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  1. Facebook India: Here are key pillars of strategy under Umang Bedi

Facebook India: Here are key pillars of strategy under Umang Bedi

Umang Bedi, who recently completed 100 days at Facebook as MD, India and South Asia, believes the perfect storm is brewing in India with internet users expected to grow to 600 million by 2020 coupled with a rise in digital advertising, which is projected...

By: | Updated: December 6, 2016 2:49 PM

Umang Bedi, who recently completed 100 days at Facebook as MD, India and South Asia, believes the perfect storm is brewing in India with internet users expected to grow to 600 million by 2020 coupled with a rise in digital advertising, which is projected to have a 40% share in the total AdEx by 2020.

Mobility is the future and at Facebook (FB) the focus is on getting the larger pie in digital advertising. “Mobile is three times as large in terms of reach compared to any other medium at one-third the amount of money,” says Bedi.

Facebook’s momentum in India clearly shows it is a strategic market for the social media network. India is the second largest market after the US with 166 million monthly active users. In fact, India has the highest number of people accessing FB monthly on mobile (95% for both monthly and daily) in APAC.

Facebook’s momentum in India clearly shows it is a strategic market for the social media network. India is the second largest market after the US with 166 million monthly active users. In fact, India has the highest number of people accessing FB monthly on mobile (95% for both monthly and daily) in APAC.

India is also the number one market for WhatsApp with 160 million monthly active users and more than 500 million people active on Instagram. On the digital advertising side, it is among the top countries for FB features Slideshow and Canvas, and the second largest market for Blueprint, with over a million enrolments since March 2015.

FB’s go-to-market strategy is built upon a deep vertical focus. Unlike earlier, it is finally moving beyond e-commerce and FMCG, and now has dedicated teams addressing other key verticals such as retail, travel, financial services, tech, telecom and auto. “We are working on driving real world outcomes and move business. There are verticals where we are working with customers just to drive sales — online or offline or drive in-store traffic; focussing on purchase intent lift, brand lift, brand awareness, etc,” Bedi explains.

With marketers now looking at mobile for reach and more importantly, engagement, FB is working with brands and agencies for mobile-first creatives. “We are getting first time brand briefs — creatives which are first on FB — from marketers. Mobile-first, feed-friendly creatives are now becoming strategic to a marketer’s ad budget,” he says.

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E-tailer Limeroad built its entire business on FB, Bedi informs adding that Pepsi and Snapdeal are pivoting their organisations to think mobile-first.

With a focus on digital advertising, working with agencies (media and creative), becomes critical for Facebook. “On the creative agency side, we are running programmes with Facebook Creative Shop.” It has a team of in-house creative strategists who work with brand and agencies to come up with the best practices for mobile-first. Also Facebook Blueprint Certification is a platform for digital advertisers to learn how FB and Instagram can help grow their business.

“We are not competing with agencies. We have a creative agency programme to share best practices with ad agencies and teach them the hacks of what is working on mobile,” he says.

Online advertising also has similar measurement problems as other platforms. The social network has admitted to both overstating and understating certain metrics, such as giving faulty numbers on the average time people spent with videos. To address this, Facebook is working with third-party measurement companies to set up a ‘Measurement Council’ to work with advertisers on the subject. It has partnered with Nielsen for match-market test, Millward Brown for empirical cross media studies and BARC for correlating that with television.

Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi, which has been in pilot in rural India, is now live. It is not clear if the Wi-Fi would provide limited access to a few websites or full access.

“Numbers drive me,” says Bedi. “It is no longer about CPC, CPM, CPI, ‘like’, shares or mentions, but about real business outcomes. We are in the business of helping brands move their business.”

@rankita

Ankita.Rai@expressindia.com

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