NEW DELHI: The primary marketing goal for India's online marketers in 2016 remains customer acquisition but brand awareness is becoming increasingly important a new study has said.

Octane Research, part of the Octane email, mobile and web marketing platform, surveyed 450 marketers for its State of Online Marketing in India report and found that, as in previous years, more than half (58%) saw customer acquisition as their main aim.

The proportion citing brand awareness as their priority for the year ahead rose from 22% in 2015 to 30% in 2016, the highest level registered in the six years Octane Research has published this annual study.

Customer retention, however, has fallen down the agenda, with just 8% seeing this as a primary goal, compared to 20% in 2015.

The route to customer acquisition is focused on social media: two thirds of respondents said this would be the primary e-marketing channel they would use in 2016, followed by websites (54%), email marketing (53%) and search marketing (52%).

In fact, marketers are expecting social media to have a significant impact on email programs, especially when it comes to leads and subscribers.

When asked how they thought social media influences email marketing, the proportion citing accelerated growth of subscribers leapt from just 6% in 2015 to 31% in 2016.

A similar increase was evident when considering the generation of more qualified leads – from 8% to 30%.

But these two aspects still lagged behind other uses of social media. More than half (53%) of respondents saw social media extending the reach of email content to new markets, while 43% felt it increased brand reputation and awareness and 34% regarded it as increasing the ROI of email programs.

“With more than 400m India consumers on the internet now, India CMOs have dialled up their investments in digital marketing,” said Punit Modhgil, director & co-founder of Octane Marketing.

“In terms of impact, India marketers have recorded social and email marketing to be the top performing online marketing channels,” he added.

Data sourced from Octane Research; additional content by Warc staff