Why advertisers need to change their language in digital India
Internet users in India are starting to slowly represent the diversity of India in terms of languages. Indian language internet users have seen a huge growth from 42 million in 2011 to 234 million in 2016, according to recent report by Google KPMG. Currently, there are 234 million Indian language internet users compared to only 175 million English internet users.
While in 2011 there were more number of English internet users in India at 68 million, in comparison to only 42 million Indian language internet users.
The report further says that the number of vernacular internet users are expected to grow significantly in comparison to English internet users. By 2021 it is expected that Indian language internet users would grow to 536 million in comparison to 199 million English internet users. Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR if about 18%, while English users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 3%.
It further says that 9 out of 10 internet users in India over the next 5 years are likely to be Indian language users. The total internet users in India by 2021 is expected to grow to 735 million from 409 million in 2016.
With cheaper smartphones and mobile data become cheaper due to the emergence of Reliance Jio which has stirred the telecom market, Indian language internet users have grow significantly. It said that 99% of Indian language users access internet through their mobile devices. The overall share of internet users in India accessing the internet through mobile devices is 78%.
While there is an increasing growth in vernacular internet users in India, the biggest challenge is the content and support that is not available to them. As per the report, 60% of Indian language internet users stated limited language support and content to be the largest barrier for adoption of online services.
What is even more interesting is that 68% of internet users consider local language digital content to be more reliable then English, said the report. Even the engagement of local language internet users are much more. Rural Indian language internet users have higher engagement levels of about 530 minutes per week, in comparison to urban internet users at about 487 minutes per week.
Besides this 88% of Indian language internet users are more likely to respond to a digital advertisement in their local language as compared to English, said the report.
Brands and marketers while are looking to increase their audience over digital mediums, they still need to create content in various languages to target the vernacular internet users in India. Besides this, a recent report by Ernest & Young (EY) said that there are currently 45% of the users on the internet that consume regional language based content. In 2018 it is expected that 70-90% Indian's online will not speak English and less 1% use it as a primary language.
This has got many marketers and advertising agencies changing the way they create content.
Ashish Shah, CEO and Founder, programmatic advertising platform Vertoz said, “This powerful rise in Indian language internet users will drive future trends of internet industry and open up a plethora of opportunities for marketers. Marketers look for new users and one-to-one engagement with consumers for their brand experience. The growing trend of Indian language internet users will drive advertisement revenues coming from remote markets and linguistic ad content. Various content platforms and lingo creative services would get advantage to connect with these audiences by serving them in their preferred languages. Digital services viz: payment interfaces, content aggregators, hyper local, etc. should be able to monetize effectively by connecting with these set of users.”
Rohit Pabalkar, SEO Head, Webmaffia too said, “The most interesting part would be to see how advertisers and digital agencies adopt these changing patterns. In the near future, this growth will have opened up new opportunities as well as challenges for marketers across the digital sphere, targeting regional language audiences, which comprise a large chunk of Indian audiences. This newly observed pattern will certainly broaden the scope to connect personally as well as emotionally with the target audience, thus giving rise to what could possible be referred to as “sentimental marketing strategies”. Deeper comfort levels with the target audience can lead to more impactful communications.”