B2B companies are fast catching on to online marketing trends as more of them start to follow the example of their B2C counterparts when it comes to social media engagement, shows a recent report by WebMarketing123.com. According to the “State of Digital Marketing 2012” report by the California-based online marketing firm, 63% of B2Bs surveyed are moderately to highly engaged with social media (27% highly engaged) – not a far cry from the 70% in B2Cs (40% highly engaged) – and majority of them are certainly reaping the rewards.
Top areas for social media marketing investment are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and across these platforms, nearly all advertisers (of the 60% that spends) are generating leads and roughly half of them reports closed deals.
Shift in Online Marketing Priorities
According to the report, 54% of B2B marketers primarily aim to generate leads when launching digital marketing programs, twice as much, compared to last year’s poll, while 28% aim for increasing brand awareness. Only 10% of B2B marketers surveyed cited increasing sales as their main objective while 6% engage in online marketing primarily to generate website traffic.
SEO With Most Impact in Lead Generation
About 59% of B2B marketers consider search engine optimization or SEO as having the biggest impact on lead generation while 21% points to social media as their top lead-generating channel. The report concludes that compared to 2011, 50% more B2B marketers consider social media with the most impact on lead generation.
Social Media Spending Stays Up
The report shows that 41% of B2B marketers have plans to increase social media spending over the next year and another 56% will maintain their budgets.
Internal Management vs External Agency
The WebMarketing123.com report also found that marketers are twice as likely to be highly satisfied with SEO performance if they work with an external agency as compared to having their online marketing campaigns managed internally. Only a quarter of those surveyed are highly satisfied with in-house PPC management compared to one-third who sought the expertise of PPC specialists.
Measurement and Attribution Challenges
Two in 10 B2B marketers with social media presence are unable to attribute leads and closed deals to social media. It is notable how social media spending continues to go on an upward trend despite the fact that “marketers are still struggling to measure and attribute the value of their investment.”
WebMarketing123.com surveyed over 500 US marketing professionals, two-thirds of which represent B2B companies. The survey was conducted in July 2012 and the results were released on August 29, 2012. You may download full report here.