According to the CII-BCG Big Picture report, the short-form video space grew at 150% CAGR post the TikTok ban. The dramatic increase in userbase growing year-on-year has led to the space evolving into an important part of a brand’s digital mix. The ad revenue on these apps has grown at least three times, within just six months after TikTok’s exit from the country.
The short-video space in India is currently dominated by players such as MX Takatak, Chingari, Roposo, etc. While the advertising response has been growing, some are of the opinion that the content on these platforms is getting repetitive and lacks creativity from the brand’s end. BestMediaInfo.com spoke to experts to understand how brands can better utilise these apps.
According to experts, brands need to recognise the strength of the individual platforms instead of looking at them with the same lens.
Umang Puri, Creative Director, Foxymoron, North, said that as the user base of these apps increases, the creator base will also increase. People will eventually be forced to create a niche and distinction to break the clutter.
“Any emerging platform from a marketer’s perspective becomes just a tick on your checklist. A few years ago it used to be IGTV, but what it needs is a deeper understanding of who the consumer is. What is the motivation and what can I offer as a brand? For example, TikTok is more evolved overseas and a brand like Ikea is able to show their products and create content that people like to see. There is a lot of scope for improvement but it would require us as a marketer to look at this space, not as just a mix of different activities and checklists to tick but look at their individual strength and see how you can create here,” Puri said.
Most content in the short-video space is influencer-led. Brands invest in relevant influencers in accordance with their target audience, but the possibilities with these platforms are a lot bigger than this.
Karan Amin, Founder, 010, said, “Brands need to make their own content (not advertising always, not necessarily selling something like buy this, install this, click here). They should invest in being funny, in doing something unexpected, telling a joke, etc. The best content is entertaining. In short video apps that content is watched and shared only depending on how entertaining it is. Use short-form video platforms to have fun, so people love your content.”
Speaking on similar lines, Deepak Salvi, COO and Co-Founder, Chingari, said while brands take note of the number of followers or views an influencer has, it should not be the only criteria. “It is critical to find the right influencers/creators that truly understand the vibe of the brand and can drive them forward. Brands can also explore the humour angle when it comes to generating content on short video apps. As the comedy genre is one of the most popular categories on these apps, viewers would not only willingly watch the content promoted by the brands but also be entertained by them. Instead of just running a generic campaign/ challenge for the entire user base of the app, brands can target consumers in specific regions and run campaigns in their local language- which will not only increase the relevance and interest of the consumers but also the efforts put in by the brand will be appreciated by those consumers.”
The short-video space is dominated by content that includes challenges, movie dialogues, trends, hook steps etc. Most of the time the content is user generated and hence the brands go where the eyeballs are. But with the audience’s behaviour continuously changing people might not mind an ad in-between the continuous scrolling they do on these apps. Since the videos are just 10-15 seconds long, it is important to hook the viewer in the first few seconds otherwise the content can and will be ignored.
Viraj Jit Singh - Head, Revenue - MX Player and MX TakaTak, said there is a lot that can be done from a brand’s perspective. “Brands have been able to leverage (the space) but there is growth for improvement. They have been able to understand how to use media. We are seeing newer formats being adapted for vertical screens. They have been able to use influencers very well.”
“What Takatak has done is that we create content professionally. We work with a lot of celebrities and also production houses. We have done reality shows, live concerts. The dynamic has to keep pushing because if the scope of the platform is drifting, people will move out of it,” he added.
Explaining the dominance of influencer-led content on the apps, Chingari’s Salvi said campaigns that the brands run on short-video platforms today attract a lot of creativity from the audiences and creators. This increases the engagement on the platform and becomes a win-win for all the parties involved.
“Brands are already on the path of generating and promoting creator’s generated content instead of simply marketing their own content. The engagement rate and creativity are higher when led by creators. And in the last one-year brands have witnessed that when they do a creator-led campaign versus traditional content marketing, the former yields better results,” Salvi said.
Manesh Swamy, Vice President-Creative, Logicserve Digital, said that the content being repetitive is about the creator universe. However, a brand and an agency must first sit together to decide the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) for the campaign like awareness, immediate sales, influence etc.
“When it comes to branding, yes, you might see some spill over but brands are continuously experimenting. We have taken this step for the brands that we work for. We are doing things that don’t fit in the regular content you see. We are not doing challenges, we do funny content, informative content, and testimonials.”