Glance surpasses Insta to be among top 3 content consumption destination: Zinnov report

The study reveals that digital content forms are the biggest piece of India’s 500 million smartphone users’ daily Internet diet

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Mar 12, 2021 6:33 PM  | 7 min read
Zinnov report

The confluence of content and commerce is the new paradigm of the digital economy, reveals Zinnov, a leading global management and strategy consulting firm, in its latest study titled, 'What’s Shaping India’s Digital Economy'. The study explores multiple facets of the digital content and commerce ecosystems, and how this is shaping the landscape of India’s digital economy, which has accelerated in the wake of COVID-19.

The study reveals that digital content forms are the biggest piece of India’s 500 million smartphone users’ daily Internet diet. This received a significant boost after COVID-induced lockdowns. Digital content is how brands are engaging with their users, driving large traffic to their sites.

While Facebook and YouTube lead the pack as destinations for content consumption, home-grown lock screen-based content delivery platform Glance, rounds out the top three, with over 115 million daily active users (DAU), surpassing Instagram, which clocks in 36 million DAU.

Glance, the report said, is among the fastest-growing content platforms ever, and the largest platform of its scale to come out of India. It is part of the latest wave of mega content platforms, the third wave that includes TikTok and WeChat from China, and Glance from India. Glance took less than 21 months to race to 100 million DAUs. These AI-led, innovation-first platforms have disrupted the landscape across the format, content, technology, and distribution.

It further stated that Roposo, which was acquired last year by Glance, has gone on to become a leader in India’s social video space and has the largest Influencer base and community today. Influencers on Roposo can drive customer engagement and become a very powerful platform to create commerce influencers and shopping communities around them.

"With these, Glance has all the right consumer-facing elements of user experience to build the interactive commerce model. Glance has the potential to be among India’s largest video-first, live, social, and interactive commerce platforms," the report added.

The report also pointed out that Instagram has now started moving into commerce with Instagram Shopping, and is creating an ecosystem where users can discover, shop, and purchase products under one roof. Instagram shopping allows one to embed product discovery through the feature of shoppable posts. This allows the user to transform their feed into a virtual storefront. Then there is native checkout, which allows a user to go from inspiration to purchase without ever leaving the app, creating a seamless mobile-buying experience.

With online shopping increasingly moving from search to discovery, ‘community platforms’ and ‘influencers’ have a massive opportunity to drive commerce. Communities are enabling peer-to-peer connections and facilitating direct communication between influencers and followers. This makes them a powerful channel from discovery to the final stage of the purchase journey.

Top marketers are now increasingly realizing that consumers, especially from the younger age groups, are more likely to make a purchase decision based on influencers’ recommendations, driven by authenticity and affinity. Consumer research also shows that there is a very powerful ‘community engagement’ behavior in online shopping, far more powerful than users engaging with a brand online.

The report noted that TikTok was one of the clear leaders in the social video engagement space till the end of 2020, building a clear case for social video platforms to be leveraged by brands and influencers. Several marketers had even channelised a large portion of their digital spending to tap into TikTok’s powerful influencer base.

TikTok’s global success even prompted Facebook to throw its hat in the ring, with Instagram Reels. However, the ban on TikTok in India - India needs to be specified here, because it's not banned in other countries. Many new players have emerged overnight and the ensuing battle saw key players emerging in this space – Roposo, Trell, Moj by Sharechat, Josh by Dailyhunt, and Takatak by MX.

As all players jostle for users and influencers in the suddenly crowded space, Roposo managed to claim the lion’s share of the mega influencers from TikTok and is likely to emerge as the go-to platform for influencer-led commerce in India.

Roposo has 106 million downloads followed by Moj with 67 million downloads, MX TakaTak (64 million), Josh (50 million), Trell (20 million), Chingari (17 million), and Mitron (11 million). With commerce models continuing the shift from search to discovery, local language, and influencer-led video-first commerce is expected to see a hyper-scale growth phase over the next few years.

Speaking about the study, Zinnov Managing Partner Praveen Bhadada said, “India’s digital landscape is experiencing massive paradigm shifts. Zinnov research reveals that as India races towards becoming a mobile-first nation, consumer behavior, as well as their expectations, are undergoing a massive transformation. With increasing screen time, brands are competing for higher engagement that can translate into actual purchases. If brands are to capture user interest in an increasingly crowded market, they will have to outline newer strategies and roadmaps to include live commerce, interactive commerce, influencer marketing, and community engagement models into their marketing.”

“Zinnov research reveals that currently, there is no single Indian player who has all the required aspects in place. However, we expect to see interesting collaborations among players across Content, Payments, and Commerce ecosystems. Major Indian content players such as Glance, which became a unicorn in December 2020, and social video platform Roposo, have the potential to capture a major market share in bringing the interactive commerce model to life. However, strategic partnerships will be a big part of their next phase of growth. Interesting times surely await consumers in the coming months and years,” he added.

In terms of their digital habits, the study finds that India’s smartphone users are mostly spending time online exchanging messages, shopping, and ordering food, besides making payments. The Zinnov study also highlights that e-Commerce and payment platforms are increasingly leveraging content to improve their engagement with customers. Almost all of them are launching interactive games, offering discounts, among others, while pure-play content players are focusing on converting their consumer attention into transactions.

Another interesting insight from the study is that consumers want to be able to shop through video and vernacular content and complete their shopping journey on social media platforms. This underscores the fact that content and commerce ecosystems are no longer operating in silos but are becoming intertwined to cater to the emerging consumer expectations. Facebook, for example, has recently launched Facebook Shops, which helps businesses to create digital storefronts. Similarly, Glance is expanding its content repository to drive commerce through interactive, live, and community formats.

Content creators and influencers are playing a huge role in further blurring the boundaries between content and commerce, notes the study. Communities are enabling peer-to-peer connections and facilitating direct communication between influencers and followers, making them a powerful channel from discovery to the final stage of the consumer’s purchase journey. Authenticity and affinity are the two top traits that consumers – especially those from the younger age groups – are basing their purchase decisions on. In fact, there is a very powerful ‘community engagement’ behavior driving online shopping, more powerful than users engaging with a brand online.

The study notes that Live Commerce, which combines live video streaming with the ability for consumers to interact with sellers and make a purchase immediately, is another avenue that global brands are increasingly investing in. Even though it is still in a nascent stage in India, Live Commerce has a huge potential to become a core part of marketing for brands in the coming years.

Interactive Commerce, on the other hand, is steadily gaining traction in the country. In fact, many brands are jumping on this particular bandwagon, whose intent is to recreate online shopping as a fun, engaging, and enjoyable experience. The serendipitous discovery of products driven by recommendations, entertainment constructs such as live streams, and community and social constructs for customer acquisition – form the trifecta that is driving the interactive commerce paradigm.

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