Opinion: The time for regional content & creators is now and here

Regional content and influencers in India by Ankit Agarwal

Ankit Agarwal from Do Your Thng shares interesting insights on the success of regional content and influencers and why it is imperative brands leverage this trend.

More salt than pepper in his hair, a wiry Tirupur resident cooks up feasts in his lungi with a running commentary in Tamil. More than 41 Lakh people watch him do it. Arumugam, with assistance from his son, started the channel Village Food Factory in 2015. He exploded into popularity in 2017. The YouTube creator is just one of the examples. Plenty other regional content creators in India have shot to the top in the past few years. The reason underpinning this meteoric rise of regional influencers is the increasing preference for Indic-language content.

Numbers Say it All

YouTube says 60% of its watch-time comes from beyond the borders of the six largest cities in India. 90% of all video consumption is in local languages.

A Google KPMG report mentions that by 2021, the Hindi Internet user-base in India will overpower English-language users. Combine Hindi with Bengali and Marathi users and the total pool accounts for 75% of Indians browsing the internet.

It is obvious there is a steadily mounting demand for vernacular content. And this demand has become the impetus for regional content creators.

Regional Creators are the Talk of the Town

The availability of vernacular content vis-à-vis the demand is paltry, and that’s the first pull factor for the rise of regional creators.

Saloni Gaur is a perfect example. It’s the dialect and accent of her characters Kusum behenji and Nazma Aapi that resonated with the audience. In less than a year, the creator garnered 535K Instagram followers.

Another example is Madhura Bacha, the Pune-based food creator has a blog and runs multiple YouTube channels. Her English-language channel barely crosses 1 Lakh subscribers. Her Hindi channel has around 10 Lakh subscribers. But her Marathi channel is subscribed by an eye-popping 45 Lakh people.

What’s noticeable is that the vernacular channel is just four years old. Yet it’s racked up far more subscribers than the English one.

Both Saloni and Madhura are strong indications that viewers want creators who speak their language.  

But why is it that 9 out of 10 new internet users prefer to consume content in a language with which they are familiar? Why do 7 out of 10 existing users find content in their language more reliable?

Because the familiarity of lingo builds a connection. It seeds the thought that the creator and the consumer share the same sentiments.

Also read: Opinion: Tharu, Kokila & the Clash of Civilizations on social media?

Brands are Cashing on the Boom, too…

Reaching tier II and III market audiences have always been a hurdle for brands. Digital marketing allowed them to inch their way in, slowly. It helped because that’s where the majority of internet users reside. The top 50 Indian cities account for less than 20% of users.

But even digital marketing failed to move the needle beyond a point. By collaborating with regional influencers, they were able to break that barrier. Research shows 88% of people browsing the internet in Indic-languages respond better to digital ads in their local language.

Why? Because regional content creators understand the audience and adapt the content to what would appeal best, building effective campaigns. Moreover, consumers find these creators more relatable, like a next-door neighbor, if you will.

To put things in crystal clear perspective, a creator from Delhi may have a million followers, but they’re spread geographically. It dilutes their influence. And that’s why collaborating with them on campaigns show less efficacy.

A regional creator may have only 50K followers, but they’re likely concentrated in one location. It intensifies their influence and ensures better reach, engagement and effectiveness of a campaign.

For these reasons, brands are roping in creators from specific regions or small-towns, making the vernacular content market in India worth $53 Billion.

From the Lenses of Monetization

English language internet users will touch the 199-million-mark next year. The Indian language users, on the other hand, will cross 536 million. By rough estimates, 210 million monetizable internet users are consuming vernacular content.

Clearly, the market has massive potential and growth opportunities for both brands and creators. It is imperative, particularly for marketers, to look at the niche through the lens of monetization and then leverage it.

This article piece is authored by Ankit Agarwal, Founder, Do Your Thng.


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