Twitter Forays into Indian Market through its Acquisition of Missed Call Marketing Firm ZipDial
Jan 22, 2015 | Technology | Future Market Insights
Twitter, Inc. makes its presence felt in the Indian market through its acquisition of Bengaluru-based mobile marketing and analytics company, ZipDial Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Although Twitter has not divulged any financial details, industry experts have pegged the deal at US $ 30-40 Mn. According to Future Market Insights (FMI), a London-based market research and consulting firm, the move will help Twitter increase and strengthen its presence in India, where it has around 33 Mn users. The acquisition is also expected to enable Twitter to consolidate its position in other emerging markets such as Brazil and Indonesia.
Move Will Enable Twitter to Connect With Millions of Mobile Phone Users in India
Although Twitter has around 33 Mn users in India, it is a small number considering that India’s population is over one billion, and it has close to 933 Mn mobile users. India has 73.9 mobile phone connections per 100 citizens, but Internet penetration is low in the country. Only 19% of the total population has access to Internet and the percentage of mobile Internet users is a modest 15%.
If Twitter seeks to penetrate this wide market of mobile users who do not have, or cannot afford Internet connectivity, it has to offer its services through an offline medium. By acquiring ZipDial, Twitter aims to do exactly that - allow mobile users to have a Twitter account even if they do not have an Internet connection. In turn, Twitter stands to gain millions of new users, which will lead to a substantial increase in its advertising revenues.
ZipDial: Champion of Missed Call Marketing in India
Making a missed call is a widespread practice in India, and many cost-conscious consumers use it to convey messages. For example, a user makes a missed call to his family or friend to convey that he/she has reached his/her destination. ZipDial was founded in 2010 by American expat Valerie Wagoner. ZipDial enables advertisers to connect with callers who have made a missed call to a special business phone number. The advertisers can then send the callers marketing communication regarding discounts, products and various offers via SMSs. ZipDial has previously worked with noted brands, including Walt Disney, Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola and Unilever. ZipDial has also collaborated with Twitter in the past on various campaigns, including @MTVIndia’s #RockTheVote “Dial the Hashtag”, Indian elections and several Bollywood film promotions.
Twitter Will Leverage Power of ZipDial to Increase User Base in Emerging Markets
Apart from India, Twitter’s latest acquisition will help it tap into several other emerging markets, including Brazil and Indonesia. These emerging markets are characterised by high mobile phone penetration and low Internet connectivity. By using ZipDial’s offline services, Twitter users will be able to Tweet, get the latest news stories, and receive advertising communication from marketers.
Brazil’s population is around 201 Mn and the number of mobile phone users is estimated to be around 278 Mn. The connections/100 citizens is a high 137.14. However, the number of Internet users/100 people stands at 51.6, which means around half of Brazil’s population cannot access the Internet via their mobile phones. Indonesia, another emerging market in Asia, has a population of 237 Mn and the number of mobile phone users is roughly the same. It is estimated that only 50% of these 237 Mn mobile phone users have Internet access on their phones. The move to acquire ZipDial will help Twitter connect with these users who do not have an Internet connection on their mobile phones.
Other Social Media Websites Will Now Sit Up and Take Notice
Facebook has close to around 100 Mn users in India. The numbers would have been considered impressive had India not been the second-most populous nation in the world. Only around 10% of Indians have a Facebook account, and this is a statistic that Facebook will definitely want to improve. Twitter’s recent acquisition is likely to compel Facebook and other social media websites to take advantage of the high mobile penetration levels in India and develop applications to enable people to use their services even when they are offline.
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