Short-video platforms look to drive ad revenue growth during festive season

Having built enough scale in terms of audience reach, Indian short video platforms are pulling out all the stops wooing brands for their ad monies

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Nov 5, 2021 8:57 AM  | 8 min read
short video

Having successfully filled the void created by the TikTok ban, the Indian short-video platforms have now set their eyes on monetisation. Short-form video platforms like Dailyhunt's Josh, ShareChat's Moj, and Times Internet's MX TakaTak are wooing brands to advertise on their platforms during the festive season as they have built enough scale in terms of audience reach.
After a lull of almost 1.5 years, the brands have also started splurging money on advertising to boost demand for their products. While TV remains the dominant vehicle of reaching audiences on a mass scale, the digital platforms have also become a key part of a clients' media plan. Within digital, video advertising is growing at the fastest pace. The short-video platforms want to take advantage of the growth in digital video ad spends by offering full-funnel marketing solutions.

Josh Country Manager Rubeena Singh said that the homegrown short-video apps have garnered nearly 230-250 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. She also feels that short-form video content is likely to overtake OTT and streaming video in the near future.

“With the burgeoning internet population in India and a voracious appetite in users for short- format content, brands are keen to collaborate and explore opportunities in this space that promises an ever-evolving user base and caters to audiences of different languages and sociocultural backgrounds. Moreover, India’s short-form video category is set to become the second-largest segment in terms of online time spent by Indians, after Google and Facebook, by the year 2022 thus providing an opportunity for brands to engage with a highly involved audience,” Rubeena averred.

According to a recent report by consulting firm RedSeer, the advertisement revenue from Indian short form space has been growing at a rapid pace and has tripled in just 6 months. The report further stated that there is a mismatch between ad spends, on one side, and time spent, on the other side.

Rubeena said that the advertisers want to leverage the power of short-video, combining it with the rising popularity of influencer marketing to deliver their product and messaging effectively. “This is what will be a key factor driving the ad growth for short-video platforms,” she added.

MX Player and MX TakaTak SVP and Head Revenue Viraj Jit Singh said that the second half of calendar year 2021 is looking encouraging for the short-video platforms. “Starting early September, we've seen an increase in advertising both in terms of inventory sell out, and an uptake in our influencer marketing campaigns that drive great traction for brands with our large MX TakaTak community,” he noted.

Mirum India Director of Media Preetam Thingalaya said that the short-video as a format has emerged as a key category and brands are adapting to this change. “With average attention span of consumers plummeting, snackable content is key to drive brand messaging. There are more eyeballs, hence more ad inventory possibilities and hence, the growth,” he stated.

He also said that the short format video platforms aren’t dependent on the standard format as there are multiple possibilities of partnership, tailor made offering and many more avenues to explore. “It’s not just an ad spot buying any more, it's more than that,” he stated.

iProspect VP Krishna Kumar said that the ad rates on these platforms depend on the category that a brand operates in, the kind of properties that a brand is selecting, and the overall outlays. "If you are doing a short term activity of a few weeks versus a six month or a one year deal, the kind of rates that you get is very different," he added.

Kumar also said that the short-video platforms provide direct as well as in-direct metrics to measure the efficacy of the campaign. He further stated that brands can reach different types of audiences using the influencers on the short-video platforms. This allows brands to have different kinds of communications for different audience.

Ad offerings

With over 115+ million monthly active users and 56+ million daily active users, Josh is providing brands the opportunity to engage with users by integrating their messaging in the content. It is providing brands with the platform to tap into the lucrative space of influencer marketing, as consumer sentiment has now shifted to trust influencers over traditional forms of content.

"By enabling brands access to our creator community, we allow our creators to tell the brand’s story in a native manner, that is relatable to the user. We couple this with exciting and intriguing branded challenges on our platform that encourages our users to engage with the content and the brand and give the brand a far wider reach. Also, as we grow our platform, we look at hosting more outreach programs, both physically and digitally to engage our users which brands can take advantage of,” she stated.

MX TakaTak's Viraj Jit said that the most significant opportunity that MX TakaTak brings to the table is the power of influencer marketing. “We have a substantial pool of influencers who have over 5-10 million followers and bringing that to the table for brands to leverage and engage with the users is the most prominent content solution that we offer advertisers, which in turn drives a large part of our ad growth,” he noted.

He also shared that the other lever of the platform's success has been its ever-increasing scale. “We launched this platform just over a year ago, and we’ve gone from 0 to over 150Mn Monthly Active Users in this short span of time. According to App Annie’s The Evolution of Social Media Apps report, MX TakaTak has moved into the top 10 Worldwide Social and Entertainment Apps in terms of downloads, sharing space with brands like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat amongst others. We’re therefore amongst a tiny pool of apps that offer a large and diverse audience space to any advertiser.”

Lastly, he said that the platform is driving innovations on the content front with offerings that are authentic and relevant for the audiences. "For example, live-streaming has become an integral part of our offerings for our consumers and we’ve smartly used these on IPs such as TakaTak Manch which brings in superstars from the music fraternity to do live concerts for our audiences and gives them the opportunity to interact with their fans."

The platform has also onboarded celebrities from different walks of life like Chef Ranveer Brar and sports icons like Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli amongst others to do livestreams on the platform. “Opportunities like these are our tent poles that offer great engagement to our brands and have therefore been another growth driver for ad spends on our platform.”

In a recent interaction, Chingari CEO and Co-Founder Sumit Ghosh had said that the platform will set up an influencer marketing platform where brands can come and hire influencers within Chingari app to do campaigns. He had also stated that the in-app currency will be $GARI tokens. Therefore, brands will have to buy $GARI tokens and pay the influencers using $GARI tokens. “Around 35 brands are advertising on Chingari right now because we still have ads. These clients are working with our influencers as well as doing media buys,” Ghosh had stated.

Key advertising categories

The short-video space is attracting a lot attention of brands that want to reach the Tier-2 and 3 audiences. Advertisers across mass categories are using short-video platforms to reach out to their TG. FMCG, mobile handset brands, OTT, e-commerce, auto, retail, liquor and F&B are some of the categories that are active on short-video platforms.

Rubeena noted that almost every category is underwriting its growth thesis on the back of middle India, on consumers beyond the metros. "In the beginning, it was mainly the telcos , FMCG and handset manufacturers. Now it is more pervasive and almost every major category (auto, retail, Ecommerce, OTT, financial services) is banking on the middle India story.  All these categories work really well with influencer marketing and short form content. As we grow and introduce new features on the app, we expect more categories to be included in our ambit," she elaborated.

Viraj Jit said that MX TakaTak has become a key platform for brands to engage with the large pool of consumers in both Metro & Non Metro cities. "We have seen interest from across various sectors including F&B, FMCG, e-comm, auto, fashion, handset. Some of the key brands that we have been working with are - 7Up, Amazon, Meesho, Nippon Paints, Rummy Culture, Angel One, Xiaomi, Relaxo, snap deal to name a few."

iProspect's Krishna said that a lot of the agency's clients that are looking at younger audiences in small towns have embraced these platforms. "All our clients whether it is e-commerce, fashion, or F&B have taken to these platforms," he stated.

Preetam said that this time, online brands will lead this category. “The Amazon's and Zomato’s of the world and many such brands will take a lead. I believe this transition is already taking place. Entertainment will be the Top Genre,” he stated.

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