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Vernacular content: the new mantra for success in digital marketing

Pradeep Chopra
14th Dec 2018
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You don’t need to be proficient in the English language to be able to promote your business on digital media channels. With just 125 million people speaking English in the country, there is a huge market to be tapped yet.

 The role of digital marketing is to help a business reach out to its audience and get them to convert into loyal customers. When you learn digital marketing, you learn to run campaigns on online channels such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, where most of the online users are already active.

With the growth of non-English speaking audience on these online channels, there is a huge opportunity for aspiring digital marketers who speak vernacular languages.

So if you know your native language very well and are not so good with the English language, you can still do well as a digital marketer.

According to BBC, India has over 125 million English speakers - a very small number in a country of 1.3 billion people. The majority of our population, therefore, consists of non-English speakers.

According to a study done by KPMG, 70 percent of internet users find local language digital content to be more reliable than English language content.

 “English is over. There are only 200 million Indians who are proficient in English and they are already on the internet. Almost every new user that is coming online-roughly nine out of ten — are not proficient in English. So, it is fair to say that almost all the growth of usage is coming from non-English users.” - Rajan Anandan, VP Operations, Google India and Southeast Asia.

KPMG predicts that by 2021, there will be 201 Hindi speaking internet users. Hindi is also one of the top 10 high demand business languages.

 

Take a look at the growth rate of Indian language users of some of the common online services:

Indian language internet users are likely to grow to 536 million by 2021 as compared to just 199 million English language users.

That’s a little less than one half of India’s population. If businesses were to reach out to this section of their audience, they must market themselves in their local languages.

If you are proficient in one of the Indian languages and have the skills to run digital marketing campaigns then your skills will surely be valuable to these businesses.

There are various content properties in vernacular languages that are getting a very high level of online traffic. Take a look at this example of a blog post from the popular recipe blogger Nisha Madhulika. The following recipe blog post is in Hindi and managed to get a whopping 5.3 lakh plus readers. This is the reach of one single blog post!

The best part is that online searchers can now use Google to search in a variety of popular languages, nine to be precise.

Google also provides you with a customised language keyboard to type in your query in the language of choice:

 

I typed in a search query looking for makeup tips in Hindi and I found that all the results were in Hindi:

The top results from the keyword I typed is a Hindi video from the YouTube channel Be Beautiful.

 

As you can see in the screenshot above, the video has received more than 47 lakh views. BeBeautiful is actually a magazine and a YouTube channel run by the popular beauty brand Lakme.

The YouTube channel has got more than 331,000 subscribers. The channel has videos in both English and Hindi.

Likewise, if you are looking for the best places to visit in Kolkata and you wish to find results in Bengali, you’ll find lots of Bengali blogs to help you. Take a look:

 

A Chinese entrepreneur built NewsDog, an app with Indian vernacular content, which has got more than 50 million downloads and raised $50 million funding.

Likewise, myUpchar, an Indian language health platform, which is accessed by 10 million users, is looking to serve 500 million aspirational Indians.

One more good news is that as an SEO professional you can make use of the Google Keyword planner in your preferred language while doing your keyword research. This means that you can find the number of searches for a particular keyword in a particular language. Take a look at this example:

 

So this way you can make use of the exact keywords while optimising your website content in a particular vernacular language. You can also use these keywords to run paid campaigns on Google AdWords and get your site on top of the paid results on Google.

Platforms like Facebook also enable users to use it in the language of their choice. It also allows business page users to create content in non-English languages depending on the business and the target audience. Take a look at this example:

 

You can go to the language settings tab on Facebook and choose the preferred language for using the platform. In the following screenshot I have changed the preferred language to Gujarati:

Similarly, you can also run paid campaigns on Facebook using your preferred non-English language, in this example Gujarati:

 

So this way you can choose to create content and run campaigns on Facebook in your choice of vernacular language.

Similarly, you can change your language settings on Twitter and promote your business in a vernacular language:

Take a look at this example from Instagram.

 

So, with these examples, it is very clear that you don’t need to be proficient in the English language to be able to promote your business on digital media channels.

Digital marketing in Hindi is the new grand thing in the market. You can learn and apply the basic and advanced techniques of social media marketing, search marketing and paid campaigns for your business in Hindi.

These techniques will help you to get more traffic to your site, build a loyal audience for your business and get more sales and revenue.

Digital marketing is a very lucrative career option for those who know the English language as well as those who don’t. You can opt for a digital marketing course in your language and you will find the requisite job opportunities as well.

For those of you who know English and wish to expand and grow as digital marketing professionals, knowledge of your native languages can open up many new opportunities for you. You can upgrade your skills slightly and find job opportunities/assignments with businesses/media houses looking for a combination of skills.

How is digital marketing in non-English languages different

I would not say that doing digital marketing in non-English languages is way different from doing it in English but there are some subtle variations that one must know.

One of them is that when you are marketing to an audience who speaks a particular language, then knowing that a specific audience deeply is very critical. You must know the online channels they use and their specific content consumption and product buying habits. This will give you deeper insights while running campaigns online.

You must also identify their geographic location and how they are dispersed in different locations to run precise and targeted campaigns.

What are some of the job prospects in the vernacular space?

As a digital marketer with knowledge of a vernacular language, you’ll find tons of job opportunities.

You can take up the role of a content creator, a content editor, a search engine optimisation professional or a paid marketing expert. With some experience, you can even crack managerial roles in digital marketing or content marketing.

You will find such opportunities in both well-known media houses and businesses catering to local audiences.

If you are looking for a career in digital marketing and have knowledge of your regional language, then don’t worry there is an ocean of opportunities coming your way.

If you know English and have a keen interest in your native language the again you will have lots of growth opportunities coming your way. With the growing internet usage in the country, a career in digital marketing in all popular Indian languages will remain a great proposition.

What do you think? Would love to get your inputs and suggestions on vernacular digital marketing as a career choice. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

 

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