India is a land of contrasts. It is also a land of young people, a growing tech-enabled space, and a land of eager entrepreneurs! It is growing fast as an economic and political force on the global stage. This increasing dominance has been pushed through a small tool called the "smartphone" and a relatively recent internet-led phenomenon called "social media."
It is interesting to note that while a vast majority of the country’s population lives in rural and semi-urban areas, which are not necessarily very "up to date", India is also in the top 3 countries for two very modern metrics:
1. Penetration of smartphones: 66% in 2022, which is expected to reach 96% by 2040
2. Growth of social media: With over 900 million active internet users, social media has a penetration rate of around 33% and growing. It has the highest number of Facebook users globally and has pushed WhatsApp as the leading social media platform with nearly half a billion users
Social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have enabled people living in metros and non-metros to connect better with their friends and families and get access to the latest information, news and trends instantly. In fact, during the Covid pandemic, the vast majority of information, updates and health bulletins were broadcast through social media. Social media has also become a "force multiplier" for people's efforts to help and support each other in times of need or emergencies.
The key factor that pushed the growth of social media in India was the availability of cheap data and the growth of smartphones. Indians spend approximately 2.5 hours daily on social media, third behind the Philippines and Nigeria.
Social media is today the defining activity of many of us, globally and especially in India. The steady “ping” of notifications on our mobile phones is a musical backdrop to our daily routine on weekdays or weekends. Individuals, companies, and even governments use social media to inform and engage rapidly.
We have started spending a lot of time on social media! The average person spends 144 minutes on social media every day, which is about 2.5 hours every day.
And what do we do during those 2.5 hours per day? We connect with our friends and family through Facebook, we post short videos on TikTok, and we comment on current political or social trends on Twitter. Here is a snapshot of the average time spent per social media channel in 2022:
The Covid pandemic led to an explosion in the use of social media channels in India and the world. Social media helped people to stay in touch, get medical aid, support each other, and buy the goods and services they needed during this global "black swan" event!
This growth of social media and digital channels as two-way communications spurred brands to jump onto the social media bandwagon to promote their brands, engage their customers, and even sell, through e-commerce platforms.
As a leader in the digital and social media marketing space, Growth Jockey has been closely following the trends and directions that defined social media development in 2022. We present here an overview of the major trends that shaped social media during 2022, in India and globally, and will carry forward into 2023.
The key social media trends in India were:
Cheap data has been the biggest push for social media growth in India
Using the metric of cost of 1 GB of mobile data, Growth Jockey determined that the cost in India was $0.17, compared to $0.36 in Pakistan and $0.27 in Sri Lanka
5G networks are a very new introduction in India, though they are becoming standard in many countries
5G networks promise faster speed and smoother downloads
TikTok is the world’s 7th most popular social media channel
It has been embraced in India for the ease of creating and posting short-form videos
In India, TikTok has made “social media stars” of many ordinary people who lacked access to formal platforms for their talent
Growth Jockey has seen a huge growth in the “meme industry” in India using comedy with visuals to fill social media feeds
Growth Jockey has also noted an increasing use of memes by companies to create conversations, engage customers, or just be part of social chatter
Brands have started pushing their customers to generate content for their social media handles and include hashtags, brand mentions, or brand visuals
Growth Jockey believes that UGC will continue to grow in importance for brand engagement and adoption, as it is perceived to be more authentic than branded content
The typical Indian social media user is a young, tech-savvy teenager who is very "visually oriented"
Growth Jockey expects that short-form content media such as TikTok will grow in dominance and command a larger share of the time spent on social media
The social media trends globally were also significant in their impact on our daily lives, and how businesses engaged their customers and drove purchase decisions. Here are the top five trends in social media globally, determined by Growth Jockey:
Although social media channels grew in popularity in 2022, the same growth was not seen in organic customer growth.
Multiple social media channels came up, and the same people stated being visible on all these channels, leading to fragmentation.
For instance, Growth Jockey estimates that the average organic reach of a Facebook post is well below 5%.
Growth Jockey has been tracking privacy issues on social media regularly.
Privacy concerns among social media users are growing, with the growth of data available through social media activity.
Government and social media companies are finding ways to address these concerns and assure users that their data is relatively safe on social media.
Influencer marketing was one of the biggest social media trends of 2022
“Micro-influencers” (with fewer than 50,000 followers) are the biggest drivers of small business marketing today.
Growth Jockey’s surveys and interactions with consumers have shown that social commerce – buying directly from social media platforms – has grown dramatically.
Nearly 90% of people surveyed confirmed that they used social media to search, compare, and buy products.
"Cookies" are small pieces of text sent to your browser by any website that you visit.
They store information about your website visits and are meant to personalize and improve your browsing experience.
Third-party cookies are cookies created by websites other than the ones you are visiting.
They were invented mainly by advertising agencies to track visitor data
Growing privacy concerns have forced social media platforms, search engines, and other websites to consider ending the use of third-party cookies.
Data privacy laws such as GDPR could be extended to more countries.
Social media pushes information at almost light speed.
There is no mechanism in place to check if the information sent out is correct, accurate or a fabrication.
Companies will have to prioritize the set-up and management of the social media crisis if they have to avoid negativity in their brand equity, disconnect with customers, and overall impact on their corporate image.
Gaming developed as a new means of entertainment during the Covid pandemic.
Advances in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have also encouraged the adoption of gaming.
Growth Jockey feels that brands will gear up to integrate gaming into their user experience strategies and will use these opportunities to drive deeper engagements with their customers through improved interactions.
The Indian social media space is very dynamic and competitive. Social media companies are focusing on this market for new users. The relatively young Indian population, with more than half below 30 years, has grown up using digital and social media and will drive the growth of social media channels.
Globally, social media is moving from a platform to share personal stories to a powerful business channel for brands to engage customers. Technological developments are helping social media channels to create new, interactive channels of engagment which will strengthen their relationships with their customers.
At Growth Jockey, we are committed to delivering personalised solutions that effectively address the unique challenges faced by our clients across diverse industries. Whether you run a small-scale enterprise or a large corporation, we help you harness the power of social media to drive your brand's growth.
Get in touch with us today to boost your social media presence !