Influencer marketing delivers business results: Facebook’s Sandeep Bhushan

On the 10th anniversary, we are launching the first business marketing campaign that aims to showcase how influencer marketing through Instagram …

Edited excerpts:

What are the key areas of growth for Instagram in India?

Community engagement is the first area of growth for us. Users come on Instagram to follow their passions, it could be fashion, music or travel. They tend to follow and engage with leaders, creators or businesses in that field. 90% of users follow businesses of their interest on Instagram.

Therefore, building products and tools for advertisers who can access this engaged community is also a crucial growth driver. Our main goal is to get as many businesses as possible in India to understand the reach and possibility of Instagram. On the 10th anniversary, we are launching the first business marketing campaign that aims to showcase how influencer marketing through Instagram makes business impact.

Which are the key brand categories that are leveraging Instagram advertising?

Sports, for instance, is a huge category on the platform. Puma may not be present on the cricket field but is certainly present in the lifestyle of its brand ambassador Virat Kohli through his personal Instagram posts. Technology and auto categories are also doing well on Instagram. Fashion continues to do well here with designer Sabyasachi putting out his full portfolio on Instagram while fashion ecommerce firm Jaypore showcasing tips and tricks of styling on the platform.

Which are the key ad formats that are scaling up?

I believe branded content ads will help businesses grow in a big way. This format allows advertisers to promote creators’ – celebrities or endorsers – organic branded content posts as feed and stories ads. This is an opportunity for them to tell stories of their brands through endorsers’ voices, reach new audiences and measure impact. Branded content ads become effective especially in these times of social distancing since there are restrictions on visiting retail stores. Therefore, consumer s seek expert advice online to make purchase decisions.

How do you tackle fake followers?

It’s really important to us that the interactions people have on the platform are genuine, and we’re working hard to keep the community free from spams. Influencer marketing is actually delivering business results because there is authentic expression and credibility involved. Our research finds that people respond to brands and creators who keep it real.

We have partners like Nielsen which provide measurement tools to brands to gauge the impact of a campaign. Instagram first brands such as Jaipur based ethnic wear brand called Bunaai or direct to consumer food startup Wingreens Farms are also proof of the efficacy of the platform.

How is an Indian Instagram user unique as compare to its global counterparts?

India is a younger market compared to the rest of the world. The pace of adoption of products stands out here way more. Indian users also tend to create and follow content around Indian things like sarees, local recipes and local travel destinations. Pandemic has changed the acceleration curve for all our products in terms of engagement and time spent going up significantly.

How is Instagram preparing itself for the users coming from small town India?

Instagram will follow the Indian user wherever he/she comes from. Our formats allow breaking barriers of languages. So, one can go live, make IGTV videos or Reels in local languages.. Our music library has virtually all regional languages which allow users to express themselves. From picture to video, we provide a variety of expressions. We have also seen celebrities such as singer Diljit Dosanjh using Instagram to connect with his fans in Punjabi.

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