With TikTok out of scene, Indian apps eye larger share of digital marketing pie

While apps like ShareChat are already being used by FMCG, telecom, gaming and e-commerce sectors, others like Roposo and Chingari would surely enter the marketers’ media mix no

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published: Jul 1, 2020 8:51 AM  | 5 min read

Just in April this year Chinese video-sharing social networking app Tik Tok crossed the 2 billion download mark, with 30 per cent of it coming from India. No wonder brands like Pepsi, Kaya, Emami, Oreo, Lifebuoy, Apple and Dettol leveraged the platform to drive their campaigns. With the government imposing a ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps, Indian platforms are prepping to bag the ad dollars, making a strong pitch to advertisers with their offerings.
While apps like ShareChat are already being used by the FMCG, telecom, insurance, gaming and e-commerce sectors, others in the UGC (user generated content) space like Roposo and Chingari are the new apps that would surely be added to the marketers’ media mix in India.
In tune with the tides of the time, marketers would also want to go vocal for local opting for desi apps to communicate with their customers. “The ban on these widely used Chinese social media platforms will have a definite effect on the digital marketing budgets.  For any new campaign by major brands, platforms like Tik Tok were definitely a top choice given the high penetration and engagement on the platform. The ban would give a window of opportunity for some of the Indian players to increase their user adoption to fill the void,” said Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-Founder at digital agency Gozoop.
According to Harikrishnan Pillai, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TheSmallBigIdea, in a short to medium term, advertisers and agencies will look at alternative platforms to help them meet their marketing goals. “Some of the banned platforms are sizeable, so it would be difficult to find an immediate apparent replacement. In this case, a combination of replacements or an increase in presence in existing platforms can be an option,” he said.
As it turns out, TikTok, which earned Rs 23-25 crore in ad revenue in Q4 2019, was aiming for Rs 100 crore in ad revenue in Q3 2020. While only time can tell if the ByteDance-owned app can meet its target, at present experts foresee Indian apps biting into some of this ad revenues.
To gain strategic advantage in the regional language speaking markets, brands will now have to look at other platforms that offer wide reach like Tik Tok in tier 2 and tier 3 markers.
But according to Beerajaah Sswain, Growth Marketing Consultant at Hyper Connect Asia & BS Consult, there is a lot to be achieved by the home-grown apps before they can reach the level of Tik-Tok. “Only then they would be able to make some inroads into the digital advertising pie,” said Sswain.
“Matching user experience, thorough understanding, planning and research will be required before associating with these apps to deliver right message and content. But as long as quality content is being created, audiences will follow and as long as audiences are there, brands will invest regardless of the platform,” said Sandeep Sreekumar, Managing Director at digital marketing agency Media Moments.
Looks like brands are already initiating their shift to the Indian apps. More than 30 brands have gotten in touch with Roposo ever since the ban was announced on Monday. Roposo is already working on tools that will enable marketers to target their customers better. “We are working on a technology that will help brands integrate video content on their own platform and not depend on other social media platforms. We are also working on developing accurate taste graphs of users so that brands can add more personalization to their offerings,” said Mayank Bhangadia, Co-Founder of Roposo.
According to Bhangadia, the platform is seeing the highest ever surge in number of downloads. “We had about 25 million active monthly users till Monday and we are expecting an addition of at least 10 million new users on Tuesday,” he said.
Roposo, however, is not a isnolated example of Indian apps developing tools to lure marketers on to their platforms.
“We are building the tools and would release it soon," said Sumit Ghosh, co-founder and chief product officer at Indian short video social media platform Chingari.
Chingari, according to Ghosh, will work on a similar business model as that of TikTok, monetizing through advertisements, CPM-based real time bidding and direct response ad technology. In another six months, Ghosh is expecting to touch 50 million downloads, post which monetization would be easier for the platform.
ShareChat, on the other hand, has been in the game for a while leading the Indian UGC space with brands focusing on regional outreach. Their regional strength in Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities offer a unique proposition to brands with highly targeted language driven campaigns.
Over the past six months, ShareChat has successfully executed more than 50 campaigns across diverse market segments and worked with 25+ brands including the likes of Facebook, Coca Cola, Oyo, MTR, Airtel, Pepsi, Future Group, MXPlayer and Snapdeal.
However, while desi apps will be the new additions to the marketers’ media mix, some existing digital giants also stand to gain from the ban. “Apps backed by global tech giants might see a preference in the short term - Microsoft Lens, Google Files, Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapseed, etc. will see a spurt in downloads over the next few weeks,” said Megha Ahuja, AVP- Digital Media Planning, Carat India.

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