Digital marketing industry insights for India – 2018

  • Rhea
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  • Published Date : 18 April , 2018
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  • Updated Date : 24 May , 2021
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    • 4 min read


  • 68% of brands leverage digital marketing to promote their products and services
  • 42% of brands continue to use social media marketing as their primary form of digital marketing
  • 33% of brands allocate over 40% of their marketing budget for digital
  • 40% of brands say lead generation is their primary objective behind digital marketing

Social Beat, one of India’s leading digital marketing solutions company, released its Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 after the first edition, Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016. The second edition of this annual report provides a comprehensive look into how companies today are using digital marketing to promote their brands. 212 CMOs, CXOs and Brand Custodians across a variety of industries in India participated in this survey over a period of one month. The various industries that were covered in this survey included Startups/Apps (16%), Real Estate (14%), Education (12%), Media/Entertainment (12%), E-Commerce (9%), Retail/FMCG (7%), Healthcare (6%) and Travel (2%). The remaining 22% comprised of industries falling beyond these 8 sectors. With such a diverse sample, this report provides a complete picture of digital marketing in India. Social Beat also publishes a book and has an active YouTube Channel covering digital marketing insights. Please do also read our latest predictions on digital marketing trends for 2019 in India.

The survey revealed the growing influence of digital marketing, with 68% of brands currently using digital marketing in their promotional strategies, while less than 9% use print ads, radio and television. Commenting on the findings of the report, Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat said, “One of the most significant insights gained from this report is that brands across all industries are beginning to use more of digital strategies in their overall marketing efforts, as compared to traditional media. This is very encouraging because it means that the use of digital marketing is going to become increasingly important for brands.”

Along with the increased use of digital marketing, brands are also beginning to allocate larger portions of their overall marketing budgets for digital. While 57% of brands surveyed spend less than Rs. 50,000 per month on digital marketing, as many as 21% spend between Rs. 50,000-2 lakhs per month. Additionally, 33% of brands allocate more than 40% of their total marketing budget for digital marketing alone. This increase in digital spends is crucial for brands if they want to reach out to India’s next billion internet users in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and towns.

The report also reveals what results brands are looking to achieve through their digital marketing efforts. 51% of brands use social engagement as the primary parameter to measure the efficacy of a digital marketing campaign. Speaking about this, Suneil Chawla, Co-Founder of Social Beat said, “This shows that brands are hoping to establish a personal connect with their consumers by keeping them engaged on social media. Maintaining a strong digital presence can encourage brand awareness and loyalty among audiences.”

Facebook continues to dominate with 49% of brands saying that it gives them the best results. Following closely is Google Plus with 32%, while LinkedIn and Instagram have 13% and 7% respectively. The 2018 report also shows a diversification in the platforms used for digital marketing. While previously, 89.25% of brands used Facebook according to the 2016 report, they are now trying out a larger variety of digital marketing channels. 50% of brands now use Google and Instagram, while 40% use Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. This also clearly points to the immense popularity Instagram has gained over the last year among digital marketers.

One of the most interesting findings from this survey was the shifting marketing objectives of brands. In the 2016 Digital Marketing Industry Report, 72% brands reported brand awareness was their primary goal. In the 2018 report, however, a majority of brands said lead generation and sales were their biggest goal from digital marketing. David Appasamy, Head of Brand and Strategy at Social Beat said, “These numbers mean that brands are realising the potential of digital marketing and seeking measurable results from it. Digital marketing in India is showing a clear evolution in terms of quality and execution.”

Leads have clearly become one of the biggest priorities for brands, with 42% saying that generating high-quality leads was an area they would like to improve upon in the future. Effective strategies like personalised home pages for lead conversion are likely to become more important.

For most brands, social media marketing continues to be the biggest form of digital marketing used. While 42% of brands use social media, brands are also using landing pages (21%) and search engine optimization (7-8%) for their digital marketing efforts. Content marketing, influencer marketing, display advertising and mobile apps are also growing in popularity.

The Digital Marketing Industry Report 2018 clearly shows the growing importance of digital marketing in every industry. Digital marketers in India should seize this opportunity to deliver quantifiable, significant results for brands through a variety of innovative strategies. Read our complete guide for digital marketing for real estate for more information. 



You can also read the Digital Marketing Industry Report 2016.

For a further list of marketing books you need to get your hands on, do take a look at our video on 7 best marketing books, every Indian marketer needs to read

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Nagesh2019-02-11 < Reply

Thanks for sharing Digital marketing insight it's very helped me a lot. You have by using infographics is very nice and it's very attractive.

Ayesha Rafeeq2019-04-04 < Reply

Hi, Nagesh! We feel happy to know that you found our blog helpful. Since you liked reading this, you would also enjoy Future of Digital - AI, AR & Vernacular - Digital Leadership Summit Mumbai. Looking forward to your inputs on it.

Anna John2018-12-22 < Reply

Thanks for the educative article. It is really helpful. Digital marketing is undoubtedly one among the challenging careers in the coming years.

Ayesha Rafeeq2019-01-03 < Reply

Thanks for reading our blog. Please check out our blog on 7 reasons why your brand should have a digital-first marketing strategy. for more insights.

Venkat2018-06-11 < Reply

Thank you for your valuable information on digital marketing. It is very helpful to reach our blog on peaks using your strategies on digital marketing. Keep sharing the content and educate us

Priya Pandey2018-06-11 < Reply

Hi Rhea, I totally agree with you, about the insights you provided. Brands are becoming much more known to the industry through digital marketing and yes our biggest priority is to generate high quality leads and future of digital marketing is surely going to be great. Thanks for sharing such a nice blog.

Soumya Roy2018-06-05 < Reply

Great insights. We are into educating people on digital marketing. We are creating a similar content on digital marketing career on 2018/19 and ahead. This article and its data are going to helps us a lot. If you can share few additional inputs on the topic, those will be really helpful and truly appreciated.

Nagesh Lingayat2018-05-15 < Reply

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Shankar2018-04-19 < Reply

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