Social Media in India 2012: A Report Published By IAMAI, In Association With IMRB, eTech

April 2, 2013

Executive Summary 

The second decade of the 21st century has seen the maturity of social media as a distinct digital entity. From being an avenue for simply connecting with family & friends, it is increasingly used for customer engagement and is grabbing news headlines for other reasons. Facebook, which has been the undisputed leader in this space, achieved a USD $100 Billion valuation in its initial public offering! With over a billion individuals the world over on social media and rising every minute, various members of the digital fraternity recognize the utility of the medium and are investing a greater share of their digital advertising budgets towards social media.

According to the report, the number of social media users in Urban India reached 62 Million (Mn) by December 2012. Essentially, about 74% of all Active Internet users in Urban India use social media. The infographic above also showcases the estimated number of social media users by June 2013 i.e. of 66 Mn.

Key Takeaways from the Social Media Report (June 2012)

  • The highest proportion (84%) of Social Media users (among Active Internet users) is for the demographic segment “Young Men” à 84% or 20.3 Mn Active Internet Users – Essentially, Young Men contribute about 35% to the overall urban social networking base of 58 Mn
  • 34% or 19.7 Mn of the urban social networking base is from the Top 8 Metros
  • Of the urban social networking base of 58 Mn, about 20.3 Mn (or 35%) are from Small Towns (towns having populations of upto 5 Lakhs)


  • Active Mobile Internet User Base in India – 39.7 Mn
  • Active Social Media User Base in India – 32.5 Mn (82% of the Active Mobile Internet Base)
  • A higher proportion (82%) of Mobile Active Internet Users access social media as compared to that accessed by the Total Active Internet base (72%)
  • Considering the Top 35 Cities in India, 77% or 18.2 Mn of the Active Mobile Internet users (Top 35 City Base – 23.6 Mn) access social media, second only after Email (83%)
  • Average Frequency of Social Networking Access using Mobile Internet 7 Days a Week


  • Facebook is the leading website accessed by 97% of all Social Media users in India

The growth in the number of social networking users can be attributed to the rising Internet penetration in India through the increasing affordability of smartphones and consequent mobile Internet use.

To Read The Full Report:

“The Hindu” published an Interview With Naga Chokkanathan, Senior Director, CRMIT, with his comments on this report.

To read the article, Click Here:

For the full version of this interview, read on:

Question: There are no surprises with this study, are there? Do the social demographic patterns (urban, youth, male, mode of use: mobile) and time spent conform to your expectations. Or are there surprises?

Naga Chokkanathan says, * The fact that “Entertainment” and “Gaming” are moving to #3 and #4 respetively, while “Email” and “Social Networking” is in first two positions : It is not surprising, but very interesting, because these two (Email & Social Networking) are content created and consumed by same set of people, while the other form of entertainment where someone else makes the content and it is consumed by millions of others, is slowly fading. Whether it is good or bad, we create our own content and this is a major transformation in this decade

* Small towns contributing to 24% of Social Networking access? (The color code is not clear), If this is true, then this is a surprise; all along we are thinking Social Networks is dominated only by people from big cities, and targeting Content, ADs, Offers, etc. for them only; this needs attention from content providers, Marketers

* It is not a surprise that in India, mobile access to Social Networks is more popular; there are more phones than PCs here 🙂

* Another surprise for me, Social Networking usage is almost same in weekdays and weekends, It is usually believed that weekdays it is more, because most people access social networks from their offices only, This trend is also changing, home PCs / Broadband connectivity / Mobile spread combo may be the reason

Question:: That FB Is on top of the list is to be expected, but Twitter is still way behind. And people are still using Orkut! Comments, please.

Naga Chokkanathan says, Google+ is in #2 because of their strong integration, not by user choice, But still we shouldn’t take credit away from them.

I believe Orkut must be used heavily in small towns (Refer above), But I don’t know why 🙂

Twitter usage is growing all over the world in a much higher rate than this, In India the adoption is poor, mainly because Facebook offers much more than twitter (For example, “Picture Sharing”, which is a primary reason MANY people come to social network!)

Question: clearly there is a bias towards using mobiles to access social media content. What is your preference?

Naga Chokkanathan says, Mobile + Social is a classic fit, When compared to PC (Which is mostly text based), it has pictures, videos, is location aware and makes “Social Updates” Super easy and extremely enjoyable, I prefer it anyday to PC,

The only advantage of a PC is fast typing. But in general, people started typing very little these days (Except folks like us 🙂

Question: The study also indicates the potential of social media in terms of numbers. Are efforts on to utilize this potential for brand/product promotion? At what stage is this now? Or what percent of the potential are we utilizing?

Naga Chokkanathan says, In India, very minimal; being a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Professional myself, I can assure you that Indian brands are yet to take Social Media seriously, Of course, there are few very good examples of social media usage, but they are exceptions, the majority brands are still depending on traditional media for sales/marketing/service.

But, this is going to change VERY fast. Pretty soon, people are going to expect rapid communication via social media channels (Where they spend majority of time anyway), and this will become a hygiene factor instead of “Good To Have”.

This is happening all over the world, Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) is the HOT area now, and companies are investing billions, and reaping benefits, It may come a bit late to India, but we will be adopting it much faster than others, is my guess.

Question: Is crowdsourcing over social media platforms present in any significant manner in the country?

Naga Chokkanathan says, It is there to some level, but not enough to make a dent. In a country as vast as India (and with so much social media usage), we can do much better, New ideas need to come (and they are coming, mainly from small companies and entrepreneurs who are starting on their own with a good idea!)

Question: The report doesn’t say anything about regional language use on social media. But is there a growing language use; with various language keyboard apps being available, will that content increase?

Naga Chokkanathan says, Yes, Social media being a personal mode of communication (well, to some level), people prefer to communicate in their native language. Already we see huge growth in this, But this is very little when compared to the potential we have. User-created content in regional languages is going to become really huge and stay.

Tags: Social Media in India, Social Media Report

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