India's internet consumption will be more than double by 2025: Rajan Anandan
At the launch of the 3rd DAN exchange4media Digital Report, Rajan Anandan, VP, Google, South East Asia and India and Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN, Performance Group spoke about India's internet journey
Published - 17-January-2019
Rajan Anandan, Vice President, South East Asia and India, Google, set the tone for the launch of the third annual Dentsu Aegis Network exchange4media Digital Report in a fireside chat with Vivek Bhargava, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, Performance Group.
Tracing the journey of Internet users in India, Anandan said, “When I joined Google eight years ago, we were just about to hit 100 million Internet users in India. At that time smartphones would cost north of Rs 10,000 and data was very expensive. Three and a half years ago we had the first Rs 6,000 smartphone and Internet users went from 100 million to about 300 million. We think the next smartphone cost barrier of Rs 2,000 will be crossed soon.”
Affordable smartphones he said activated the Internet consumption boom in India. “The growth of video is entirely triggered by mobile broadband becoming more affordable. Before Jio launched the cost of 1 GB data was Rs 250, today it is in the price range of Rs 10-20. The cost of smartphones going down brought more Indians online and the cost of data going down got more users to spend more time online. We now have about 400 million monthly active Internet users and they are spending over 10BG on mobile data.”
Responding to a question of whether digital had reached its saturation point in the country he said, “India is just starting. By 2020 we should get to about 650 million Internet users. And somewhere between 2020 and 2025, we will end up with around 800-900 million and beyond that, it will depend on getting remote areas Internet connectivity. So over the next 4-5 years, the Internet user base is going to double.”
Anandan said that the millions of new Internet users that are now coming online are spending more time on the Internet than the first hundred million. “So what you can expect is that user base will double and the consumption will more than double over the next 4-5 years.”
He pointed out that video which has been perceived as a brand-building medium is becoming a very important performance medium. “YouTube has specific offerings that make YouTube not just a brand-building medium but also a performance medium where you can drive app downloads and sales on e-commerce etc. So in my view, if you are a performance agency you are very well placed to break into what would have been a brand business. We have case studies in India where YouTube for Performance is delivering better CPAs than Search for transaction driven businesses. Today, YouTube has more impressions than any single television channel. Six months ago a brand received 1.4 billion impressions in one day and that has grown dramatically since then,” he said.
Anandan said that to truly harness the power of the Internet to reach the non-English speaking Internet users agencies and marketers will need to make creatives in local languages. “I see a lot of English ads on non-English content. What we need with vernacular is creatives in local languages. Today, there is a 50 per cent probability that if you are showing an English ad, the person who is watching it does not understand it. The second aspect, the digital asset be that the website, app, landing page or a transaction page has to be in the local language. If the whole online consumer journey is in a local language, conversion rates can more than double,” he explained.
Sharing his digital India dream, Anandan said there are X things that need to happen for his dream to come true. “An Android feature phone should cost less than Rs 800. Second, today mobile connectivity is very affordable but if you go to rural India it is very hard to get connectivity in the last 2,00,000 villages of India. To get them connected we need next-generation telecom technology. The third, is to make Indian languages work on voice. Today the Google Assistant works on a couple of Indian languages, next we need the Assistant to recognise at least 11 languages; we are working on that.”
Lastly he said, “India is not going to be the land of apps and app downloads. The real power of the Internet in India is going to be is when Indian entrepreneurs star building Internet solutions for core users. We need to build locally relevant Internet-enabled solutions.”
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