Facebook Most Effective for B2C Marketers
The HubSpot study found that there was a gap in the effectiveness of different channels between B2B and B2C respondents. Among B2C companies, 77% said they had had acquired a customer through Facebook, making it more effective than a company blog (60%), Twitter (55%), and LinkedIn (51%). By contrast, among B2B companies, LinkedIn was the most effective, with 65% of these respondents having acquired a customer through the professional network. Company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%) followed.
This disparity is supported by data from a Webmarketing123 report released in November 2011, which examined social networks for lead generation. According to those survey results, while Facebook has generated leads for 73% of B2C marketers, ahead of Twitter (40%) and LinkedIn (12%), it takes second rank for B2B marketers. Of those, 44.6% say LinkedIn has been effective in generating lead flow, with Facebook in second (35.1%), and Twitter (31.6%) in third.
Social Media Leads Grow in Importance
Data from HubSpot’s “The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing” indicates that social media has become a more important source of leads to 62% of respondents over the past 6 months, while a majority (52%) also cited increased importance for SEO (organic search). More than one-third said blogs had become a more important source of leads, though there was then a significant drop-off to PPC (paid search – 20%), trade shows (14%), direct mail (10%), and telemarketing (9%).
By contrast, 51% said direct mail has become a less important source of leads over the past 6 months, compared to just 12% who said the same about blogs, and 7% who indicated decreased importance for social media or SEO.
Blogs Most Critical, Though
When asked to rank the importance of the services they use, 25% of users rated their company blog as critical to their business, while a further 56% considered them either important (34%) or useful (22%). LinkedIn was next, with 18% of users considering it critical and a further 55% giving it some measure of importance. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter followed, cited as critical by 15%, 12%, and 11% of users, respectively.
- Looking at a sample of over 150 businesses using closed-loop marketing analytics, HubSpot found that SEO leads have a 15% close rate, on par with the close rate for direct traffic, and ahead of referrals (9%), paid search (7%), social media (4%), and outbound leads (2%).
- Breaking down data by industry, the report shows that 92% of retail/wholesale industry respondents using Facebook had acquired a customer through the channel. LinkedIn and company blog (each at 61%) were most effective for technology (software/biotech) companies, and LinkedIn was also most effective for communications/media (67%) and professional services consulting (68%) industry respondents.
About the Data: The HubSpot report is based on responses from 972 professionals who were familiar with their business’ marketing strategy. These professionals included marketers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives at companies of various sizes. 72% of the respondents worked in B2B companies across a range of industries, including retail, technology, professional services, and communications and media.