A report on television viewership by E&Y reveals that growth is being led by regional TV channels, even as the latest Indian readership survey highlights the boom in regional print media markets. As regional content gains traction, it was only a matter of time before this trend also pervaded the digital realm. As internet penetration grows across tier 2 and 3 cities, the time for regional content to reign over the digital medium is now.
As per the Google KPMG report, the Indian internet user base will increase to 735 million by 2021. Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% to reach 536 million by 2021, while English users are expected to grow at only 3% reaching 199 million within the same period. Clearly the growth opportunity for brands lies in the regional markets.
The Google KPMG report is in line with the growing demand for language content. According to the report, 70% Indians find local language digital content more reliable. Furthermore, 88% Indian language internet users are more likely to respond to a digital advertisement in their local language as compared to English, and 90% of all video consumption happens in local languages. These numbers already tell a story!
Leading content generation platforms have already started focusing more on Hindi and other Indian languages. While 95% of YouTube videos consumed are in regional languages, apps such as DailyHunt and ShareChat are allowing people to consume content in multiple languages. Facebook and Google have started focusing on vernacular content, furthering the mass distribution of regional content. In fact, earlier this year, Google enabled voice search for eight Indian languages earlier this year.
The exponential increase in creation and distribution of regional language content has led to an explosion in terms of content consumption. This offers a huge growth potential to target these Indian language Internet users, which are expected to account for nearly 75% of India’s internet user base by 2021.
Here are 7 things keeping ‘vernacular’ at the core which can be a total game-changer for digital marketers.
1. Multi-lingual web platform
Building a localised platform to generate higher traction and reach out to a larger set of audiences should be the first thing on the list for digital marketers. Leading content creation platforms in India are catering to audiences through multiple Indian languages such as Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Punjabi to name a few. People who are more comfortable consuming content in their own language, thus feel an affinity towards the brand.
2. Vernacular content capturing regional nuances
70% of Indians find local language digital content more reliable than English content. So, brands need to start thinking regional in terms of content so that they speak to their audience in the affable regional expression with the right regional nuance. Transcending into literacy agnostic content across formats – audio and video – will only help brands target users across the spectrum.
3. Regional videos – the future of digital content marketing
Interestingly, 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. When consumers recall a marketing video, they also remember the brand. And, with the proliferation of social media, consumers are also sharing the videos they like, which can expand the brand’s online reach. To make videos memorable and acceptable, brands must ensure that they are in line with their brand strategy and in the language the customer wants to see.
4. Voice-enabled content by marrying the 2 Vs – Voice & Vernacular
Gartner recently forecast that 30% of web browsing sessions will happen without a screen by 2020, with ‘voice-first’ interactions” potentially taking over much of the legwork. With the potential to include the semi-literate sections of society into the fold of the content revolution, audio content is without a doubt the next big step towards internet inclusion, riding steadily on the vernacular wave. Brands, therefore, will have to find new ways to become discoverable through voice search results to stay visible on digital platforms.
5. Regional insights to personalize communication
In order to create communication or products that consumers will find valuable, brands need to know who they’re speaking to, where their interests lie and what their concerns are. With diversity at its core, India offers a new insight at every 100 km. It’s therefore important to capture these insights and leverage them to build relevant products, services, and communication for the language users.
6. Two-way conversation through vernacular social media
Social media marketing allows brands to not just speak to their consumers, but also to listen to them in return. To be able to have a meaningful conversation and build user engagement, brands need to start conversing with the users in their languages on social media pages. Without a doubt, marketers to speak the language of their audience!
7. Not translations, but transcreations!
Brands need to be conscious of an important fact that mere translation is not going to do the job while conversing with the non-English speaking users. They need to build an understanding of this audience and adapt content, communication, and campaigns keeping in mind what appeals to them best. Transcreation is a big opportunity, but the benefits of this can only be realized through appropriate changes in the organizational structure, both at the client as well as the agency. Brands need to start thinking about this right away.