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The Most Important B2B Digital Marketing Statistics 2017
Often when faced with statistics about digital marketing industry growth, B2B marketers are left wanting for data and trends specific to the unique type of tactics that they have to employee to target fellow businesses. It’s relatively easy to find B2C digital marketing trends to inspire your consumer-targeted strategy, but much harder for B2B companies to discover what they should be doing to maximise their marketing efforts. Luckily, we’ve pulled together some of the most important email, content, mobile, search and social marketing statistics to help guide you towards a winning B2B digital marketing strategy for 2017.
Email marketing and content marketing are neck and neck in terms of lead generation.
A survey from Ascend2 about the state of lead generation found that email marketing and content marketing remain the most effective tactics for lead generation. However, social media marketing, landing page/website optimisation and search engine optimisation were all quick to follow, suggesting that a multi-channel approach is essential for generating B2B leads in 2017.
84% of millennial B2B buyers believe their mobile device is essential to work.
The vast majority of 18-35 year-olds working in B2B buying positions are heavily using mobile and even the older generations claim they couldn’t be without their phones. 76% of gen X (36-51 year-olds) and 60% of baby boomers (aged 52+) also feel that for B2B mobile usage is mandatory. This is proof that marketers should be getting on board with B2B mobile marketing trends, such as switching to a mobile-friendly website, creating mobile apps, distributing mobile-friendly email and utilising mobile advertising.
B2B buyers and researchers are getting younger.
Between 2012 and 2014, the number of 18 to 34 year old B2B researchers has increased by 70%, and it has only risen since then. Now, over half of researchers are millennial. This shift in generation is leading to a shift in the way businesses find brands and products, because younger researchers are more likely to turn to the internet than their older colleagues. Don’t dismiss young researchers in terms of their influence in the buying cycle, either. Although 64% of senior level employees have the final authority on purchases, a total of 81% of non-senior staff have some level of influence over purchasing decisions.
Google+ is dead, long live LinkedIn.
Despite 62% of B2B marketers using Google+ to distribute content, only 13% reported it as useful. LinkedIn is the most effective platform with 66% reporting that they see good results from the site, which is lucky as a whopping 94% of B2B marketers currently use it as a marketing tactic. It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is successful for B2B marketing as it is designed to be the social media site for professionals, but that doesn’t mean you should shun other social channels; 55% of B2B marketers say Twitter is an effective platform, and 51% report YouTube to be effective too.
Twitter is losing ground to Instagram.
Despite being a popular social media channel for B2B marketers, the social media platform is growing at a far slower rate than its competitors. Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms; it currently has more than 500 million users, with over 300 million using the site daily, but 80% of them are under the age of 35. This might not be a problem for B2B marketers considering that B2B researchers and buyers are getting younger, but only 33% of B2B brands currently use the platform, compared to 51% of B2C marketers. There is great potential in Instagram though – research from TrackMaven suggests that B2B companies see an average of 22.53 interactions per 1000 followers per post on Instagram, compared to just 5.99 on Facebook, 1.09 on LinkedIn and 0.86 on Twitter.
B2B mobile usage is high and mobile SEO is vital.
71% of B2B researchers begin their research with generic Google searches, and the first position on Google mobile search results has a 31.42% click-through rate. Mobile SEO therefore remains a vital aspect of B2B marketing strategies in 2017, particularly when taking into account Google’s plans to switch to a mobile-first search index, which could take place by the end of this year.
Only 50% of B2B organisations have a mobile-friendly site.
Google’s index change will basically mean that they will use the mobile version of their index as their primary search engine index, since the majority of searches now occur on mobile devices. This means that mobile-friendly websites will be favoured over those which are not. If your B2B website is not currently optimised for mobile, or you have a separate mobile site that doesn’t have as much content than your desktop site, you should be making the switch now to a mobile-friendly site. In an ideal world, this should be a responsive website in which the content remains the same for both desktop and mobile users, but it responds to different devices in order to display the content in a user-friendly way. At then end of 2016, it was estimated that just 50% of B2B organisations have a responsive website, which suggests that adopting one soon could give you a competitive edge.
Content marketing statistics show increased adoption for B2B.
Content marketing is one of the biggest B2B marketing trends right now, and it’s only expected to grow. In a report released by The Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers reported that they were using content marketing as a strategy to drive customer action. However, only 6% say that their level of content marketing usage is “sophisticated”, i.e. that they’re accurately measuring the success of their content marketing efforts and are able to scale them across their entire organisation. This suggests that while content marketing is clearly deemed an important strategy, there is still work to be done to take full advantage of its benefits.
It takes time for content marketing to become successful.
53% of B2B marketers say that their content marketing approach is moderately successful, with only 21% believing it to be very or extremely successful. 62% report that their content marketing is more successful than it was one year ago, suggesting that there’s a learning curve in utilising content to its full potential and, with commitment, it is possible to become more sophisticated in terms of measuring success and scaling content marketing. It also means that if you don’t already have a solid content marketing strategy in place, you could be left behind by the competition who are already striving for success.
Content creation is the most important factor in increasing B2B marketing success.
The same report from the Content Marketing Institute also found that 85% of marketer’s success was down to improving the quality and efficiency of content creation. 50% of marketers put success down to better content distribution, i.e. they were able to identify what type of distribution worked best in order to better target customers. 42% said that the ability to measure content success was what drove success. This suggests that measuring the performance of content, not only to show results such as ROI or CPA, but also to discover the most successful methods of sharing content, is crucial to an effective content marketing strategy.
Email remains the most used method for content distribution.
93% of B2B marketers report that email is the most-used vehicle for distributing their content, with LinkedIn coming in close behind with 89% of marketers using the channel. Both channels are deemed highly important by B2B marketers in terms of their content marketing success.
Email must be mobile-friendly.
We’ve established that email remains an important B2B marketing channel, but it’s also essential that marketers know how their subscribers read their newsletters. 54% of emails are opened on a mobile device, which proves that mobile-friendly email is critical. Two of the biggest problems people have when receiving emails is that they’re not formatted properly for mobile (21%), and they’re too small to successfully read and interact with (32%). No matter how brilliant your content is, if you’re distributing via mobile-unfriendly emails, you may find up to half of the recipients simply don’t read or engage with it.
Paid social media marketing is more popular than paid search engine marketing.
84% of marketers use paid social media promotions, compared to just 67% using paid search engine marketing. However, search engine PPC is currently deemed to be slightly more successful than social media ads, with 54% finding PPC to be effective compared to 50% for social promotions. Native advertising is deemed effective by 35% of marketers, with 41% currently using the method. These inbound marketing statistics prove that B2B organisations are moving towards online advertising methods in response to younger B2B buyers being more receptive to digital promotions than traditional outbound advertising methods. Print and offline advertising methods are still used by 58% of B2B marketers, but it is deemed the least successful paid method with only 24% finding it effective.
Influencer marketing can be successful for B2B companies.
Although B2C customers have been using influencer marketing for several years, B2B organisations are just catching onto the trend. Word of mouth remains a successful advertising technique and influencer marketing is simply a form of word of mouth recommendation, with businesses reaching out to bloggers and vloggers to promote their content or products. Retention rates for word of mouth marketing can be as much as than for customers who discovered your business from other methods. Plus, marketers can expect to earn an average of £6.50 in revenue for every £1 spent on influencer marketing.
Digital marketing for B2B companies is constantly evolving and growing in response to changing buyer generations, social trends, device preferences and SEO standards. Benchmarks and best practices will continue to evolve over the following years, as is the nature of marketing in an era in which technology is rapidly developing. However, if we focus on the present for the time being, B2B marketers can stay on top in 2017 by taking the following steps:
- Adapt for mobile B2B users
- Acknowledge and adapt to young B2B buyers
- Embrace a wider range of social platforms, even those not traditionally B2B such as LinkedIn
- Commit to a content marketing strategy
- Find accurate tools for measuring success
Well we hope you found this helpful and here’s to your success!