The popular social media platform Twitter hired its new Director for Indian Operations—Taranjeet Singh. In an interview with Singh, he mentioned how India proved to be an essential part in the growth of the company. Here is a quick glance.
Twitter’s quarterly earnings exceeded analysts’ expectations. Has the India bet worked for Twitter?
In our quarter 1 earnings, our international revenue totaled $208 million, which is a 2% year-on-year increase. India became the number one market for us in terms of daily active users. India almost grew 5 times as a market than the global average. It is the number one market from an audience perspective. It is an exciting time personally, and I am honored to take charge as country director for India and to try and spearhead all our efforts in trying to grow the audience and revenue. I will look at an integrated business strategy and cross-functional efforts towards growing our audience and revenue, and getting Twitter’s real value proposition out both for the users talking more about it and helping all brands make sure they can capitalize and get maximum returns for the budgets they spend on Twitter. We have also seen a sharp decrease in cost per engagement (CPE) here, which is what advertisers would pay, and in India over a year’s period, the CPEs are down by 86%. That means today advertisers are getting far more ROI and impact on their budgets. With a growing audience and lower CPEs, we are in a great place.
What led to the lower CPEs?
It happened because of the constant improvement on advertising products. There has been a huge uptick in video. Over the last quarter, we have seen a 43% rise on video consumption and these are factors which help lower the CPEs.
Twitter has seen some key exits last year. How are responsibilities being realigned now?
We are making sure we are aligning towards a common goal. We have many teams in India now. We have a content partnership team; we have sales account management video teams, and teams for brand strategy. We have just appointed a new India head of business development that joined about a week ago. We continue to recruit. There are quite a few open head positions. We continue to strengthen our team in India. India is a priority market for us. We launched Twitter Lite in India last month. It is primarily to make sure that Twitter, as a product, is available to anyone with a smartphone. There is focus on getting into live programming and content. Last week, we signed 16 new partners around the digital content space. So partners like Bloomberg and BuzzFeed are partners who will be bringing in premium live content. Audiences in India are very interested in looking at great content. It is a mobile first market. That is helping us.
Globally, the increase in user base is also being credited to events like the US elections. How critical is the government vertical as a user base driver for Twitter in India?
We work very closely with the government. Twitter Seva is the first of its kind service driven out of India and is growing across ministries. We are already active with 11 of them and there are more who want to activate the service. We are also working closely with the government in helping them promote initiatives like ‘Make in India’. Twitter has played a key role in reaching out to key decision makers across key markets. We are also working on initiatives like ‘Startup India’, and if you look at the audience of Twitter, we reach out to a younger and a far more evolved audience which is wanting to know what’s happening in the world today. Twitter is a discovery platform. News first breaks on Twitter. If you want to know what’s happening across the world, you come to Twitter. Now we are seeing smaller government establishments like tea boards, spice boards, coffee boards starting to advertise on the platform. That’s only growing. We are in talks with quite a few ministries.
In short, India, once again, proved its importance in the global market.