MUMBAI: India's marketers need to consider producing creative in languages other than Hindi and English as these can be much more effective in certain categories, a leading industry figure has said.

According to Manav Sethi, group head/marketing at AskMe, an online search firm expanding into ecommerce, "categories like Classifieds and Deals is where we have seen humongous uptake when we do regional language creatives".

He told Exchange4Media that digital creative in regional languages is done in-house, and reported that "we have seen a huge uptake in the CTR of these creatives".

The company's TV commercials are also created internally with a master creative being pushed out in four languages – Tamil, Kannada, Telgu and Malayalam – and translated into more as the need arises.

"For example, when we did a campaign to promote Next Day Delivery, we did the campaign in six different languages for different states," Sethi said.

He maintained that the non-Hindi and non-English speaking demographic was becoming increasingly important. "If you consider all consumer insights from both search and transactions, the consumption is skewing towards non-Hindi and non-English audiences," he explained.

But while audiences might prefer to get communications in their regional language, "in the end they will be using English as the language to interact with us on our website or app", he noted.

And that creates problems for many people, which is why AskMe continues to have a voice channel that can be used by those consumers who cannot use English on digital platforms. "We get unique consumer insights" from this, said Sethi.

English is in fact the preferred language of communication for less than 1% of the Indian population, while nearly 60% speak a language other than Hindi – reasons for Google's recent announcement of plans to enable Android users to use 11 Indian languages on its search engine.

Sandeep Nulkar, founder of BITS Private Ltd, a Pune-based translation and localization consultancy, told the Times of India that inquiries for translating content into regional languages had increased by more than 30% in the last six years.

"We foresee more and more e-tailers, food serving operators and those into specialized services turning to regional Indian languages to expand their business," he said.

Data sourced from Exchange4Media, Times of India; additional content by Warc staff