BANGALORE: Twitter India has seen a 150% surge in ad revenues over the past 12 months as brands and government make increased use of the social networking platform, a top executive has claimed.

"India is one of our key markets across the world," said Taranjeet Singh, business head, Twitter India. "In terms of users and revenue growth, we are in the top five markets. In 2013-14 we were not even in the top 10," he added, in remarks reported by Exchange4Media.

The battle between India's social media giants appears to be heating up – only last week Facebook India signalled it was seeking to increase its reach and relevance by moving beyond English content and attracting more small business advertisers.

Singh indicated that internal changes – including the restructuring of sales teams to build closer relationships with clients and a greater focus on data mining – had been central to Twitter's improved business performance.

"Every tweet has 65 data elements in the 140 characters," he said. "We're using this data to help brands see how they can be looking at insight-driven marketing.

"Twitter is the live connection to culture," he added. "Our trends are topical, in the moment and in this way Twitter is a discovery platform."

And he reported that certain categories, including automotive, tech, telecoms and financial services, were among the keenest to explore the platform's possibilities.

Lenovo, for example, used a special set of hashtags to target young Twitter users when launching its Moto Z smartphone recently, and ran a poll to understand user preferences for available "mods" (detachable accessories that allow users to personalise their phones).

"Impressively, the result matched 99% with the actual sale numbers," said Singh, "showing that this is where shoppers show the highest intent to explore and buy a product."

Government, too, has picked up on the potential of the platform to deliver information – and transparency – about its services. Twitter Seva, a CRM initiative, is being used by a number of government departments and police forces.

Video, inevitably, is an area that is growing fast, with Singh reporting that video views on Twitter have grown 400% in the last 12 months; and 90% of the total take place on mobile.

"Today, most of the brands are adopting video as a product and building engagement," he said. "For us live and video are definitely two important focus areas."

Data sourced from Business Standard, Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff