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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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