“Going local” is now a core strategy for start-ups looking to reach the vast customer base outside major Indian cities – and that means using the right regional language.

Unicorns, like Byju’s, Policybazaar, InMobi, Zomato, and Oyo now offer anywhere between two and 12 regional languages, according to the Economic Times.

For Byju’s, regional languages are key as 75% of those who use its education platform live outside the country’s biggest 10 cities.

“We have realized that even kids who attend English-medium schools prefer to watch our videos in Hindi for a better understanding of the subject,” explained co-founder Divya Gokulnath.

“Adoption has gone up 4X since we launched in Hindi,” she added.

The company, which offers its program in Hindi in 1,700 towns, is now planning to release content in Tamil, Malayalam, Telegu, Kannada, Marathi, and Gujarati.

Google India has highlighted the huge growth of the regional-language internet user base in its latest data on search trends, which shows that nine out of ten new internet users are likely to be regional language speakers.

Last year, Hindi content alone grew threefold, and by 2021, Google forecasts regional language speakers will make up almost 75% of the country’s internet users.

Consumer reach and engagement generally shoot up when regional languages are used, and for reaching smaller towns and cities, the vernacular is essential.

Advertising tech startup In-Mobi, which has 350 million smartphone users and 400 million internet users, says the evidence is clear that investing in regional language content pays off.

“Most users on our platform are bilingual,” noted founder and CEO Naveen Tewari. “When it comes to consumption of vernacular content, it’s as high as 80%, as against 25% in English.”

“Also, about 60% of our audience is from tier-2 and tier-3 cities.” It plans to support nine Indian languages by the end of this year.

For Policybazaar paying attention to the languages its customers use is also a key growth driver.

“At different touch points, we support ten languages — Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Odia,” chief product officer Jayant Chauhan told the Times.

“It’s very easy to track conversion — interest in two-wheeler insurance went up three times after we started selling (policies) in Hindi.”

Sourced from Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff