Business Standard

Meta sees big opportunity in gaming industry: MD Sandhya Devanathan

According to a study by GWI, an audience research company 90 per cent of gamers who discover new games on social media, do so through Meta with Reels playing a leading role in discovery

Sandhya Devanathan

Sandhya Devanathan, Meta’s India managing director

Shivani Shinde Mumbai

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Sandhya Devanathan, Meta’s India managing director, believes that the gaming industry in India will be an important contributor for the country to reach its aim to be an $8 trillion economy.

While gaming is among the top three verticals for the company globally, in India, social media, Reels, and influencers are leading drivers for gamers to discover and purchase new games, as found in a study by GWI commissioned by Meta.

“Gaming will be a big part of the digital economy. While we aim to be an $8 trillion economy, a trillion dollars of that is going to come from the digital economy. We will be looking at about 641 million gamers projected, which is a big chunk of our population,” said Devanathan.

She was speaking at Meta’s inaugural gaming summit in Mumbai.

Devanathan also added that the gaming ecosystem, along with its brands, will be worth around $7.5 billion. The industry can create around 250,000 jobs by 2025.

“These are pretty massive stats. If we continue to see the kind of growth in the economy — branching out to gaming — we can potentially even look at gaming being export-oriented for us,” she said.

With a booming gaming ecosystem in India, Devanathan said that Meta wants to support and be a part of this ecosystem.

“There is a lot of conversation on where our investments go? Almost 81 per cent of our investments are focused on enabling people, creators, and businesses on our platforms,” she added.
According to a study by GWI, an audience research company, 90 per cent of gamers who discover new games on social media do so through Meta, with Reels playing a leading role in discovery.

Arun Srinivas, director and head (India), ads business, Meta, told Business Standard that India is home to the second most downloads of games.

“India sees over 15 billion downloads of games, which is second to China and also the fastest-growing market in terms of users. Looking at the way the economy is growing, we see hundreds of millions of potential gamers coming into the ecosystem. We have been a leading platform of discovery in both the casual and real-money gaming segments,” he said.

Srinivas also added that the firm’s artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled tools are aiding the capability of gaming firms in targeting and reaching out to the right cohorts.

For instance, Dream Sports has seen its customer acquisition cost improve by 12 per cent.

“Advantage+ shopping campaigns, on average, improved cost per acquisition by 17 per cent and return on ad spend by 32 per cent,” he added.

He also shared that the impact that Meta can create for businesses is because of its different platforms.
“The ad platform powering Instagram and Facebook is the same. When we say that people reshare Reels 3.5 billion times every day, these are across both Facebook and Instagram. Reels are now contributing to our net revenue across our applications (apps). Take the example of click-to-message ads, the revenue from which has doubled year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in India,” he added.

Talking about the three top areas for Meta in India, Devanathan said that they are doubling down on offering AI capabilities, Reels, and business messaging.

“Messaging is a huge growth driver for India. Every week, more than 60 per cent of people on WhatsApp in India message a business app account. And revenue from click-to-message ads in India has doubled Y-o-Y,” she said.

key stats
  • 82% of people surveyed have followed a business after watching Reels
  • 74% of people surveyed have messaged a business after seeing their Reels
  • 77% of people surveyed have purchased a product or service after watching Reels
  • 97% of people surveyed have shared Reels with friends or family
Source: Global Consumer Short-Form Video Survey by Factworks

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First Published: Mar 14 2024 | 10:32 PM IST

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