Just a few months after appointing Manish Maheshwari as Twitter India head, the micro-blogging network has now redesigned its website to help users localise content in seven Indian languages — Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Kannada.
The move is part of a global rejig that will be rolled out over the next few weeks to all users. The aim of the new localisation features on Twitter.com on the web is to encourage more conversations on Twitter, and it is backed by an improved translation engine on the website. The new design will have features such as explore, lists and bookmarks for regional language users. Also, it will enable users to easily switch between multiple accounts.
Jesar Shah, product manager, internationalisation and web at Twitter, said that the idea is to offer a consistent user experience, no matter the device or platform chosen.
“We want people in India to be able to find tweets and accounts which match their unique and diverse interests. We want them to be connected to content and people in their languages,” Patrick Traughber, senior product manager at Twitter, said in a press statement.
But Twitter has bottomline considerations as well besides enabling conversations in multiple Indian languages. Twitter India announced a 14% decline in its revenues for FY18, ceding ground to other social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
To be noted, amid massive restructuring in 2016, its CEO Jack Dorsey was said to have de-prioritised India as a market, despite being at a peak in 2013-2014. The decision was taken in order to prevent global revenue growth from stagnating. But the growth of Indian regional language users has opened up more avenues for revenue uptick in the country.
India is home to 30-33 Mn monthly active Twitter users at present. In comparison, WhatsApp claimed to have nearly 200 Mn users in India (as per numbers released in February 2017), while Facebook had claimed 270 Mn users in India in 2018. Twitter has a lot of catching up to do in this regard.
The recent appointment of Maheshwari was seen as a step in the direction of taking India seriously, and the introduction of new languages could propel Twitter usage in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
According to a ShareChat report, 2018 was the year when internet usage in regional Indian languages exploded as users participated actively in contributing to user-generated content in native languages. A study by KPMG India and Google said that Indian language internet users are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18% vs English users at a CAGR of 3%.