NEW DELHI: Marketers in India – and the wider Asia-Pacific region – are prioritising social media as a source of both consumer insight and campaign evaluation, a new study has revealed.

The Marketing Monitor 2016 study, conducted by researcher TNS, highlighted the essential position that social media now occupies for marketers.

Social media monitoring is the number one metric informing planning, ahead of more traditional measures of market share data, brand tracking, competition monitoring and information from agencies.

According to Zoe Lawrence, digital director/APAC for TNS, nearly all (94%) connected consumers in India use social networks, switching between Facebook, Google+ and Twitter as the top three channels.

"This mass adoption of social provides marketers with an array of sources when it comes to developing strategies and evaluating the effectiveness of their marketing activity," she told the Economic Times.

"However, whatever the metric used, it's important to ensure marketers are monitoring the indicators that contribute to sales," she added.

Marketers are utilising social media in various ways, with brand communications topping the list.

The study indicated that half of marketers used social for this purpose, with customer service (43%) not far behind.

Social media was also a major part of e-commerce strategy, with social advertising being used by 51% of marketers, while a third (32%) deployed social media buy buttons.

A note of caution came from S. Visvanathan, managing director, South India and Sri Lanka and head of brand and communications practice, TNS India, who warned that businesses were in danger of being overwhelmed by the volume of data being generated.

"As more consumers and customers start connecting to the internet through mobile and start accessing different digital platforms, the amount of data available will explode," he said.

"It is important that marketers devise effective ways of extracting insight from this data before it is too late."

Data sourced from TNS, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff