Zomato, a food delivery company that turned into a unicorn in 2018, is still showing consistent growth.
Their revenue increased by 225% from the first half of 2019 to first half of 2020 and they reduced their EBITDA losses by 40% from Sept’19 to Mar’19.
(Image source: Your Story)
In this article, we are going to look at Zomato’s digital marketing strategy to understand how they achieved this feat.
If you prefer watch a video then click here:
We are going to look at how Zomato used Google and Facebook ads to get more orders, how they used their data to expand to other products and services and how they reduced their losses.
Table of Content:
Zomato’s Google ads strategy
There are many Google searches happening every month. People usually come to Google to solve their problems.
For instance, people might be looking for restaurants nearby or they might be looking for online food delivery services.
These searches make Google a perfect platform to advertise. Also, you can guess the user’s intent by the keywords they are using.
For instance, when people search for “order pizza online”, they are looking for Pizzas but want someone to deliver it to their home.
#1. Zomato targets keywords like “Online food” to acquire new customers
More than 10,000 people search for keywords like “Online food” or “Order food online”.
These people are looking for a food delivery service. So, Zomato targets them to get more customers as shown in the image below.
#2. Zomato targets branded keywords like “Zomato order”
Zomato is quite a well-known brand in India.
It is so popular in India that more people are searching for “Zomato” than people are searching for “online food”.
So, Zomato is also targeting branded keywords like “Zomato online order”.
#3. Zomato targets restaurant keywords like “Haldiram Noida sector 63”
While working as a Management consultant at Bain and company, Deepinder conceived the idea of an online restaurant information service.
He says, “I noticed people queuing up in the pantry every day, trying to look for menus to order food and that’s when the idea struck me – what if we could access these menus online.”
With this mission in mind, Zomato also targets keywords like “Bikanervala sector 29” which is the name of a famous restaurant in Gurgaon.
#4. Zomato targets dishes name like “mutton biryani”
People who are looking for a specific dish online might also be interested in ordering it online. With that theory in mind, Zomato targets keywords like “mutton biryani” or “pizza order”.
Google advertising is a crucial part of Zomato’s digital marketing strategy to attract its target audience and fulfils its mission.
To give you estimates of the amount spend on these ads I have added a table, which shows the data for Jan 2020. I have also added the data of Swiggy for the sake of comparison.
You can observe that Zomato is getting a lower cost per click (CPC) compared to Swiggy. As a result, they are getting more traffic for fewer rupees spent. This shows that Zomto’s ads are much more effective than Swiggy’s ads.
Zomato’s SEO strategy
More than 90% of Zomato’s traffic comes organically from Google and this is not an accident.
Zomato uses search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to make their website Google-friendly and consequently ranks high in search results for 900K keywords.
Let us look at how Zomato uses SEO strategy to rank high in Google search results.
#1. Zomato has created listings of all the restaurants in India to rank high
Zomato is like an e-commerce website for restaurants.
Here, restaurant owners can create and maintain their restaurant page. Zomato associates also update this information every month.
This creates an incredible experience for food lovers.
See for yourself in the image below.
Moreover, since Zomato has registered 6500+ restaurants, they have 54 million pages on its website.
The more pages you have on your website, the more chances you have to appear in search results.
Also, these restaurant pages give a ton of information about the restaurant like menu, photos, directions and review.
As a result, they rank high on Google whenever someone is looking for them. For instance, check out the image below, which shows Zomato’s restaurant page “Eden Park” ranking on the first position.
However, you might think that trying to rank for restaurant keywords is not a good idea because it is not Zomato’s core business and there is no financial benefit.
However, Zomato’s plan is a bit different. They have monetised these pages with ads as shown in the image below.
Also, they have other plans to use user-behaviour data on their website, which we will discuss later in this article.
#2. Zomato uses internal linking to rank high in search results
Most of Zomato’s organic traffic comes from keywords like “restaurants near me” or “cafes near me”. Zomato, aiming to become a restaurant aggregator, tries to rank for these keywords as well.
To do this their SEO team has created an awesome internal linking structure, which is present in the footer of the website as shown in the image below.
When someone clicks on these links, the website automatically detects their location and takes them to a listing page, which shows all the restaurants near them.
Because of these efforts, Zomato ranks on the top for almost all “near me” keywords.
Zomato’s SEO strategy is extremely successful. Statistically speaking, Zomato gets 24M website visitors per month, which is much more than Swiggy.
Moreover, 83% of this traffic is non-branded which means that it comes from keywords, which do not include the word “Zomato”. This is great for brand awareness because you are reaching out to people who were not aware of you.
Here is the complete data.
Zomato’s Facebook ads strategy
#1. Zomato uses Facebook ads to attract new customers
Zomato uses Facebook ads and gives huge discounts to attract new customers. They reach out to new people by excluding people who are already their customers.
Here is one of their ads.
Notice that they have “Install Now” buttons on their ad. This button takes people to Play Store where they can install the app.
Also, Facebook automatically optimizes this ad by showing it to the people who are most likely to install their app.
#2. Zomato also uses local language ads to attract new customers
To target people who are more comfortable with local languages, Zomato uses multi-lingual ads.
These ads usually give better results than English language ads.
Check out Zomato’s Hindi ad below.
#3. Zomato uses Facebook ads to get more orders from existing customers
Zomato also targets its existing customers by showing ads like this:
Did you notice the text “Long time no see”?
Through this ad, Zomato is talking to the people who already have the Zomato app on their mobile, but are not placing any orders.
Also, notice that this ad has a “Use App” button, which takes people to Zomato app to place an order.
Zomato’s content marketing strategy
#1. Zomato uses Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with people
Zomato has always used social media for communication and not just promotion.
In an interview with Social Samosa, Mr Pramod Rao, Zomato’s VP of marketing, said that they have always focused on being original on social media. He said, “Being original is the key. Most successful brands on social media interact with their users as friends would converse with each other”.
Check out the full interview here: Zomato’s Social Media Strategy Explained [Interview]. It is a bit old, but it explains their strategy well.
Zomato uses twitter to communicate with people. Mr Pramod Rao says that they use Twitter to respond to people’s queries, and run some contests.
However, since they are trying to be original, some of their tweets also go viral. For instance, check out the following anti-marketing tweet that went viral last year.
Zomato understands that Instagram is an image-sharing app, so they just share beautiful images of tasty food on their Instagram page as you can see here.
Zomato uses Facebook to share blog articles and updates with the people.
Here is what Mr Pramod Rao said about Zomato’s Facebook strategy, “Facebook is a little static in comparison, and is more a platform for updates from Zomato. For example, our new TV commercial posts fresh off our official blog, or photo albums from events conducted by us.”
#2. Zomato’s YouTube and Blogging strategy
Zomato has a well-maintained blog where they regularly post articles on topics like technology, food, culture and community.
However, Zomato has ignored its YouTube channel. Even though they have almost 50K subscribers, they have posted only 52 videos.
Because of Zomato’s digital marketing strategy, people have started following them on all platforms. They have 2.7M likes on Facebook, 160K followers on Instagram and 1.4M followers on twitter.
#1. Zomato came up with Gold Membership to build a loyal customer base
Through Zomato’s Gold Membership, customers can get great discounts every time they visit a restaurant. This is perfect for people who like visiting new restaurants.
People who buy Zomato Gold usually use it a lot to get the maximum value out of it and become loyal customers in the process.
#2. Zomato came up with a better pricing model for restaurants to grow
Zomato’s heavy discounts might look like they are bad for restaurant owners since they don’t get enough margins.
But, that’s not the case, restaurants get more orders because of Zomato. And since Zomato delivers food to customers home, restaurants don’t have to waste table space and rent.
That is why restaurants have no problem in giving service to Zomato’s customers at a cheaper price.
#3. Zomato’s most important thing is its user behaviour data
Becoming a low-margin food delivery business was never the plan of Zomato. They aimed to collect user data, which they can use in many ways.
One of the ways they can use this data is by starting consulting services for restaurants. Since it has the data, it can guide restaurant owners to take the right decision like which cuisine to serve and what price to sell a cuisine.
Another way Zomato uses its user data is to improve the customer experience on their website and app.
Also, since Zomato has a lot of active users on its platform, it has turned into an advertising platform for restaurants. By advertising on Zomato, restaurants can list their restaurant on the top and get more orders.
So, this is how Zomato’s digital marketing strategy works.
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