YouTube plays an Indian tune

Among the most popular with Indian audiences are (L to R): BB ki Vines (5 million subscribers), Technical Guruji (3.9 million) and Vidya Vox (3.7 million)
As more and more Indian users access YouTube in languages other than English and Hindi, Google is using data and technology to create a platform that helps advertisers maximize the return on digital ad spends. Apart from providing more and more content in multiple languages, YouTube is wooing advertisers with products that address the specific needs of regional consumers and ease the process of purchase fulfilment.   

“By 2020, almost 62 per cent of Internet users in India will not be proficient in English. Local language search queries in India are growing 10 times faster than English search queries here. Another staggering growth is that watch time of YouTube content is growing up by a staggering 400 per cent every month,” said Rajan Anandan, MD Google India at an event last month.

Within weeks of Anandan’s address Google announced a host of video advertising features at its ‘Google for India’ event with YouTube leading the portfolio. YouTube comprises 14 per cent of total internet usage time in India according to a data report by investment firm Omidyar Networks.  Consequently, YouTube turned this data into a series of digital advertising solutions to increase engagement with advertisers.

“Eighty per cent of our watch time comes from smartphones and nine out of ten viewers consume in local language in India which is different from most of the developed world.  These numbers force you to think primarily from the perspective of a YouTube user who is consuming the content on mobile,” said Nitin Bawankule, industry director, Google India.

These numbers have helped advertisers realise that YouTube reaches most of their target consumers including banking, FMCG and auto companies, he added.  With viewership on YouTube shifting to mobile, over 85 per cent of its views are on mobile and as mobile watch time is growing, Google says it has tweaked its adtech to make it easier for advertisers to deliver more relevant, useful advertisements and scalable solutions that will work across screens. 

“With so many significant players moving to YouTube we realised that we should also offer them products, as a platform, to serve their purpose,” said Bawankule.  Adtech features like TrueView for Shopping were introduced for ecommerce sites like Flipkart and Shopclues to help users go directly to the product link on e-tail websites from YouTube advertisements he said.

TrueView for action was introduced to encourage viewers to drive action in terms of booking tickets or visits through video ads as in case of a MakeMyTrip or Maruti test drives. Another feature, YouTube StoreFronts, is targeted at driving users to visit stores without an online presence. Since the beginning of 2017, Google has white listed 100 advertisers for store visit measurement and they have nearly 42 million store visits attributed to paid YouTube ads. Given that almost 98 per cent retail business still operates in the brick and mortar world, such measures help YouTube gain a foothold into what would otherwise have been a dark spot on their advertiser portfolio. Also such stores are interested in YouTube’s growing reach with language consumers.

 “The regional split across India is such that only 40 per cent viewers know Hindi. Even content creators have been coming from literally every regional language. It’s a supply and demand platform here,” Bawankule said. YouTube organises a number of events and bootcamps to help content creators engage with advertisers giving the creators another source of income while the advertisers get a new channel to reach consumers. In-content advertising is another mode of advertisements that are becoming increasingly popular on original content channels.  

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