Looks like social media giant Facebook wants to have it all. Despite having the second largest userbase of 125 million active users in India (as of June 2015), the platform is all set to launch its first ever video campaign titled Share the Magic.
Executed by Taproot India, the campaign comprises three ads (clothes, Jhansi and Sangeeta). All three feature women, mostly housewives, placing their first step on the social networking platform. While two spots (clothes and Jhansi) feature mothers of teenage daughters exploring Facebook, the third ad shows a relatively younger lady (sister-in-law) get connected with a family friend through the social networking platform. The three ads have been strategically produced and targets the middle class user base.
As stated, the campaign clearly aims to get more women online thus increasing Facebook's existing userbase. While the length of the videos (35 seconds) makes them look like they're 'cut-for-TV', the company claims these spots are not to be categorised as TVCs. Well, not yet, at least.
For the record, Facebook has enjoyed the desired loyalty from its userbase in India, the second biggest user base in the world after the US. However, the 'Share the Magic' campaign addresses a larger issue of the gaping gender skew when it comes to the internet population in India.
According to the India@Digital.Bharat report by IAMAI and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the skew in favour of males with regard to India's internet population has been rather overwhelming, with females accounting for a meagre 25 per cent (approximately) of the total user base, as in 2013. However, this vital aspect of the demographics playbook will change dramatically, with women expected to constitute almost 33 per cent of the overall online population by 2018.
Considering that women control 44 per cent of the total household spends in India, the increasing parity in gender ratios will have a major bearing on the internet economy in terms of marketing campaigns and other services directed at women.
The report also establishes that India is headed towards an internet economy worth $200 billion by 2020, and will contribute to 5 per cent of the GDP growing at 23 per cent compared to the overall 13 per cent.
It further states that the number of internet users in rural areas will touch 210 million by 2018, pushing India's internet user base to over 500 million.
Keeping the data in mind, Facebook has made a strategic move to use video to promote itself among users as it continues to build its advertising tools for brands.
Facebook claims to have 2.5 million advertisers globally. But, in terms of advertising, it has struggled in India. The company does not reveal its India specific earnings, or what the country specific ARPU (average revenue per user) is. According to the earnings posted by Facebook on NASDAQ, its Asia-Pacific ARPU was only $1.25 in Q2 2015 compared to the US and Canada which contributed $8.63.
As a result, there is a major push by the social media giant to lure advertisers and brands into using its platform. Facebook announced a new ad product 'TRP (target rating points) Buying' which marketers can buy and measure Facebook video ads using target rating point (TRP) as the metric. The system works in partnership with Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings division, which will verify how well the social site's video ads perform in addition to TV spots.
Facebook continues to flex its muscles getting more and more users on its platform, and our experts feel that its strategy and execution to do so is heading in the right direction.
Giving a thumbsup to the campaign, Pratik Gupta, co-founder, Foxymoron, feels that it is a much required initiative to get more women online to rectify the gender skew.
Gupta notes that the ads have a 'slice of life' element which helps create a connect with users such as provide information about our near and dear ones which we may miss on a day-to-day basis.
"The ads mirror real-life situations," says Gupta.
But at the same time, Gupta feels that the campaign does not steer towards women in small towns as there are many in the metros and Tier I cities who are still not active on the internet.
Meanwhile, Ayan Banik, head, brand strategy, Cheil India, thinks that the campaign targets the average middle-class housewife (as shown in the ads).
Banik feels that the internet has so far been used in India primarily for three reasons -- professional, studies, and cheap connectivity. Hence, it targets three profiles of people which fits in with this user base. It therefore includes professionals, students, and old parents whose children live abroad. In this chain, the housewife has been left out who functions in a dependant ecosystem.
"The internet touches her life, but she doesn't use it," notes Banik, adding that an e-commerce transaction or any information through a Facebook post reaches her through either the man of the house or her kids. A mindset, he feels, that the campaign aims to break.
Banik feels that the campaign will truly achieve its objective when it will move beyond just the emotion of discovery captured in the current set of ads.
"Facebook empowers users by allowing them to voice their opinions and also helps in complaint redressal. It has become a dependable source of information. The company needs to touch upon these aspects in its subsequent communication," he concludes.