A good percentage of social media studies seem to focus on consumer-facing issues, but by now it should be clear that social media matters to those in B2B as much as B2C. Sorting through all of the information in the numerous studies on the subject, however, can be a bit overwhelming. It can also sometimes be difficult to decipher which studies are most relevant to B2B.
To save time and cut through some of the clutter, we've collected four recent social media studies every B2B marketer should read.
BtoB's recent research report, “B2B Social Media Marketing: Best in Class Rise to The Top,” is designed to be a snapshot of the state of social media and what the future holds for marketing executives. According to the report, 37% of B2B marketers claim they are “very involved” in the adoption of social media, while 34% claim they are “moderately involved.” That number will likely increase as 57% reported they plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in the future. To those B2B marketers that have yet to adopt a social strategy, this should serve as a wake-up call that the competition is picking up in that arena.
In its survey of over 400 B2B marketers, BtoB had respondents rank the effectiveness of social media on various marketing objectives. The survey respondents ranked “branding” the highest with a 3.86 out of 5. In a near three-way tie for second-most-effective objective was “product/event promotion,” “community building,” and “website traffic building.” B2B marketers felt social channels were less effective for “product co-creation,” and “product development.”
Overall, BtoB’s Social Media Research Report gives a sweeping overview of social media trends and behaviors that are helpful to marketers.
Social media is obviously important for many reasons, but there are still statistical facts that show it shouldn’t be B2B marketers' only focus. A study from Optify shows that 90% of organic search traffic to B2B websites still hails from search giant Google. Only 1.22% of traffic is generated through social media. On a large scale, that one percent is still significant, but it’s clear that SEO and other search-focused methods shouldn’t be abandoned.
That being said, Optify also reports that although more traffic is driven by search, social media is an effective driver of leads. Even though social sites only accounted for just over 1% of the site traffic, they accounted for 4.8% of all leads. Part of this can be attributed to social users being more engaged in general, but some recent changes at Google could affect search traffic even further. The search giant recently stopped providing search terms in its analytics and made some other changes that made it harder to identify the source of organic search traffic. Recently, 40% of search traffic was filed under the “not provided” category, which can put a damper on SEO strategy. Traffic from social sites is a bit easier to track.
While technically a content marketing study report, B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America from The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs helps to outline B2B marketers' habits on social networks. According to the report – outlined in infographic form here – 81% of B2B marketers employ a social media content strategy. Although so many distribute through social channels, the majority are all still using the same five social sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+.
This year over last, the average number of social sites used by B2B marketers for content went up from five to six. B2B marketers added Instagam and SlideShare most often as a channel for distributing content. While those main sites have large audiences, they might not always be the best fit for some B2B companies. Marketers could find niche audiences on other social channels with some research, and it looks like more B2B marketers are exploring different options.
Shareaholic’s first installment of “Social Referrals that Matter” helped identify which social sites have the most engaged users. The site that drives the most traffic, Facebook in this case, isn’t always the social site that will result in the most user engagement. According to Shareaholic’s research, YouTube came out the clear winner with the lowest bounce rate, highest pages per visit, and the longest visit duration.
What was more surprising is the two sites that followed YouTube.
Google+ and LinkedIn delivered the least site traffic, but ranked high in terms of engagement. For example, Google+ users spent an average of three minutes reading content posted from those in their circles, while LinkedIn users spent just over two minutes. In a click-and-pass society, those minutes with eyes on your content could prove quite valuable.
Would you like to see more marketing industry news and information like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to our Marketing Dive email newsletter! You may also want to check out Marketing Dive's look at 3 publishers challenging what an ad should look like.