Organic search remains the strongest source of traffic to B2B websites in the United States, based on the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report by B2B marketing solutions firm Optify. However, email is still the top preferred channel for customer engagement compared to other online sources. Google, unsurprisingly, is the single most important search engine that drives organic traffic to B2B sites. It is obvious that analyzing Google traffic and optimizing for organic search remains a highly relevant endeavor to any B2B business.
The report is designed to serve as a guide for B2B marketers in evaluating existing marketing campaigns and helping them come up with marketing campaigns that is most suitable for their business. Of course, it sets benchmarks against which digital marketers can compare their own results and enable them to set realistic expectations with regards to their marketing campaigns.
Despite widespread adoption, the study also showed how little social media contributed to driving traffic in most B2B sites, indicating a possible “immaturity” in the use of social media channels. It, however, concludes that there remains a very high potential in social media particularly as a lead generation source.
Organic Search Traffic
From an analysis of data gathered from over 350,000 leads from more than 600 small and medium-sized B2B websites, organic search accounted for 41% of all visits, with Google responsible for almost 90% of all organic search, or 36% of all traffic. However, organic search visits directed from Bing are seen to have generated better engagement rates (page views per visit) and conversion rates compared to Google.
Direct traffic comes in as second strongest source, accounting for 40%, followed by referrals, which contributed to 11.50% of total visits. Traffic generated through social media amounted to only 1.90% of total visits to B2B sites, despite widespread adoption among B2B companies.
Engagement & Conversion
Although organic search is the number one driver of traffic, it only registered a conversion rate of 1.45%. Email garnered the highest average conversion rate of 2.89%, followed by referral (2.04%) and paid search (1.96%). The average conversion rate in the industry across the board was found to be 1.60%. Social media registered a 1.22% conversion rate.
Email also proved to be a top source for engagement, with an average of 3.75 page views per visit. Direct traffic and organic visits follows email as the strongest sources of engagement with average page views of 3.17 and 3.01 respectively. On the other side of the spectrum, paid search and social media traffic revealed lowest engagement rates, with 2.66 page views and 2.02 page views, respectively.
Conversion by Source (Optify)
Social media accounts draw a comparatively lesser percentage of visitor traffic as opposed to other online sources but it is apparent that there is yet a lot of untapped potential. Companies with active social media campaigns showed healthy conversion and engagement rates, although these companies comprise a low percentage of the total number of B2B companies surveyed.
Facebook drives more traffic to B2B sites compared to Twitter and LinkedIn, but Twitter proved to be the top performer in lead generation. However, Twitter falls short in encouraging engagement whereas LinkedIn garnered the highest page views per visit.
Social media breakdown
Paid search conversions may be high in 2012 but engagement levels of traffic from paid search channels are noticeably low. This is of course due to the nature of paid search, which are dedicated to the quick conversion of visitors to leads. The 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report by Optify showed that over 10% of companies surveyed have halted paid search campaigns sometime in 2012. For companies that kept running paid search campaigns, conversion rates stayed above-average and contributed to 23% of visits and 16% of total leads.
The 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report notes that the question for digital marketers does not solely lie on which source of traffic to focus on – but rather on how much you are focusing and how well you are planning campaigns for channels that you currently use. It also puts emphasis on the importance of measuring marketing activities to be able to establish a baseline and set your B2B marketing goals. There are numerous tools and solutions available to assist B2B marketers in measuring marketing activities.
Download the full report here.