The year 2012 is three-quarters finished. Where are we marketers with respect to our digital marketing programs? How are we using social media channels, SEO and Pay Per Click; are we getting good results, and how are we measuring those results?
Two 2012 surveys provide some answers to these questions. One was conducted by Webmarketing 1|2|3, a digital marketing agency, and another was conducted by MarketingProfs and sponsored by Lithium (a social engagement marketing firm). In addition to highlighting the priorities of marketers today, these surveys can help all of us think more about our own digital marketing programs, strategic objectives and measurement criteria going forward.
2012 State of Digital Marketing Report
By Webmarketing 1|2|3
In July 2012, Webmarketing 1|2|3 conducted an online survey of over 500 U.S. marketing professionals from such companies as Sony, Olympus, Phillips, IBM, Hitachi, Cisco, Agilent, Microsoft, Citrix, Aramark, Federal Express, Bose and Nestlé.
Some highlights of findings:
- B2B marketers listed lead generation as their top objective, and rated SEO twice as effective as PPC and social media marketing (SMM). (This makes sense. As we’ll see in the other survey, SMM is more of a brand building tool and so is less likely to directly result in leads, though it does contribute directly to the top of the marketing funnel, with conversion to leads happening farther down the funnel.) At the same time, brand and product awareness has nearly doubled in importance to B2B marketers since 2011.
- 2012 saw a 50% increase from 2011 in the number of B2B marketers who believe social media has the most impact on lead generation. For B2Cs, 20% more marketers feel SEO has the most impact on lead generation in 2012 versus 2011. This may reflect a change in traditional thinking to trying new things.
- B2C prioritizes boosting brand and product awareness and brand reputation above online sales.
- More marketers are still relying on simple SEO success metrics such as overall traffic volume, organic traffic volume and number of keywords on page one; versus measures of financial impact like number of qualified leads and leads/sales attributable to organic search. Three in ten respondents are frustrated with the difficulty of measuring SEO results.
- 90% of marketers will increase or maintain spending on digital marketing. The same percentage is using social media. Only one in ten companies still have no social media program at all.
- B2C marketers are only slightly ahead of B2B marketers regarding social media engagement. 70% of B2C marketers and 63% of B2B marketers are moderately to highly engaged.
- B2Bs are investing nearly equally in Facebook and LinkedIn while B2Cs are strongly favoring Facebook, with similar results in terms of leads and sales generated.
- Interestingly, B2C marketers are seeing increased leads and sales from marketing on LinkedIn, the business social media site.
2012 State of Social Media Marketing
Social Media Measurement, Objectives and Budget Implications
Lithium recently teamed up with MarketingProfs and surveyed 450 marketers (256 completed the entire 20-minute survey) to see how they use social media and measure its effectiveness. MarketingProfs had last published such a report two years prior (2010). The latest report (2012) does not distinguish between B2B and B2C companies.
Some highlights of findings:
- Social media engagement has grown significantly. In 2010, about half of companies maintained a presence on at least one social media site. In 2012, 86% of companies have a Facebook presence, 84% have one on Twitter and 72% have one on LinkedIn.
- In 2010, the buzz was about simply being present on social media sites. Today the conversation is about meaningful engagement with customers.
- 91% of marketers list brand awareness as the top objective of their social media efforts, versus driving visitors to brand websites (78%) increasing purchase consideration (57%), driving direct sales online (46%) and offline (33%); and driving CRM activities (31%).
- Marketers are expected to demonstrate the ROI of social media efforts, resulting in an emphasis on short-term direct sales using social media. But social media is more of a community environment where hard sell is not well received. More experienced marketers understand that social media is better suited for brand building and adding prospects to the top of the marketing funnel where they can be nurtured.
- Measuring direct site traffic is a bridge to gauging social media marketing ROI. Similarly, integrating social media activity with other online channels provides better trackability of prospect engagement due to social media.
- 80% of marketers feel that they are just average or below average at being able to measure the impact of their social media efforts on company performance.
- Most marketers rely on free measurement tools such as Google Analytics, which don’t do as good a job as paid tools at identifying a direct link to sales.
- Top priorities for marketers now are 1) continuing to increase their presence across social media platforms; 2) integrating social media with other online marketing channels; 3) improving measurement; and 4) improving conversions.
B2B and B2C businesses have evolved their digital marketing programs. Social media sites have taken their place as foundational to any program. Companies have grown beyond merely having a presence on social media sites and are now actively engaging with and growing communities in order to promote their brands and feed the top of their marketing funnels. The next thing for us marketers to do is to determine:
- What are the depth and breadth of our digital marketing programs today and how are we optimizing our social media presence?
- What are our strategic objectives for the different components of our digital marketing mix?
- How are we measuring the ROI of these components?
- How can we better integrate our online and offline channels to improve overall ROI and trackability?
In future Marketer’s Blog posts, we’ll come back to these questions in more depth. In the meantime, we encourage you to have a look at these surveys as you make your plans for digital marketing success in 2013.
Here’s to the Marketing Champion in all of us. See you in the next post.