Facebook Adoption in India
Initially Facebook was available only to universities in USA, UK and other developed countries. Facebook later expanded membership eligibility to employees of several companies, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft. Later in 2006, a person who is at least 13 years old with a valid email ID could start using Facebook.
Innovators & Early adopters: Facebook was available to India since September 26 2006. The growth has been phenomenal since then. The early adopters of Facebook were mostly students who had lived and studied abroad. Amongst Indians, the first Facebook users were students who were studying abroad. They were considered the cool kids. They were students with high income and high influence in society. They were young , more educated and enjoyed high social status. They were usually between the age group of 15 to 25
Following them were the early majority — since 2006, everyone wanted to sign up on Facebook. All students who lived in metro cities signed up on it. These were young students who wanted to connect on social network and were also influenced by the innovators and early adopters. They were usually between the age group of 15 to 30
Prior to growth of Facebook in India, there was Orkut and Hi5 which served as a social platform. Almost all the users from Google Orkut migrated to Facebook and never returned to Orkut.
Orkut users were the primary early adopters of Facebook.
Late Majority and laggards were mostly older people. India has seen intense internet penetration in the last couple of years. Facebook along with penetration of smart phones and internet grew astronomically. The late majority and laggards were new internet users. They took time to come on to Facebook and learn the internet space. The late majority and the laggards belonged to the age group of 30 to 50,
One of the difference in its adoption in USA and India — In USA everybody speaks English. India has a majority of population who do not speak or read English. This resulted in many potential youngsters who would ideally be the early adopters, signed up late and became the part of late majority.
Facebook later developed multiple language support to bridge this gap.
One of the key challenges Facebook faced was — lack of internet penetration. India still lags behind in top quality internet services. In most parts of India, 3g is not available and people only have 2g services. In order to bridge this gap, Facebook built a product called Facebook Light which uses minimum data transfer.
Today almost all internet users in India are on Facebook. Apart from using it as a social platform, it is widely used as a marketing platform as well. Almost all Indian companies spend big chunk of their marketing budget on Facebook. All startups and ecommerce companies push their product on Facebook.
They overcame the potential chasm was by offering more features to later adopters like instant messaging and interesting games and easy to use interface. Also signing up on Facebook is free so the user does not hesitate at all to try it out.