Tuesday, May 4, 2010

comScore Arrives in India (Finally!)

I woke up this morning and the first thing I read was about comScore opening their offices in India (press release here). Well, it's about time! As an Internet marketer, research is a huge part of figuring out demographics, especially in India. First off, there are very few reliable sources that you can get information. Then, the various tools that we have in our marketing arsenal makes us run around into different directions. Plus, most folks don't really understand or know how to read the stats. Each tool gives out readings that don't really agree with the other because they measure things with a different set of rules and parameters. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that as of November 2008 there are 81 million Internet users in India. That number has grown exponentially and it's going to grow more because it makes up only 7% of the population. India has one of the world's fastest growing telecom markets. Growth doesn't mean a mere jump in India, it leaps out. Things catch on so fast and so viral that it can change the game for any dot com that catches the attention.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recorded in March that there are 8.75 million broadband subscribers (keep in mind, "broadband" in India means anything above 256 Kpbs -- not the luxury "broadband" speed of the west). On TV, commercials are filled with ads that offer the latest and cheapest mobile service plans to the most portable Internet connections. This subcontinent is on the move and telecom companies are there to accommodate it. There are so many companies to choose from if you're in a metro area that you can see it's really a cut-throat industry. Even Airtel, one of the largest service providers are handling their customers better than before. I'm an Airtel customer, and I used to really dread calling their customer care, but lately, it's been ok. 

comScore being in India means better stats, better research, and a clearer picture of this very chaotic world of the Indian social media and Internet landscape. A lot of young people, especially young working, educated professionals -- who happens to have loads of money to spend because they still live with their parents and earn are pretty much addicted to the latest gadgets, online activities like Facebook, and Tweeting, are still shy about opening up. Most folks tweet under lock and key or maintain online alter egos. There's not a lot of "openness" in what appears as an 'open society' either because of job security or because they don't want folks outside the inner circle to get into their business. And folks here are very curious about other people's business. I've been living here over eight years and I'm still shocked when a someone asks me how much I make or why I'm not married.

Marketers who use both mobile and social media marketing will be able to have better tools in their belt. Since there are more mobile penetration in India, it cannot be ignored. By September 2010, there will be 760 Indian cities that have 3G networks. People are already recharge (read pay) their satellite TV services, and conduct banking processes on their phones, the next step will be to order and buy products. This would require concrete stats and analysis for both sales and marketing teams. Having comScore there to navigate these waters will be a bonus and a much needed helping hand.

Graphic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/silvertje/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0