Jeremy Wagstaff, Chief Technology Correspondent, Asia for Reuters, spoke with me briefly about Facebook’s India prospects (opportunities, obstacles and what they are doing in this market).

Here are some points that I shared with him:

People usage

  1. Facebook has seen aggressive growth and now stands at around 51 million users from India making it an important market from that perspective
  2. How Facebook moves forward to keep the users glued to the channel in terms of usage would be important. It will go on to become a utility as initial euphoria has/ will give way to day-to-day usage from connecting > sharing also giving way to buying (holidays, virtual goods and real goods) to paying taxes? and more
  3. I do not see Facebook go the Orkut way, for the simple reason that I have always maintained
    • Facebook is Facebook’s primary business, Orkut was not Google’s primary business
  4. How Facebook replicates the rich PC/ Tablet experience for the mobile user (without fancy handsets) would be important as mobile internet is seeing faster growth

Marketer and advertising

  1. Marketers who are spending more money on the channel are now also looking for ways to measure, and also what more can be done on Facebook
  2. Facebook’s own marketing team and efforts are fairly nascent in the India market, though they are reaching out their conferences and direct outreach to marketers
  3. Facebook might need to co-opt a larger network of partners, such as Blogworks and others, that have been working in the market to sell the medium, to expand it’s reach and value into the India market
  4. I believe that post IPO, the focus will shift to monetization and offerings like ‘Reach Generator’ will focus on large advertisers and organic reach for brand pages might come down. Hence a scenario might emerge where marketers at opposite ends of the spectrum might only be able to harvest the channel well – the very small businesses/ brands (lots of time, personal involvement, reach through engaging the personal networks); the large brands/ organisations (monetary spends on ads, apps, content and engagement). Medium sized businesses may not have the time, or the money, to really achieve massive success
  5. It would be interesting to see if this is the direction that Facebook eventually takes where organic reach will become more difficult and reliance on money spent will increase.

Here is  Reuter’s piece that has appeared in several publications today: Facebook can’t take Asia growth for granted