Zomato…naam toh suna hoga! (Zomato…You must have heard the name)
Today we’ll unravel the (Digital) Marketing Strategy of Zomato and its approach to win over the largest market share in India in the food delivery industry.
Surprisingly, 85% of Zomato’s website traffic is organic and why wouldn’t it be? They built a failproof Content marketing plan after all.
Let’s not give away the spoilers here & dive straight into the story.
Note: When we say Zomato in this article we are strictly sticking to the Zomato - the food brand and not touching upon it as a parent company of Blinkit, Hyperpure and Feeding India.
Birth of Zomato
Deepinder Goyal & Pankaj Chaddah, both IIT Grads, were flustered with how complicated it was to find a dine-out place online.
And like true entrepreneurs, they set on a mission to transform this gap into an opportunity & launched Foodiebay in 2008. Foodiebay was an online directory of all the restaurants with their menus, ratings, details and so on.
You may not know it but Foodiebay was Zomato’s first name ever. I know, Zomato sounds way cooler, right?
No wonder that the founders knew a name like Foodiebay would not work when they were planning to expand their startup abroad. Hence (or henceforth), Zomato it was! And now Zomato is present in 19 countries.
And as the transformation from Foodiebay to Zomato happened, the business changed as well. There were 2 things that Zomato set out to accomplish initially:
Bring food to people: Order in
Bring people to food: Dine out
This made them partner with restaurants. By 2023 they have already 1.4 million registered restaurants and they have partnered with 12,000 restaurants. And they made independent partners with delivery representatives.
When people order in, Zomato earns from the delivery charges. On its website it earns from display ads. And ever since Zomato Gold, Zomato earns from the subscription model as well.
Zomato & the food industry!
Based on a report published by Inc24, Zomato is ruling the market with 54% market share.
Also, in 2023, Zomato’s quarterly revenue saw a surge of 75%.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be, because Zomato’s founders expect a major shift in the food industry even if something remotely similar to the US happened here.
In 2018 alone, for the first time in history, people in the United States spent almost as much money on restaurants as they did on groceries.
And let’s be honest, only a small segment of the Indian market is tapped by food delivery. There’s way more to go. Mr. Deepinder Goyal once even said that Food delivery market will be even bigger than the e-com industry itself.
Currently the food delivery market stands at 33.36 Billion Dollars, while the e-com stood at 16.6 Trillion Dollars in 2022.
How can the market expand? Zomato says there are 4 parameters to it:
QAAA - Quality, Accessibility, Affordability and Assortment. Anywhere in the world, when the restaurant industry improves its score on these four parameters, there is an expanded flexibility of people towards restaurants. And, Zomato’s marketing strategy, it is trying to nail all 4 segments.
Quality - Through ratings & reviews, Zomato gives the power to the users to hold the restaurants responsible for the quality of their food. Hyperpure, an initiative of Zomato, operates on a mission to provide quality ingredients to restaurants.
Accessibility - Zomato provides instant information to people and brings the food industry closer, making it convenient for people to order in or dine out.
Affordability - Do you remember the insane deals of BOGO on Zomato throughout COVID? Those were NOT a part of the affordability segment. Then what is? The open competition between restaurants on Zomato, nudges the partner restaurants to bring the prices down, provide better service and hence attract more customers. This in turn helps restaurants drive an increase in net profit and higher chances of filling tables at the restaurants.
Assortment - If you think about it Zomato is an assortment of food experiences, different cuisines, and more.
Target audience of Zomato
If you had to take a guess who would be the ideal target customer for Zomato?
But not just any foodie. Zomato operates through an app so it must be someone who can use smartphones and apps.
So the target age group is: 18 to 35 year old people.
People who have very little time to prepare food are even more motivated to dine out or order in. Who are they? The office goers, students living in hostels, people living away from home.
There is an additional social factor for those who want to go out: A motivation to socialize with friends.
Marketing Strategies of Zomato
Earlier in 2016:
Zomato’s advertising represented 100% of their revenue and focus.
Gradually they shifted towards being a transaction company, which means that they started earning from customers paying for the food delivery service.
In 2019 annual report, Zomato said:
“We have had tremendous growth aided by promotional marketing spends to acquire new users and be the first-to-market in many cities in India. In our experience, being first-to-market gives us a distinct competitive advantage in the food delivery sector.”
The proof was in the heavy paid marketing campaigns and the insane deals that Zomato offered to its users. This was when Zomato was expanding its marketing strategies.
Digital Marketing Strategy of Zomato
For the starters, let me ask you a steaming hot question.
What is it for you - Zomaato or Zomaito?
It doesn’t matter. They both deliver on time! ;)
Zomato has a bang-on digital strategy but it took them time to nail what would work.
Zomato invested heavily into advertising & sales promotion with the budget increasing by INR 6.9 billion in FY22.
Also, there was a significant increase in digital marketing expenses by INR 1.3 billion against which Zomato acquired 25 million new customers in FY 22. This acquisition of customers was a surge in comparison to the 10 million new customers in FY 21.
Paid marketing strategies of Zomato
If you know even the basics of paid digital marketing, you know the fierce competition. Pinpointing the types of keywords that your target audience is using to tap services like yours is not just cherry on the top; it’s water, aka, essential to thrive.
4 types of keywords that Zomato targets with GOOGLE ADS STRATEGY
Service based keywords: online food, order food online, food delivery, etc.
Brand keyword: Zomato
Restaurants & menu by going hyperlocal: Haldiram’s Noida Sector 63
Specific dish: Mutton biryani, pizza order, gulab jamun, kathi roll, etc.
3 types of ads that Zomato runs based on its FACEBOOK ADS STRATEGY
Ads to attract new customers - In the ad it offers huge discounts to new customers. This campaign excludes the people who are already their customers. It has a CTA - “Install now” taking the user to the playstore to install the Zomato app.
Ads to entice existing customer - This ad carries the CTA of “Use app” that takes the customer to Zomato app.
Local language ads - Multilingual ads like bengali ads in West Bengal gives better results than English ads. These are targeted at both existing customers & potential customers, with different CTA for each.
Zomato vs. Swiggy Paid marketing efficiency:
If I simply give you numbers with nothing to compare to, you won’t see why we are singing Zomato’s praises. Here are the figures and comparison with its top competitor Swiggy. Yes, Swiggy which is the second largest player in this industry with 46% market share.
In 2020, Zomato ranked for 1300 keywords in its marketing campaign while Swiggy only ranked for 132 keywords.
Zomato got 224000 users while Swiggy got 165000 users with paid marketing.
This traffic costed Zomato Rs. 5.1M, while Swiggy expended a higher amount of Rs. 5.4M for smaller audience.
And most importantly, Zomato only spent Rs. 20 for each click (CPC) while Swiggy spent Rs. 30.
Content Marketing Strategies of Zomato:
You may not have figured it out consciously but we subconsciously know Zomato for different things on different platforms:
Twitter: Quirky lines are to Zomato what food is to foodies!
Facebook: Zomato uses Facebook to share blogs & updates
Instagram: TBH Zomato could have had all that recipe sharing content to begin with, but why bother when they can be a “meme sharing platform”?
Nonetheless, they did begin with sharing pictures of yummy food. That was all. That sounds too boring to be Zomato content.
YouTube: What are you looking at? Zomato doesn’t use its Youtube channel anymore.
Zomato YouTube channel was abandoned with 52 K subscribers but only 52 videos.
SEO strategies of Zomato
Zomato has achieved a phenomenal fea(s)t with its SEO strategies, challenging for most companies. Its website’s 95% traffic comes from Google.
What has Zomato done differently that hit a chord with Google & Google can’t stop delivering Zomato content to hungry internet users?
Zomato’s massive SEO Asset:
Well, in simple words Zomato has built an e-commerce website for restaurants.
It has listed 6500+ restaurants and created a profile for each of the restaurant.
The owner’s of these restaurants maintain their profile while the users add the ratings and the reviews and keep adding to the value of Zomato’s website.
All the information combined, Zomato has 54 million pages on their website. This is phenomenally great for an SEO boost, as more the number of pages and better the structure, higher the chances of getting ranked on Google.
And if that wasn’t enough, these pages are also monetized with showing display ads.
Optimizing Internal linking for:
I can be looking for dining out options for lunch and simply run a Google search: “Popular restaurants near me”
And Zomato will always rank on the first page for the answer
What's their secret sauce to rank for all “near me” keywords? It’s the internal linking. Secret my foot(er)! Zomato’s footer actually. It has a section devoted to all the “near me” pages right in the footer.
If there had to be a “near me” expert, it would be Zomato.
Zomato’s website gets 24 Million website visitors every month. Out of this 83% traffic is non branded, which means not focusing on Zomato but food, services and other keywords.
With neck to neck competition with Swiggy, where winning customer loyalty can be challenging, Zomato rather focuses on winning attention whenever its customers are hungry for food. And this may be a reason why on Google, where there’s food there’s Zomato.
But wait, if you thought that this was all about Zomato’s marketing & buisness, you are mistaken. Zomato has an incredible database of user behaviour of hungry users that it can use.
How did you think these Instagram posts were made?
It was even published in the annual report of Zomato.
Well, it is just our personal opinion but this is how Zomato may use the data going forward:
Inspired by Netflix, it can give better recommendations to users & optimize for more orders.
It can provide consultation to restaurants on building a HIT menu and decide the pricing of dishes with competitive advantage.
There are many more uses of the data gathered by Zomato. Only the future will unfold how Zomato decides to cook its story further. Meanwhile you and I can analyze, learn & keep cooking our success stories.
Hoping this was an enlightening read for you. Keeping Zomato right by the side of Swiggy, Swiggy ain’t that behind after all with 46% market share. Do you crave the exposure to meet an actual industry expert who has led growth strategies at such big firms like Swiggy? Mr. Agni Chatterjee has done this at Swiggy. And he is training the next generation of Content Marketers & Social media marketers. Do you want entry into the cohort? Check it out now!
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