Digital marketing space will surpass other mainstream channels of advertising: Ajit Mohan

Debangana Ghosh Mumbai | Updated on July 20, 2021

Ajit Mohan, MD and VP, Facebook India

Nearly 50 per cent SMBs on Facebook generate 25 per cent revenue from digital sales

Facebook’s bet on small businesses in India is beginning to pay off with half of the total small and medium business on its platform witnessing 25 per cent of their revenue coming from the digital space.

Last year was an inflection point for consumers, they started engaging with brands digitally. Many offline as well as new age businesses adopted social commerce during the lockdown months last year, Facebook India’s Managing Director Ajit Mohan told BusinessLine.

Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp’s reach in the Indian market has enabled the company to explore several other business opportunities targeting the informal and unorganised sectors. These include e-commerce and fintech offerings. In the e-commerce space, the technology giant’s core focus has been on bringing the small business from towns, tier-III cities and beyond online.

“Last year saw an inflection point in consumers not just moving online, but also engaging with brands digitally. Businesses - large and small - have used digital as a medium to connect with their customers, this was also very visible in the increase in volumes of digital advertisements. The digital marketing space has boomed during the pandemic, and we think it will soon surpass other mainstream channels of advertising. Commerce on social media too was in focus as entrepreneurs from across the country were able to take their existing offline businesses online,” Mohan said.

He added, “We offered solutions to businesses, especially small businesses, to help them recover and grow. We’ve did this by facilitating financial support for them in the form of grants, free skilling programs, and through tools ranging from Facebook Live and IGTV, to Stories, Messaging and most recently Reels for spontaneous engagement with the consumer. With new technologies such as AR now powering mobile, businesses today are driving growth with communities and social being at the core of the digital experience.”

Exploring Fintech

Another strategic move in this space has been to acquire a minority stake in now unicorn social commerce startup Meesho, which predominantly uses Facebook and its allied platforms to generate sales.

Facebook has also ventured into financial services via WhatsApp in partnership with prominent financial companies.

Companies including SBI General Insurance and HDFC Bank have been using WhatsApp as a medium to offer sachet-sized health insurance products and Pension products respectively, that utilises WhatsApp to reach their pension offerings to the informal sector. The micro-pension product lets customers save starting from ₹10-20 per day for their future.

“WhatsApp is an enabler platform that financial institutions and banks are using for reaching their financial products and offerings to serve the mass of unbanked population across the country who are actively engaged on WhatsApp every day,” Mohan said.

WhatsApp’s payment feature too has been gaining traction, the company intends to offer new features around the same. “With Payments on WhatsApp, we are focussed on providing a seamless user experience that will help to reduce the time and cost of transactions and help people in sending money quickly and securely,” he added.

Published on July 20, 2021

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