The Lok Sabha Elections in the country is going to have some company from social media. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB have released “Social Media in India – 2013” report which states that the number of social media users in urban India would reach 86 million in October this year, and 91 million by the end of this year.
The report further highlights some interesting facts that is worth noting at a time when the debate is on whether social media will influence the upcoming elections.
1. Social media users in urban India are expected to grow by 19% between June and December this year.
2. 19.8 million users use mobile phones to access social media platforms in urban India.
3. There could be a vote swing of 3%-4% in 24 states – states where the internet users are sizeable. The vote swingers can be pre-dominantly young men and non-working women whose affiliation towards social media is high. The data is based on the number of eligible voters, data of actual voter turnout from the Election Commission of India and field interviews.
4. Political parties have earmarked around 2%-5% of their election budgets for social media.
5. Corporates are spending nearly 13% of their digital advertising budget on social media in the financial year 2012-2013. It was 10% the previous financial year.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. “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.
These numbers could be debated since the company has not shared any further details on the specifics and benchmarks of the report (The complete report costs around 11K). Nevertheless, the numbers are interesting, social media is growing in the country and hence the investments from all parties are increasing.
This is the second such report that comes from the house of IAMAI, which had previously released a report that stated as much as 30 percent of the Lok Sabha seats results in the 2014 general elections, could be influenced by Facebook users.
The study had erupted a strong online debate by identifying 160 Lok Sabha constituencies as ‘high impact’, in which the number of Facebook users are more than the margin of victory of the winner in the last Lok Sabha election, or where Facebook users account for over 10 per cent of the voting population. The report definitely had a lot of loopholes.
Social media may or may not influence voters to get them over to the polling booth but it surely has become an important medium of conversation.