Durgesh Kaushik

7:02 PM, 17th Mar 2018

Understanding Indian internet users better through Facebook's Audience Insights tool.

Recently, Facebook announced that there are over 150 Million Indians who access Facebook at least once a month. This makes India its second largest market behind USA. Facebook’s “Audience Insights” tool gives us a way to get a peak into its India user-base and understand how we use Facebook. Here are some key insights:

1. Huge gender skew – 76% of the Indian Facebook users are male, leaving only 24% female users. This is quite unique to India. Globally, this ratio is more balanced with 56% males to 44% females. In United States, there are more females on Facebook than there are males.

Also, there seems to be a declining usage trend with age, regardless of the gender. More teenagers seem to like Facebook than older folks (this is against the regular rhetoric we we hear about teenagers leaving Facebook). So, if you are trying to target older females for your marketing campaigns, you’ll have a very limited reach compared to the reach you’d get if you were targeting younger females or males.


2. Most liked categories by Indians include electronic products like mobile (also popular among males, who make up majority of Indian FB users), food and beverage companies, female celebrities (again, potentially a function of gender bias in the user-base ;)), political (Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal being the most popular ones) figures and sportspersons. For advertisers, this hints at the type of content Indian audiences like. This should be considered while creating your content marketing strategy on Facebook.

 3. Top cities: As expected, majority of the Indian Facebook users come from the big cities. It’s also a function of internet availability and smartphone penetration (while FB is available on feature phones, the experience on smartphones is far superior). Delhi (Including New Delhi) accounts for around 13% of the users, followed by Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. So, Facebook is a great platform for reaching your potential customers in the big cities, not so much if you are targeting smaller cities or remote locations.

4. Frequency of activities – On an average, Indian users like 7 pages and 6 posts in a month, click on 3 ads, and comment twice. All these stats are lower than global average of 12 pages likes, 7 posts likes, 4 comments and 7 ad clicks. Seems like Indian users are harder to please. However, it might be cheaper to reach more Indians than in other countries and hence, get higher overall engagement, but at lower engagement rates.

5. Devices used: This is also where Indian users are quite unique. Mobile adoption leapfrogging PC adoption in India is quite evident from the following data. Almost 73% of Indian users access Facebook only on mobile, while only 6% access it only on desktops (according to latest announcement by FB India head Umang Bedi, 95% of Indians access FB on mobile. This includes people who access FB on both mobile and desktop). For comparison, globally, only 53% of the users access Facebook only on mobile. Also, only 2% of the users have iPhones/iPads, while 31% use Android and 20% use feature phones.

So, if you are promoting your website on Facebook, it’ll be a good idea to optimize it for mobile, especially for Android and feature phones. You can also use this targeting for your mobile app install ads, targeting only the platforms your mobile app is available on.

6. Relationship status and parents: Almost 30-35 Million Indian users have marked themselves as “Single” on FB. Again, there are more men who are single than females. As expected, there are more younger folks who are single compared to older folks. Only about 2.5 M people have mentioned that they are in a relationship (Indians are known to be not very open about their relationship status, other than being single or married). Around 1 Mpeople are in a long distance relationship and around 90K just got into a new relationship.

Around 10-15 Million Indian users have declared their relationship status as “married” on Facebook, the majority lying in the 25-34 age group. Interestingly, majority of Indian women on Facebook are married.

Around 15 Million Indian users on Facebook are parents, with around 350K people with kids less than 3 years old, 1.5 Million with kids less than 12 years old and similar number of people with teenage kids. This data is most likely under-represented because not a lot of people tag their relationships on Facebook. However, the available data  (which is most likely going to be pretty accurate) is a goldmine for advertisers who are trying to target parents or married people in a certain age range.

Married people on Facebook:


7. Life events and travelling: Around 15 M Indians on Facebook live away from their families, around 20M are away from their home town, around 600K recently moved (all 3 are good target audience for travel and rental real-estate companies), around 800K recently switched their jobs. This data is also likely to be quite accurate because its based on the profile data and ip addresses.

8. High value users – Audience insights reveal that there are around 25-30 Million Indian users who have shown affinity towards high value goods. So, if you are selling iPhones, smart-watches, other luxury goods, you can start here.

9. Top industries where Indians work in: Majority of Indians on Facebook work either in management, production, arts, and engineering industries. Targeting based on job titles can help you if you are selling B2B products.

There’s much more you can find out with Facebook Audience Insights. It is one of the most utilised tools. It’s is a wonderful tool for your market research and strategising your digital campaigns, not just on Facebook, but across channels.

You can access the tool here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/audience-insights. If you find any interesting insights, please do add those in comments.

Originally published on my blog

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