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B2C, B2B Marketers’ Lead & Sales Gen Success Differ Across SocNets

by MarketingCharts staff
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The numbers reverse on the more professionally-oriented LinkedIn, as data from the August “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report” indicates. 44% of B2B marketers report generating leads on LinkedIn, and 23% generate sales, the highest percentages for B2B companies among the 5 social networks identified. By contrast, 21% of B2C companies say they have generated leads from LinkedIn, with 9% generating sales.

For B2C companies, Twitter is a far larger source of leads than LinkedIn, with 43% reporting having generated leads from the micro-blogging site. Google+ (15%) and Pinterest (13%) are next after LinkedIn (21%). In terms of sales generation, the order is the same: Twitter (19%) is second behind Facebook, followed by LinkedIn (9%), Google+ (7%), and Pinterest (6%).

Among B2B companies, Twitter is behind both Facebook and LinkedIn, a source of leads for 30%, with Google+ (7%) and Pinterest (3%) trailing. That order remains for sales generation: 14% say they have generated sales from Twitter, with Google+ (3%) and Pinterest (1%) only providing sales for a fraction of these respondents.

B2B Engagement With SocNets Almost Rivals B2C

Roughly 9 in 10 B2C and B2B marketers report having some type of engagement with social media, with 70% and 63%, respectively, at least moderately engaged. Even so, 41% of B2C companies report being either very (31%) or highly (10%) involved, compared to 27% of B2B companies.

In terms of spending on social networks, Facebook leads among both B2C (65%) and B2B (40%) marketers, with LinkedIn (39%) taking second spot for B2B companies and Twitter the second spot for B2C marketers (39%). 41% of B2B marketers plan to increase their social media budgets in 2013 and 56% will maintain them. B2C companies are more likely to increase (52%) than maintain (46%) their budgets.

An August survey of chief marketing officers (CMOs) by Duke University reveals that CMOs plan to increase the share of their marketing budgets devoted to social networks to 10.7% share in the next 12 months, and to 18.8% in the next 5 years.

Attribution Challenges Remain

According to the Webmarketing123 study, 20% of the marketers active on social networks are unsure if they are generating leads from their activities, and 40% are unsure if they have closed sales.

But not all marketers actively attempt to measure return on investment of their social media efforts, according to July survey results from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). 60% of respondents reported measuring the ROI of their social media efforts, relatively unchanged from 61% last year. By contrast, far larger proportions have processes in place to measure the effectiveness of other channels such as SEM-paid keyword (90%), websites (89%), email marketing (88%), online ads (88%), SEO-organic (81%), and mobile (70%).

Still, slightly more than 3 in 4 CMOs are at least somewhat confident that their social efforts are having a measurable impact on sales, according to a July survey by Baazarvoice.

Few respondents to the Marketing123 survey use agencies to manage or analyze their social media programs (5% of B2Bs, 13% of B2Cs). 85% of B2Bs manage those programs in house, as do 83% of B2Cs. Those who do use agencies are more than twice as likely to be “highly satisfied” with their program performance as those who manage the programs in house (21% vs. 10%).

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.