Nisha Qureshi

Youtube is the mirror to Indian Society: Satya Raghavan of Google India

The director, marketing partners at Google India, talks about how the platform has evolved over the years and the plans ahead. 

“I call YouTube the mirror to Indian society. It shows us what’s out there and also learns from society,” Satya Raghavan, director, marketing partners at Google India, tells Sreekant Khandekar, co-founder and CEO, afaqs!, at the recently held vdonxt asia conference.

Raghavan said Youtube was reaching about 50 million people eight years ago, however, that number has now increased 10x. According to him the years between 2014 to 2016 were the most significant for the platform from growth and content perspective. He said that platform went from being a very metropolitan phenomenon to very regional in those years. 

“In 2014, content was mainly around entertainment, however as we reached 2016 we saw content around infotainment, edutainment, fashion and health picked up rapidly. We saw content being consumed in the smallest of cities. Around the same time, the use cases for Youtube also started to evolve.” 

How has Youtube evolved for creators? 

As per Raghavan, their teams mainly work with creators helping them create content to reach millions of people. 

He said there are at least eight to ten ways in which creators can monetise on Youtube today. Some of the opportunities include advertising where the ad revenue gets split between the platform and creator. They also launched Youtube Premium where the subscription money gets shared with the channels. Thirdly programs like channel memberships allow creators to make videos for members only while the creators get a big share of the membership revenue. 

“Every year we have been launching new ways for creators to make money,” said Raghavan. 

On Shorts 

Raghavan revealed that Shorts is the fastest growing arm of Youtube. “The session times are huge, people are watching 100s of videos on one-go. A whole lot of new people that are coming, are coming on Shorts. The head-room for growth for Youtube is huge and even bigger for Shorts.” 

He said Shorts users are coming from different demographics and the type of content they are consuming is also very different. They are consuming newer content verticals like gaming and motivation. 

However, the platform is still figuring out attribution plans for Shorts creators. “Since direct attribution is still not there on Shorts, there is a pool that gets created of all the revenues that gets created. That pool then gets shared in the best possible manner with Shorts creators,” said Raghavan. 

Why is ROI more important than ever 

Raghavan stated that the priorities and use-cases for brands are evolving today. “Use cases of brands are becoming more ROI driven today . Not only do they want reach but also engagement and action. The best brands are today able to play the centre of all these tipping points.” 

“Earlier people were only thinking of top-of-the-funnel, middle-funnel and bottom-funnel. Today, they want the same ad to derive all the verticals. The same ad while it is focused on building a brand is also able to drive action, sales and revenue,” he said. 

According to him, as recent years have not been great from an economic perspective, so brands will have to be smart about their money. 

 “2022 wasn’t that great, 2023 is not going the way it was supposed to so questions about how you use your money are going to be even more relevant,” stated Raghavan. 

Watch the full conversation here: 

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