How Facebook is building Instagram as complete business solution for brands 

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Updated: August 25, 2021 8:00 AM

There are over six million reels being created by Instagram users in India

Digital influences people’s purchase decisions nowadays for most of the categories such as smartphone, TV.

Over the last few years, Instagram has gradually turned to be one of the major platforms used by brands for reaching out to the target audience. Facebook too grabbed the opportunity and introduced Reels which are now being leveraged by brands to advertise as well as drive transactions. In a conversation with BrandWagon Online, Arun Srinivas, director, global business group, Facebook India, talks about how brands are leveraging the platform. (Edited Excerpts)

How Instagram has contributed to building Facebook’s India business?

Instagram is a pivotal part of our platform. We see it as a place where people are able to interact with their interests and affinities alongside creators, celebrities and businesses. As businesses are able to leverage both creators and celebrities along with the communities that follow them or like them, we are able to translate full-funnel solutions for them where we can help businesses drive awareness, consideration, and purchase. Today, over 90% of audiences on Instagram follow at least one business.

We have seen that a lot more businesses are adapting to online forms of advertising and consumer engagement, especially post the pandemic, given that a lot of people are online. This trend has led to more action on the shopping front. Digital influences people’s purchase decisions nowadays for most of the categories such as smartphone, TV. 

How brands have been able to leverage Instagram for business in India? 

Post-pandemic, consumers are spending a lot more time on their phones and digital devices, especially on social media. Therefore, businesses are changing the media mix. From an Instagram perspective, we have multiple services on it. There is feed, there are stories, there is IGTV, now we have added Reels also to the basket. We started getting advertising on Reels two months ago. With all these tools, what we are doing is understanding where the consumers are and what they are consuming on the platform, and then we create content and ads around that. For instance, Nykaa launched a new range of makeup products on Reels. As part of the campaign, creators were roped in who used the products and talked about it. Similarly, HDFC Bank also used Reels to build upon public service messages around not sharing private or financial information with spammers. HDFC Bank ran a campaign ‘Mooh Bandh Karo’ on the platform. The third example is from Spotify  and its campaign around Holi. The platform onboarded most of the leading celebrities and singers from Bollywood to create their songs as Holi playlist. Then they made sure that the playlist was publicised as a campaign on Instagram. Thanks to that move, Spotify saw Holi Playlist among the top three and gained more than 25% daily active users in the period. 

How well is Reels placed as a product in the short video market?

When there is a trend like video or short form video, there will be many options for consumers. The power of our platform is to bring communities, creators, celebrities together with businesses. Reels is another rendition on the platform which is short form video. It’s a natural extension for the platform where we are able to get static feeds and equally short form video in the form of Reels. Today, there are over six million reels produced in India every day by the entire user base. Moreover, the number is growing on a month-on-month basis. This tells us that there is scale in terms of generating that content and equally in viewing that content. We notice the content on Reels is very diverse in terms of languages. We have Reels across most Indian languages. So, this also tells us that people are adopting it from the length and breadth of the country. 

How small and medium businesses are utilising the platform? How is it different from the way traditional brands use it?

Big brands such as HDFC and Closeup have audiences across various parts of the country. They have to deliver their messages to sort of all audiences who are in different cohorts, segments and I think the beauty of this platform is that the algorithm really delivers to the segments you want to cater to and target here. For the big brands, it’s about expressing themselves in a manner which works for the Instagram audience. If I look at new age brands or small-medium businesses, what the platform does for them is to enable discovery of their products and portfolios, eventually resulting in transactions as well. They see it as an end-to-end funnel solution. However, we are seeing interest from larger brands as well for transactions through Instagram.

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