As Indian consumers populate the internet (1,326,801,576 and counting), a goldmine of digital consumers is in the making and India Marketers can no longer rely on tried, true and tested marketing tactics to tap them. The internet has enabled marketers to track and analyse how, where, when and in which part of the online world their target audience is located. To execute this data driven marketing strategy, India Marketers’ game plan needs to be digital by default. The evolution of digital technology has transformed both the consumer and marketer. Initiatives like Digital India campaign have heralded positive and promising changes to create a digitally empowered society. A study by the Boston Consulting Group expects the internet to contribute $200 billion to India’s GDP (5 percent of total GDP) by 2020. Thus, as our lifestyles change, undoubtedly corresponding marketing strategies should follow suit. While Digital technology has multiplied the touch points of interaction between marketers and consumers, Data shown that a key challenge for India Marketers is in understanding how to tailor personalised and real-time strategies for engaging the expanding and diversified digital consumer base.

The Annual India Digital Marketing in India 2017 study attracted industry professionals (CEOs, CMOs, Founders, Directors, Marketing Heads and Marketing Managers), who share their insights and ideas about the state of Online Marketing in India. This 2017 study has seen an active participation from 350+ Marketers and 300+ companies across India – with 31% of said companies having annual revenue
above Rs.100 Cr.

1. Primary Marketing Goal for 2017:

68% of India Marketers voted Customer Acquisition as their Primary Marketing Goal, followed by Brand Awareness and Customer Retention.

2. Digital Marketing Activities that will see increase in budget in 2017:
48% India Marketers plan to increase more than 10% of their budget in Digital Marketing Activities for 2017.

3. Top three Primary Digital Marketing Activities in 2016:
Social Media Marketing (66%), Email Marketing (56%) & Search Marketing (54%) were the top three Primary Digital Marketing Activities for 2016, For BFSI sector, the top three Primary Activities were, Social Media Marketing (72%), Email (57%) and Website (48%).

4. Digital Marketing Budget allocated for 2016:
33% India Marketers allocated more than 30% of their marketing budget to Digital Marketing Activities.

5. Digital Marketing Channel which saw increase in budget for 2016:
Social Media Marketing dominated marketing budget of India Marketers for 2016 by 41%. While Social Media Marketing has been the top key marketing investment since 2011, a considerable decline of 9% has been observed in the marketing budget. Social Media continues to dominate marketing channels of India Marketers.

6. Digital Marketing Channel offering best ROI:
One of the key features of Digital Marketing is real-time ROI measurement. Metrics such as Google Analytics, Google Postmaster and Kissmetrics enable marketers to measure the real time impact of their strategies on their KPIs. 44% India Marketers voted Email Marketing as the Digital Marketing Channel that offered the best
ROI for each 1 rupee invested in 2016. This was followed closely by Facebook (36%). For Travel sector, Social Media Marketing (45%) gave them the best Return on Investment
in 2016.

7. Use of Google Analytic:
Keeping up with global trends, 60% India Marketers integrated Google Analytics with their emails.

8. Use of Google Postmaster Tool:
32% India Marketers use Google Postmaster to analyse the performance of their emails on Gmail. Google Postmaster, a tool launched by Google in 2014 helps in effective tracking and analysing of emails on Gmail.

9. Increase in Marketing Investment in 2017:
Social Media Marketing (68%), Search Marketing (57%) and Website Development (57%) have been voted as the top three channels that India Marketers will focus their KPIs on for 2017. Website Development has seen a surge in popularity by 23% among India Marketers from 2016. For Services & Consultancy sector, Social Media Marketing (47%), Search Marketing (42%) and Email Marketing (40%) will see an increment investment for 2017.

10. Maximizing Customer Engagement:
Social Media Updates (40%) and Email/Newsletter Campaigns (32%) were the best performing digital channels that delivered Maximum Customer Engagement in 2016.For Media & Entertainment, rated Social Media Marketing (60%), followed by Email Marketing (35%) as their digital channel for Maximum Customer Engagement.

11. Benefits of Social Media in Marketing Practices:
Brand Awareness (73%), Driving Engagement (67%) and Increased Traffic (58%) were voted as the top three benefits of Social Media Marketing by India Marketer for 2016.

For IT/ITES sector Engagement with Customers (73%), Increased Traffic (71%) and Developed fan following (58%) were top 3 benefits by Social Media.

12. Content is KING:
Brand Awareness (69%), Engage Newer Audiences (62%) and Attract & Retain Existing Customers (53%) were voted as the key benefits of Content Marketing.

13. Effective Content Marketing Tools:
Blogs & Newsletters (68%) and Social Media (65%) form a major part of India Marketers’ Content Marketing initiatives. Videos & Webinars (41%) are catching popularity among India Marketers.

14. Mobile Marketing Strategy:
89% India Marketers have adapted their Email Marketing and Websites to accommodate the smartphone savvy customer.


1. Redefine your content marketing territory:
India Marketers are yet to maximise the potential of video marketing. In 2016, investment in video marketing has increased by 6% only. Video is a content marketing goldmine as it allows businesses new and inventive ways to reach out to its target audience. With the emergence of micro-video apps and video syndication on Facebook, the trend has shifted towards personalised and real-time video sharing. YouTube is now the new TV. The trend of promoting a brand via web-series, as done popularly by channels like TVF in India, has become quite popular.

2. Powering up the ROI:
Marketers still face significant challenges when it comes to measuring ROI on their digital marketing initiatives. Digital has transformed the buyer journey. It’s more than important to connect with customer across every stage of the customer life cycle. Analytical tools such as Google Analytics, IBM Watson, Kissmetrics help in improving customer experiences by making data-centric marketing decisions. Our data shows that only 60% India Marketers use analytical tools like Google Analytics to optimize their customer experience.

3. Automate Your Emails:
Reaching out to Target Audience is one of the key challenges faced by India Marketers in 2016. Each customer is different, so is each situation. Adoption of automated email campaigns that use programmatic technology to personalize emails based on which properties/ websites visitors have looked can help marketers reach out to the right customer, at the right time and the right place. Using programmatic buying means that India Marketers use the same data for their display advertising as email and that makes the content more relevant. It also helps with consistent messaging and branding so the user gets a rounded experience that isn’t fragmented.

4. Keep Your Email Subscriber List Updated:
Our research has shown that a significant 40% India Marketers face the issue of unengaged email subscribers. Marketers can update their email subscriber database by running campaigns on Social Media or use third party opt-in databases such as ReachRight which provide database that’s relevant to the brand’s target audience. Also keep an eye on your unengaged subscribers and consider removing them from your list altogether as sending emails to people who aren’t engaged with your emails can hurt the deliverability of your email. Secondly, our data has shown that 78% email subscribers from India use Gmail domain yet only 47% India Marketers use an analytical tool, to check the deliverability of their emails. Thus, they need to proactively take measures to refine their email marketing.

5. Re-map your Customer Journey:
Mobile continues to be an intrinsic part of a customer’s journey. However, with the advent of Internet of Things technology, it’s best to strategize a multi-device approach that connects with customers across various online and offline touch points.

300 million Internet users already in India and another 200 million Indians set to join by 2017. However, the more interesting story lies in the changes taking place behind those numbers. The Indian consumer’s online consumption habits are already very different from a year or two ago. Armed with the latest digital technology, the new online consumer’s expectation gravitates towards digital services that are real-time, personalized and convenient. This data is like eye opening for who are more in number game, in any business number is impotent and marketing in digital world you can count numbers how much spent and what you can get end of the day.

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