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Social Media in India and Election Campaigns

Samyak Lalit | October 10, 2013 (Last update: July 16, 2017)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has released a report titled “Social Media in India – 2013”. The report says that the number of social media users in urban India will reach 86 million by the end of October 2013. The growth of social media usage in India is fast as the number of users will jump from 86 million to 91 million by the end of December 2013 (i.e. 5 million increase in just two months!)

The report states that 19.8 million users use mobile phones to access social media platforms in urban India.

Based on the number of eligible voters, data of actual voter turnout from the Election Commission of India and field interviews, the report estimates that there could be a vote swing of 3%-4% in 24 states – states where the internet users are sizable. The vote swingers can be predominantly young men and non-working women whose affiliation towards social media is high.

Talking to representatives of major political parties in India, the report also found that parties have earmarked around 2%-5% of their election budgets for social media. While political parties are gradually investing in social media, corporate have long realized the importance of the medium. The corporates are spending nearly 13% of their digital advertising budget on social media in FY2012-2013. It was only 10% in FY2011-12.

Predictably, the report finds that the highest proportion of social media usage in the Top 4 Metros & the Non Metros was among the demographic segment “Young Men” with 30% and 26% penetration levels respectively.

Interestingly, the report finds that younger women are increasingly using social media, whereas, in the Other Metros & Small Metros, “College Going Students” show the highest proportion of social media usage. “Working Women” demographic segment is observed as having the lowest proportion of social media usage in Other, Small & Non-Metros whereas they show a moderate proportion of social media usage in the Top 4 Metros.


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