Social Throwback 2023: Shoppertainment and viral memes, trends that dominated the homegrown SFV landscape

This year Influencers were direct contributors to users’ purchase decisions, viral memes helped boost brand visibility and CGI took over. We dissect these trends and learn from experts how 2023 was for Short form video format.

Sneha Medda
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homegrown SFV

Short form video (SFV) format first gained popularity because of TikTok in India, followed by Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts. The trend quickly made its place in the Indian market and was followed by several homegrown SFV platforms. 

With each passing year and growing internet penetration, the country has become more digitally savvy, leading to a grow in the number of SFV users in the country. According to a recent Redseer report, today, the combined user base of homegrown SFV platforms has reached over 250 million.  

The bite-sized videos that usually last for 60 seconds or so haven’t just gained popularity among users and content creators, but the format’s vast potential has also gained eyeballs from marketers, advertisers, and brands alike. 

According to Global Social Media trends, in 2023, brands and marketers doubled down on short-form videos, and one-third of marketers planned to invest the most in short-form videos. The reason is that marketers found this format to be the most effective for increasing brand awareness and engaging with social audiences. 

To make the most out of this format, marketers have integrated multiple tools and advertising methods with the existing capabilities of SFV to accelerate their brand’s reach. 

We talked to experts behind home-grown SFV platforms to understand how marketers used the format in 2023 to advertise to consumers.

More UGC and movie collabs

A recent report found that over 77% of young India spend most of their time watching short videos. 60% of young India's purchase decisions are influenced by short videos and social media. More brands are using short video content to create engaging campaigns that drive high engagement and create purchase intent. One way to increase this intent is through user-generated content (UGC). 

An early report by Redseer mentioned that UGC content would be the primary growth driver in SFV format, and short video platforms will become an integral part of India's digital landscape.

One of the main benefits of using UGC as part of a short-form video content strategy is that it allows brands to tap into the creativity of their audience by encouraging users to create their own videos and share them with the brand’s community. This year, advertisers banked on the potential of user-generated content. 

Shradha Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Grapes said, “[Viral Moments] made for a perfect concoction to effectively reach their target audience with the double assurity of grabbing the declining attention span of the audience. Capitalizing on the virality of the video, many brands successfully brought about the integration of the video with their products to intrigue and reach a wide audience base.”

By collaborating with SFV platforms, brands used the virality quotient to communicate with the audience. Nivea collaborated with Moj and used a unique Nivea Lens that urged users to create videos using the lens and stand a chance to become a Nivea influencer. 



Mountain Dew and Moj collaborated for the former's 'Conquer with Courage' campaign and roped in 200 Moj creators to encourage people to share their courage stories, using the platform’s lens feature. 


A study by ASCI showed that, in 2023 70% of Indians were likely to buy a product that an influencer endorsed. This year, brands collaborated with influencers on a large scale with the intent of garnering customers.

Another trend that mushroomed on homegrown SFV platforms was movie collaborations. Back in July, Josh joined hands with T-Series for the new song from the film Bawaal. The music collaboration helped in amplifying the song's reach. The campaign #TumheKitnaPyaarKarte was live between 17th July - 24th July and had 25 Josh creators participate and urge users to re-create their versions. The campaign video reached 200Mn video views and over 15.1 Mn Hearts.



Similarly, Josh collaborated with Jimmy Shergill for the promotion of his movie Aazam. As part of the collaboration, Josh creators teamed up with the star to create promotional videos.



Furthermore, the makers also created a challenge for the users and the original video reached 4K hearts. 




The in-app buying experience isn’t a new phenomenon. Social media has been a great platform for brands to set up marketplaces. But this year, SFV platforms especially used the power of influencers and their reach to bank on the trend – Shoppertainment. 

The trend was first introduced on TikTok, where this year, the platform TikTok Shop saw a 117% increase in sellers. Homegrown SFV platform, Hipi grew its in-app shopping experience, elevating product discovery through short videos, and has revolutionized the way consumers find and engage with products. 

GBS Bindra, Chief Business Officer of Hipi mentioned that the platform has seen strong growth this year and claims that they have beaten the industry growth rate by ∼30%. He further dived into how 'shoppertainment' has shaped the Indian SFV format. 

He said, “The visual approach coupled with engaging narrative enhances the product discovery experience, making it more interactive and entertaining. The integration of shoppable features in the platforms allows users to seamlessly transition from product discovery to purchase.”

Similarly, Instagram’s Reels saw influencers using their post’s comments to directly DM the audience the products shown in the video. This helped the creators garner more engagement and became approachable. 

Social Media ‘Trendoids’ took front seat

Last year, SFV platforms helped movies, songs, and the entertainment industry become viral moments through hashtags and user interactions. This year, the same virality was witnessed by ‘non-celeb’ sensations. From Bhupendra Jogi and Orry to Jasmeen Kaur, who went viral with her ‘Looking just like a wow’ remark, this year, social media platforms were filled with Indian ‘non-celeb’ sensations for their catchphrases that were quickly adopted by the internet. 

Mousumi Mishra, Head of Consumer Marketing, ShareChat, and Moj, termed this phenomenon as a ‘Trendoid’. She said, “These trendoids actively follow and replicate social media trends, transforming the way people engage with content. Instead of merely capturing moments in pictures, users now invest considerable time in recreating trending content with friends and family.”

The virality of these non-celebs was something brands noticed as well and were quick to position themselves in the conversation. Brands like WOW Skin Science and Sunfeast Yippee Noodles integrated their brands into Jasmeen Kaur's unique brand image.

Kaur's virality reached other corners of the country as well. Her iconic line has been used in 2.7 million+ videos on Josh. 



Apart from these viral moments, SFV users and brands equally enjoyed other viral moments/audios like ‘Lappu sa sachin’, ‘Jaldi wahan se hato’, ‘Uncleji pani pila dijiye’, ‘Moye Moye’, ‘Systum’, ‘Raja kai la biyaah’, and more. 

VerSe Innovation (Parent company of Josh)’s CMO, Samir Vora said, “We feel this trend has dominated this year and has changed the industry’s focus, wherein brands are now reaching out to these common masses for their campaigns instead of adopting a celeb/influencer first approach.”

Vora thinks the reason for this trend's escalation is the deep penetration of the internet in the nation. He said, “Deeper penetration of the internet as well as increasing use of social media, specifically the hyperlocal ones, which offer content in multiple languages and support regional creators, has given birth to this trend, where anyone can be the flagbearer of a viral challenge or trend.”

Mishra feels this trend is user-friendly and, hence, has picked up among them. She said, “I think it is the ease of creation for a user - you are following someone or something and giving your own version to it rather than creating something from scratch. For brands, it is an opportunity to plug in their marketing message into a currently popular narrative.” 

Interactivity with CGI 

A big challenge for marketers when it comes to SFV is its bite-sized format. Incorporating an ad into 60 seconds or less and making it entertaining enough that the audience waits and watches it is challenging enough. To overcome this hurdle, brands banked on the biggest trend of this year — CGI.

This year, CGI ads were seen all over the internet. The ads were short, visually appealing, and grabbed the audience’s attention.

Divyansh Gala, Group Head-Outreach, SoCheers said, “The need of the hour was something different that instantly made the viewers stop and watch the video. With CGI videos, the approach of showing products or services as larger than life in a short form video content grabbed everyone's attention.”

Purusharth Budhiraja (Jaunty), Producer & Director of SW Studios, said, “The integration of CGI from an AI perspective saw a meteoric rise this year, with brands using this innovation to push the boundaries of what is possible through video content.”

Mousumi Mishra found the use of CGI to be groundbreaking and thought that brands entirely captured and integrated it with SFV platforms. She said, “CGI transformed storytelling by enabling the creation of hyper-realistic, larger-than-life visuals at reduced production costs. This groundbreaking technology empowered brands to delve into immersive storytelling, exploring alternative realities and crafting interactive content. It allowed for the development of virtual experiences that engaged consumers on a profound level.”

The CGI wave took over the platforms during the Barbie movie promotions era. This was followed by many other brands joining the CGI trend. Many of them used the trend to launch new products, while some made other announcements. 

Brands like Britannia Snack, Wacoal, Bajaj Alliance, Ajio, Haldiram’s, OPPO India, Skybags, Uniqlo, and more joined the trend. 


This year saw the SFV landscape immerse into meme-trends that gave the internet multiple viral sensations. Innovation made a swift integration into the industry and CGI emerged as a breakthrough trend. This came as a stepping stone for many homegrown SFV platforms with steady user growth and a hopeful future. 

Instagram Reels virality SFV Short form videos