With the general elections round the corner in India, politicians and common people alike have realised how important social media has become as a tool for canvassing. The elections are behind most of the buzz being caused across social networking websites and a report has now shown that these sites are likely to swing over 3 percent votes in the upcoming 2014 elections.
The survey, Social Media in India – 2013 was conducted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). It goes on to say something we’ve all known for a while now – as far as urban seats are concerned, social media usage is sufficiently widespread to influence politics.
Swinging votes (Background Image Credit: Getty Images)
The study was conducted in partnership with the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) and has also pointed out that urban social media users in India would be 91 million in number by December 2013. This would spell as a jump of a whopping 17 percent since June 2013.
India has 543 Parliament constituencies, 160 of which are supposed to be influenced through social media platforms. Understandably, Facebook and Twitter remain India’s preferred choice as far as keeping a track on politics go. It is possible that 3 to 4 percent of votes could swing in 24 states thanks to social networks.
The report spoke to representatives of some major political parties who revealed that the parties have kept around 2 to 5 percent of their election budgets earmarked solely for social networking campaigns. The report draws parallels to corporate houses who, long having understood the importance of social networking campaigns, have been spending nearly 13 percent of their digital advertising budget on social media.
No surprises here, the report found that the highest proportion of social media usage in the top four metros and non metros was highest in males with 30 and 26 percent penetration levels respectively. What comes as a pleasant surprise here is that younger women are increasingly turning to social media as well. College students too form a major chunk of social networking users in India and the report predicts that the next emerging trend could be that of non-working women.
The IAMAI report is corroborated by findings of a Google research carried out earlier last week. It was revealed by Google-TNS’s findings that BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi were the two most searched for politicians in India. The Internet, Google says, could play a huge part in influencing the undecided portion of urban population in India.