India & South Asia

India & South Asia

Digital marketing trends in India, Q1 2014 wrap up

15 Apr 2014



What’s going on in the second biggest country in the world? The weight of India at the international level is quickly growing, with demographical data that are outnumbering any Western economy: on May 12th 2014 India will hold the biggest democratic elections in human history, with over 800 million people eligible to vote.

What’s the importance of india in the digital world today? Let’s see what are the numbers of Internet and social media in India, then proceed with the analysis of some of the most interesting campaigns run in the country in Q1 2014, provided by Indian digital observatory Lighthouse Insights (to know more about Lighthouse Insights, check out the the interview with founder Prasant Naidu).


155 million mobile Internet users, 100 million Facebook users

In the first quarter of 2014 India was on track to reach 155 million mobile Internet users, with urban population still accounting for about 80% of them. Projections says that by June 2014 users accessing via mobile will account for 60% of total Internet users in the country (source: Internet & Mobile Association of India). 

The biggest social network in the world recently released some news: India reached the impressive 100 million Facebook users mark, getting closer to the first of the class – USA, with 180 million users – and keeping a steady growth especially in rural areas.

At the end of the post you can find an infographic to celebrate the big result of Facebook in India. Among the most impressive data, we can mention:

  • The gender distribution: 76% male, 24% female.
  • 36% of Indian mobile Facebook users access via smartphones
  • Delhi is the most active city, with 8.2 million users.


The best digital campaigns from Q1 2014

As it usually happens in the first months of the year, many campaigns were revolving around Valentine’s Day and Women’s Day.

If Cornetto‘s hashtag-campaign #DoSomethingCupid and Cadbury‘s #FirstLoveIs took Twitter by storm around February 14th, white goods brand Godrej Appliances launched an interesting campaign aimed at celebrating the value of urban, tech-savvy and multi-tasking Indian women for Women’s Day. 



According to the interesting analysis of Lighthouse Insights, the campaign has a way deeper value in nowadays India’s society:

While men were the sole breadwinners in most Indian families, this has changed now to double income households with the woman of the house contributing equally in the finances and also in buying decisions. As a result advertising now also speaks to the woman. 

On a side note, the campaign was also successful for another reason: the choice of the medium, digital video commercial.

The idea leading to the creation of a DVC is based on the digital consumption behavior of users: studies have shown that Internet users watching digital videos have risen from 56% in 2008 to 75% in 2013.


Yet actually, Godrej is not the only brand to start using videos in order to grab attention in the steadily growing and always more complex Indian digital scenario; let’s see who are the others.


Video is king, engagement is queen

More and more campaigns are based on well-structured campaigns that include high-quality video content.  

Cadbury 5 Star launched a campaign based on the concept of #ConditionSeriousHai (being serious is a disease… and we can get rid of it!). The campaign started with a minute-long viral video, which was then integrated with all the brand’s social media channels.


Cadbury 5 star viral India


Garnier Pure Active created a whole campaign consisting in comics based on popular Bollywood movies (like Dabangg, Devdas, Mr. India) with a series of twists in the dialogues, in order to make them consistent with the product benefits. The campaign was based on a series of videos and content shared on social media. 




Titan Watches India started its Joy Of Gifting campaign with a quite emotional 70-second video on Youtube, which eventually become a huge hit on Twitter and other social media, creating a strong engagement around the two hashtags #TitanJoyOfGifting and #TitanJoyOfMusic, which were also related to an online contest around the concept of “the perfect gift” (the full analysis of the campaign on Lighthouse Insights).



The idea of friendship is also behind the “Best Buddy” campaign launched by Lay’s: the chips brand – that counts over 3.5 million Facebook fans in India – decided to reach out for the youth, creating an interactive story involving a group of campus friends. The storytelling was based on different activities on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.



Creative content and well-structured and well-curated multi-platform campaigns are the key to get big numbers in today’s Indian digital market. Facebook is still the main touchpoint for brands that aim at reaching the millions of people, and it’s where viral hits are launched, although they might later involve other social channels, such as Twitter and Youtube.

One thing is sure: we’re just at the dawn of Internet in India, and the brands who are creating big fan bases now will for sure benefit from that in the long run, especially considering that the competition to get attention is getting every day tougher.

To get a better idea of how big of a market we’re talking about, here’s the infographic about the first 100 million Facebook users in India, created by agency KRDS:



Guido Ghedin

Guido Ghedin

After his University years between Italy and California, today he deals with Market Research and Digital Scenario Analysis at Young Digitals. You can follow him on Twitter: @guido_ghedin.


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