ShareChat, The New Frontier of Social Media in India - Sunil Kamath

Sunil Kamath
Sunil Kamath

Way back in 2005-06, we all would remember using Orkut which was the first social network that got all of us hooked. That was the only platform where we would reconnect with college friends & school mates. This was a really refreshing and emotional journey on the internet for many consumers like me. Couple of years later (2008-09 to be precise), we heard of Facebook and suddenly we all got hooked onto it and churned out of Orkut completely. Orkut became extinct almost instantly. The social media journey had just begun for all of us and even before we could realize, we were logged on to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat & Linkedin.

Messenger services like WhatsApp have taken the social platform to a completely different level and today many of us spend more than 70% of our time on multiple social media apps.

While all this was happening, ShareChat was stirring up a silent revolution in India with a young & passionate team. While larger players were focused on getting India on social, ShareChat was focused on bringing social media to Bharat (vernacular first users).

What is ShareChat?

ShareChat is a UGC social media app that is empowering vernacular-first audiences to embrace social media in their own language. With 10 languages already on the app, we are addressing more than 70% of the addressable internet audience in the country.

Why are we relevant?

The growth of the mobile web is happening in Bharat as the English speaking consumers are already converted and are consuming multiple social media apps today. 90% first time mobile internet users are estimated to be on vernacular language and consuming content in their language is a very critical element of the engagement and retention that can drive the user experience for this new segment of users. As per a study by KPMG & Google, vernacular language users are expected to grow at CAGR of 18% to reach 536Mn users in 2021, while English users are expected to grow at 3% only.

What do our users consume?

Video consumption is extremely high on our product, thanks to extremely competitive data tariffs from mobile carriers (The Jio effect)

Almost every major app provider has seen a significant change in their data consumption patterns post the Jio launch in 2017.

30% of total content posted on our platform is Videos while the consumption is more than 50% the total.

Images/GIFs/Text makes up for the remaining 70% of  the content that is posted by our users. 

Some key monthly metrics on our user engagement:

  • 6Mn unique content posts
  • 120Mn WhatsApp shares
  • 2Bn video plays

How big is ShareChat user base?

We have seen a very healthy growth rate of upto 30% MoM on some occasions and our product engagement is extremely high compared to other vernacular apps in the market.

Top cities where are users come from are:

Pune, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Rangareddy, Thane, Mumbai, Surat, Ludhiana, Bengaluru, Kanchipuram, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Rajkot, Nashik & Chennai.

In the past 12-18 months, we have crossed 25Mn downloads of our app and we have more than 17Mn active users. 

The average time spent is upward of 25 mins per user per day and average monthly data consumption by our users is a healthy 2GB per month and these metrics are growing very well week on week.

What is trending on ShareChat?

Interestingly, the content consumption preferences vary widely among languages and also across geographies within a particular language.

For e.g. – Marathi users post more selfies on our platform than others, while Telugu users prefer to post love and relationship based videos, Kannada users like posting dubsmash videos and Gujarati users in rural areas spend more time watching spiritual content.

What next at ShareChat?

One of our key focus areas is on building partnerships with players who can contribute to our user growth strategy.

We recently announced the launch of ‘ShareChat Talkies’ which is our platform for content creators to leverage our distribution across Indian languages. Ishq Mohalla was the first series we launched with Hera Pheri Films who are producers of the series.

Ishq Mohalla was received very well on our platform with more than 500k unique views and 40k video plays per episode. The content was shared 8k times on WhatsApp medium.

With ‘ShareChat Talkies’, we want to encourage local studios to come onboard and reach out to our highly engaging user base and build their followership with us.

Monetization is another area we will focus when we hit a critical mass but in the meantime, we will continue to do trials with various ad formats on our product and also work towards an incentivization program for influencers on our platform.

(The author is Sunil Kamath, Chief Business Officer @ ShareChat)

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