PPC advertising and social media marketing are two main channels of internet advertising that online marketing professionals use to convert traffic for B2C campaigns. However, the B2B market is a whole different environment with users exhibiting different search behaviours across both channels.
PPC Advertising: Paid Search
From Optify’s 2012 B2B Benchmark study, the median monthly conversion rate came in at 1.96% from paid search. Marketing professionals who effectively leveraged the capabilities of paid search reported a conversion rate of 3.58% (75th percentile), whereas those on the lower end of the spectrum (25th percentile) recorded conversion rates of 0.82%. The average B2B company also reported generating 547 monthly visits from paid search advertising, translating into 46 new targeted leads every month.
Additionally, the findings revealed that 10% of companies surveyed planned to discontinue their paid search campaigns in the near future. Effectively managing PPC advertising campaigns can be an arduous endeavor for marketers because significant testing is required to find the perfect combination of keywords, ad copy, landing pages and conversion paths. A lot of resources are also needed to discover the critical path, and some companies just do not have the budget to test and mine through pools of data.
Social Media Marketing
No matter where you look online, there is a tremendous amount of hype for social media, as Search Engine Watch recently discovered when it analyzed the amount of news coverage social receives in comparison to SEO. According to that report, social was covered 4 times more than SEO on the putative technology site TechCrunch, and 58 times more than SEO on Mashable. In relation to performance, however, this channel provided less than desired results for B2B companies.
LinkedIn vs. Twitter vs. Facebook
Despite being a social media network for professionals, LinkedIn fell behind Facebook and Twitter in generating new visits and leads for B2B companies online. In terms of visits, Facebook drove in 54% of the traffic, with Twitter and LinkedIn coming in second (32%) and (14%) respectively. However, Twitter proved to be the ultimate social media lead generation source for B2B online marketers in 2012, providing 82% of all leads from social marketing efforts. In fact, Twitter’s conversion rate was reported to be 2.17%, finishing far ahead of the average conversion rate of 1.60% from all traffic sources.
Despite these numbers, an integrated online marketing strategy is necessary to capture traffic across all relevant sources. Depending on the industry, different users will exhibit particular behaviours online. A combination of search engine optimization, PPC advertising, and social marketing will not only boost cross-promotional activities, but will allow your brand to drive in targeted traffic from all possible sources.
Images and statistics courtesy of Optify.