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Growth of user-generated content in emerging markets

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Internet growth worldwide had been like the bamboo shoot for the last two decades. Growing fast, often faster than the GDP growth of the country. Now, more than 50% of the world’s population has access to the internet, and there is no slowing down. In a highly content dominated market, players who offer dynamic, and variety content will win more customers.

Emerging markets are leading the charge now, which once belonged to now developed markets, in the internet growth era. From a 4 million user mark in 1991-92, more than 3.7 billion people now have access to the internet worldwide.

The obvious fact to understand here is that these many people, which is almost 50% of the world’s population, are producing, sharing and consuming content on the internet.

Data Explosion in Today’s Time

As per CISCO’s report, “The Zettabyte Era: Trends and Analysis,” published in June 2017, global internet traffic touched 26,600 Gigabytes per second in 2016, from just 100 GBPS in 2002. That is a record 49% CAGR.

By the same report, the internet traffic from smartphones is expected to touch 39% of global internet traffic by 2021. While PC traffic is expected to enjoy the same share as of now, it’ll still be significantly higher in quantitative terms.

Much of this growth is contributed by the video consumption on cell phones and other devices.

How & Why

Internet content is no longer driven by businesses. Users have their own content, photos, videos, etc. All they look for nowadays is a platform. Multiple research reports on internet marketing have suggested that buyers actively seek peer reviews before making the purchase.

User reviews seem to be trumping over professional reviews every day.

So, the mantra now is not about creating an impactful content for the business but providing a platform for your customers to create and share content.Best and direct example of UGC marketing comes from the gaming companies. These PC gaming businesses provide a platform for the players to create their own content, even create game levels. See figure 1 for live gaming/streaming content performance.

Engaging customers on these platforms should be the next objective for the business, and positive views will follow.

Data Usage in Emerging Markets

If we look at the country wise internet consumption, emerging markets outshine the developed markets in terms of growth prospects.

These are the markets where internet penetration is lower than 50% of the overall population. Countries like India, West African Nations, and South East Asian Nations are the ones dominating the growth list. With India leading at 30%+ growth rate in the internet user growth. (See Table 1 for countries with fastest growing internet userbase)

Type of Content In Demand

As per the latest statistics published on DOMO YouTube usage has than tripled to 400 hrs. of videos uploaded every minute.

Twitter has the number of posts increased by 25% from what it was in 2013. Instagram has clocked 46,740 photos posted every minute.

Tumbler users publish more than 70,000 posts each minute, which includes text, chats, and images.

Subscription based content consumption, e.g. on demand video and music streaming services are also catching up fast with the higher level of mobile proliferation.

The highest growth potential for mobile content is expected from the emerging economies. Data points to support this claim were presented by an E&Y report stating two key figures:

  1. 25% of the emerging market consumers are 14 years or younger compared to just 16% in developed markets
  2. Key emerging markets including India have seen 200% jump in smartphone shipments

Now imagine a mobile operator offering a seamless payment platform (using USSD, IVR, Text, etc.) for all kinds of content for their users including data packs. Growth and proliferation of OTT content like videos, songs, GIFs, images even texts and news services, etc. are bound to play a major revenue source for telecom operators.

Fortunately, seamless digital content management and monetization is possible through digital service management solutions. Digital service management refers to an integrated platform which enables analytics based content suggestions and single window payment mechanism.

Content Platforms & Their Role

Facebook connected almost 2 billion people around the globe in June 2017. By the number of active users, Facebook is a top ranking social platform. Even in video content consumption for UGC, Facebook is only second (16%), right next to YouTube (60%).

Multiple reports suggest that online video consumption will account for more than 70% of total data consumption by the end of 2017. Also, the advantage lies with the early movers, which is clearly visible in case of YouTube which enjoys more than 60% of global market share in UGC.

What the Future Holds for UGC in Emerging Markets?

There are huge growth expectations for UGC in emerging markets. The emerging economies enjoy the highest number of young population of the world. This population is not only tech savvy but is also clocking hours spent in online presence. The ball lies in the court of telecom service providers to provide the content and payment mechanism.

Users expect higher speed data at lower rates, which eventually builds into more of high streaming content like videos and music. To capture the revenue base telcos will need to provide a consolidated payments platform.

This can only be possible with a digital service management package, which enables you to offer highly personalized and rich consumer engagement.