’Tis the age of short videos. Due to the declining attention spans of internet users, brands are increasingly relying on quick, snappy, audiovisual content on their social media channels to communicate with the target audience. As a result, short-video apps in India have exploded in the past few years.
From home-grown apps such as Sharechat’s Moj, Dailyhunt’s Josh, MX Player’s Takatak, InMobi’s Roposo to global ones like Reels on Meta’s Instagram and YouTube Shorts by Google, Indians just cannot have enough of them. Studies estimate that more than 275 million users in India hop on to short-video apps every month, and spend roughly 33 minutes per day on them. Nearly two-thirds (66 per cent) of these monthly active users hail from Tier II+ cities, says a recent Redseer study. This makes India a one-of-a-kind market for brands, unlike in the West, where these platforms are heavily indexed on metro and Tier I cities. “Indian short-form video market monetisation is at the cusp of a breakout and could potentially be an opportunity of $8-12 billion by 2030,” says Redseer. But what is powering this monetisation? It’s the “creator economy”—a term that describes the ecosystem of internet influencers who earn from brand collaborations on social media. India was estimated to have more than 80 million creators in 2022, per venture capital fund Kalaari Capital, and they are driving user engagement—and revenues—for brands on social media.
Brands have come to realise that influencer marketing on short-video apps drives a higher ROI than traditional channels. “The marketing spend on influencers is projected to be worth $2.8-3.5 billion in 2028, from the current level of $0.35-0.4 billion,” says Mohit Rana, Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants.
Budgets allocated by brands towards influencer marketing more than doubled from 10-15 per cent a few years ago to 25-30 per cent in 2022, per Redseer. Companies that traditionally created ads meant for television have now tailored their ad spends and content towards short-video influencers as these are more effective and less expensive than TV.
E-commerce giant Flipkart, for instance, works with over 500 influencers and is allocating around 25 per cent of its ad budget towards them. In October 2021, it partnered with Moj to enable video commerce experiences. “We saw engagement with vernacular creators grow by 30 per cent year-on-year and it has become a key part of our influencer marketing approach,” says Dushyanth Jayanty, Vice President of Marketing at Flipkart. Rival Amazon India roped in over 150 influencers to introduce live commerce just ahead of the festive season in 2022. Others like Flipkart’s Myntra collaborated with leading fashion and beauty influencers to host 350 live sessions on Instagram.
Even new-age D2C brands, particularly in the beauty & personal care space, are marrying content and commerce on short-video apps to improve user engagement, increase conversions and eventually drive sales. Personal care brands like Mamaearth, mCaffeine and Plum have built ‘influencer-first’ marketing strategies through active online communities. Cosmetics majors like Nykaa and SUGAR have used tutorials and make-up related content on short-video apps to build a loyal user base. Redseer says the Top 5 product categories in which users purchase a product after seeing influencer content are fashion (67 per cent), beauty & personal care (42 per cent), packaged food & beverages (37 per cent), electronics (35 per cent), and fitness (25 per cent). Short-video apps have, thus, managed to shorten customer decision journeys from brand awareness to purchase.
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