Archive for the ‘Search Engine Marketing’ Category
Search engine marketing (SEM) accounts for roughly three out of every eight dollars spent on digital advertising, with Google alone commanding 31% of the market.
That share is even larger within the b2b marketing space, and for good reasons: 88% of b2b buyers conduct online research before making business purchasing decisions, and nearly half of b2b tech buyers say they’ve discovered brands they weren’t previously aware of through a search engine.
While organic search traffic still drives roughly half of business website traffic, paid search accounts for 10%—and it enables marketers to guarantee first-page presence even for highly competitive search phrases that are difficult to optimize for organically.
So how can search engine marketers maximize their click-through rate (CTR) and conversions from paid search? Which tools and reports are most helpful? How and when should marketers use retargeting and ad extensions? What common SEO pitfalls and mistakes should they avoid?
Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best guides to search engine marketing of the past 18 months.
7 deadly sins of Google AdWords by iMedia Connection
Calling AdWords “both an easy-to-get-started and difficult-to-master tool for online advertisers,” Sheri Firstenberg takes a “look at seven AdWords sins that could be killing your ROI,” among them using search network with display select as your campaign type (search and display work differently and campaigns should be managed separately); dropping the ball on ad extensions; and ignoring match types and negative keywords.
Miranda Miller writes that Google’s recently introduced Callout extensions enabole “you to add more text to your ad to spotlight free shipping, discounts, price matching and more. Callout extensions are similar to sitelinks, but without the links,” then explains why advertisers may want to use them, how to get started, and tips & tricks.
10 ways to get the most from PPC in a small-keyword category by eConsultancy
Using the category of home insurance as an example, Malcolm Slade demonstrates how “how search marketers operating in a highly-competitive category can achieve visibility and acquire new customers without simply increasing their paid search bids,” through tactics like remarketing, ad extensions, and social proof.
Once you get past the obnoxious pop-up ad here, Gary Victory reviews nine helpful tools for paid search keyword research, including KeywordCompetitor (which shows “your competitors’ paid keywords, ads, and landing pages”) and iSpionage (“allows you to gain insight into competitors’ effective keywords, ad copy, and ad budget”) as well as popular tools like SEMrush and SpyFu.
Adam Kreitman explains what the Google Display Network is (“a huge network of websites—from the New York Times site down to tiny sites hardly anyone knows about—that run Google ads”); how it can help search advertisers expand impressions, clicks and conversions; and how to use keyword targeting and management placements. Additional targeting options are explored in part 2 and part 3 of this series.
Emma Welland identifies four reports within Google Analytics that search engine marketers should be reviewing, and the value provided by each. For example, the Keyword Positions report (found at Acquisition>Adwords>Keyword Positions) reveals which ad positions actually provide the highest conversion rate (it’s not always the top spot).
Help! I Raised My AdWords Bids and Got LESS Traffic! by WordStream
Andy Stefano does the math to show how increasing bids can actually reduce clicks, how quality score can increase clicks without increasing the budget, and strategies to address different search marketing goals (branding, traffic, conversions, or ROI).
AdWords Keyword Diagnosis Report: Diagnosis Statuses Decoded by Search Engine Journal
Reporting that “AdWords provides a keyword diagnosis tool inside the user interface that few people know about, and even those who do use the tool may be surprised to learn the tool is quite robust,” Heather Cooan explains what each keyword status means, from “ads showing now” (what you’d like to see for every keyword phrase) through “low quality score,” “low search volume,” “keyword disapproved,” “excluded” and more than a dozen others.
John A. Lee looks into the implications of changes to search engine results pages like product listing ads (PLAs), knowledge graphs, and suggested searches (less space for ad units and higher CPCs), and what search advertisers can do to try to retain top exposure for their ads.
Maximize Your Click Through Rate: Tips on Writing Killer Ad Copy by Vertical Measures
Natalie Barreda explores how to optimize ad copy, from the headline to ad extensions, competitive analysis, and ad body text: “The absolute, most important component when writing ad text to ensure quality clicks is the call to action in the ad. Another important thing to note is the ad relevancy/keyword use within the actual ad copy.”
Going Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Ads with 3x the Average CTR by WordStream
***** 5 STARS
In this long and detailed post, Larry Kim goes step-by-step through a process to “ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.” Along the way he spells out the difference between average and exceptional campaigns; the intricacies of AdRank; dynamic keyword insertion; ad extensions; and much more.
The Ultimate List to Clean Up Your PPC Accounts for the New Year by Search Engine Watch
Joseph Kerschbaum details 16 elements that search marketers should review periodically to keep campaigns running in top form, among them geographic tarketing and bid modifiers; ad scheduling; ad rotation and delivery; ad copy; landing pages; and shared negative keyword lists across campaigns (“make sure all of your negative lists are targeted to the proper campaigns. You might be surprised at what you find”).
Rethinking Your Paid-Search Presence by MediaPost
Writing that “Unfortunately, many marketers look at their paid-search keywords in a silo. They get stuck in the channel. They may realize that certain terms work better in paid search, increasing conversions, customers and revenue, but they stop there, rather than integrating these terms across all marketing initiatives — which would provide a far greater impact,” Elizabeth Dillon explains how marketers can and should rethink paid strategies in terms of optimizing overall web presence.
New AdWords Ad Ranking Formula: What Does It Mean? by Search Engine Land
Larry Kim (again) demonstrates how AdRank works in AdWords and how Google uses it to determine “the order in which competing ads should be ranked on a SERP.” He also points out that AdRank “plays a huge role in determining the actual cost-per-click that your competitors [ITALICS] pay when someone clicks on their ads,” and delves into what search marketers should be doing to optimize AdRank given Google’s latest changes to this algorithm.
The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Quality Score by PPC Hero
***** 5 STARS
This long, detailed, and outstanding guide is designed to “help you understand the different types of Google Quality Score, why they’re important, the misconceptions about Quality Score, and it will provide you with a checklist of actions you can take to help raise your Quality Score.” This is one worth bookmarking for long-term reference.
Top 5 Ways You’re Leaking Money in AdWords by WordStream
Noting that small businesses typically waste 25% of more of their AdWords budget, Erin Sagin identifies five “culprits” that unnecessarily drain those dollars, and how to deal with each one. For example, not using negative keywords: “If you detect that a searcher is looking for something that you do not offer, eliminate the possibility of showing your ad to them by setting a negative keyword.”
A Guide to Retargeting (Remarketing) for B2B Marketers by KoMarketing B2B Online Marketing Blog
Joseph Vivolo defines what remarketing and retargeting (which are pretty much synonyms) is; dispels common misconceptions (“The biggest misconception is that retargeting is a form of stalking…[but] no matter what, you will find ads on webpages as you browse the web. The only difference with retargeting, is that the next time you see an ad, it will most likely be something that you are interested in”); explains the value of retargeting for B2B marketers; and lists several best practices.
Search Remarketing: What You Need To Know by MediaPost
Contrary to the post above, Jeremy Walker writes that “While each serves to more accurately reach specific audiences, search retargeting and search remarketing are two very different practices.” He goes on to explain the distinctions, benefits, considerations (be prepared for much lower volume), and mistakes to avoid when using search remarketing.
Infographic: Nearly 1/3 of consumers click on paid links by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal
Jim Dougherty presents an infographic from DMNews containing a number of interesting SEM-related stats, such as that paid search has a higher average conversion rate (2.6%) than organic search (1.9%), and that paid search accounts for 44% of all search engine traffic revenue for online retailers. The figures may or may not be spot on, but the underlying message that marketers shouldn’t ignore paid search is spot on.
Should Every PPC Expert Know CRO? by PPC Hero
Calling conversion rate optimization (CRO) a”a fundamental part of PPC,” Sam Owen lays out the five principles of how good websites work, then explains how to improve your CRO skills using the DHAES approach (for data, hypothesis, approach, experiment, and statistical significance: typically you “need at least 50 conversions per test page”).
Laurie Sullivan writes that “The Estimated Total Conversions AdWords tool estimates online sales and conversions that require multiple devices to complete,” and explains how this tool works to “give advertisers a complete view of all conversions driven by Google search advertising…(including) metrics based on phone calls and store visits.”
The 10 DOs & 10 DONTs in Google AdWords by Search Engine Journal
***** 5 STARS
Rocco Baldassarre helpfully provides a reference-worthy list of 10 things advertisers should definitely DO in AdWords (e.g., utlize the keyword planner, hone your ad text, use tightly themed ad groups) and 10 practices to avoid (such as paying “too much attention to keyword popularity metrics,” trying to outbid competitors, and neglecting geographic targeting).
After noting that optimizing AdWords quality score can reduce CPC by as much as 50%, Elisa Gabbert explains three ways to gradually improve quality scores, from using site extensions (like sitelinks and call extensions, which are “especially key for mobile ads, allowing people to call you with one click and get what they need right when they want it”) to bidding on brand terms.
Every Adwords Campaign will have its Day by KKSmarts
Writing that “By combining their adcopy with that time their ad is running they will definitely stand out from the other adverts and, as we know, ads that stand out usually get clicked on!,” Mike Seddon proceeds to explain how to use ad scheduling to separate your ads from the pack and increase CTR.
Shelley Pringle shares 10 key considerations for designing an effective landing page, from making the offer clear and “answering, the question: what’s in it for them?” and keeping the form short to using the “blink test” and optimizing your post-submit thank-you page.
10 Alternatives to Google AdWords by PPC Hero
While Google AdWords is by far the largest PPC network, there are times when marketers may need to use other networks in addition to or in place of AdWords. In this post, guest blogger Aleh Barysevich details 10 alternatives, from the obvious Yahoo! Bing Network to AdRoll, “a retargeting platform, which is one of the top third-party tools officially approved by Facebook.”
Guest post by Luke Rees.
Every marketing executive wants to know when their efforts are getting through to consumers, and the online world is certainly making it easier to do so. Whilst there is still no way to track impressions from offline marketing (human interface programmes just aren’t that advanced yet…), the online world makes it possible to track real time results via impressions and clicks.
But although online is great for understanding your customer base, it may not be the best platform for converting leads into customers. In fact, a recent study found that two thirds of people get frustrated when they can only interact with a company online.
65% of businesses still consider the phone their strongest lead source, so how can marketers track when their online efforts are generating phone calls?
Here are five techniques marketers can use to better understand their customers; to streamline their experience with the contact centre; and to ultimately improve ROI.
Click-to-call tracking allows advertisers to identify and measure calls to their business after an ad click through occurs. Google recently announced they are offering this service free for their AdWords users.
How it works:
- a code is placed on the company’s website or mobile site;
- this code generates a unique forwarding number for each AdWords click;
- when a customer calls from a unique number you can link it back to a specific page on your website, as well as publisher sites within the display network, to see the types of calls that are being generated;
- with the help of Google Universal Analytics it is possible to track the keywords (i.e. search phrases) the customer used before clicking on your webpage. Your call centre staff are therefore already clued-in about the specific needs of the customer.
Data from this new free feature allows marketers to understand which keywords and ads are driving the most phone calls from your website, as well as where the most valuable calls are coming from.
Google’s call conversion tool allows marketers to optimise each page of their website by seeing the amount of engagement it’s getting, but there are also more sophisticated methods available for tracking where customers are coming from.
Here are two more techniques for tracking customer acquisition:
- IP and ISP (Subscriber Trunk Dialing) tracking software allows agents to see the exact geographical location where calls are coming in from;
- integrating call tracking with bid management software can allow marketers to see the keywords that lead to the most offline telephone conversions. Having this data means they can fine tune their PPC and SEO campaigns.
Companies who understand the needs of their clients and know how to target them are likely to significantly reduce their cost per lead. For one company who had their data reviewed this was as much as 50% reduction.
Conversion to call
Call tracking companies like ResponseTap provide software which allows marketers to track the entire customer journey, not just the initial call.
With the help of web analytics programmes it is possible to see:
- which keywords the customer used before calling;
- the publisher which drove the visitor to the website;
- the webpages they looked at before, during and after each call.
Integrating call tracking with analytics software like Google Adwords tracking, Adobe SiteCatalyst, or DC Storm can further improve customer understanding and increase the conversion to the right kind of call.
One company wanted to reduce information only calls to make capacity for Sales calls. By reorganising content for existing members and non-members differently they were able to increase the conversion to the right kind of call by 66%.
Conversion to sale
Wouldn’t it be great if your call centre staff new exactly the needs of the customer before they’ve even picked up the phone? These three strategies do just that, which significantly increases your chance of making a sale:
- Call screening alerts the agent about the campaign that has motivated their call. A phrase is read out to the agent before or after a call, telling them information like how the caller found your website, and what keyword they typed in;
- Dynamic call routing allows companies to route a call depending on to how a visitor have found their website. The call can then be directed to the best team, department or person within the business;
- SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) can be integrated into your call centre tactics. SIP is a signalling protocol that makes it possible to implement services like voice-enriched e-commerce, web page click-to-dial, or Instant Messaging depending on the preferences of the individual customer.
Using smarter and more sophisticated routing to get the calls to the right people will result in increased ROI. One of the businesses who had their data reviewed saw an uplift in sales of 15%.
Higher order value
Increasing the average order value (AOV) at the end of the customer journey is the final part of the customer journey which marketers can optimise through clever call tracking.
Two way to ensure customers spend bigger are:
- URL callbacks allow you to send data about the caller to an online system at the start or end of the call in real time. By storing this data in a database, you can integrate with other online solutions like web analytics or CRM solutions to better understand the customer experience and needs.
- CRM Integration: instead of using your CRM to just be a system that retains customer information based on manual entries, integrating your website and call tracking software brings in valuable customer information directly into your CRM. It also enables complete end-to-end reporting of lead to conversion through the call channel.
One company presented the call handler with the actual landing page the customer arrived at so that they had an immediate understanding about their intent. As a result they believe AOV went up 20%.
By taking each point of the customer’s journey in isolation, businesses will begin to notice real results.
Let’s take a look at the example company numbers for each metric, before and after they integrated four call tracking strategies.
So initially traffic acquisition went up 50%, then conversion to phone call improved by 66%, conversion to sale went up 15% and finally AOV increased by 20%:
- 1,000,000 visitors
- converting at 1% from visit to call
- converting at 20% from call to sale
- at an AOV of £1000
= £2,000,000 revenue
After (assuming some fairly typical conversion metrics, and the improvement percentages taken from each of the businesses above)
- 2,000,000 visitors
- converting at 1.66% to call
- converting at 23%
- at an AOV of £1200
= £9,163,200 revenue
The difference on these metrics is a 458% improvement. By implementing some clever software with a few smart tactics to connect online and offline efforts, it is possible to improve marketing ROI exponentially.
With all of the hype surrounding inbound and content marketing, it’s easy to underrate the continued importance of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, a.k.a. search engine marketing. But as Rebecca Lieb recently noted, “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance.”
As vital as natural optimization is, paid search offers three key advantages that make it complementary to organic search:
- • It’s instant. Organic search experiments can take weeks to show results. SEM changes take effect in a matter of minutes.
- • It’s flexible. You decide which keywords, and how many, you’d like to show up on page one for, including popular phrases for which it may be very difficult to rank organically. You can add and drop keywords on the fly.
- • It’s controllable. You decide exactly which landing page to send traffic to for each keyword–without worrying that a minor edit to the page, or Google’s next algorithm update, will annihilate your ranking. You choose exactly when and where your ads are seen.
Given that PPC advertising is likely to play an important role in your online marketing mix, how can you most effectively target your ads? Maximize the productivity of your ad spending? Design landing pages that most effectively convert? Properly test different creative components?
Find the answers to those questions and more, plus a rant from a PPC skeptic, here in (almost) a dozen of the best PPC guides of the past year.
ABC’s of PPC – A Guide for the Basics! by PPC Hero
Kayla Kurtz presents a creative alphabetical guide to PPC basics, from A for Ad Goups (“Your ad groups should always start out tightly themed, with keywords included that are similar to one another) through Z for Zero Impressions (“How long has that account element been active while seeing no action? Do some due diligence and try your hardest to make it work, but if you have a portion of your account with no impressions…cut bait and move on).
The 8 Questions That Create Perfect Landing Page Copy by KISSmetrics
Michael Lykke Aagaard offers “8 simple questions will kick start your writing and guide you through the process of crafting high impact landing page copy that converts,” starting with understanding the purpose of your landing page and creating a specific call to action and progressing through creating a design that supports the copy.
Display Advertising: Targeting Options 101 by RKG Blog
Michelle Ulizio explains the structure of display advertising, breaking down the options first into user targeting vs. site targeting; then defining three options for each targeting type (for example, Site Retargeting: “By placing special tracking tags on your website, you are able to show display ads across the web to users who visited your site, regardless of what site they are currently browsing”); and finally showing how the two high-level targeting methods can be used together.
How to Handle the AdWords Ad Rotation Changes by Search Engine Watch
Greg Habermann reports on Google’s decision to change AdWords ad rotation settings from “indefinite” to just 30 days, explains how this will screw up head-to-head ad testing (particularly for smaller advertisers with low impression volume and agencies managing multiple accounts), and then suggests some alternatives and workarounds to try until Google comes “to its senses and change this back.”
Sam Owen presents five tips for getting the most out of Google’s Auction Insights tool, from competitive research (“You can also start to try and learn a little about the strategy of your competitors. Perhaps someone is always showing in position 1, but only for 50% of the time—did you just discover a competitor who is day-parting?”) to avoiding underbidding by analyzing lost impression share at the keyword level.
Joe Castro suggests ten ideas for improving the productivity of PPC campaigns, among them filtering to “Pause off active ad groups and keywords with high cost-per- conversion rates or high costs and no conversions,” excluding geographic regions based on conversion rates, and segmenting ads by device type.
10 Quick Adwords Optimizations Tips for All PPC-ers by LunaMetrics
Noting that managing multiple paid search accounts involves substantial effort, but “if you tackle each optimization effort in stages, the work load won’t seem as daunting,” Sarah Peduzzi supplies 10 helpful tips including checking the Search Query Report weekly, continually testing ad copy, and using automated rules for bid adjustments.
5 Quick Ways to Increase Conversions in AdWords by Fathom Blog
Joe Castro (again) tosses out a handful of quick ways to bump up clicks and conversions, including loosening keyword match types, using sitelinks, and bidding on brand terms (“it’s really a no-brainer that your company should be bidding on its name and different variations. Branded keywords are by far your top converting, and you’re leaving money on the table if you’re not bidding on them”).
The Importance of A/B Testing: 24 Marketing Experts on Their Most Surprising A/B Test by The WordStream Blog
Elisa Gabbert shares the answers from 24 marketing experts to the question: “What is the most surprising or exciting result you’ve ever achieved in a multivariate A/B test?” Respondents included Aaron Levy, Brad Geddes, Brad Shorr, Megan Leap, Oli Gardner, and Todd Minz (“We decided to A B test using brand names in the headline [as variables in place of generic product names]…Overnight, this campaign generated so many conversions that I thought something broke in AdWords. It went from nearly zero to the highest performing campaign in the account by about 4-5x”).
Amanda West-Bookwalt busts a common myth about quality scores, writing that “CTR plays a part, but so does ad relevance and landing page experience…(aligning with) the campaign and account quality scores as well as any quality score limitations set on your industry, all of which also influence a particular keyword’s quality score.” She adds several ideas for boosting keyword quality scores.
Why Paid Search for B2B Companies is Dead (or Dying) by Search Engine Watch
As Mark Twain wrote that “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” so pronouncements of the the death of PPC should be met with skepticism. Talk about a myth that needs busting; though Uri Bar-Joseph quotes an impressive array of statistics in his morbid predictions for the future of PPC, the channel is likely to remain a key component of b2b web presence optimization frameworks for some time to come. Unlike SEO, PPC results (as noted above) are immediate, controllable, and highly flexible. Firms willing to commit investment, testing and experimentation are likely to find PPC campaigns a productive, supportive and cost-effective component of their overall online marketing mix.
How To Leverage PPC To Discover High-Converting Keywords For SEO by Conductor Blog
As an example of how PPC can support other online marketing efforts, Nathan Safran notes that “Finding out a keyword converts poorly after spending the effort to work your way up the organic search rankings can be a time consuming and frustrating process, but there is a way to shortcut the process and discover high converting keywords: Paid Search (PPC) data,” then explains how to use PPC data to help focus on the most productive keywords in SEO strategies.
With 92% of companies now incorporating social media into their marketing efforts, it’s no longer sufficient to just “be there” on social networks. Today’s most effective marketers are optimizing content across channels, coordinating search and social marketing activities with traditional PR, and measuring their web presence and performance with sophistication.
The first step to improving digital marketing results is to understand the emerging trends and best practices. This post, along with 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012 and 87 More Vital Social Media Marketing Facts and Stats for 2012 previously published here, provide a solid foundation for that understanding.
What do buyers really want from social media marketers? What’s the key to generating more inbound marketing leads? What is the source of the largest share of social traffic to websites? (It’s not what you almost certainly think.)
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here in over 100 engaging and intriguing social, search, content, inbound, email, mobile and other marketing stats and facts from the past few months.
25 Social Media Facts and Statistics
1. While 76% of marketers believe “they know what their consumers want” in terms of social media content and interaction, only 34% have actually asked those buyers. (e-Strategy Trends)
2. At least on the B2C side, there is a disconnect between what marketers think consumers think is important and what consumers actually value. Marketers believe the highest consumer priorities on social media are insights for buying decisions (59%) and customer service (58%). Consumers actually place the highest value on deals and promotions (83%) and rewards programs (70%). (e-Strategy Trends)
3. B2B buyers are most likely to share useful vendor content via email (79%), followed by LinkedIn (53%), Twitter (39%) and Facebook (18%). (Earnest Agency)
4. While three-quarters of marketers consider measurement of social media impact important, 70% say that measuring those results is difficult. (Marketing Charts)
5. 79% of marketers measure website traffic from social media, and 68% track engagement metrics on social networks, but just 26% measure the relationship of social media activity to leads and sales. (Marketing Charts)
6. Just 4% of marketers said their companies were “very effective” at measuring social marketing in 2012. While 47% felt somewhat good at social measurement in 2011, just 38% said the same in 2012. “Nearly half of respondents (47%) feel they or their companies are either not very good at social marketing measurement, or do not measure well at all.” (Marketing Charts)
7. Ever feel frustrated and less productive than you’d like to be at work, even though you’re working hard and putting in a ton of hours? There’s a reason for that! Interruptions (like email and social media) are messing us up. Consider:
- • The typical worker is interrupted once every 28 minutes on average.
- • 28% of the average work day is spent on interruptions and recovery time.
- • 45% of workers believe they are expected to work on too many things at once.
- • And tasks done in parallel take on average 30% longer to complete than those performed in a sequence.
8. Everyone knows women vastly outnumber men on Pinterest, but how about on other social networks? Women make up the larger share of users on Facebook (58% to 42%) and are a slightly larger share on Twitter (52% to 48%) while men are the predominate users of LinkedIn (63% to 37%) and Google+ (71% to 29%). Furthermore, half of all Google+ users are under 25 years old. (iMedia Connection)
9. Social CRM is still confusing. Only 16% of companies say they currently have a social CRM system in place. 21% plan to implement such a system in the coming year, but another 17% “don’t know what a social CRM system is and why businesses need it.” (Convince & Convert)
10. Only a quarter of all U.S. small businesses (20-99 employees) and a third of midsized companies say they use social media “to engage with customers and prospects in a strategic and structured way.” Another 20% of both groups say they use social media, but in an ad hoc manner. (eMarketer)
11. Despite growing interest in the concept of social business, less than 20% of U.S. companies have integrated social media with their customer service, sales, or product development processes. (eMarketer)
12. Worldwide, 86% of companies have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, while just over half use YouTube and Linked and only slightly more than a third have a presence on Pinterest and/or Google+. (eMarketer)
13. More than 80% of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) plan to increase their use of social media in 2013. Not suprising, considering that 87% of SMBs say that social media has helped them either somewhat or a great deal in th past year. Of those using this channel, social media accounts for 32% of SMB marketing activities. (Marketing Charts)
14. Okay, so most marketers have now embraced social media. But why? 84% of marketers say they use social media to “reach customers at multiple touchpoints,” while 62% want to reach customers where they spend time and 56% say that “customers expect them to be on social media.” (Marketing Charts)
15. Still, not every small business should be using social media—or at least not using it as they are currently. 79% of small business owners on Twitter post just once per day or even less frequently, yet one out of three want to spend less time on social media. These business owners would be best advised to either spend their time on other tactics or hire someone who knows and enjoys social media to interact on their businesses’ behalf. No deposit, no return. (Leaders West)
16. Social media may be good for 99 things, but lead generation ain’t one of them. According to research from MarketingSherpa, just 12% of marketers rate social media as “very effective” for lead gen while 27% say it is “not effective.” The only tactic that fares worse is print advertising (9% very effective vs. 30% not effective). (B2B Lead Blog)
17. Which social network sends the largest share of website traffic? The answer is…unknown. Literally. The well-known social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit account for, combined, on average, less than half of all social traffic. The majority (as much as 70%) is “dark social”—links shared through email or instant messaging that generally get lumped in with “direct” traffic in analytics programs like Google Analytics. (The Atlantic)
18. The most popular social media sites for distributing B2B content are LinkedIn (used by 83% of B2B marketers), Twitter (80%) and Facebook (also 80%). After that, it falls off sharply; 61% use YouTube, 39% are on Google+, 26% utilize Pinterest (really?) and 23% share content on SlideShare. (MarketingProfs)
19. Using social media boosts website traffic: companies gain a 185% lift in Web traffic after achieving 1,000 Facebook likes, and businesses with 51 to 100 Twitter followers generate 106% more traffic than those with 25 or fewer followers. (MarketingProfs)
20. 92% of U.S. companies now use social media in their marketing efforts. (Heidi Cohen)
21. Different social media channels serve different purposes. Blogging is generally seen as most valuable for SEO, YouTube for content marketing, and social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn most helpful for branding and engagement. (Heidi Cohen)
22. Globally, eight different social networks have now reached the 100 million user mark. Three of those (Weibo, the fourth-largest social nework, RenRen at #5 and Badoo at #7) are primarily used by non-English speakers. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
23. The average user spends nearly seven hours per month on Facebook, but just 21 minutes on Twitter, 17 on LinkedIn, and only three minutes on Google+. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
24. Social media now accounts for 18% of all time spent online, and the average American spends 6.9 hours per month on social networking. But we are spending less time on the phone, sending/reading email, and watching TV than we did just a few years ago. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
25. One-third of CEOs fail to consider their compananies’ social media reputation when making business decisions. (The Backup List)
12 WPO, Inbound and Content Marketing Stats
26. Leads from inbound marketing cost on average 61% less ($135 vs. $346) than outbound marketing leads. (Earnest Agency)
27. Though it varies across industries, of course, 24% of overall marketing spending last year was on digital/online marketing. Social media and SEO together account for 70% of that spending. (iMedia Connection)
28. Blogging generally gets the largest share of inbound marketing budgets, followed by social media, SEO (if calculated separately from blogging) and PPC advertising. Most outbound marketing spend is on telemarketing, followed by direct mail and trade shows. (iMedia Connection)
29. 57% of companies say they generated sales through their blogs, and an identical share have closed business through LinkedIn. 48% have generated customers through Twitter and 42% through Facebook. (iMedia Connection)
30. Why web presence optimization metrics are vital: half of marketers say tightening integration between social media and traditional marketing is a key goal for 2013, yet nearly a third identify that as one of their top social marketing challenges, and a whopping 57% way measuring social ROI is a challenge. (Convince & Convert)
31. 9 out of 10 marketers say they measure social presence (e.g., number of followers and fans) and social media-driven website traffic, but only about half measure share of voice and sentiment. (Convince & Convert)
32. Need more evidence that measuring social media ROI is hard? While about 90% of all companies do some form of social media marketing, just one out of eight measure the revenue impact directly from social media. (eMarketer)
33. The two biggest challenges faced by B2B content marketers are producing enough content (cited by 29% of marketers) and producing the kind of content that engages (18). Only 2% of marketers say that finding trained content marketing professionals is a big challenge. (MarketingProfs)
34. More content = more leads. On average, companies “with 51-100 web pages generate 48% more traffic than companies with 1-50 pages.” What’s interesting though is the differential is larges for very small companies (those with less than 10 employees), likely because larger companies make greater use of lead gen tactics like tradeshows, webinars and video. (Polaris B)
35. Lots more content = lots more leads. Companies with 101-200 web pages generate 2.5x more leads than those with 50 or fewer pages. More landing pages and more blog posts also mean more leads. On average, companies that have published 200 or more total blog posts generate 5X as much traffic as those with 10 posts or fewer. (Polaris B)
36. Inbound marketing leads cost on average 62% less than outbound-generated leads, and the “big three” inbound channels—blogs, social media and SEO—all cost less on average than any outbound channel. (Polaris B)
37. The financial services (75%), insurance (50%) and software (50%) industries are the most advanced when it comes to having separate content marketing strategies for each channel through which they distribute content. Companies in these industries are also the most likely to have formal content marketing editorial calendars. The automotive (14%) and banking sectors (14%) were the least likely to have separate strategies in place. (MediaPost)
8 SEO Stats and Facts
38. SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation for B2B companies. 59% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on their lead gen goals, followed by social media (21%) and pay per click (20%). Not surprisingly, 98% of B2B marketers plan to maintain or increase SEO budgets next year. (Marketing Charts)
39. SEO also has the biggest impact on B2C lead gen. 49% of B2C marketers rank SEO tops for impact on lead generation, followed by pay per click (26%) and social media (25%). (Marketing Charts)
40. Agencies do SEO better. 21% of marketers who work with agencies on SEO report being highly satisfied with their program performance, compared with 11% of those who do SEO in-house. (Marketing Charts)
41. 78% of Internet users say they use the web for product research, and almost half (46%) of all searches on the average day for information on products and services (iMedia Connection)
42. Search is as popular as ever, but the percentage of searches actually done on search engines declined slightly in 2012 (by about 1%). More searches are taking place on websites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and on Amazon.com, which is the top destination for product search). Still, organic search on search engines drive 50% of all referring traffic, compared to less than 8% for social media. (MediaPost)
43. SEO is rated as the most effective lead generation tactic, with 34% of marketers calling it “very effective” while just 7% say it is not effective. The next-most-effective lead gen tactics are paid search (32% vs. 9%) and webinars (30% to 6%). (B2B Lead Blog)
44. Demand for SEO skills has never been greater. SEO job postings on job board indeed.com increased 1900% last year and people with ‘SEO’ in their LinkedIn profile have increased by 112%. Still, few SEO jobs pay six figures. (Conductor Blog)
45. The largest number of SEO job openings are in New York and San Francisco, with Boston at #5, Austin at #11 and my own Minneapolis at #12. (Conductor Blog)
3 SEM Facts
46. Think AdWords isn’t important? For “commercial” searches on Google, actual organic links can take up less than 20% of the screen real estate and links. (Founder’s Blog)
47. Agencies do SEM better. 20% of respondents working with agencies for PPC report being highly satisfied with their program’s performance, compared to 15% who manage pay-per-click programs in-house. (Marketing Charts).
48. Search (paid and organic) is a leading driver of new customer sales, while email matters most for repeat business. Social media isn’t a significant driver of either type of sale, though of course it is vital for support SEO, brand image (which leads to higher PPC click-through rates) and customer service. (Marketing Pilgrim)
3 Email Marketing Stats
49. There are 62 billion emails sent every day. The average worker receives 112 emails and spends 28 of his or her time on email each day. (Visual.ly)
50. Email is the most common lead gen tactic, used by 81% of marketers. (MarketingSherpa)
51. SEO drives traffic, but email drives conversions. While 43% of marketers say that organic search drives the greatest volume of traffic to their websites, only 29% say that traffic converts at the highest rate. On the other hand, though just 22% cite email as their largest web traffic generator, 25% say those visits convert at the highest rate. (MarketingSherpa)
7 Business Blogging Stats and Facts
52. Just 139 of the Fortune 500 corporations maintain public-facing blogs, only 29 more than in 2009. (e-Strategy Trends)
53. Only 185 of the Inc. 500 (fastest-growing companies) had a blog in 2011, down from 250 firms in 2010, despite the fact that 92% of all companies with blogs say it has been successful for their business. (e-Strategy Trends)
54. Meanwhile, 55% of small businesses have a blog. (Leaders West)
55. On average, companies that publish 15 or more blog articles per month generate five times more Web traffic than companies that don’t blog at all, and those that blog 9-15 times per month generate three times more traffic than companies that don’t maintain blogs. (MarketingProfs)
56. Companies that publish new blog posts just 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog at all. (MarketingProfs)
57. 57% of companies that blog have acquired a customer through their blogs. (Polaris B)
58. Blogs are the core of social media marketing. Among companies that use social media in their marketing efforts, 59% rank their company blog as critical or important to their business, higher than any other social sharing site or network. (Heidi Cohen)
8 Facebook Facts and Statistics
59. There are one billion posts per day made on Facebook. The average user spends nearly 7 hours per month on the social networking site, and one out of every five pageviews on the Internet is on…Facebook. (Visual.ly)
60. Three out of four American moms use Facebook. (iMedia Connection)
61. Facebook accounts for one out of every five pageviews on the Internet. It’s used by more than half of all people in North America, more than a third of all citizens in Australia and New Zealand, and more than a quarter of the population in Europe. (iMedia Connection)
62. Of Facebook’s one billion-plus users, 57% access the site at least occasionally from mobile devices. The most popular operating systems for mobile Facebook access are iOS (26%) and Android (21%). (Jeff Bullas)
63. Among Facebook marketers, 64% have used Facebook Events to inform fans about online or offline events, making this a far more widespread tool than display ads and targeted posts. (Marketing Charts)
64. 90% of small businesses are on Facebook, and roughly two-thirds post more than once per week. (Leaders West)
65. All of the Ad Age Top 100 Advertisers have now established Facebook pages for their brands. (WordPress Hosting SEO)
66. Facebook grew 18% in 2012 and accounted for more than half of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)
6 Twitter Stats
67. There are 400 million tweets per day on Twitter. A million new Twitter accounts are opened each day. The average user spends nearly and hour and a half on the site each month. (Visual.ly)
68. Twitter now has more than 500 million users worldwide, including more than 100 million in the U.S. Twitter’s second-largest user base is in Brazil. (Jeff Bullas)
69. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Twitter access is via Twitter.com (web access), while 16% of use is mobile and 10% is via Twitter clients like HootSuite and TweetDeck. (Jeff Bullas)
70. What’s the most popular marketing tactic on Twitter? 30% of marketers report using hashtags tied to specific campaigns, while 26% use Promoted Tweets. (Marketing Charts)
71. Twitter grew 55% in 2012 and accounted for 15% of all social content sharing. (AddThis Blog)
72. 42% of companies have acquired at least one customer through Twitter. (Polaris B)
6 LinkedIn Facts
73. LinkedIn has more than 150 million users, but less than 20% have reached the level of having 500 or more first-degree connections, and only 8% are using the paid premium version. (Jeff Bullas)
74. Also, only 51% of LinkedIn users have “complete” profiles, and just 52% spend two hours or more per week on the site. (Jeff Bullas)
75. The most popular use of LinkedIn is for researching people and companies (77%). Other popular uses include building relationships with industry influencers (50%), finding job opportunities (38%) and increasing brand recognition in the marketplace (37%). Just 28% of companies say they have generated identifiable business opportunities on the site. (Jeff Bullas)
76. The most popular marketing tactics on LinkedIn are the use of LinkedIn groups (cited by 33% of marketers) followed distantly by InMail messaging (14%), LinkedIn Events (13%) and LinkedIn ads (10%). (Marketing Charts)
77. LinkedIn is the most powerful social site for driving B2B sales. Pinterest is most valuable for driving B2C business. (Heidi Cohen)
78. Want to connect with top-level executives? 26% of Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn. Less than 8% are on Facebook. o% use Pinterest. (Heidi Cohen)
3 Google+ Statistics
79. Google+ has more than 400 million users, with 100 million accessing the site each month. The typical user is a male in his late 20s with a technical position or background. (Jeff Bullas)
80. Google+ users tend to be more technical than Facebook users. The top three brands on Google+ are Android, Mashable, and Chrome; on Facebook, the three most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks. (Jeff Bullas)
81. 12 of the top 15 interest categories on Pinterest are related to commerce, including jewelry and accessories (#1), flowers and gifts (#2), food (#4), books (#7), travel (#8), apparel (#11), home furnishings (#14) and toys (#15). (Jeff Bullas)
3 Pinterest Facts
82. Mothers are 61% more likely to use Pinterest than the average American. Pinterest ranks as the #1 “family and lifestyle site” for moms – ahead of Disney Online. (iMedia Connection)
83. Pinterest’s user base is 79% female, and Apple-centric. The iPad is the most device for mobile access (55%), while an additional 17% of mobile access is through the iPhone. (Jeff Bullas)
84. Pinterest grew an astounding 379,599% in 2012. The biggest driver of growth was pins of food photos. (AddThis Blog)
6 B2B Marketing Facts and Stats
85. 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say when they are ready to make a purchase, they will find a vendor. 81% use search, 59% look for peer recommendations, and 41% read content from “thought leaders.” (Earnest Agency)
86. For purchases over $10,000, 70% of buyers review four or more pieces of content before making a decision. (That actually sounds quite low, doesn’t it?) The most popular type of content: white papers, read by 88% of buyers. (Earnest Agency)
87. Traditional marketing tactics are not dead. 74% of B2B marketers rate direct mail as very effective, while 72% say the same about live events and 71% call email marketing critical. (Earnest Agency)
88. 75% of B2B marketers use SEO for lead generation. 72% utilize social media, and 54% have embraced content marketing, while just 15% of marketers say they are using mobile marketing. (MarketingSherpa)
89. B2B marketers are spending more on content marketing. “On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing (in 2012), up from 26% (in 2011, and) 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.” (MarketingProfs)
90. The most popular B2B content marketing tactics are the use of social media other than blogs (used by 87% of B2B marketers), articles on their own websites (83%), eNewsletters (78%) and blogs (77%), followed by case studies, videos and externally published articles, all at about 70%. On the other end of the scale is gamification, used by just 11% of B2B marketers. (MarketingProfs)
3 Video Marketing Statistics
91. 75% of senior executives watch videos on business sites every week. 65% go on to visit a vendor’s website after watching a video. (Earnest Agency)
92. 71% of American Internet users watch online videos; 28% do so on a daily basis. (iMedia Connection)
93. YouTube is the world’s second largest social media site, with 800 million unique monthly visitors, and the second largest search engine. (Heidi Cohen)
6 Mobile Marketing Stats and Facts
94. Of the four billion mobile phones in use globally, more than a quarter (27%) are smartphones. Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. (iMedia Connection)
95. The top online uses of mobile phones are gaming (61% of users do this), checking the weather (55%), maps and search (50%) and social networking (49%). (iMedia Connection)
96. Despite the growing popularity of local mobile search and social activity, only 3% of U.S. small businesses use geolocation services. (eMarketer)
97. Mobile marketing is “becoming mainstream” for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). 18% said they were “very likely” and 31% “somewhat likely” to incorporate mobile elements in their advertising and marketing efforts to reach potential customers in the coming year. Meanwhile, 7 in 10 plan to either maintain or increase spending in this area (Marketing Charts)
98. Is mobile marketing effective for lead generation? The jury is still out. In a recent survey, 15% of marketers rated mobile marketing as “very effective” for lead gen while an identical share said mobile is not effective. (B2B Lead Blog)
99. 30% of all the time spent on mobile device use is on social networks. (MediaPost)
And Finally, 3 Other Miscellaneous Online Marketing Stats
100. While 45% of all B2B businesses have now implemented some type of marketing automation software, less than 20% of SMBs have done so. However, smaller companies that have embraced marketing process automation are nearly 50% more likely to report revenue growth above plan than those that haven’t. (MediaPost)
101. Half of all employed people in the U.S. have been with their current employer for less than five years. The average tenure for all employees is 4.6 years. Professionals in architecture and engineering (7 years) and management (6.3 years) tend to have the longest tenures, while occupations with the shortest tenures include food service (2.3 years) and sales (3.4 years). (westXdesigns)
102. Social media crisis management in crisis? More than 10% of companies report they will not take any action to respond to a damaging article or social media post. Worse, less than two-thirds of B2C executives and just 43% of B2B leaders even believe their companies could respond to a negative post within 24 hours. (The Backup List)
Optimization projects normally start with keyword research to identify the most promising “head” search terms (short, frequently used keyword phrases), and over time, a site’s rank for these terms is closely watched (and often much fretted about).
Nothing wrong with that—head terms are critical to optimization efforts. But it’s also important to note that when it comes to on-site conversions, the leads often come from multi-word, infrequently searched “tail” terms.
Looking at multiple b2b websites, in the U.S. and Canada, with a combined 150,000+ visits during the first half of this year, it’s clear that head terms drive traffic, but tail terms drive leads:
Okay, that’s a bit of an oversimplification; obviously, head terms are vital to lead generation as well. But the point is, across site after site reviewed, the common pattern was that a relatively small number of keyword phrases (typically 50-60 out of several thousand) drove well over half of all traffic. At the same time, a larger group of head terms drove a smaller share of leads.
This makes sense. Searchers often use broad head terms early in their buying research process and longer, more specific terms as they get closer to a decision. So what are the implications?
1. Use AdWords (and SEM in general). First, head keywords matter, but some terms are so competitive that it’s nearly impossible for a small to midsize company to rank for them. Second, rankings vary between individuals based on factors like personalization and location, and they also vary (sometimes considerably) over time as the search engines continually tweak their algorithms. Finally, some head terms are great for driving traffic but less so for producing leads.
Search engine marketing programs like AdWords enable marketers to identify which keywords actually drive conversions most effectively, and to always have their site appear on the first page of search results for those terms, regardless of variations in organic rank.
2. Use SEO best practices. Specific tactics change over time as algorithms change, but certain basics remain vital: create quality content, utilize all aspects of on-page website optimization, and build quality links (including social links). This won’t guarantee your site a consistent #1 ranking for any specific phrase, but it will optimize your results over time across both expected head and unpredictable long-tail terms.
3. Continually produce new content. Even the best keyword research is, by its nature, point-in-time and backward-looking. Publishing a steady stream of optimized new content, driven by customer and social intelligence, will position your site best to take advantage of new, trending and previously unanticipated head and long tail phrases.
In short, optimizing a b2b website for conversions isn’t simple enough to do in your head (terms only).