India is on course to soon become the planet’s biggest social media market, with the country gaining some serious ground on China. According to Statista, India’s 1.18 billion unique users will be just 33 million behind the top spot. This article examines who is seeking to capitalize on this huge market with reference to Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) and QYOU Media (TSXV: QYOU) (OTC: QYOUF).
Meta Platforms enjoys a dominant position in terms of platforms and uses India to test out new monetization strategies. Alphabet has an already hugely successful product in the country, and one of its features looks set to go from strength to strength. Finally, Snap is seeking to leverage its massive audience in the country.
QYOU Media (TSXV: QYOU) (OTC: QYOUF) produces and distributes content created by social media stars. It has a multitude of TV channels and platforms and is attracting a rapidly growing audience.
Now, the business has brought in bonafide social media royalty to push it to the next stage.
It has appointed Indian digital leader and strategist, Raj Mishra, to the role of Group CEO of its India operations.
Mishra has held leading roles in some of the most successful app businesses in India. This includes an instrumental role at Musical.ly (now TikTok), leading it to over 150 million monthly active users.
He served as Country Head and led Musical.ly to become the most downloaded app on Android and iOS app stores. He oversaw the rebranding transition from musical.ly to TikTok after its 2017 acquisition wherein it racked up 611 million downloads in under three years.
Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META) is dominant in the Indian social media market.
The company’s flagship Facebook app has a 55% market share in the country, according to data from July 2023 provided by Statista. Additionally, the same source has its Instagram app as the second biggest platform in the country, with a market share of 36%.
Such is the might of the platforms that they have both been confident enough to launch new paid subscription services for Indian users who want an ad-free experience. This is symptomatic of how the company has been operating Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the country, with the Financial Times noting that India is often used as something of a testing ground.
As well as introducing subscription fees, innovations include click-to-message ad formats. These connect customers and businesses within various chat applications, with the company taking home commission from all business done via the route.
Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has a huge interest in Indian social network users too. That’s because India is the largest audience for the company’s YouTube video sharing and social media platform.
Data from Statista shows that 462 million Indians tuned in to YouTube in October 2023, with the United States in a distant second place with 236 million. What this tells us is that India is hugely important for YouTube and, by extension, its parent company.
The business has a major edge in the country too. With Chinese mega-app TikTok having been banned in India three years ago, the short-form video content space is missing a major competitor. YouTube’s “Shorts” feature is going a long way to filling this void, helping the company to maintain its huge numbers of viewers in the country.
Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) is another business we must discuss when touching on short-form video. Snap has also become hugely popular in India, with figures from Statista showing that its user base is 59% higher than that of the United States.
If nothing else, this is a testament to how crazy about social media the Indian population is! But there is still room to grow, according to forecasts.
Projections from Statista indicate that, following a ninth consecutive annual increase in user base, the platform will reach 158.63 million users and therefore a new peak in 2027.
But how is the company seeking to capitalize on this user base?
Like QYOU Media, the company has recently appointed an industry star to run its Indian operations in the form of former Google executive Pulkit Trivedi. With sagging revenues, the app is reportedly targeting India for new growth amid efforts to localize services and shore up ad revenues.
India is a massive prospect for social media-savvy companies. But there are multiple routes to taking advantage of this exciting opportunity. QYOU Media has achieved consistent quarterly YoY revenue growth and has brought in a social media whiz to push things to the next level. Meta Platforms is rolling out subscription fees and new ad technology, while Alphabet is taking advantage of short-form video. Finally, Snap is trying to solve the puzzle of its lagging revenues through localization.