Nash DavidNov 23, 2016 16:12:21 IST
It's popularly said that Facebook makes money from your personal information. Now it may not literally be true, but if one has to go by its model of growth, then Facebook's massive user base is its inventory and key catalyst for growth.
The rise and rise of Facebook comes in an age when other social media entities, especially Twitter are struggling. Growth trends at Facebook do hint at a few key recipes that have impressed the Indian appetite to consume content. Moreoever, it seems to align with the tastes of India.
According to Umang Bedi, MD, India and South Asia, Facebook, the world has moved to mobile as its prefered mode of communication. For Facebook, the world is mobile. Not will be mobile. It is. Already.
On a planet with a current population of 7.4 billion, there are currently 7.6 billion mobile connections from 4.7 billion unique subscribers. 70 percent of these users come from Asia. 337 million come from India. Bedi quoted a GSMA report with data for 2016 that also mentions that the global subscriber base is expected to touch 5.6 billion users by the end of this decade.
Understandably then, Facebook's biggest bet is on mobile growth, engagement and digital advertising. As Bedi puts it, 'a perfect storm is brewing in India.'
The Facebook Mission
Kickstarting his briefing, Bedi invoked the organisation's mission statement, which is on the corporate website which says, 'Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.'
People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.' He did have a more concise version which says, 'we're in the business of helping you grow your business.'
He added that every effort on part of Facebook is aligned towards this common objective and company mission. He stressed on deep level engagement that is visible on the Facebook platform. In fact, 90 percent of daily active users on Facebook come from a mobile device – either browser or app. Highlighting the stickiness of the Facebook user base, he added that 66 percent of Facebook users visit the site everyday.
The Indian dessert is the sweetest
Emphasising on India's importance as a market for Facebook, Bedi said India is the second largest country for Facebook with 166 million monthly active people. In addition, India has one of the highest percentage of people accessing Facebook monthly, on mobile. 95 percent of users for both monthly and daily in the Asia Pacific region come from India.
For Facebook, India has 166 million active users, 85 million daily active users. Of this, the mobile segment stands at 159 million mobile active users and 81 million daily active users (as of Q3 2016).
Given the widespread popularity of WhatsApp in India, Facebook announced that as of 15 November, India is now the top market for WhatsApp with 160 million monthly active users. India is important indeed. And there is need to move beyond English as the language. Facebook is available in 12 Indian languages.
Facebook India has done well on several other fronts as well. It is one of the top 5 adopters of Workplace, in the league of Norway, US, UK and France.
The need to grow the market
Given the sheer user base, engagement levels and impressive potential, Facebook has initiated an educational initiative called Blueprint, which educates partner companies, brand professionals and the marketing ecosystem as a whole on the best practices in media and strategy and focussing on growing their business. Blueprint comes with all the tools you need to grow in the field of digital marketing. You can learn from about 50 training modules with the option to receive certification. Since March 2015, Blueprint eLearning has hit 1 million enrollment. India ranks as the second largest country signing onto Blueprint. The top five countries include the US, India, Egypt, Brazil and the UK.
Slideshows and Canvas have also turned out to be positive for Facebook in India. The developer community for Facebook in India is second to the US. Over 80 percent of top-grossing apps in India are integrated with Facebook.
Among the most important contribution by Facebook India is found in a Deloitte 2015 report which says the social network contributed $4 billion to the Indian economy. In addition, 3,35,000 jobs were created in India through marketing, platform and connectivity efforts.
Local growth stories
The level of depth in user information offered by Facebook allows it to provide better granularity in the data that marketers could use to target advertising. Among Bedi's favourite examples are Ola Cabs and its Chalo Niklo campaign which increased sales by 60 percent through highly targeted video and photo ads.
According to Sudarshan Gangrade, vice president - marketing, category and alliances, Ola, “Video is a fantastic medium to tell the brand story, also to get people to remember your brand long after they stop seeing the content. Facebook was an obvious choice for us, in terms of a digital partner, with one of the largest penetration in India among smartphone users. It allowed us to set up and launch our campaign very quickly on a massive scale. With help from Facebook’s excellent account team, we were able to continuously track and optimise our ads and reach people on a large scale quickly.”
Reckitt Benckiser is a popular multinational consumer goods company. Among its popular brands is Durex, which despite being present in 150 countries faces competition from local Indian brands. Using Facebook's Audience Insights tools, the company learned that the brand’s primary audience – young male – cared more about cricket.
Using this insight, Durex altered its marketing campaign to centre it around cricket. A series of photo and video ads around the theme of cricket followed, which targeted Indian men over the age of 15. The result was a 29 percent increase in sales during the campaign. On a year-on-year basis, Durex witnessed a 9 percent jump in sales. The overall reach was 54 million men in India.
Rohit Jindal, marketing director, Reckitt Benckiser India said, "Facebook helped us connect with our brand audience in a new and unique way. By targeting young cricket-obsessed Indian males using humorous and provocative messages, Durex became a talking point amidst the cricket fever. In addition to improving reach, awareness and engagement, the campaign generated a lift in the sales for the brand, which is an ultimate testament for its success."
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