With about 660 million users worldwide, messaging service Telegram is growing fast to become a high-engagement platform that brands can leverage to target niche audiences by creating interest-based communities given the zero cap on the size of groups.
Big as well as small-scale brands of most categories, including Unacademy, Wazirx, CoinDCX and Vedantu, are actively spending and engaging with their own niche communities on the platform and generating leads with reduced support costs.
SportzXchange is running an influencer marketing campaign on Telegram around IPL. Its overall commitment for the IPL, T20 World Cup and the season that follows runs into a few crores, which includes the investment on the messaging app.
Hari Narayan, Founder, SportzXchange, said its campaigns revolve around customer acquisition and creating brand awareness. Cost of user acquisition and retention rather than ROI is its guiding principle.
“We have not encountered any issues relating to data privacy, as yet, on the influencer campaigns that we are running on Telegram,” he said.
CoinDCX’s spends on Telegram are only dedicated towards moderation tools at this stage. “The app is where the crypto community is based, so it does help us with visibility since it is a good discovery platform,” its spokesperson said,
The app has lots of niche groups and communities where thousands of users are active or join the groups depending on their requirement. It becomes easy for them to go through the channel for the deals and offers rather than visiting an advertiser or any other coupon/ cashback website.
The user journey is short in Telegram. All they have to do is click on the link in the channel, and they will be redirected to the advertiser’s website, where they can do the desired action.
With many active bots working, Telegram is assisting advertisers to reach their specific audiences, said Stephen Suryawanshi, Head Publishers, Admitad Affiliate India.
One such bot by Admitad is helping brands to keep a track of their performance and help in earning money on cost per action.
It becomes much easier for brands to target mobile customers through Telegram.
“The majority of the brands seek performance out of their ad spends to gain a wider audience. We've generally seen brands spending minimum 2% of their total budget on it through the Admitad platform and with time, it is expected of brands to increase their spend on Telegram by around 10-15% of the total budget,” he added.
Marketers can share product information using images, stickers and videos, create polls, gratify with quizzes, offer discounts, generate leads and do much more using easy to create Telegram bots. Telegram pods are gaining traction as a powerful tool that brands can use to help promote social media handles and attract more followers.
Ravi Sundararajan, COO, Gupshup (an agency that helps brands engage with customers via Telegram), said the app is making it easy for marketers to run campaigns and other high-engagement interactive activities to generate leads using highly focused and targeted content.
Gaming platforms, edtech and investment companies have been some of the early adopter market segments driving Telegram marketing and customer engagement use cases with good ROIs in terms of lead generation, reduced support costs and higher CSAT scores, even though the data is only from a limited number of brands, he added.
The ROI generally varies for different categories of brands.
Suryawanshi says he has seen almost 5x growth for fantasy gaming advertisers. This is followed by ecommerce advertisers such as Flipkart, Amazon, Ajio, Myntra, Pharmeasy and few others. He says he has seen savings and demat account campaigns performing well since everything is on mobile phones now.
Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days offers and deals channel on Telegram:
Ajio’s channel for various deals and offers:
Telegram is slowly growing into a channel that brands are considering for their marketing activities with certain features giving them a distinctive advantage over WhatsApp.
Keerthi Kumar, Group Account Director South, FoxyMoron (Zoo Media), said that a key driver to its growth is the security available on the platform when compared to some other messaging platforms. Telegram's Secret Chat and self-destructive messages are key points of distinction that receive support and acceptance among industry leaders as well. The secret chat is a kind of end-to-end encrypted chat in which one can set a self-destruct timer. With this, messages sent will be automatically detected when the timer hits. This feature makes it more secure and makes it very difficult for hackers to encrypt them, leaving little or no room for data encryption.
Suryawanshi said the biggest advantage of Telegram is the no limit to the number of people in a single group. WhatsApp can add only up to 250 people whereas there is no upper limit on Telegram.
Despite many beneficial impacts, there are key security risks that one should be aware of when using Telegram. While it allows users to communicate with a large number of people, participants can extract user information from groups and channels.
The CoinDCX spokesperson said Telegram is definitely better than other messenger platforms in terms of privacy and security but is filled with scammers. It may not be the future of community platforms as of now, the spokesperson said.
Arvind Nair, Regional Director, Mirum India, said that Telegram, at least for now, remains a one to many messaging platform and will not venture into the personalisation model. That keeps it as a reach medium, he said.
Nair said it remains to be seen what role it will eventually play in a brand’s digital life. Telegram is exposed to hackers and deep web, so it remains to see how those gaps get addressed over time to be more secure for brands to be actively promoting themselves on it, he said.
Suryawanshi, however, said private information is secured, which makes it a user-friendly and safer platform to use. The transparency Telegram provides is one of the major reasons why audiences trust the channel.
In fact, Kumar said that Telegram pods can be of best use to companies that have a large technological presence and are vigilant about coding bots and adding new features.
Vedantu recently used the channel to set up an online mentoring platform to interact with students and inform them about session timings. They used it as an open forum to address various concerns of users.
Harsh Karamchandani, Co-founder of education start-up Edunify, also feels that Telegram can be a great platform to communicate the brand philosophy. He has seen success in growing other social channels by diverting audiences from Telegram.
Experts said brands that have already started marketing on Telegram do have a head start over brands still deciding on the platform.
The messaging app was the most downloaded social media application in over 20 countries in CY 2020 and Q1 2021 and continues to gain popularity even today.
“If you’re a brand that needs to go where the your consumers are, then it may be time to maximise your social media marketing efforts on channels such as Telegram where people are sharing and discussing your content, products and services in more focused communities,” Sundararajan said.
Suryawanshi has seen some advertisers growing with the help of Telegram. He believes brands that still have not invested on it will be at a disadvantage compared to those that are already on such platforms.
“We at Admitad facilitate Telegram as a publisher for brands on a cost per action model where they pay solely for performance-based result. Day by day, it is seen to increase its user base and with such a huge user base, it can stand out to be one of the most crucial digital marketing platforms for brands,” he said.