Indian political parties are set to utilise the power of social media in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, spending up to an estimated Rs 500 crore on digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.
This channel of communication could be vital to campaigns as it is said that out of the 814 million have access Indians eligible to vote, over 200 million have access to the internet, with over 100 million of those active on social media.
With around Rs 4,000 – 5,000 crore in total advertising and publicity spending across the parties, around Rs 400-500 crore on average is set to be put aside for digital campaigns.
It has also been noted that around 100 million first time voters just joining the electorate are very active on social, providing a channel for the parties to target this specific audience.
The Aam Aadmi Party demonstrated use of online campaigning in the Delhi assembly polls last year. While Modi is among India’s most famous social media celebrities with 11 million ‘likes’ on Facebook, and over 3 million Twitter followers.
Google India's industry head Gaurav Kapur said: "With over 200 million internet users in the country, internet as a medium has found its own space in the political parties' media spends. Leading national parties are actively engaging users through digital medium. Different parties are adopting different strategies and digital spending varies from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of their total advertising budgets."