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No threat to Facebook’s growth in India, say experts

12-April-2018
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No threat to Facebook’s growth in India, say experts

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has been liberal with his apologies ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light. His apologies have been making headlines across the world, but in India, the average user has not yet taken a stand against the social media giant.

One industry veteran went so far as saying that he would not be surprised if Facebook’s India revenues grow over the next quarter. “Advertisers will follow eyeballs. Digital in India is currently seeing high tailwinds, so anything digital will see growth in India,” he said.

"The privacy conversation has not permeated to the masses," he said, adding that it is mainly limited to a niche section of the Indian society.

Earlier this year, the DAN e4m Digital Report predicted a CAGR of 32% for digital advertising until 2020. This train is not stopping, say digital media experts. It will surge ahead and infuse the same kind of growth into anything remotely digital. The report also lists social media as one of the growth drivers for digital advertising in India.

“Social media has emerged as one of the strongest digital ad platform and has been successful in increasing consumer engagement for brands,” the report observes.

The Digital Conundrum

What is striking is that marketers and digital media buyers understand the problem with Facebook. In fact, a section of them is cautious and disciplined about what they share with the app and on the platform as users themselves. As marketers though, they are also struck by the need to follow eyeballs.

One digital media buyer said that he checks Facebook every day; multiple times a day in fact, but mainly as a browser/spectator. He also said that over the last couple of years, he has become very cautious of the permissions that Facebook and allied apps seek. Even though his Facebook behaviour has changed, he believes that advertising on Facebook will go on as usual despite the negative news about the platform.

“Memory of the consumer is very short. I do not see consumers moving away from Facebook,” said one marketer who last logged into Facebook in 2012. He felt that the quality interactions got overshadowed by banal posts like check-ins at airports or dinner at a five-star restaurant. And yet, he said that the best place to find his consumers is Facebook. "And if not for Facebook, it would be Instagram (part of the Facebook universe)."

A wise digital media buyer mentions, “Privacy is long dead.” And so it may be, what’s the recourse then, we ask? “Self-responsibility and discretion,” said another marketer who is a frequent Facebook user.

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