Friday, October 10, 2014

[prpoint] The importance of social intelligence


Good Morning, 

An interesting article on the growing importance of social intelligence in India, its impact on business functions and more importantly on creation of impactful communication campaigns by Mr. Madan Bahal, co-founder managing director, Adfactors PR. This was published in Business Standard Strategist recently.  Mr Madan Bahal is a member of this prpoint group.

Happy Reading....

Best Regards,
Richa Seth


The importance of social intelligence

By Madan Bahal, co-founder managing director, Adfactors PR

Social intelligence has the potential to not only provide meaningful insights to business functions such as product development and customer service but also in the creation of impactful communication campaigns

When Chinese netizens appropriated November 11 as Single's Day (1111) about four years ago, no one -let alone marketers - could foresee the buying frenzy that would follow. On November 11, 2013, single men and women in China bought goods worth a colossal $8 billion. Not only did the Chinese numbers dwarf those of the 2013 US Black Friday sales ($1.93 billion) - hitherto considered as one of the biggest grossers - the phenomenon of Single's Day or Guanggun Jie remains a largely internet-incubated event.

Marketers such as Mercedes Benz have since grown up to the power of internet in China. On a popular website, Taobao, a car major recently sold 200 cars in three hours flat (the first car was sold after 24 seconds, 55 cars in six minutes and 116 cars by the first hour). In another sales promotion event on WeChat, a German automaker sold 388 Smart BoConcept limited edition cars in three minutes.

Such is the power of the internet and social media in China. We believe India is at the threshold of a social media explosion. Here's why:

India has a mobile subscriber base of 900 million compared to last year, internet use grew by 28 per cent to 250 million users. Of these, 106 million access social media. Facebook alone has a user base of 100 million while Twitter enjoys a following of 22 million. The average time that Indians spend each day on social media is 2:05 hours. Over 130 million use smartphones; 80 per cent of them access social media through their handphones.

It is clear that social media users spend a considerable amount of time on platforms such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn while using their mobile phones. For marketers, the prospect of reaching out to these young social media users is almost irresistible. After all, these netizens constitute the core target group for innumerable product categories ranging from FMCG products to lifestyle items and high-end gadgets.

Social intelligence (SI) is a business tool that looks into the online behaviour of netizens and predicts consumer behaviour through a combination of computer-aided data crunching and human interpretation of the same. SI assumes great significance in India as 106 million netizens access social media platforms regularly to share posts and/or to voice their opinion on various issues. SI has the potential to not only provide meaningful insights to business functions such as product development, customer service and corporate strategy but also in the creation of impactful communication campaigns.

However, notwithstanding the encouraging numbers of increasing internet connectivity and smartphones sales, a contradiction is equally apparent. When the scale of social media usage with the social media spends of most brands and companies is juxtaposed, the contradiction is rather disorienting. While social revenues are growing, these remain miniscule. Among specialist social media firms in India, the average revenue is about $0.5-1 million only. Separately, the marcom budgets do not seem to be factoring the opportunity or the challenges adequately. The current per capita spend for every internet user is probably just about 10 cents per annum.

Globally, Gartner puts the social intelligence market at $1 billion in 2012 and growing 34 per cent annually. For India, the official figures are still not out but experts estimate that out of the $400 million digital marketing sector, around 5 per cent can be earmarked for social intelligence, which works out to just about $20 million. We are confident that a combination of market forces and compulsions will soon drastically alter this scenario. In that sense, the social media and the social analytics industry is at a threshold of massive growth evolution.


Best Regards,
Richa Seth

PR Consultant
Mob: 9930143531

Email id:

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