NEW DELHI: An increasing number of marketers in India are turning to social media and most are spending a significant proportion of their budgets on the channel, a new report has suggested.

The Social Media Marketing India Trends Study, from consulting firm EY, looked at how India's top social and digital savvy brands have been using social media platforms and how they go about tracking the performance of their social media initiatives.

Overall, 90% of those surveyed – up from 78% in 2013 – said they intended to devote up to 15% of their annual marketing budget in the coming year exclusively to social media, the Business Standard reported.

Almost one quarter (23%) indicated that they were already spending more than Rs 10 lakh per annum in this channel; 14% had spent Rs 1-2 crore on social media in 2014.

The study also noted the proportion of brands spending in excess of Rs 2 crore had declined from 17.1% in 2013 to 14.3% in 2014 and suggested brands were being cautious on the returns and were optimising expenditure.

"Companies and brands have significantly increased their social media spends even as they find it challenging to measure the effectiveness of their social media engagements," the report stated.

The metrics they were using included conversions (80%), leads generated (47%), RoI (31%) and sales (21%).

Commenting on the study, Dinesh Mishra, EY Partner and Customer Practice Leader (India), Advisory Services, said: "It is our observation that while brands have invested financially and in processes, there is a need for holistic customer engagement and strong community building strategies through the use of social media."

This was already on the agenda for many of those surveyed, as they planned to introduce social CRM and social commerce as priority items on their social media agenda.

Less than half were currently integrating social media data with CRM systems, but EY noted that as brands began to collate data from various touch points and to get a single view of the customer, they would be better able to establish how individual consumers preferred to be engaged with.

Data sourced from EY, Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff