It's an ongoing struggle for businesses to figure out how to get the most out of their marketing budgets. While email has proven time and time again to be an incredibly effective channel, there's still a lot of question as to how to maximize ROI in channels like search and social. Here, you'll find a look at what seems to be working for a great deal of B2B businesses.
Do you get a bigger bang from your buck from SEO, PPC or social media marketing? Let us know in the comments.
Webmarketing123 has put out some interesting survey results for its State of Digital Marketing 2012 report. It looks at B2B vs. B2C marketing efforts in terms of SEO, PPC and social media. We'll focus on the B2B side of things here. Among other things, it looks specifically at the satisfaction levels of in-house/agency search marketing and social media efforts, as well as how much money businesses are putting into different social networks, and how much they're getting back.
The survey included companies like Sony, Olympus, Phillips, IBM, Hitatchi, Cisco, Agilent, Microsoft, Citrix, Medtronic, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Blue Shield, ADP, Pitney Bowes, Monster.com, Angie’s List, GE, John Deere, Aramark, Thomson Reuters, Federal Express, Bose, and Nestlé. In all, over 500 marketing professionals from the U.S. responded to the survey.
The main B2B takeaways appear to be that lead generation is the top objective among brands, and SEO is found to be twice as effective as either PPC or social media marketing. This is quite interesting, considering that it is getting harder and harder to get on the first page of Google results. Of course, there are some major brands that took this survey, and they likely don't struggle with rankings as much as some smaller businesses.
According to the survey, about 50% more B2Bs now consider social media as having the most impact on lead generation, compared to last year, though SEO is still significantly ahead.
Based on the surveys findings, most B2B businesses engage in SEO, and do so in-house, rather than hiring agencies. Almost all of them either intend to increase their SEO budgets in 2013 or at least maintain their current budgets.
According to the survey, the most common measures of SEO performance are the volume of traffic, organic traffic, and the number of keywords appearing on page 1, "which give no insight into financial impact." Fewer marketers, Webmaketing123 says, are employing "more sophisticated measures," like number of qualified leads or sales attributable to organic search.
Here's a look at how businesses are doing their PPC, and what their budget plans look like:
Here's a similar look at how businesses are doing social media, and what their budget plans look like:
Interestingly, while in-house dominates the efforts of businesses across SEO, PPC and social media, the satisfaction levels are significantly higher when outside agencies are hired, according to the survey:
According to the survey, B2C businesses are getting more engagement than B2B businesses from their social media efforts, but the gap is narrowing. B2B businesses are getting better at social media.
"B2C marketers are ahead with 70% moderately to highly engaged (40% highly engaged), but B2B is catching up, with 63% at those levels of engagement (27% highly engaged), overall, only 1 in 10 have no social media program," the firm says.
It probably helps that the social networks are putting out more business-oriented products. Facebook, since the IPO, has certainly had businesses on the brain (even at the cost of user-friendliness, perhaps), launching more and more ad products and targeting capabilities for posts. Twitter, just this past week, announced new ad targeting options of its own, as well as the Certified Product Program for businesses. Google also announced some new business-specific features for Google+ this past week.
As these networks continue to cater more to businesses, businesses are likely to find them more valuable, and perhaps find more room in their budgets to take advantage. However, it is the social network that has always been business-oriented, that currently seems to be providing the biggest bang for B2B business' bucks.
Last, but not least, Webmarketing123 provides a look at the break down of dollars spent among popular social networks, and money made from them. It looks like businesses are getting the most out of their dollars spent with LinkedIn, though for B2C, Facebook blows LinkedIn out of the water. This makes sense, however, if you consider the professional nature of LinkedIn.
Businesses may soon be able to get even more out of LinkedIn, as the company just expanded LinkedIn ads into 17 new languages. The company is also improving its developer platform, which could lead to some more business opportunities.
From which social networks are you getting the most ROI? Are you getting more from SEO or PPC? In-house or agency? Let us know what's working for your business.