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How Can Brands Increase Marketing ROI with Regional Language Advertising?

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Over the past few years, most internet users have widely been the English-speaking community—starting with desktops, moving to tablets, and finally, to smartphones. It is here that a major shift began to take place. Falling prices of smartphones, affordable data plans, and increased vernacular and mobile specific content witnessed a massive rise in India’s internet population. In a span of mere five years, India doubled in internet users from 30 crore in 2015 to over 70 crore in 2020. This figure is likely to reach close to 100 crore by 2025. As per Google KPMG report, while the English user base is expected to grow at a rate of 3%, vernacular internet users is expected to grow at a massive rate of 18%. In short, India has a vast and potentially untapped population of non-English speaking internet users that turn out to be a key growth opportunity for brands worldwide.

The Rise of Rural Internet Users

Rural India has witnessed the maximum spurt in smartphone and internet users. The largest contributors to this space have been the Tier II and Tier III cities, making it almost impossible to ignore this market space when discussing a robust digital marketing strategy. While the use of smartphones in metros has only increased by 11%, the rural side has witnessed a staggering 36% increase. It is this massive shift that led to the birth of ShareChat - The First movers in the regional language space of India.

A recently conducted survey by Nielsen Corporation, identified certain key consumer trends among the rising Indian internet user base.

  • Over 53% of Indians prefer regional languages on the internet and on social media platforms.
  • Over 73% of Indian internet users consume content from social media apps on a daily basis
  • The number of online shoppers in India is estimated to reach over 22 crore in 2025
  • Electronic gadgets, fashion products, home and furnishing, beauty and grooming products, etc, are the most frequently brought categories online

Several leading e-commerce players have identified this changing trend and have adapted regional languages on their websites. In simple words, every brand will soon hop-on to the regional language bandwagon to leverage the power of connecting with consumers through local languages.

Global Brands Go Regional To Increase ROI

Global brands have now reached a consensus - The era of urban, English speaking audiences on the internet is over. It is now time for brands to earn big bucks from small towns.

Several brands worldwide have now realized that they can escalate their business sales through local language content. One of the chief examples of the same is Lufthansa. In order to widen its Indian customer base, the airlines launched a commercial campaign “More Indian Than You Think”.

The commercial commences with an elderly man travelling with his grandson to New York. But the man doesn’t seem too thrilled to fly, as the carrier is “a German airline". He shares his trepidation with his grandson, stating that the Germans are "A bit different”. While he commends the Germans for their great movies, he also wonders if they’ve ever heard of Bollywood.

Just then, a genteel Indian flight attendant welcomes them on board by playing the Bollywood track from the movie ‘Swadesh’. The flight attendant then continues to serve Indian food. The grandson seems overwhelmed and enquires with his granddad if they "are in the wrong plane". The grandfather calmly states, "Everything is fine".

The commercial ends with the adage "More Indian than you think".

This ad launched was in the year 2014, and it marked a historical movement, as it was the first time the German carrier connected with its Indian flyer base, thus shooting up their sales.

Over the years, several brands have moved away from English Ads and switched to Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and various other regional language adverts.

How Can Your Brand Maximize Marketing ROI With Regional Languages?

Multilingual websites

Leading content generation platforms in India have already identified the benefits of catering to audiences of multiple Indian languages, to not only localize their brand for their target audience, but to also increase the audience’s affinity towards their brand. A survey conducted by Social Bakers in 2014 identified that regional pages on Facebook outperform English language pages in terms of engagement globally, mainly due to its localised content.

Localised multi-content

Since over 70% of Indians find localised content to be more reliable than English content, it is necessary to start thinking local to drive business growth. However, content isn’t just about the right regional language, it is also about having a deeper understanding of regional expressions and nuances. And what better way to transcend regional barriers than by connecting with a social media platform that understands the regional nuances of India. Promote your brand by running multilingual ads in the form of native ads, videos, dynamic product ads, and much more.

Translation to transcreation

Merely translating English content to vernacular languages isn’t going to click with your audience. There is a need to understand the exact target audience, their interest, their diversity, and how they consume content, so as to launch precise campaigns that appeal to the specific audience the most. Transcreation creates a tremendous opportunity and brands ought to seize this right away. A nation wide research was conducted by the Nielsen Corporation to delve deeper into India's internet consumption and social media behaviour. You can read the full report here to gain further insights.

Vernacular two-way communication

Social media platforms are a great source for brands to establish a personal relationship with consumers and receive valuable feedback. However, to have a meaningful conversation and to build user engagement, it is essential to communicate with consumers in their local language. Several brands have now resorted to multilingual chat bots that communicate with users in various Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujrati, and many more. Advertising to your customers based on accurate language-level targeting is yet another way to establish this connection.

To Sum Up

As the number of regional language users is growing at a rapid pace, brands are now waking up to the fact that it is this emerging segment that they need to lay all their focus upon. It no longer is an exaggeration to state that regional language advertising, combined with vernacular targeting, is and will continue to be the buzzwords for successful marketing campaigns in the years to come.

WRITTEN BY Jasmine Philip

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