Facebook's Ajit Mohan & the new world order

Mohan spoke about the pandemic’s impact on the world digital at the IAMAI's conclave.


KOLKATA: The SARS Cov2 virus has drastically changed consumer behaviour. Facebook India vice-president & managing director, Ajit Mohan believes that digital influence is not just limited to online buying but offline too.

Speaking at IAMAI's Marketing Conclave, Mohan said that digitally influenced purchases have gone up by 15-20 per cent for some of the largest consumer goods categories in India such as apparel, mobile phones, packaged consumer goods that traditionally had offline chains. Citing a study by Nielsen, he said that before the pandemic, digital marketing was one of the most effective ways to drive offline sales for Mondelez’s chocolates in kirana stores.

“The Covid2019 pandemic has crunched a few years of consumer behaviour change into a few months and weeks. Adtech is one sector that has grown during the pandemic,” he added. 

As the festive season nears, Mohan predicted that a huge chunk of purchases is likely to happen online. According to him, video and virtual experiences are going to be at the heart of festive buying this year.

He also shared that voice and video calls across all Facebook apps have doubled while live from Facebook page in India has grown three times in June year-on-year. These consumer trends have led to the launch of products like Reels on Instagram and Room on Facebook.

Speaking about the economic impact, Mohan highlighted that the pandemic is just not a public health emergency but also an economic crisis, which has particularly impacted small businesses across the country. Most of them have shut shop, some are working with reduced workforces, while others are experiencing lower sales.

Mohan said that he believes Facebook has an important role to play in the recovery of small businesses and the economy. And a lot of its energy is focused on how it works not just with MSMEs but with the entire ecosystem that helps in rejuvenating the economy

“It’s very clear that the fundamental behaviour of consumers is in a transition mode. And as marketers, I genuinely believe it will be a mistake on our part to look over the next few months in India as growth returns aggressively. It will also be incorrect to replicate marketing models and playbooks that are no longer relevant. The only way forward is to look at models relevant to the world that is coming out of the crisis,” he concluded. 

(It maybe recalled that earlier this year, Facebook invested $5.9 billion for a 9.9 per cent stake in Reliance Jio Platforms. It had announced that it planned to work with the company to empower 60 million small businesses, including mom-and-pop stores in India. A little later JioMart, a joint venture between Reliance Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail (India’s largest retail chain), started to allow customers to track shipments through WhatsApp.)

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