How Indian startups are using video content—and how they should

I was going through LinkedIn feed yesterday and chanced upon the words of Abhash Kumar, Head – Digital Marketing & Growth at YourStory Media. He was offering a content marketing tip:

“Your content marketing strategy needs to have a significant focus on Facebook videos. When I say ‘videos’, I literally mean ‘videos’.

Yes, this is 2017 and the experts are talking about video content from the very first day.

With the rise of internet speed in India, (Thanks to Reliance Jio too 😉 ) Indian audience is engaging with videos a lot more than they did a couple of years ago. The video engagement is also set to rise in the upcoming years.

And there is plenty of reasons, facts, and figures to believe that the video revolution is coming to India.

How effective is video content?

Many marketers I meet daily accept the importance of video for their brand. However, many still are really sceptical to use video themselves. It’s not just the cost that stops them, it’s the reluctance to deploy a strategy they haven’t used yet.

We recently published a report tracking social media performance of 100 Indian startups (between 1 July and 30 September 2016). It revealed some amazing insights into the dynamics of video content on social media and what results it is producing.

In the horizontal eCommerce segment, Snapdeal outperformed many brands in social media engagement chart despite posting almost equal number of posts. This was particularly because of the video engagement they received on their new #UnBoxZindagi campaign.

snapdeal video content

This engagement came across Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Twitter alike.

Video against other content forms

What is making video content so popular?

The consumption of video has been fuelled by recent changes made by major social media platforms including Facebook (Facebook Live became extraordinarily popular this year), Instagram (Instagram Story was launched this year), Snapchat, Twitter, and of course, YouTube.

Apart from these developments, the online attention span of users has decreased online. This has made brands to shift towards video content which also enables them to communicate complex information easily and in lesser time.

But how does video compare against other forms of content.

Video content vs Text content

Videos are processed 60,000 times faster than the textual content by human brains.

Reading and watching a video cognitively requires different processes. While reading is active, demanding the user to focus on the words and create meaning at the same time, watching is video is passive. It is less demanding and requires less effort from the user to engage.

And that’s probably the reason video content is winning the battle.

A study done by Usurv revealed that delivering content in video format is the best way to make your audience share and interact with content. If your content is in video format, as compared to text:

  • Consumers are 39 percent more likely to share content it
  • 36 percent more likely to comment
  • 56 percent more likely to engage with a “like”

Video content vs Images

In the same social media report, there’s an interesting thing to notice. In the finance and fintech segment, Oxigen Wallet and PayTm were not the most active brand on the social media. In fact, Cleartax and Freecharge posted more than any other brand. Most of the content was textual in nature.

However, when it came to brand engagement, Oxigen Wallet and PayTM outperformed every other brand with a huge margin.

In fact, Oxigen Wallet’s led the brand engagement chart in its category with over 2x engagement from the second nearest competitor, PayTM.

But even with low activity on social media, how come Oxigen Wallet “nailed it”?

There were two ways in which Oxigen Wallet could have done it. Either by posting more content in the forms of text and images, or sharing more videos. They chose the latter method.

81% of total engagement garnered by Oxigen Wallet was because of their video content.

Despite being more active on social media, and probably through more textual content, Cleartax could not generate proportional results. Meanwhile, Oxigen Wallet received the highest engagement only because of videos.

How Indian startups are using it

Compared to the Western brands, Indian companies have just begun with videos. Those who have started are already reaping the benefits.

In all the startup segments, the brands who invested in video content were leading the engagement chart.

In horizontal ecommerce segment, Snapdeal stood on the second position in brand engagement chart. Out of 2.7mn total engagement for Snapdeal, 2.5mn engagement came from #unboxZindagi videos—a part of their rebranding campaign.

Similarly, BigBasket topped the video engagement chart and consequently, the total engagement chart.

Click to expand

Across all other segments—Health and fitness, food delivery, home furniture, real estate, classified, edutech, travel and hotel marketplace, sexual wellness, fashion, fintech, and even miscellaneous, the story of video content was same.

Those who posted more videos received more engagement.

The preferred platforms for video

But there is one more question that baffles marketers.

Facebook or YouTube?

Across all the three reports we published in the last year—the other two being on IPL (Indian Premier League) Season 9 and PKL (Pro Kabbadi League) Season 4—Facebook is as preferred as YouTube by Indian marketers.

Of all the videos shared, 52.2% of them were posted on Facebook while the other 47.8% were posted on YouTube.

And this is despite the fact that Twitter is still the most preferred platform by Indian brands in terms of number of content shared. Although this comes from the “microblogging” nature of Twitter, it naturally suggests that most of the other social networks are lagging behind in making them suitable for posting video content.


The lesson? If you are looking to outperform your competitors in engagement, go for videos!

A couple of years back, more activity on social media equated to more engagement. However, equations have changed. To get more engagement, videos are your best friend.

However, the same report also reveals that success on social media is a right blend of content, content type, consistency, and conversations. The better Indian startups can understand that the more they will be able to hack their growth on social media.

But one thing is for sure: videos will rule in 2017 and the years ahead!

Featured Image Credit: Business2Community

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