Road to 2023: AI, social commerce & regional content – How Social Media will shape up

Social Media trends

As a part of our annual forward-looking property, Road to 2023, Social Samosa asked experts about the Social Media trends that in their opinion will rule the roast. Here’s what they had to say.

After the pandemic, the social media landscape grew by leaps and bounds. As per consumer research firm Statista, India has embraced the internet with open arms and its digital population has been growing rapidly in the past decade by crossing 900 million active internet users

Social Media Universe – A Quick Summary of Numbers

In 2022, the number of social media users in India also grew at a whopping rate and reached 467 million users. Today, social media’s penetration in India stands at 33.4% and it is constantly growing. 

Within social media, Facebook had the highest traffic at around 58% among social media platforms across India in H1 2022. The social media company has consistently secured a high page traffic share in India since March 2019 when it was around 90%. Instagram and YouTube followed far behind, with traffic shares standing at around 5% and 3.2% respectively during that time period.

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For marketers, social media’s future only looks promising. In fact, as per consulting firm Redseer, for the first time, the number of eyeballs reached by digital platforms is expected to surpass traditional media. 

The report further states that an average Indian spends ~7.3 hours per day on their smartphone, one of the highest in the world. The time spent is across online messaging, social media, YouTube streaming, OTT content and short-form video. Cheaper data costs and affordable smartphones have been the fundamental drivers of increasing online time. This sets the stage for high digital opportunities for consumer internet players.

However, with Facebook’s young users declining and Elon Musk taking over Twitter, the social media landscape is changing. The industry has also seen multiple layoffs across Meta, ShareChat, and Twitter. 

With growing inflationary pressures and uncertainty, social media strategy needs to be revised for the year.  

On the technology front, 2023 might turn out to be a watershed moment for the socioverse where Metaverse sees more acceptance in the marketing mix and influencer marketing becoming a core marketing strategy for brands. 

In conversations with Social Samosa, industry experts talk about the Social Media trends they foresee in 2023. 

The continued rise of Short-Form videos

Short-form videos, which have been around for quite a while now, saw an ascending growth in the past year. Apart from Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts, Indian-grown apps like Moj and Josh attracted a good amount of audiences as well as advertisers. 

With apps like Josh and Instagram having 150 million and 503 million monthly active users in India respectively, short-form video content is set to attract more users in the coming year. 

“Short format content and reels have the potential to be the next big format on Social. Against its expensive array of content creators, the platform only sees 6 million reels every day. This is a number that will grow exponentially as there is a viewer’s market for reels and short-format content. Brands can benefit from leveraging this increasing demand by supplying their own native content into the mix,” says Sudish Balan, Co-founder & Chief Business Officer, Tonic Worldwide.

Pointing out the steady growth of this format, Himanshu Arora and Gaurav Arora – Co-Founders, Social Panga state, “Short video formats like Insta reels or other platforms like Chingari, Moj, Josh, etc, have clearly shown the importance of “true to the moment” content & how brands/creators should leverage & be real to the audience.”

Apart from these platforms, YouTube shorts is seeing a great trajectory in users. According to company news published in June 2022, the in-built feature amasses over 30 billion daily views with 1.5 billion logged-in users every month from global users. 

In 2022, according to YouGov BrandIndex YouTube ranked first in India surpassing Google recording an increase of +2.5 to its year-on-year brand health score. 

Shradha Agarwal, Co-founder & CEO of Grapes mentions, “The latest developments happening at YouTube can give tough competition to Instagram. Content creators are expected to leverage this short-form video platform to the fullest to forge a strong relationship with their audience.”

Importance of Regional Content

A recent report by Redseer Strategy Consultants suggests that Tier-2 regions & beyond are seeing regional content-focused platforms which have been able to serve the digital content consumption needs of those residing in these areas. 

It is because of this growing demand that apps like Sharechat have seen growth in the country as well with the user count growing up to 20.9% in the previous year. 

The digital environment in India is growing beyond English and Hindi with content creators and influencers emerging from every part of the country. 

Content creator economy or Influencers are not new phenomena, what is interesting to see is the growth of regional or Nano influencers. It adds to the credibility and allows you to directly connect with the target audience, at the same time, considering it is very focused, these are cost-effective ways of reaching out,” add Himanshu Arora and Gaurav Arora. 

Besides social media, OTT platforms have had an increase in regional content as well. Big players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are adapting and adding regional content to their platforms.

The Future is AI

AI expenditure in India is expected to reach $11.78 billion by 2025 which will in turn add $1 trillion to India’s economy by 2035. AI marketing is a method of leveraging IT to collect data, and customer insights, among other things that make automated decisions that impact marketing efforts. 

2022 saw a lot of chatter around ChatGPT and the possibility of it taking over human jobs. Despite the threat that it poses to the workforce, experts think it would aid the industry to grow at a faster pace. 

“Artificial Intelligence is always considered to be a new age trend but It will be wrong to assume, we are going to see a lot of “humanizing of AI” in the coming year, with the emergence of ChatGpt, it’s going to aid, rather replace our way of working,” said Himanshu Arora and Gaurav Arora. 

Many sectors in India have actively participated in adopting AI tools into their marketing mix. AI will probably grow its roots in the Indian brand’s marketing mix in the coming year. 

Shradha Agarwal mentions, “In an attempt to always stay ahead of the curve, brands might also automate a lot of processes with the integration of AI and ML. It can play a major role in the alignment and optimization of processes resulting in a more result-oriented approach.”

Apart from these emerging trends, the A&M industry will likely witness constant growth on the social commerce front. According to Indian Social Commerce Market Report 2022, the social commerce industry in the country is expected to grow steadily, recording a CAGR of 62.4% during 2022-2028. 

Akhil Nair, CEO, Big Trunk Communications states “Social commerce may be the most helpful and used feature of 2023, which will allow users to get the full purchases done on the same page without directing to the website.” 

Despite looming uncertainty, social media is only set to grow from here, with AI, social commerce, and regional content in the driver’s seat. 


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