Brands using social media for engaging customers seems to have taken off in India. A recent study conducted by Ketchum Sampark on ‘Social Media Engagement’ says that Indian brands across categories, are driving higher engagement on social media than global brands.
The study analysed 100 Indian brands and 100 global brands across 10 categories. The analysis covered growth in fan base and engagement levels on Facebook from January 1 to August 30, 2012.
Commenting on the study, Ajay Sharma, managing partner, Ketchum Sampark, said, “As against popular belief, Indian brands seem to be growing faster than global brands. And, in some categories, fast emerging as global leaders in acquiring new fans. However, what is important is to assess levels of engagement of customers with Indian brands and important triggers for high engagement in each category.”
Though 100 Indian brands surveyed cumulatively grew their fan base by a whopping 105 per cent, engagement levels for only 26 of these 100 brands was higher than 5 per cent in August 2012. In fact, engagement levels for 41 of the 100 brands were lower than 2 per cent of the fan base in August 2012. Coca-Cola, the largest brand on Facebook, currently has engagement levels of over two per cent.
The opportunity on social media for brands is real and relevant. It can only get bigger from here, but engagement is key, feels Sampark's Sharma. “Internet penetration as well as social media usage from outside the 20 Indian cities is now estimated at more than 60 per cent of overall usage in India. That coupled with growing use of Internet over mobile devices offers a significant avenue for brands to connect with customers not just in Tier 1 markets, but also in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets using the power of social media. Ability to drive engagement will then become the most relevant part of any campaign," he added.
Rob Flaherty, Global CEO Kethum, said, “The study shows that India is far ahead as far as adoption of social media is concerned. What has happened in other geographies of the world in five to seven years, India has achieved that in two to three years time.”
The 10 categories covered include apparel/ retail, automobiles, banks and financial services, education, food and beverages, health and beauty, jewelry and watches, technology products, telecom, and travel and tourism.
The engagement for Indian brands was analysed on the basis of growth in fans and increase or decrease in engagement levels on the Facebook metric of 'people talking about' and then compared the performance of Indian brands with top global brands in these categories. The study reveals that Tata Docomo, the top Indian brand on Facebook, enjoys a higher penetratin of the Facebook population in India (one of six Indian users are fans) as against Coca-Cola - the largest global brand on Facebook (one of 20 global Facebook users are fans). It further states that engagement levels for Indian brands in eight out of the10 categories are now higher than global brands.
These categories are banking and financial services, food and beverages, health and beauty, telecom, automobiles, technology, apparel and retail, and travel and tourism. Average decline in engagement for Indian brands was witnessed highest in banks and financial services (by 67 per cent), followed by telecom (39 per cent) and automobiles (39 per cent).
The top brand on Facebook across categories is Tata Docomo with 8.73 million users. Market leader Airtel lags behind at 1.39 million fans. ICICI Bank with 7,82,654 fans is the fifth largest banking and financial services brand on Facebook globally. Fastrack is the biggest fashion accessories brand globally on Facebook with close to 4.3 million fans.
Among B-Schools, IIM Ahmedabad with 22,831 fans lags way behind Amity University with 5,79,856 fans. Beauty brands in India have the highest average engagement rate across categories at 8.11 per cent. In the automobile category, Nissan India’s engagement has dropped drastically from a high of 19.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent while Tata Nano has seen the highest increase in number of fans among automobile brands, with 17,88,664 new fans.
Multi brand outlets such as Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle International have increased the number of fans by 1.62 million and 1.76 million respectively. Globally, Coca-Cola leads with 4,94,91,881 fans while in India, Pepsi is the top brand as far as number of fans is concerned.