Search-engine optimization (SEO) is the digital marketing channel with the biggest impact on lead generation for both B2B and B2C companies, according to [download page] August 2012 survey results from Webmarketing123. 59% of B2B marketers said SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals, with social media (21%) and pay-per-click (PPC – 20%) trailing distantly. Their B2C counterparts also ranked SEO (49%) first for impact on lead generation, followed by PPC (26%) and social media (25%).
These figures represent a significant shift from 2011. Compared to last year, 20% more B2Cs now identify SEO as the channel with the most impact. Also, almost 50% more B2B marketers identify social media as having the greatest impact on lead generation. This may be a result of greater knowledge and training: in November 2011 survey results, Webmarketing123 found that 45.9% of marketers wanted to learn more about social media marketing.
SEO Budgets to Rise Next Year
Data from the August “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report” indicates that 84% of B2B marketers and 80% of B2C marketers use SEO, with the majority of the overall sample keeping this activity in-house, at 63% and 53%, respectively.
Separate results reveal that lead generation (54%) is the top objective of B2B marketers’ digital programs, and given that a majority believe SEO to have the largest impact on this objective, it’s not surprising that 98% of these marketers will maintain (55%) or increase (43%) their SEO budgets in 2013. Although lead generation (22%) falls 3rd on the list of B2C objectives (behind increased sales, at 26%, and increased awareness, at 33%), a healthy 45% of B2C marketers will be increasing their SEO budgets for next year.
Simplest SEO Metrics The Most Common
More than 3 in 10 respondents describe “difficulty in measuring SEO results” as their top frustration with SEO, although 60% use at least 1 advanced metric when measuring their SEO efforts.
Still, the most commonly used metrics are basic, being: overall volume of traffic (used by 51%); volume of organic traffic (49%); and number of keywords on page 1 (47%). Use of more advanced metrics, which are generally considered more indicative of financial impact but more challenging to implement, is more limited: 36% measure the number of qualified leads, and 34% analyze leads or sales attributable to organic search. A corresponding 7 in 10 reported being unable to accurately attribute leads or sales to organic search.
PPC Use More Widespread Among B2C Companies
B2C respondents were more likely to report using PPC than B2B companies (73% vs. 64%). Even so, a slightly larger proportion of B2B than B2C marketers are keeping this activity in-house (44% vs. 42%), with B2C companies far more likely to look to an agency (31% vs. 20%).
40% of B2C companies will increase their PPC budgets in 2013, compared to 31% of B2B companies. Far fewer will reduce their spending, at 8% and 11%, respectively.
- 21% of respondents who work with agencies on SEO report being highly satisfied with their program performance, compared with 11% of those who keep that management in house.
- Similarly, 20% of respondents working with agencies for PPC report being highly satisfied with their program’s performance, compared to 15% who keep this activity in-house.
About The Data: The Webmarketing123 survey was conducted online in July of 2012. Over 500 US participants – two-thirds B2B, one-third B2C – completed the survey. Participants answered questions using an online survey tool.