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The emergence of influencer marketing in India

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It comes as no surprise that the concept of influencer marketing can be traced back to ancient times. Commercial messages, to be precise, could be considered the first form of marketing. Making sales messages and posters in papyrus was a common practice of advertising in ancient Rome & Greece. The direct command to the consumer technique was first introduced by psychologist Walter. D. Scott in the 20th century. He said, "Man has been called the reasoning animal but he could with greater truthfulness be called the creature of suggestion".

With each invention in history, marketing has evolved one step at a time. Persuasion is thought to be the best way to reach the masses, whether through television, newspaper, or radio. In time, marketing has drastically evolved to meet the target group. As a result, the insane marketing algorithm keeps on demanding answers to the question, why do brands do what they are doing?.

A brand is a notion of identifying a particular product or service by a particular company. Back in the day, criminals and slaves had branding irons. The brand on a sheep identifies the owner rather than it identifies the animal. They don't say this mark belongs to this animal. They say here is the mark I have made, hence the sheep is mine.

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Influencer Marketing

A brand is a business concept that helps people identify a company or an organization. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc are some of the popular brands. A minimalistic logo is enough to trace the brands. Brands use different marketing strategies to increase their reach, generate leads, and eventually accelerate increased sales. The most modern and effective marketing strategy that brands practice is influencer marketing. It is a kind of social media marketing where influencers use endorsements and product mentions in order to build the brand identity. Celebrities or individual influencers with a dedicated social following have been practicing influencer marketing to drive potential customers.

Latest Social Media Statistics in India (2022)

Much like the west, new media has also found its way into the social media marketing landscape of India. Budding influencers have matured into potential influencers with dedicated following over a short span of time. The average time spent on social media platforms by Indians has increased to 2.36 hours per day.

  • India has a total population of 1.40 billion people. The number of internet users is 0.658 billion. There are around 0.467 billion active social media users.
  • The number of people using the internet has increased to 658 million which is almost 47% of the total population of India.
  • Similarly, 225 million people use YouTube, which is around 16% of the population.
  • The average time spent using the internet per day is 7 hours and 19 mins. The daily average time spent on social media is 2 hours and 36 mins.
  • Instagram is the most used social media platform in India as of 2022 with 76.50% of users.
  • Facebook is the second most used social media platform with 74.50% of users.
  • Other popular social media platforms are Twitter- 44.90%, LinkedIn-37.2%, Pinterest-34.9%, MX TakaTak- 23.40%, Moj-23.0%, Discord-18.20%, etc.

Evolution of Influencer Marketing in India

The significance establishing a strong online presence is vital in the marketing domain in India. The past few years have witnessed drastic changes in the social media landscape in the country. By the year 2016, brands have started considering the scope of influencer marketing in India. Similarly, the idea of a niche audience and content-driven marketing has emerged. Early 2019 had expected the end of influencer marketing in the marketing domain. However, the global pandemic has shape-shifted the advertising landscape, and influencer marketing has come back to the scene in full force. According to various survey analyses, there was a significant increase in usage of social media in the first phase of the nationwide lockdown. The last three years have seen the massive growth of both celebrity and non-celebrity influencers on various social media platforms. Some of the best Instagram influencers in India in different niches are Diipa Büller-Khosla, Savi and Vid, Dilsefoodie, Kanan Gill, Ranveer Allahbadia, Siddharth Seema Chandekar, etc. While the top celebrity Instagram influencers are:

  • Virat Kohli – 178 Million followers
  • Priyanka Chopra – 72.6 million followers
  • Shraddha Kapoor – 68.6 million followers
  • Neha Kakkar – 67 million followers
  • Narendra Modi – 64.7 million followers
  • Deepika Padukone – 63.6 million followers

The brands have become more interested in the trust and authenticity that influencers share with their followers. As per the INCA survey, every marketing leader has agreed that influencer marketing is their top marketing strategy for the next year. The overall Indian influencer marketing industry is expected to reach Rs 2, 200 crores by 2025. The world of influencer marketing is forever evolving. Choosing the right influencer can be complicated. It is important to understand the objective of marketing or branding.