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India Thought Leadership | Millennials

Our “Seven Faces of Facebook” study segments India’s most sought-after demographic

By Upasana Roy

Planning Director

Ogilvy, Mumbai

Internet penetration in the country may not have crossed 16 percent of the population yet, but in absolute numbers, penetration works out to be more than three times the population of France. And within this colossal figure lies a demographic that demands the lion’s share of attention: The Millennial generation. With 56 percent of our population under the age of, 30 (the median age the population is 26), it’s no surprise that when surveyed about the top reasons for going online, 87 percent of netizens answered communication and 67 percent said social networking.

We know that social media sites have achieved critical mass. Indian Millennials are the demographic fuelling this engagement on social media today, Facebook being the primary site. The top Facebook pages in India today have accumulated millions of fans. The mobile phone sites, Vodafone and Tata DoCoMo, and the youth fashion brand Fastrack, each claim over three million Facebook fans. This phenomenon compels marketers to ask how much do we really know about this Millennial demographic and its online activity? What’s next? Are we simply collecting crowds?

With the decline of organic posts on Facebook, marketers are frantically blanketing social media with paid posts, praying that, like some heat-seeking missile, they’ll reach the intended targets. But it’s become apparent that even narrowing the focus according to interests and age groups isn’t enough. We saw the opportunity to deep dive into social media and mine for qualitative behavior discoveries.

Identifying types

We went back to the basics: behind each target audience you are essentially talking to a real person. Our team conducted independent research to create a segmentation study of consumer profiles on Facebook in the age range of 18 to 24, which is the largest demographic on Facebook today. The research yielded seven distinct profiles of Millennials. Each profile is packed with data around interests, tonality, basic personality traits, and engagement triggers.

We used the well-established psychometric assessment called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to assign a personality type to each of the profiles. Let’s start with the Curator of Cool who is a trendsetter and tastemaker, sitting at the top of the social-ecosystem. Tech-savvy and opinionated, he knows what’s hot and what’s not. Then we found the Homebody who posts on Facebook, but only about family life.

On to the Professor, a subject matter expert who believes in quality over quantity. Next, the trigger-happyLive Wire who lives, breathes, eats and sleeps online. We also found The Observer, who is on Facebook because everyone else is. The Observer literally has nothing to say. The Exhibitionist incessantly self promotes. And finally, the Wannabe tries really hard to fit in, but is just not there yet.

Predicting behaviors

We cross-referenced each profile with the type of content they shared on their timeline to create an extensive list of triggers. For example, the Exhibitionist might respond to customer shout-outs/acknowledgments, while the Professor is likely to respond to cool anecdotes/insider information about a brand. Our discoveries also help to engage audiences and create relevant content.

Various trends uncovered in the course of this study made us take a renewed look at how we do things. We’d assumed that Facebook content was all in English, for example. The truth is that a lot of content is in local languages. So maybe it’s about time we start creating content in regional languages.

We also dispelled the misconception that Indians don’t create content. We saw that – given the right platform and tools – they do. The explosion of apps like meme generators gave these people the platform they wanted. Their engagement suggests an opportunity for brands to create relevant content.

It may not be surprising to learn that urban India is hooked on Facebook. But so is the rest of the subcontinent. When we imagine a Live Wire we immediately visualize kids from big cities fiddling away on their smart phones. Interestingly, our study shows that Millennials from small towns are equally engaged on Facebook.

Essentially, what we are saying is that if the Millennials seem like one single faceless demographic cluster to you, it’s time to take a closer look. While some Millennials are Homebodies, others are living and breathing online. If some are Exhibitionists, others are clinging to the value of sharing good content. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to create content that excites each of the types and adds true value to our social campaigns