Bengaluru: Microblogging website Twitter Inc. revenue from India almost tripled in the last fiscal as online advertising has become more popular with businesses.

Twitter Communications India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian unit of Twitter, said that its revenue rose to 13.26 crore ($2 million) for the year ended 31 March from 4.17 crore in the previous year, data from the registrar of companies (RoC) showed.

Still, India accounted for a paltry 0.12% of the $1.59 billion that Twitter generated globally in the same period.

During its earnings announcement for the March quarter, Twitter said the company had 302 million monthly active users. The number surged to 320 million in the September quarter.

Twitter does not provide break up of its user base based on region.

A report by market research firm eMarketer suggests that the company had approximately 17 million users in India in 2014 and the number was expected to surge to 22 million in 2015.

The report forecasts India to become the second largest market for Twitter in the Asia-Pacific region, after Japan in terms of number of users by the end of the year.

Twitter did not respond to an email seeking comments.

India is a key market for companies such as Twitter, Facebook Inc. and Google to drive their advertisement revenue as more people go online using cheap mobile devices and inexpensive data plans.

Industry body the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) expects the number of Internet users in India to be more than 400 million by year-end.

The surge in Internet penetration is likely to boost digital advertisement spending in the country.

Global media buying and planning firm GroupM Worldwide Inc. expects ad spending in India to reach 49,000 crore by the end of this year, according to a company report published earlier this year.

Spending on digital ads is likely to account for roughly 10% of the overall pie. That is significantly lower than the money that is being spent on digital ads in the US, where it is expected to touch $58.61 billion this year by year-end, as per eMarketer.

Experts say Google accounts for a significant chunk of the digital ad spending in India.

To be sure, large advertisers are still conservative about advertising on digital platforms, such as web and mobile, even as television and print still remain dominant advertising formats in India.

“Digital advertising spend will still be 15%-20% of the overall budget for the most optimistic kind of advertiser. It is still TV and print predominantly," said Karthik Srinivasan,national lead, Social@Ogilvy, the social media arm of ad firm Ogilvy & Mather. “You can argue that since Twitter is very fast moving and dynamic, it may play to its disadvantage."

Twitter kick-started its big India push in September 2014 with the appointments of former MTS executive Anupam Dikhit as its industry manager, followed by Taranjeet Singh from BBC Worldwide who joined the company as business head for India in January.

In June, it hired a former Lenovo executive Apsara Chidambaram as industry manager.

According to the documents with the RoC, Twitter’s wage bills in India more than doubled to 4.90 crore in 2014-15 from 2.18 crore in the previous year. Spending on advertisement and sales promotion was 2.23 crore, an almost five-fold increase from 44.40 lakh in year-ago period.

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