other country coming up on SEM Radar.

Paid Search Positions by Search Engine adwords ads

Below are their Top 10 Ads, I could have presented the list of all the ads they are running on 242 keywords but to make my point I preferred to expose only top 10.

Top 10 Emaar Search Ads via Adwords Ads

All generic keywords with major fall on the English version of Homepage i.e. https://www.emaar.com/en/, to be precise 119 keywords out of 237 are landing on Home Page, Well I could guess they won’t be experiencing a great conversion rate on generic keywords landing on Home Page, I mean it is good for branding but as I could sense their clear focus is on Lead Generation, this strategy is very basic.

So the balance 7% of the traffic is coming from Search ads and approximate ad spend according to my calculation would be USD 600-900 per day i.e. somewhere around USD 18-25K per month.

There is a lot of room in SEM marketing i.e. Keyword optimisation and creating a right landing page experience for the visitor for better conversion i.e. Identified GAP area.

Display Advertising:

I don’t have some considerable data by which I can authenticate how much they are investing in the display, I could see they running some display marketing campaigns (via Adwords) which are generating traffic on the website. They experimented with a 3rd party company called Cretio (or are still doing it am not sure) but yes ROI driven metrics are absent so I will let this section rest in peace.

Social Media… Where do they stand?

Note that Emaar has lot of verticles and presence in many countries so they have multiple web properties like Emaar Misr, Emaar India, Emaar Pakistan etc, on multiple SM websites, to audit all of them is neither possible nor required for the sake of this blog, so I will present some key metrics and analysis related to the main pages in link with the Emaar Properties website.

As I went through all the traffic sources I identified that around 3% of traffic is coming from Social Media, well traffic or no traffic social media contributes the most in brand building and thus adds a major share in direct traffic to the website. It’s very hard to get the attribution data as of how much SM contribution is in overall traffic on the website. Emaar DM Team is using multiple ways to manage social media but mostly with a tool called “SPRINKLR”, no comments on this SMM software, you can fetch the details here: Sprinklr usage details

Social Media Traffic Share Emaar

Again these web tools and data gathering companies have their own methods to collect data externally so I cannot vouch for their accuracy but yes as per what you and I can see I will do the further analysis:

Facebook:

As I said that I was not able to detect any FB Pixels so am 100% sure that they missing the opportunity with the biggest social media platform has to offer, but they are good at branding on Facebook, with an average of 1.03% posts per day of which 51.61% are image posts and 48.39% are video they are creating good engagement.

Total No of Fans Facebook Analysis Emaar

They have a total of 470k fans and with an average growth of 224 fans per day which is not at all bad, they might have run some paid campaign on 03 of September which fetched them 2.2k in a single day, anyway point is that most of their engagement is organic.

Top 10 countries Facebook Fans of Emaar

The maximum fan base is from UAE, India, and Pakistan, and of course, they have their strong presence in these countries so it perfectly makes sense. but if you will see the relative growth you can make out that popularity of Emaar is growing in India and Pakistan, again totally depends on the company and its objectives where they want to increase their brand presence, at the current stage KPI oriented strategy is missing so what we are witnessing is organic i.e. natural. (Plus they also have separate SM collateral for these countries so analysis is diluted).

Top 2 posts on Facebook for Emaar

So above are top 2 organic posts which are getting good engagement in past 30 days and both are well aligned to company objectives but just imagine if there is an automated process which could detect the performance of posts and escalate the reach of these posts from 1k fans to 100k fans :)... I know what are you thinking, wait for my strategy section.

The conclusion is they have good engagement with avg interactions of 341.2/day.

Instagram:

They have approx 168K followers on Insta with approx 5.1K increment in past 30 days with an average of 168.7 followers per day, now am 100% sure they ran some branding campaign on 3rd of September.

Total No of Followers Instagram Analysis EmaarThey have done around 63 posts with an average of 2.1 posts per day in past 30 days. Image posts 53.97% (34), video 41.27% (26) and Carousels 4.76% (3), so content strategy seems fine.

Top 2 posts on instagram for Emaar

Above are 2 most engaging post in 30 days, but I could see they have posted  “The #Future is here! Visit it at The Dubai Mall’s Grand Atrium. #BrightFuture #DubaiCreekTower” on all SM platforms on 3rd of September which has normal organic engagement metrics so I could guess they ran a separate campaign on Facebook with Instagram as included placement which resulted in high engagement on Facebook & Instagram.

For Instagram also they have commendable engagement metrics, with the average interaction of 3k per day and 88.3k likes in past 30 days I could see that their branding efforts are well-paying off.

But again I repeat if they could automate the deployment process i.e. increase the reach of top performing posts to 10 folds then they will have skyrocketing results. [Strategy section]

Twitter:

They have 61.1k followers on Twitter, gained around 1.6k followers in last 30 days with an average of around 51.73 followers a day, these metrics if compared with FB/Insta are on a lower side but still good so I’ll be rather on the positive side.

Total No of Fans Twitter Analysis Emaar

Their average of Tweets is similar to that of Instagram with 65 tweets in last 30 days i.e. avg of 2.17 tweets a day. Twitter is a highly interactive, one thing to note here is that 2 ways communication is very necessary on this platform, so there is something called “Social Devotion of a Brand”, which is measured on Twitter.

response rate of emaar on twitter

If you have decided to be on a social platform then you have to respect its requirements, I mean that it’s not like you created your calendar with automatic scheduling of content pieces and your job is finished. 94.12% questions were unresponded, as I suppose no one is responding to user queries on this platform or rather all the platforms. So from the point of reputation management, comment monitoring system is needed.

YouTube:

Normally in any corporate, video marketing is not done keeping youtube in mind or rather KPI as getting more subscribers, because to get subscribers you have to take entirely a different approach, rather corporate videos are more of either informational (about a product) or sheer branding. So having a less subscription base is not something to worry about.

Emaar has  12.3 k total subscribers with an average of 10.63 per day, which is not great, but I would rather say getting subscribers on a Youtube channel is never an objective of an organization like Emaar, so it’s okay.

Total No of subscribers youtube Analysis Emaar

Important metrics to note is no of views, and having an average of 8k per day is definitely too good, am sure these views are coming from alternative sources where these videos are embedded rather than directly coming from YouTube.

No of video views on youtube emaar

Most importantly videos are getting enough eyeballs, and that is what is required.

I can conclude on Social Media Audit with a positive note that, if not excellent they have really done a commendable job on social media. The room for improvement is always there and am sure they must be working on it.

The only comment I have is that SM channels are used for the better branding of Emaar and am sure they are successful but the strategy can be optimized to gain maximum leads and inquiries from them (I am looking at the perspective of commercialization which can be measured). 

Test the Waters… What to Spend?

Budgeting is not an easy part plus it is a collective decision of any company with the involvement of multiple departments, marketing budgets vary as per industry and there is no golden thumb rule. It includes multiple factors, evaluations, and aggressive brainstorming.  And am not the financial guy, I am neither an insider nor I know anyone who could provide me marketing budgets of the company, (specifically digital marketing budgets), so I will take a hypothetical figure derived from an article of Forbes i.e. company between $1-9 billion of annual revenue are spending approx 6.7% (of revenue) in marketing.

6.7% of $4.307 billion (2016 revenue- Data from Wikipedia) is $289 million approx i.e. total marketing budget (Please don’t take it literally, numbers are filled for better understanding, main focus is on strategy)

As per WebStrategies Inc., Richmond, VA the ratio of TV: Digital: Print (between 2012-2018) would be 35.7%:37.3%:14%  (again it will differ as per industry and should be customized for each organization as per the data, but for the sake of the project we are taking standard values).

As this project is concentrating on Digital Marketing, to be precise “Paid Digital Marketing”, we will consider 37.3% as ideal share i.e. $107.6 Million. Well, its a lot of money (LOL), don’t panic as we are not gonna spend this, because we won’t be having those budgets, the best thing about digital is we can measure the ROI rather quickly with complete control on spending, plus we have instant tracking and optimisation can be done on the go.

*The budget will obviously be dispersed in lots of other resources & activities including Office, Staff/Agency cost, software, overheads, content development, inventories etc but for the sake of this research and for better understanding I will omit everything and take a simple direct approach. 

Strategic Move… Honey Show Me the Money?

Product… What has to be sold?

I like to keep things simple and trust me simplicity is much more complex, so the simple calculation would be that If EMAAR is spending $107.6 million then simply stakeholders will expect a revenue of $1.6 billion, I mean that would be the expectation :).

Now what is the product offering, according to EMAAR online Sales Center, they are selling 18 products starting from 1 bedroom apartments to 4 bedroom apartments,

Emaar Product Offering - What they are selling.

You can download the excel from here: Online Sales Center, What Emaar is offering

I did the hard work for you, as I said I like to keep things simple, I simply averaged out the cost of all 18 offerings and divided our total sales targets by the averaged value i.e. one apartment or villa is costing on an average around $700K and sales target is 1.6 billion so sales of around 2228 units will effectively pull the revenue targets. I am not sure if they have the availability… so grab yours now 😉 LOL.

*Please keep in mind that revenue of $4.3 Billion of EMMAR Properties as articulated by Wikipedia would be from various channels with multiple products rather than just real estate or just these 18 offerings, I just took a starting point of what they are selling on their online sales center to create a strategy which can make sense to you or I will be shooting arrows in thin air. I know am absurdly doing the calculations but like I said before, just consider all the numbers, budgets and targets as hypothetical random nos, concentration majorly out here is in the strategy.

Sales Approach…

Now we have products with  KPIs & sales targets, so apart from branding our whole DM plan will revolve around this, as we all know that DM is the feeder of the most upper layer of the marketing funnel. Direct Customer Acquisition i.e. A qualified sale is never a KPI of digital marketing, rather generating leads & inquiries is what is expected from DM, so keeping that in mind we would be creating a plan with a marketing funnel.

To create a funnel approach we need to know how the funnel has to be created, the basic flow of sales, i.e. DM will bring in the traffic from various sources and channels and then what? how should a funnel look like?. To keep things simple I have created a simple KPI sheet taking the above budgets and sales targets in mind, again conversion percentages are hypothetical, actual data can be either collected by spending some budget on various test campaign on multiple channels or company will provide the historical data to create a predictable tactical plan with all the conversion percentages at each stage of the funnel. Anyways as I don’t have the data, I have done some calculations of my own and below is the outcome:

Sample KPI sheet of a real estate company

Now don’t be judgemental and don’t take everything literally or else EMAAR financial department will send contract killers after me and the contract budget will also be deducted from digital :).

Jokes apart I just oversimplified everything for a better understanding for a layman. One more advice don’t get baffled over cost per lead as $725 as this is not the actual budget, they might plan to spend 1% of what is a calculated above and cost per lead could be $10 or $50 or maybe $80 or $100 that’s not the point, point is to make you understand that if you are been given X amount to spend on marketing, company will expect Y output from you and how you gonna do it effectively that’s what they want to know.

See the funnel version of the same without numbers it will make more sense of the flow.

Funnel Approach Toward Sales in a Real Estate company

This is how any company works, whether you spent on branding, marketing or sales ultimate KPI is the revenue, it doesn’t matter you are selling a soda or a villa, you should know how to conquer the funnel and to do that you need to reverse engineer the customer journey. Once you have done that “Digital Marketing Strategy” will be like playing golf ;).

Customer Journey to purchase, it used to be simple before 1995 when Yahoo was born and WWW ever showcased their first display ads and since then there was no turning back, now a customer can enter the marketing funnel from majorly 8 different digital channels and can take up to 40 impressions to give you their first click. So as a digital marketing expert it is my responsibility to leave no stone unturned.

Note that marketing always revolves around the objectives and KPIs of any organization, in an organization like EMAAR, if I have to structure the whole Digital Marketing then I will audit the departments and head counts i.e. resources. A complete business case would be created from DM point of view i.e. what they already have and what is needed, and then I will move slow and steady towards the goals. [LOL … Lecture ahan]

Digital Marketing Process Flow:

The first thing you need is a process flow because without it the whole DM would be directionless, once you have the product and objective on the table, you need a complete process flow to guide you how you will actually deliver i.e. collaborate with different departments to execute the campaign and then digitize everything using solutions offered by Adobe, IBM, Salesforce, Sap etc.

Below is a simple example,

  1. Marketing [1st Swimlane] – Generates the requirement and define the offline activity for the product sales, passes on the requirement to DM.
  2. Digital Marketing [2nd Swimlane] Planning – Tactical Plan of How the product will be marketed, what channels will be used, defining no of ads, PRs, Organic Posts etc. required.
  3. Content [3rd Swimlane] – Create blog/Pr | Ad copies | Titles, headlines, descriptions etc
  4. Creative [4th Swimlane] – Create graphics needed for all the channels in all required dimensions
  5. Digital Marketing [2nd Swimlane] – Deployment Plan i.e. Campaign and Content Calendar
  6. Analytics [5th Swimlane] analysis of data and collection of Conversions [Data analytics will further guide as of optimization in content/creative is needed or not], Leads collected will be passed on to CRM
  7. CRM [6th Swimlane]- Will pass on the leads with details to Telemarketing
  8. Telemarketing [7th Swimlane] will book the meeting with consultants
  9. Sales [8th Swimlane] close the sales.

I can include a process flow map but it is beyond the scope of this blog, plus process flows are always custom as per departments and headcounts in a company.

Emaar as per my understanding with external evaluation lacks robust processes in terms of Digital Marketing, even though they are using software like Salesforce, but as per my belief, they are only using it for particular sections. Anyways I have mentioned that creating plans and processes are easy tasks but the difficult drill is implementation, actualization, and automation.

Digital Implementation Strategy… What exactly will give results?

EMAAR already has enough branding & reputation in the market, traffic falling on the website is huge and mostly it is organic so nearly all the tough part is already been taken care off. Now an organized approach [Tactical Plan/Strategy & Roadmad] is needed to channelize the implementation/execution towards the KPIs i.e. achievement of GOALS. 

I have audited all the channel and identified the Gap areas, so my strategy will revolve around the GAP areas rather providing you the repetitive stuff (which is common with most of the agencies), needless to say, DM budgets will be distributed to all required channels and competent tracking will be done to collectively analyze the channels giving most conversion.

Gap 1 – PRs News & Media

They have to create a process & content strategy for the deployment of PRs on the website i.e. researched titles/meta keywords, content images, especially the PRs which are related to any product launch, currently this is missing (as audited above), PRs are good content updates which can be boosted with paid efforts to all the current visitors of the website i.e. people who already know the brand or are interested in some product.

This will strengthen the brand trust and people sincere enough will convert. Strengthen the SEO for better ranking and quality traffic & will help to gain authentic data for segmentation.

Aggressive Segmentation i.e.

The first job is to do the content grouping of all the pages which are related to the products they want to sell i.e. say for e.g. Dubai Creek Harbour

Content Grouping for segmentation

Approximately 428 pages are indexed in Google with information on “Dubai Creek Harbour” i.e. people visiting these pages on Emaar.com will be interested in the property some the other way, now traffic to these pages could flow from various channels organic or paid, that is not our concern, our concern is whether they are converting i.e. providing inquiries or leads? and our objective is to optimize for better conversion.

Step  1.

Segmentation of Audience identifying the user intent, i.e. users which are interested in a specific product (as defined above). Various segmentation in Analytics | Audience Manager | Facebook Audience has to be done. e.g. as per below:

  • Scenario 1: Following parameters: “People visiting any of these 428 pages, spending more than 5 minutes and visit more than 4 pages i.e. bounce rate less than 25%”
  • Scenario 2: “People visiting top 10 converting pages, who clicked on the button “Find out More”, “Register your interest” & “Buy Online”, but never completed the funnel.
  • Scenario 3: People visiting via mobile, visit duration more than 5 minutes and downloaded the brochure of the product.

In case of EMAAR  as they have huge base of B2B also i.e. agent network which will be having a considerable amount of traffic share as they are ongoing visitors of website for information and other stuff, in B2B mostly traffic falls from desktop as they have to reuse most of the information for their own landing pages and advertisement, so if the traffic falling on Emaar main website has intersection with the visits of agent portal, we have to exclude them from our marketing funnel.

Step 2.

A custom campaign would be created for these people with highly converting information i.e. educational stuff, immersive experience, images, landing page etc.

GAP2 – UX

Even if EMAAR believes that the website is “Ferrari” and user experience is wondrous, the process of innovation on UX is continuous i.e. most of the big companies lack in providing new/immersive user experiences due to the cumbersome processes they are dealing with, i.e. even if you have to do a simple change on the landing page which is a 5 mins job you have to go through 4 departments and 10 processes which could take days or weeks. Result, Low productivity and high wastage of resources plus you loose time bound opportunities.

Step 3.

A retargeting plan will be constituted to seamlessly retarget all the segmented users on all the platforms i.e. Mobile/Desktop tablet etc. and all the channels.

GAP3 – Facebook Pixels

What EMAAR is missing gravely is RETARGETING as they are not using social media (FB/Insta) Ads for the same, nowadays 60-80% traffic on any website comes from mobile and Facebook/Insta have the monopoly when it comes to retargeting on mobiles. So they have to install Facebook pixels and let FB gather the website data, and then segmented retargeting approach can be designed as I have explained before, Which am 100% sure will increase the conversion rates.

Step 4.

Retargeting via Email to the segmented audience, custom emails regarding different projects would be sent to those people who were interested in that specific project. Like, say a customer who has listed his/her interest in “Dubai Creek Harbour” who is interested in a 2 bedroom apartment should not be targeted with the project of “Golf views” offering 4 bedroom villa.

Step 5.

Retarget again & again via different channels and different messages segmenting at the micro level, and tracking should be very robust so that website has the capability to micro-segment as per behavior of the visitor.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Adwords ads have to be customized as per user interest with better user experience, I have audited the ads externally but I don’t know the internal results i.e. I don’t have access to conversion data. So it is hard for me to give optimization ideas, but one thing is clear as their maximum ads are running on Homepage with generic high volume keywords. They need to focus on specific projects and create a SEM strategy per project.

Campaign>Dubai Creek Harbour | AdGroup >All keywords related to the project | Ads

*An Update, meanwhile I was writing this blog they have launched multiple campaigns on the strategy I have defined, so this proves that they are aligned with my ideas 🙂 and am in right direction. [That is what I love about technology… it’s always changing and you have to work always ahead to get results] 

Emaar project targeted ads

 

GAP4 – Arabic & English

I mentioned in my audit about a unique observation that I revealed, mostly Arabic people are searching EMAAR projects and their keyword search is in English or “Google Arabic”, (makes sense, imagine searching 17 Icon Bay in Arabic) so they should be landed to an Arabic version of the same ad. But the flaw is that even if people are shown ads as per below, they are landed on the English Version.

Arabic version of the Ad

So it’s good that they are in the right direction but still, more improvement and optimisation is needed.

They can take this to another level by launching Dynamic Remarketing with Dynamic Product Ads. I.e. collecting data from all the above campaigns and people who are visiting multiple projects can be segmented and offered with a DPA. In AdWords, while creating a Campaign, we can select Custom Business with a Custom feed (including all combinations) and dynamic remarketing can be done. [This can be manually updated]

 

Digital Integration to the offline world

There is much more reach out in marketing than just digital but as this article is purely digital I won’t be elaborating on below sections. Why am I even mentioning them? Well, now digital integration is absolute in each marketing activity to maximise the results. So separate DM strategies/processes should be constituted for all of the below-mentioned areas, but they are beyond the scope of this blog.

  • Agent Network
  • PSEs (Property Search Engines) (I will cover this sometime later in another blog)
  • Digital Supporting Events
  • Digital Supporting Trade Fairs

I can keep on researching and writing for ages as EMAAR, a group as big as around 10000 headcounts is not something I can pull down in 6318 words, plus out of sheer curiosity, I invested around 7 days with approximately 60 hrs of Input in researching, auditing, strategizing etc. It was fun for me and truly speaking I enjoyed it thoroughly but it was exhausting too, as I didn’t take breaks after my work hrs.

I hope you enjoyed reading this piece, any questions queries and comments are welcome as they inspire me for my next crusade :)… (which are not very often though…)

Ciao for Now!

*Disclaimer:

All the figures regarding EMAAR financials were pulled from Wikipedia and all calculations made from my end were totally absurd, so any resemblance (which would not be there 😉 ) with living or dead would be purely coincidental, and by any chance, there are some legal issues, am not the owner of the Article. 😀

Author: Gaurav Agarwal

A pure marketing person with 16 years of Experience in Digital Marketing & International Business Development.