Brands follow, as multi-lingual content paves the path to reach Bharat
There is a growing base of language users on the Internet, with as much as 18 per cent language users accessing the Internet every year compared to 3 per cent English users, as per a KPMG report. Most language users are based in non-metros and collectively outspend metro consumers in categories like FMCG, apparel and footwear. Neither are they shying away from big ticket purchases as e-commerce sales in these regions are growing at 3x the rate of metros.
210 million users access the Internet every month with $300 billion in annual spending power. Only 50 million reside in the top 5 metros. A whole host of language friendly start-ups have sprouted in the last few years, such as news aggregator Dailyhunt, social media platforms Sharechat and Roposo, knowledge sharing platform Vokal, and podcast platform Awaaz.com.
TV with its unparalleled reach used to be the go-to media for advertisers to reach the heartland, but the pay and spray approach isn’t an option with constrained budgets. For years the narrative in the regional space was potential, but now that is changing as cash strapped companies look for innovative ways to monetise.
Momspresso, a multilingual platform launched in 2010, has more than 15K creators on its platform creating content in regional languages across text and video formats. When it began, most of its users came from the metros, now its top cities include Lucknow, Indore, Patna, Agra, Jaipur and Chandigarh, where it sees engagement metrics that are 3X more than English content and the cost per click is a third that of English.
They create inspirational, beautiful, funny, and informative content across buckets of pregnancy, baby, kids, beauty and fashion, recipes, travel and living, relationships, their lives, health, and family. They serve female users who are the darling of FMCG players and an underserved audience on the Internet.
During the lockdown, Momspresso has engaged and partnered with brands like Johnson’s Baby, Fevicreate, Mother Dairy, Ariel, Kelloggs, Surf Excel and Canara HSBC Life Insurance to enable and conceptualise their digital campaigns.
Prashant Sinha, COO & Co-Founder, Momspresso, credits the interest from brands to the new normal. “According to a report released by BARC India and Nielsen on the digital consumption, smartphone usage is inching towards nearly four hours/day, which is a 12.5 per cent increase as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period. As regional content consumption soars during the lockdown, brands have a huge opportunity to provide confidence and be available there with a highly engaged, local and regional audience. Brands are increasingly focussing on vernacular content, because nearly 60 per cent of the audience trusts a communication in their own language,” he noted.
The company recently launched a dedicated division called Momspresso Bharat that partners with brands that do not have domain expertise on language content, after all, Momspresso dabbles in content in 10 Indian languages. They offer services like regional language content creation in text, video and audio format, digital films, localisation of websites, regional insights, management of vernacular social media pages, and transcreation (as opposed translation) services. Transcreation is the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context. An essential service for brands trying to run a national campaign in various languages.
Social media platform ShareChat launched with the motive of being the platform of choice to onboard language first users when they have access to the Internet. It has become India’s largest multi-lingual social media platform and supports 15+ Indic languages. The company claims to have 60 million monthly active users, where the average user spends 23+ minutes daily on the platform.
By focusing on hyperlocal conversation on subjects pertaining to local art, culture and lifestyle, ShareChat has democratised the conversation on the Internet, which was led by English speaking users.
March onwards, the platform has collaborated with 25+ brands and executed more than 40 campaigns. Their partners include brands like Paytm, Parle Products, Amazon Pay, Asian Paints, Aakash Institute, Unacademy, Facebook, Coca Cola, OYO, MTR, Airtel, Pepsi, Future Group, MXPlayer and Snapdeal, who want to unlock the potential of lower Tier audiences.
Satyajit Deb Roy, Director - Sales, ShareChat, remarked, “Brands are excited about this proposition (multi-lingual marketing) and exploring the offerings across languages. To cite an example, Bhasha Dibosh is a well celebrated event in West Bengal. Coca-Cola did a Bhasha Dibosh special with ShareChat users, and used # ভাষারপ্রিতভােলাবাসা✍ to connect with the audience. The campaign integrated during Bhasha Dibosh to connect literary behaviour with Bengali users on ShareChat’s platform. The purpose behind this campaign was to rekindle people’s lost love for writing in Bengali and hence, wanted to drive communication for the same. It generated 9.63 lakh views in a span of 3 days (Jan 20, 2020 – Jan 23, 2020).”
Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and ShareChat are the most used platforms beyond the metros. With more than 325 million MAUs, and nearly 200 million people using it every day, Facebook offers incredible reach and engagement. And this is discounting its reach on Instagram!
Facebook has circumvented the language barrier by driving video content. Businesses both large and smaller are using its powerful video plus infinite feed combination to drive massive engagement numbers.
Citing a recent brand campaign, Gaurav Khurana, Vertical Head, Financial Services and Travel, Facebook India, said, “Eno wanted to drive incremental reach and consideration for the brand in rural clusters. To target the right audience, the brand mapped the internal business to geographic pin codes via census and postal pin code directory, identifying the rural clusters to be targeted. These clusters were then mapped to the Facebook audience available in those geographies. The brand tied up with Facebook to customise communication in vernacular to the relevant demographics, and saw an encouraging response from the consumers.”
Boston Consulting Group and Facebook India recently released a new report, titled ‘Turn the Tide’, that revealed that digital influence has increased significantly across the path-to-purchase.
The platform offers a good mix of macro and micro influencers. According to Momspresso’s Sinha, “If it is a matter of gaining reach, macro-influencers are the way to go and if it is a matter of authenticity, then brands chose micro-influencers as they drive higher engagement. So, the macro influencers’ engagement is around 3-5 per cent, while for micro influencers, it is almost 12-15 per cent of their followers’ network.”
Mainline creators and genres like food and humour tend to receive the most traction of its platforms. Viral content from prominent public figure make this apparent, for example, Chefs Ranveer Brar and Saransh Goila’s Instagram series ‘#RBLockdownCookbook’ and ‘Mornings with Goila’. Actor Kriti Sanon (#KriticalCooking) and Daljit Dosanjh showcase their cooking pursuits.
On the other hand, creators like Indrani Biswas aka ‘Wondermunna’, who creates content in Bengali or Jahnavi Dasetty aka ‘Mahathalli’, who creates content in Telugu, see more engagement and have a loyal audience following.
While other platforms are trying to achieve scale, Facebook is working to make its platform more attractive to all kinds of creators, to compete with creator led platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Recently, the platform partnered with various music communities to create Instagram Live series ‘Live in Your Living Room’.
“We curated regional music experiences with local artists, for a festival featuring Bollywood artists and for the North East and similarly for the South; all were well received in terms of viewership and regional engagement,” says Khurana.
He further added, “We engage with creators across regions, and programs such as ‘Born on Instagram’ that we launched last year to discover and showcase content creators from across India, have had a role to play in it.”