At the beginning of the previous decade, Facebook had a tiny presence in India. It had just started to slowly expand its team in the country and was inking deals with telecom operators to make access to its service free to users and even offer incentives such as free voice credit.
India’s internet population, now the second largest with more than 500 million connected users, itself was very small. In early 2011, the country had fewer than 100 million internet users.
But Facebook ended up playing a crucial role in the last decade. So much so that by the end of it, the social juggernaut was reaching nearly every internet user in the country. WhatsApp alone reaches more than 400 million internet users in India, more than any other app in the country, according to mobile insight firm App Annie.
This reach of Facebook in India didn’t go unnoticed. Politicians in the country today heavily rely on Facebook services, including WhatsApp, to get their message out. But it has also complicated things.
Rumors have spread on WhatsApp that cost lives, and politicians from both the large political parties in India in recent weeks have accused the company of showing favoritism to the other side.
To address these issues, and the role Facebook wishes to play in India, Ajit Mohan, the head of the company’s business in the country, joined us at Disrupt 2020. Following are some of the highlights.
A recent report in WSJ claimed that Ankhi Das, one of Facebook’s top executives in India, decided against taking down a post from a politician from the ruling party. She did so, the report claimed, because she feared it could hurt the company’s business prospects in India.
In Mohan’s first interview since the controversy broke, he refuted the claims that any executive in the country holds power to influence how Facebook enforces its content policy.
“We believe that it’s important for us to be open and neutral and non-partisan,” he said. “We have deep belief and conviction that our enabling role is as a neutral party that allows speech of all kinds, that allows expression of all kinds, including political expression, and a lot of the guidelines that we have developed are to make sure that we really enable our diversity of expression and opinion so long as we’re able to make sure that the safety and security of people are protected.”
Mohan said the internal processes and systems inside Facebook are designed to ensure that any opinion and preference of an employee or a group of employees is “quite separate from the company and the company’s objective enforcement of its own policies.”
He said individuals can offer input on decisions, but nobody — including Ankhi Das — can unilaterally influence the decision Facebook takes on content enforcement.
“We do allow free expression inside the company as well. We don’t have any constraints on people expressing their point of view, but we see that separate from the enforcement of our content policy. […] The content policy itself, in the context of India, is a team that stands separate from the public policy team that is led by Ankhi,” he added.
On India and monetization
Even as Facebook has amassed hundreds of millions of users in India, the world’s second largest market contributes little to its bottom line. So why does Facebook care so much about the country?
“India is in the middle of a very exciting economic and social transformation where digital has a massive role to play. In just the last four years, more than 500 million users have come online. The pace of this transformation probably has no parallel in either human history or even in the digital transformation happening in countries around the world,” he said.
“For a company like ours, if you look at the family of apps across WhatsApp and Instagram, we believe we have a useful role to play in fueling this transformation,” he said.
Even as Facebook does not generate a lot of revenue from India, Mohan said the company has established itself as one of the most trusted platforms for marketers. “They look to us as a material partner in their marketing agenda,” he said.
He said the company is hopeful that advertising as a GDP will go up in India. “Therefore ad-revenue will become substantial over time,” he said.
For Facebook, India is also crucial because it allows the company to build some unique products that solve issues for India but could be replicated in other markets. The company is currently testing an integration of WhatsApp, which currently does not have a business model despite having over 2 billion users, with new Indian e-commerce JioMart, to allow users to easily track their orders.
“We think there is opportunity to build India-first models, experiment at scale, and in a world where we succeed, we see huge opportunity in taking some of these models global,” he said.
Facebook as a VC
Facebook does not usually invest in startups. But in India, the company has invested in social-commerce firm Meesho, online learning platform Unacademy — it even participated in its follow-up round — and it wrote a $5.7 billion check to Jio Platforms earlier this year. So why is Facebook taking this investment route in India?
“We wanted to create a program for taking minority investments in early-stage startups to figure out how we could be helpful to startup founders and the ecosystem as a whole. The starting point was backing teams that were building models that in some ways were unique to India and could go global. Since we made an investment in Meesho, they have made a strong thrust in Indonesia. These are the kind of companies where we feel we can add value as well as we can learn from these startups,” he said.
The partnership with Jio Platforms follows a different rationale. “The transformation we talked about in India in the last few years, Jio triggered it,” he said. Other than that, Facebook is exploring ways to work with Jio, such as with its partnership with Jio’s venture JioMart. “It can really fuel the small and medium business that is good for the Indian economy,” he said.
Mohan said the company continues to explore more opportunities in Indian startups, especially with those where the teams think Facebook can add value, but he said there is no mandate of any kind that Facebook has to invest in, say dozens of startups in three to four years. “It’s not a volume play,” he said.
But would these firms, including Reliance Industries, which operates Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail, will receive any special access on Facebook’s services. What if Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, or Flipkart want to integrate with WhatsApp, too? Mohan said Facebook platform is open for every firm and everyone will receive the same level of access and opportunities.
In the interview, Mohan, who ran the Disney-run Hotstar on-demand streaming service in India, also talked about the growing usage of video in India, the state of WhatsApp Pay’s rollout in the country, what Facebook thinks of India’s ban on Chinese apps, and much more. You can watch the full interview below.
Best ASO Tips To Boost Your App Search In 2022
You need your application to be really effective in the overpopulated application market. Then, at that point, you will have to drive downloads to endure. So when it’s all said and done, you must account for yourself. Get your application the consideration it merits.
The uplifting news, however, is that customers love to download applications – last year, we downloaded in excess of 200 billion applications around the world, and that figure is set to increment to 258 billion every year by 2022 as cell phone reception increments.
Assuming you need to be seen and have your application downloaded by however many clients as could reasonably be expected, then, at that point, you should begin by taking a gander at the application store.
Underneath, we’ve assembled probably the best application store improvement methods to assist you with creating more downloads in 2021 and then some…
Start with Your Application Name
The odds are you as of now have an extraordinary name for your application, yet an appropriately advanced application is about significantly more than marking.
Assuming you need to amplify transparency and guarantee you’re showing up when clients look for applications like yours, you ought to remember the primary keywords for your application name or title, comparable to how you’d make a title label while improving a site page.
You could begin with your application name so it tends to be plainly recognized, thus it appears on the home screen of gadgets.
Then, at that point, you can add a scramble or vertical bar prior to adding a few pertinent watchwords to your speciality, or even put your application name in quotes as we did with FORE Business Golf Networking.
Urge Users to Leave Reviews
You could ask for reviews by clients through the means of your site, or through an in-application notice toward the finish of their meeting, yet make sure to restrict the number of pop-ups you execute with the goal that you don’t disturb or disappoint your clients, as this could urge them to erase your application.
We’d support all application engineers and entrepreneurs to react to criticism on their applications, as this can further develop client relations and resolve issues in an open arena.
Zero in on Your Application Depiction
Your application depiction is your principle assemblage of text your landing page content, in a manner of speaking. Utilize a site like KeywordTool.io to discover information on your picked catchphrases to expand your openness. As portrayals are shortened, ensure you remember the main data for the initial three lines of your depiction, and afterwards add things like social confirmation, emoticon, and suggestions to take action to build commitment and downloads.
Incorporate Appealings Screen Captures
Pictures and recordings won’t help your application rank, yet they will expand changes and assist clients with working out whether it’s an application they truly need.
There’s a little guide in empowering clients toward downloading your application if in any case, they’re not going to interface with it, or download and leave a negative survey when they understand it wasn’t what was promoted.
Assuming you need to ‘tart up’ your item page, then, at that point, you can add marking and extra text and data and designs to your recordings and screen capture, yet they ought not to diminish your item.
Pay for App Store or Play Store
As we have SEO and pay-per-click, you need to work one next to the other (one is a gradual methodology with long haul benefits – the other is a speedy success yet requires an endless spending plan), application store promotions can be utilized to get the message out with regards to your new programming and assist you with positioning at the highest point of query items pages – in front of your opposition and enormous names in the application world.
Keep in mind, you’ll need to focus on the right crowd and art an advertisement that will assist you with changing over and that since you’re paying for situations, that doesn’t mean clients will download or cooperate with your application.
You can employ a group of App Store Optimization Services suppliers to benefit a scope of application store improvement administrations, including watchword advancement, resource enhancement, and restriction to guarantee your application is seen by individuals that matter.
We have long periods of involvement in creating and showcasing applications and have assisted different customers with expanding their downloads by infiltrating rewarding and regularly undiscovered business sectors.
Prachi Gupta likes to write information about Digital Marketing Trends that can help audience to grow their business.
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