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Madhavi Irani

Nykaa’s next big move in the content marketing space would be the Infomercial space and Nykaa Network, a next-generation engagement community platform for customers to interact with other customers, spearheaded by Madhavi Irani, Chief Content Officer of the company.

The online beauty company has more than 70% of its customer base as women, but with the men’s grooming category growing, it will slowly fine tune its men’s content strategy as well.

Irani said, “We are fine-tuning our men's content strategy, starting by hiving off the men's category into a brand new site for men with specialist content aimed at their needs. When we started Nykaa, we spent most of our efforts building content around our highest selling, women-centric beauty categories but now are working at growing and extending into niche ones like men and new mothers.”

Nykaa truly believes in the power of content marketing with the kind RoI the brand has fetched from their content strategy. “Tracking customer behaviour has revealed that while conversions from content are marginally lower than from those directly visiting the e-commerce site, the average price per order is 15% higher. Therefore, the content user is a more evolved customer. We estimate the annual revenue coming from content stands at about 4% of GMV in 2016-2017,” said Irani.

Not very keen on partnering with external content generators, Irani said they do help increase the number of visits to Nykaa but also bring along an exponential increase in the bounce rate.

Excerpts:

How bullish is Nykaa on content marketing? Where do you get more eyeballs, blogs or videos? How about moving to other mediums?

Content marketing is one of our main pillars, and we are constantly developing and fine-tuning strategies to create different kinds of content, which is then disseminated across platforms while staying true to the agenda of e-commerce. We create different kinds of content, such as mailers, Editor's Picks, Beauty Bible and the Buying Guides that are transactional in nature. We also do informative content to create engagement such as the Beauty Book, videos and Facebook Lives. Nykaa has tapped into most mediums, including bloggers, other content platforms and TVCs. Our next big moves are into the Infomercial space and Nykaa Network, a next-gen engagement community platform for customers to interact with other customers, both of which I am spearheading.

Is it that most of the content marketing strategies are women-centric in the beauty category? If so, what is the scope of content marketing targeted at men? To my knowledge, the men’s grooming category is growing exponentially.

Yes, most of our strategies have been targeted at women who contribute 70% of our customer base. However, having said that we are also looking beyond beauty customers and tapping into a section interested in wellness, and the mom and baby segment. Slowly but gradually we are also fine-tuning our men's content strategy, starting by hiving off the men's category into a brand new site for men with specialist content aimed at their needs. When we started Nykaa, we spent most of our efforts building content around our highest selling, women-centric beauty categories but now are working at growing and extending into niche ones like men's and new mothers.

Do you ever intend to monetise your blogs and ‘How to do’ videos?

We are already doing that via-a-vis sponsored product reviews and paid lives and videos. We have understood the importance of native advertising and branded content and are working towards doing more of that. Looking at the quality we deliver, many brands are approaching us to create paid content for them.

What would be he content marketing trends to watch out for in the category going forward with beauty brands already setting trends through their videos and blogs?

Some of the key content marketing trends will focus be relatable, real girl beauty, personalised content, crowdsourced content, interactive content that people can touch, use and try. Also, there will be a bigger thrust on using the power of real people as influencers instead of paid vloggers and bloggers, which was the norm until now.

What percentage of consumers comes to buy products at Nykaa through your blog and via Nykaa’s YouTube channel?

It is heartening to note that while traditionally content has only been used to drive engagement and stickiness, content at Nykaa plays a huge role in conversions, not just direct but also assisted conversions. Tracking customer behaviour has revealed that while conversions from content are marginally lower than from those directly visiting the e-commerce site, the average price per order is 15% higher. Therefore, the content user is a more evolved customer. We estimate the annual revenue coming from content stands at about 4% of GMV in 2016-2017.

I see a lot of content targeted at millennials. Does that mean that content marketing works the most for millennials and the younger set of people in comparison to the others?

Studies have shown that while millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, they are 247% more likely to be impressed by blogs and social networking sites. But their credibility is under question given the glut of influencers, with most of them being paid to say what they do. Therefore, while we do use vloggers for some of our video content, our individual strategy has been to become thought leaders and set trends. Content at Nykaa does have a millennial bent but it’s important to remember that our target audience is aged between 18-40 years. So while the content on our social platforms is largely targeted at millennials in tone and content, the larger content piece focuses on several kinds of buyers, from newbies and aficionado to experienced, mature and evolved customers. For instance, the skin care or wellness buyer is typically a more evolved customer in her 30s and older. Having said that, digital content is largely focused on millennials who are constantly plugged in and seek information and products online. They have shorter attention spans and need more visual, crisper content. However, slightly older audiences have greater purchasing power and need more information, so our content has to straddle the needs of both audiences.

Content marketing comes naturally to the beauty brands. What are the things that other categories should learn from the content marketing in the beauty category?

The obvious learnings are the ability to spot trends and give audiences what they want even before they know it. It's also important to present facts and content attractively, in line with international standards and give a 360-degree virtual experience to capture hearts and minds, and hopefully wallets!

Do you have plans to collaborate with external content generators for increasing the brand’s reach or are internal teams and platforms good enough?

We have collaborated in the past with other content generators and the results have been a mixed bag. While the number of visits increased exponentially, so did bounce rates. Collaborations work when there is a synergy in the audiences. I would rather let numbers grow organically and see 1,000 genuine beauty customers read or view a piece of content than getting 100,000 disinterested visitors who landed up only to leave quickly. In fact, our strategy to grow organically has paid off, with the average time spent on our blog, for instance, sitting at five minutes against an industry average of about two minutes.

You have been with Nykaa since its inception stage. What made the brand being attracted towards doing blogs and videos than regular advertising for the brand? What are the key learnings?

From the very inception, we were convinced that Nykaa would do what it took to replicate the in-store buying experience online. While we couldn't obviously replicate the touch-feel-try-on experience online, we opted to become the Indian woman's beauty advisor, sharing tidbits on everything from how to find the right shade of foundation to how to apply lipstick. I was fortunate in that I managed to put together a team of experts, leaders in their fields from the best dermatologists in the country to top makeup artists, who came on board to help us become a one-stop beauty advice destination. It's been a gradual growth but a sustainable one, and I am happy to say that content and careful curation have been an integral reason for Nykaa's success. 

What makes Nykaa’s content strategy stand out in the category?

From the beginning, I believed content at Nykaa had to be chatty, informative, authentic and entertaining. Unlike preachy, boring content we are a mix of information, education, discovery and curation.

A lot of interaction happens online. How do you see tier II and III cities consumer behaviour evolving?

I was reading somewhere that more than 70% of online shoppers come from Tier II to III cities. When I look at the comments on our Facebook Lives and even questions on the product pages, it is obvious that people from these cities are increasingly seeking their place in the sun. Their hunger to know more, their curiosity and their increased spending power have made them important participants in the e-commerce landscape.

Do you have specific content targeted at the audience for non-metros and rural as well?

At present we don't, but it would be shortsighted for anyone to ignore creating customised content for these audiences. A starting point would be content in local languages that have successfully been done by regional publications but now needs to be replicated online as well. 

As a blogger/writer, what according to you should be kept in mind while planning content specifically for blogs?

The content should be relatable, well laid out, well researched and presented in bite-sized, digestible nuggets. It also has to be visually appealing, mobile-friendly (which is how millennials consume content), crisp, short, relevant, trendy and timely.