India is one of our fastest growing markets; 150% YoY ad revenue growth here: Taranjeet Singh, Twitter

Taranjeet Singh, Business Head of Twitter India, reiterated that India was among the top five growth markets for the company, while also talking more about the company’s revamped approach to advertising

e4m by Abhinn Shreshtha
Updated: Nov 28, 2016 8:12 AM
India is one of our fastest growing markets; 150% YoY ad revenue growth here: Taranjeet Singh, Twitter

Twitter is a company that has been going through a lot of changes in recent weeks, with high profile exits in Asia as well as globally, along with a failed buy out attempt earlier this year. But despite this, India continues to remain a key focus area for Twitter, says Taranjeet Singh, Business Head of Twitter.

When asked about how the recent management changes, which has seen both Rishi Jaitly and Paraminder Singh leave the company, would impact Twitter’s India plans, he said, “There has been a complete realignment of how we structure our business. The INSEA/MENA region is now split with MENA rolled into EMEA and INSEA aligned to APAC region. Twitter has strengthened its position. India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world both in terms of user growth and revenue. With a new structure in place, we’ve become far better aligned as a team and in the manner in which we approach business in this market.”

Speaking further about the new structure, he said, “Globally, we had three different sales teams which were market facing. DSO- Direct Sales Organisation where we handled a large scale of accounts, MMS- Mid market sales team and then we had the SMB platform. Now, we have consolidated and merged our revenue teams under one single unit that is into one Twitter Client Solutions team and the focus is to get better alignment and synergy across the market. This gives us an opportunity to go far deeper with our clients and also build the newer ones which are coming up to give them the right attention, service both in terms of products, research and help them scale up their communication on the platform.”

Though he would not give any specific figure regarding India revenues, Singh told us that advertising revenue in India has grown 150 per cent YoY.

“There has been substantial growth, India is among the top 5 markets for us both in terms of users as well as revenue. We’ve restructured ourselves to be more focused and drive growth by getting newer brands to come on the platform. We have a large number of clients using Twitter, and we want to strengthen these partnerships going forward,” he said.

 “Every tweet has 65 data elements in the 140 characters. We’re using this data to help brands see how they can be looking at insight driven marketing. Most of the social listening tools across the world are primarily running on Twitter data. Brands are getting conscious and are listening to what the consumers are looking and about what the potential customers care. We’re using data to build insight driven marketing on how brands can be a part of conversations and the results are phenomenal,” he further added.

Video will continue to remain focus area
One key focus is video, which the company sees as key for the future. Video views on Twitter have grown 400 per cent in the last 12 months with 90 per cent of video views on Twitter coming from the mobile.

 “We are seeing a huge demand for video and live video. If we look at the growth Twitter India is seeing in terms of video consumption, we’ve seen a 400 per cent increase in video consumption on Twitter in India in the last one year and that only continues to grow. Today, most of the brands are adopting video as a product and building engagement. For us live and video are definitely two important focus areas,” he said. Singh also told us that Twitter will keep investing in video platforms in the future.

“LIVE is important to us and we’re exploring new opportunities on how we can bring LIVE to India. It’s at an early stage so we won’t be able to comment further,” he said when asked when we can see partnerships involving live telecast of sporting events, as Twitter does in the US, in India.

Government remains key vertical
One of the key verticals that has emerged for Twitter seems to be government. For example, Singh told us about Twitter Seva, which is a CRM initiative that has been embraced by the government of India. 

“The Twitter Seva solution is now being adopted by thousands of official government accounts on Twitter and processing approximately 5,00,000 tweets per month and 50,000 resolvable tickets are generated each month, with each Tweet stacking up as a metric of the government’s and police departments’ intent to deliver effective and transparent service no other medium offers this advantage,” he told us.

Twitter Seva is currently being used by the the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Railways and the Department of Telecommunications, under the Ministry of Communication. Bangalore Police has also been using the Twitter Seva services. UP Police has deployed Twitter across its entire constabulary With this adoption, more than 120 verified accounts of the UP Police across districts and zones will be accessible to the public on Twitter.

Twitter is also in the process of exploring the roll out of the product with more ministries, state governments and government departments across the country. Conversations are on with the Ministry of Human Resource & Development, Health Ministry, Delhi Police, Mumbai Police, Karnataka, Punjab and UP governments for onboarding them onto the Twitter Seva service with the Home and Power Ministries (@MinOfPower) already testing the product in the beta stage, said Singh.

Despite digital being the fastest growing advertising medium in India, it still forms a very small proportion of the overall advertising budgets. According to some estimates, nearly 70 per cent of these spends go to Google and Facebook. In such a competitive landscape, how does Twitter plan to sustain its growth?

“Twitter has its own place and we are only strengthening our position in the market. We are considered one of the leading platforms today. Agencies, clients and our partners would consider all the top 3 platforms in the same set. Every platform has a role to play and a unique proposition. Every client would want to use that unique proposition. It enables them to reach out to their customers in a different way by using the strength of the platform,” explained Singh, further stating that the fact that their competitors have been present in India for longer also tends to work in their favour.

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