The 8 Sessions You Must Attend at SMW Mumbai


Peter Claridge

November 12, 2015 5 min read

Updated on May 2, 2017

A few years ago, I would get an email every couple of weeks from an event organizer telling me about a new social media event that was taking place. Some we attended, most we passed.

Today things have changed. The only emails I seem to get for event sponsorship involve collegiate events or niche trade events that have little to do with social media.

The exception to this has been Social Media Week. A global event started by an English-man in New York, Social Media Week has grown and improved in contrast to many other events that I could name.

 Unmetric has had a partnership with Social Media Week in India from the very beginning because we believe it is the premier event for the social media industry. Simply put, if you are not attending an SMW event in India you are missing out on the best opportunity to interact with your peers (not to mention the best job prospecting opportunities in the country!).

Since SMW Mumbai runs over the course of a week there are just too many sessions to go through to know what to attend. To help you out, I’ve put together my guide on eight sessions that you really shouldn’t miss over the course of next week.

All events are taking place at ISDI in Parel, Mumbai.

Monday, 16th November

How do you define and evaluate the ROI of trending or going viral?
Time: 7:15pm to 8pm

From various conversations with social media analysts, I know that they get the most stressed when their boss or client asks them to make something ‘go viral’ – as if there is a big VIRAL switch that can just be pressed. I’m hopeful that this talk will give some ammunition to people working in social media to help them explain the return a brand is likely to get on something going viral – whether it’s for the right or wrong reasons.

Tuesday, 17th November

Workshop : Preparing for “Zero” organic reach
Time: 11am to 1pm

This is actually a workshop but given the topic I think it’s compulsory for everyone to be attending. When brands with millions of fans on Facebook can barely get a handful of Likes on their posts, then some drastic action should be taken. Perhaps Instagram and the easy engagement brands can get on there might be a temporary saviour but I’d love to know how Abhinaya Chandrasekhar & Sonia Khurana of Ogilvy have cracked this problem.

Will Traditional media be relevant for Gen Y beyond 2015?
Time: 3:30pm to 4:45pm

An interesting question, my immediate reaction is that traditional media won’t be relevant for Gen-Y but I suspect the panelists have other ideas. Amit Agrawal, Viral Jani & Dr Kalyan Kankanala will be discussing where the money and audience is for online video.

Wednesday, 18th November

Digital influence: A changing Paradigm
Time: 5:15pm to 6pm

If every social media analyst had a dime (or is that a rupee?) for every time they were told to get an influencer involved for the brand’s next campaign, well, they might finally have a decent budget to be able to pay for some actual reach on Facebook. Influencer marketing is the latest buzzword which sounds like it might be the answer to all your dreams but is difficult (and expensive) to implement. Angad Bhatia, Viral Jani, Hemant Morajkar, Pankaj Parihar, Sameer Pitalwalla talk about what it takes to implement a successful influencer campaign in India.

Thursday, 19th November

Digital video: Redefining long form content & Brand stories
Time: 4:15pm to 5:15pm

By the time this sentence ends, you’ll already have lost interest in what it is I’ve got to say. This problem affects social media marketers in many ways and is perhaps the reason that Twitter and especially Instagram are so popular. To consume each bit of information takes seconds. Yet here we have a topic from Sandeep Balan, Carina Chopra, Siddharth Nerula and Deepak Raj on why brands should consider creating long form content by way of videos.

I caught up with Sandeep Balan from United Breweries to get his take on why people should attend his session. I was curious as to why he might be suggesting that brands create longer form video content when everyone has a 140 character attention span. This is what he had to say:

Digital video is on the rise and brands are aware of this growing demand. At the same time, we are so overwhelmed by the sea of content across platforms, formats & multiple screens that we now have attention spans shorter than that of the previously jokingly juxtaposed goldfish. But does all this make long form content obsolete? We’re looking forward to sharing our views on digital video, on redefining long form content & brand stories. 
— Sandeep Balan – Head – Digital Marketing, United Breweries

I know that some of the most viewed brand videos on YouTube are over 5 minutes in length so I’m really interested to know the insights this panel has gleaned from creating longer videos.

Friday, 20th November

Artificial Intelligence in Social Media
Time: 4:45pm to 5:15pm

Artificial intelligence in social media holds a special place in my heart because Unmetric has just released its own predictive analytics app. Social media has always meant to be a conversation but with so many people getting involved in the conversation how can brands make sure they don’t hark back to the days of a one to many conversation? Richard Lui and Venkat Nagaswamy talk about how brands can use artificial intelligence to ensure that they can continue to have that 1 to 1 conversation.

To further convince you about the value of this session, I asked Venkat and Richard why people should attend, this is what they had to say:

The impact of Artificial Intelligence on marketing data (including Twitter, Facebook, big data, and proprietary DBs) is reversing the way marketers market:  1-to-1 personalization is now possible real-time. We’re looking forward to sharing how AI and deep learning can propel practicianers from all spaces. 
–Venkat Nagaswamy, CEO, Mariana
–Richard Lui, anchor, NBC News and MSNBC

Not So Social Side of Social Media
Time: 7:20pm to 8pm

Given the recent news that a teenage Instagram celebrity has come out and said social media was ruining her life, I found this topic to be of particular interest. As an industry we tend to drink the collective Kool-Aid on all the new advancements the social networks bring. But there is also a darker, seedier side that doesn’t get spoken about much. Saurabh Kanwar, Suresh Menon, Sameer Pitalwalla and Anisha Sharma will be on stage to discuss how this dark side can be tackled.

Final Thoughts

I’m really looking forward to SMW Mumbai this year and with the new format of having themed days I think it’s easier than ever to catch the sessions that interest you. That said, I did notice that many of the sessions are male dominated. Hopefully this will change in future events because there are plenty of women doing great things in the social media industry.

Oh yes, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we will also be hosting a session at SMW Mumbai this year. We’ll be talking about the rise of real time marketing, how it’s going to be the future of all marketing and how in a weird paradox, it’s not real time marketing at all.


Join us on Wednesday, 18th November at ISDI Mumbai at 7:15pm to find out how the big brands you know and love are embracing real time marketing in their strategies.


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