Why Is India A Key Growth Market For Twitter?
US-based microblogging site Twitter that started eight years ago, is looking to grow its user base manifold over the next few years - and India is a key part of that plan. After all, the micro-blogging site cannot afford to ignore the rising penetration of smartphones and Internet in the country. At a recent technology leadership summit in India, Twitter’s VP, Global Media Katie Jacobs Stanton shared her views by stating that “India is one of our fastest growing markets and that we will be investing more here.”
Experts believe there is no better time for Twitter to get bullish about Indian market. Industry body IAMAI has predicted that India’s internet users will surpass that of the US by December this year.
Stanton states that 78% of the traffic on Twitter now comes from outside the US, signifying the growing importance of emerging markets. According to its latest quarterly report, for the three months ended September 30, 2014, Twitter had 284 million average monthly active users (MAUs) spanning nearly every country.
According to an eMarketer forecast, Twitter’s global user base will increase 24.4 percent in 2014, led by big gains in countries such as Indonesia and India, and to a lesser extent Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. In its analysis of worldwide users, eMarketer too said the Asia-Pacific region had already overtaken North America with more than 30 percent of all Twitter users. And the figures exclude China, which bans the US messaging service. “And by 2018, Asia-Pacific will more than double North America’s share, breaking the 40 percent mark in terms of worldwide market share. If China is on the Twitter map by that point, that share is likely to be significantly higher,” it says.
While Twitter’s credentials were ascertained by the fact that the Lok Sabha elections generated about 60 million tweets, Stanton states that social media has been a game changer for the way the media operates, with the latest proof being Prime Minister Narendra Modi breaking the news of President Barrack Obama’s India visit as the chief guest for the Republic Day on Twitter.
The year 2014 has been a defining one for the San-Francisco based micro-blogging site. Twitter appointed Parminder Singh as Managing Director India, South-East Asia and Middle-East-North-Africa, two months ago. He was former Managing Director, Google Display Solution Sales for Asia-Pacific. The earlier hire was former Director of Knight Foundation Rishi Jaitly in 2012 as Twitter’s India Market Director.
Earlier this year, the company has expanded operations as it had opened more offices in Mumbai and announced plans for Bangalore and New Delhi offices. The company’s main Mumbai office is located at Regus office complex in Mumbai’s upmarket Peninsula Business Park, Lower Parel.
The company was reportedly on a recruitment drive, consolidating its sales and business development teams in Delhi and Mumbai. According to industry watchers, the company is aiming to differentiate itself from Facebook by focusing on opportunities in the live-cast space – sports, news, entertainment and politics to build advertising revenues through the social media connect in the country.
In India, brands such as Pepsi, MTV, Bharti Digital, Nokia, BCCI, Vodafone Reliance, Sony, Star Sports, use Twitter proactively.
Twitter is the brand that has the potential to keep its followers interested in the messages it sends on a regular basis and in the process tempts them to retweet those messages and reach an even larger audience. Therefore it is obvious that companies to flock to Twitter and look at the possibilities for monetizing the platform, Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst, Gartner says in a statement.
Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says Twitter is among the top four social media brands in terms of recall. However, the same cannot be said about its user base, an area where it is now working harder than ever. Twitter was always challenged to prove its real benefit, being compared to Facebook and WhatsApp that have their value proposition.
According to analysts, to its credit Twitter offers real-time feedback and real-time research capability — tweet and get a reply. Companies can get opinions on new services quickly, as Twitter is a one-to-many communication channel, at costs lower than TV advertising.
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