A Look At The Fast-Growing Social Media Market Of India

Having introduced the social media scenes of China and Brazil, the seventh installment of our Globally Social Series will take you to another fast-growing BRIC country - India. With its population expected to surpass China as the world's largest by 2028, India is also likely to see an explosion of new social media users as their internet infrastructure matures. Read below to find out how Indian people use social networks and who are the shiniest social media stars. 

Social Networking Predominantly On Mobile When looking at the market shares of leading social networks, India demonstrates a similar pattern as the rest of the world. As of June 2015, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are the top three social platforms respectively. However, as a developing country that has only 19% Internet coverage, India surprisingly sees a vast majority of social media usage happening on mobile. According to IdeateLabs referencing data from The Wall Street Journal, only 10% Facebook traffic and 14% Twitter traffic are from desktop. The mobile-first behavior of Indian social media users explains why mobile-based social apps such as Instagram and Snapchat are quickly catching up. According to the latest data by We Are Social and Global Web Index, the market penetration of Instagram and Snapchat is 19% and 11% respectively. Additionally, live-streaming mobile apps such as Periscope and Meerkat are also taking off in India. So much so that the trend has spawned a couple of homegrown live video apps such as #Fame. Brand-Loving Social Media Users Indian people are very generous when it comes to expressing their love for brands on social media. According to research done by IdeateLabs, Facebook fan pages of Indian brands are shared four times more and generate 3.5 times more engagement than the global average. In fact, Indian social media users not only over-index on their sharing behaviors, but also their brand advocacy activities. According to a study done by Social@Ogilvy, a third of Indian social media users are “true brand promoters” while the worldwide average is only 19%. As defined by the agency, “true brand promoters” are people who go beyond sharing or retweeting brands’ social media posts just because they like the content; they intentionally follow brands in the first place to speak directly to them. Moreover, “true brand promoters” are constantly on the lookout for product information on social and their purchase decisions are much more likely to be influenced by brand mentions within their social circles. The Exotic Social Influencer Scene Globally speaking, celebrities are riding social media waves and their choice of platforms can often point to the next hottest social apps. Bollywood stars are no exception. In the case of Periscope, Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan spurred its growth by being the first celebrity to use the app where fans take sneak peeks at his film shooting sets. Sensing the tremendous value of celebrities in helping social networks thrive, many tech startups in India have developed social apps exclusively for public figures to interact with their fans. For instance, Frankly.Me allows you to pose questions to celebrities who respond by creating video selfies. When it comes to non-celebrity social media influencers who are wildly popular, Indian Instagrammers are definitely worth checking out. In fact, CNN has reported that India is the fourth largest market for the image-sharing app. Apart from fashion shots, creative flat-lays and travel photography, Indian Instagram influencers also share with the world some of the most rarely-seen moments of Indian lifestyle and culture.

Social Networking Predominantly On Mobile

When looking at the market shares of leading social networks, India demonstrates a similar pattern as the rest of the world. As of June 2015, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are the top three social platforms respectively. However, as a developing country that has only 19% Internet coverage, India surprisingly sees a vast majority of social media usage happening on mobile. According to IdeateLabs referencing data from The Wall Street Journal, only 10% Facebook traffic and 14% Twitter traffic are from desktop.

The mobile-first behavior of Indian social media users explains why mobile-based social apps such as Instagram and Snapchat are quickly catching up. According to the latest data by We Are Social and Global Web Index, the market penetration of Instagram and Snapchat is 19% and 11% respectively. Additionally, live-streaming mobile apps such as Periscope and Meerkat are also taking off in India. So much so that the trend has spawned a couple of homegrown live video apps such as #Fame.

Brand-Loving Social Media Users

Indian people are very generous when it comes to expressing their love for brands on social media. According to research done by IdeateLabs, Facebook fan pages of Indian brands are shared four times more and generate 3.5 times more engagement than the global average. In fact, Indian social media users not only over-index on their sharing behaviors, but also their brand advocacy activities.

According to a study done by Social@Ogilvy, a third of Indian social media users are “true brand promoters” while the worldwide average is only 19%. As defined by the agency, “true brand promoters” are people who go beyond sharing or retweeting brands’ social media posts just because they like the content; they intentionally follow brands in the first place to speak directly to them. Moreover, “true brand promoters” are constantly on the lookout for product information on social and their purchase decisions are much more likely to be influenced by brand mentions within their social circles.

The Exotic Social Influencer Scene

Globally speaking, celebrities are riding social media waves and their choice of platforms can often point to the next hottest social apps. Bollywood stars are no exception. In the case of Periscope, Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan spurred its growth by being the first celebrity to use the app where fans take sneak peeks at his film shooting sets. Sensing the tremendous value of celebrities in helping social networks thrive, many tech startups in India have developed social apps exclusively for public figures to interact with their fans. For instance, Frankly.Me allows you to pose questions to celebrities who respond by creating video selfies.

When it comes to non-celebrity social media influencers who are wildly popular, Indian Instagrammers are definitely worth checking out. In fact, CNN has reported that India is the fourth largest market for the image-sharing app. Apart from fashion shots, creative flat-lays and travel photography, Indian Instagram influencers also share with the world some of the most rarely-seen moments of Indian lifestyle and culture.

Indian photography influencer Ravi Choudhary captures precious moments of Indian people's daily lives and cultural events in his beautiful Instagram posts. @choudharyravi

Indian photography influencer Ravi Choudhary captures precious moments of Indian people's daily lives and cultural events in his beautiful Instagram posts. @choudharyravi

Instagram pictures of Indian artist and social media influencer Krsna Mehta @krsnamehta While barely one fifth of the population has Internet access, India has a tremendous potential to grow its social media user base in the next five to ten years. Whether you are a social app startup or a consumer brand trying to engage India's huge population, tapping into the influence of its biggest social media stars will prove to be an effective marketing strategy.

Instagram pictures of Indian artist and social media influencer Krsna Mehta @krsnamehta

While barely one fifth of the population has Internet access, India has a tremendous potential to grow its social media user base in the next five to ten years. Whether you are a social app startup or a consumer brand trying to engage India's huge population, tapping into the influence of its biggest social media stars will prove to be an effective marketing strategy.