Posts Tagged ‘Gavin O’Malley’

24 Exceptional Email Marketing Tips, Techniques and Tactics

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Email marketing is like the car my teenagers drive (and you thought there were no original analogies left!)—it’s been around for 20 years and there’s nothing flashy about it, but it’s reliable, effective, and there’s at least a 50-50 chance it will continue to do it’s job for quite some time to come.

In spite of all the abuse of the medium that’s been perpetrated over the years either maliciously (in the case of spammers) or simply as a result of ineptitude by well-meaning but ill-informed marketers, consumers and business decision makers alike continue to be willing to exchange their email addresses for the promise of valuable information on a regular basis. But both groups have become more sophisticated; more wary of subscribing in the first place, and quicker to unsubscribe if they don’t perceive value in a sender’s communications.

That means email marketers need to be more thoughtful and creative in terms of attracting subscribers, crafting email subject lines that will lead to opens and click-throughs, designing messages that are distinctive yet clear on any device, and most importantly, creating content that both provides value to the recipient and achieves organizational goals.

How can you make sure your emails avoid the spam filter and actually reach their intended recipients? What are the most effective techniques for building an opt-in email list? How can you minimize unsubscribes? What’s the best day and time to send emails? How can you craft killer subject lines that maximize open rates?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in two dozen of the best email marketing guides from the past year.

General Email Marketing Tips & Techniques

The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words by HubSpot

Karen RubinThe key to maximizing your email open rates is to write great subject lines, but before recipients will even see your subject lines, your messages have to get by spam filters. Karen Rubin lists nearly 400 words and phrases to avoid in subject lines in order to improve deliverability, such as “order status,” “home based,” “lowest price,” “free offer” and, of course, “Viagra.”

Email Marketing: Avoid the pitfalls of a direct-mail mindset by MarketingSherpa

Adam T. SuttonAdam T. Sutton advises marketers not to treat email like direct mail, for example by avoiding segmentation: “In direct mail, segmentation is used to keep costs down…When email came along, direct mail marketers saw a bonanza. An email cost less than a penny to send. Companies stopped seeing the point in segmentation.” That’s the kind of thinking that produces spam.

10 Unsubscribe Page Best Practices by Betterment

Jason AmunwaWriting that “Catching your precious subscriber with one foot out the door isn’t the same as permanently bidding them arriverderci. Handled correctly, your unsubscribe page can actually snatch a loyal subscriber from the jaws of…whatever the opposite of that is,” Jason Amunwa lists 10 techniques to win back unsubscribers, among them giving your readers options (such as changing message frequency), letting them know you’re a person, and not using one-click unsubscribe.

Why you should measure email ROI by iMedia Connection

Mitch LapidesMitch Lapides explains why measuring email ROI (and not just metrics like open rates) is important, how to measure it, and the four main categories of factors that can affect ROI, such as list hygiene: “a high number of inactive users—subscribers who have stopped opening your emails but haven’t unsubscribed—can hurt your email deliverability. Between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of a typical email list becomes inactive each month. And it’s not unusual to find between 30 percent and 60 percent of an email list inactive, especially if an organization hasn’t removed inactive subscribers or run a re-engagement campaign in a few years.”

Answers to Your Top 11 Questions About Email Marketing by HubSpot

Allyson GalleAllyson Galle answers the top questions posed following a popular email webinar, such as: should emails come from the company or from an individual name (answer: it depends, test); how long should subject lines be; what constitutes a decent click-through rate; and what’s the best day and time to send emails?

7 Steps to a High-Converting Email Marketing Campaign by The Daily Egg

Sherice JacobSherice Jacob provides an “‘email marketing campaign checklist’ of how to not only launch a profitable mailing list, but keep subscribers hungry for more,” from creating your signup form and determining the optimal placement for it on your website to personalizing email subject lines and continually testing.

12 Things About Effective Email Marketing Your Boss Expects You to Know by Polaris B

Shelley PringleShelley Pringle shares a dozen best practices for effective email marketing, from having a clear goal for each message (“Every marketing email you send should include a call-to-action. If there’s no link in the email, you won’t be able to track or measure your campaign, including the open rate, and more importantly, the click-through rate”) and segmenting your list to focusing on benefits and keeping your messages brief.

How to Combine Email and Social

Email and Social: A Killer Combo by ClickZ

Robin NeifieldRobin Neifield offers a dozen tips to help “integrate email and each of the major social properties,” such as, on Facebook, “Definitely use your status updates to tease upcoming emails—especially if you have an offer or promo. Provide a link so users can sign up for email if they are not already on the list.”

An inside look into the convergence of email and social by iMedia Connection

Wikus EngelbrechtWikus Engelbrecht offers “insights and practical tips on how to integrate and manage your cross-channel voice and leverage (email, social and mobile) in unison to get better results.” For example, create integrated messages: start by crafting “a short and sharp (email) subject line, at 50 characters or less; which should clearly state what your readers can expect from your email, what’s in it for them or what you want them to do as a result…By taking that message to the 120 character frame in Twitter, you can create more interest and clarify your call-to-action. Add a #hashtag and use a shortened URL to save on character count. A Facebook post gives you the opportunity to entice fans even more by expanding your message to 150 characters. Remove the #hashtag you used in Twitter and add a compelling graphic.”

Email Marketing Benchmarks, Facts and Statistics

Is Email Dead? Nope [INFOGRAPHIC] by eStrategy After Hours

David EricksonA great infographic to share with the “email is dead / social media is the future” crowd. Among the facts David Erickson shares here: three times as many people have email accounts as are on Facebook, and compared to Twitter the ratio is ten to one. There are 60 million Facebook posts each day—but 188 billion email messages sent. Email volume continues to grow, and more than half of marketers still say that email is popular in business.

Marketer Concern: Email Hit By Problems, Inbox Rates Drop by MediaPost

Gavin O-MalleyGavin O’Malley reports that less than four out of five marketing emails actually make it to the recipient’s inbox, and the rate is trending downward. He also explains why more messages are ending up in spam folders and what marketers can do to improve their deliverability rates.

Email Campaign Volumes Surge, Open Rates Stronger by MarketingProfs

Research from Epsilon shows that average email open rates increased in the past year,  while typical click-through rates fell slightly (from 5.5% to 5.2%). Among other findings: messages from banks and general retailers garner the highest average open rates (34%-36%), while emails from consumer publishers and apparel retailers are most likely to be ignored. By type, service-related emails have the highest open rate (46%) while editorial emails average 33% and marketing messages just 20%.

Infographic: Email open rates by time of day by MarketingSherpa

David KirkpatrickDavid Kirkpatrick shares an infographic that breaks down common patterns in email open and click-through rates to try to identify the best time to send emails. Among the findings: emails are most likely to be opened between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and again between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Also, nearly a quarter of all commercial emails are opened within one hour after sending. After 24 hours, the open rate is near zero.

B2B Email Marketing Best-Practices and Trends by MarketingProfs

According to a study by Pardot, only 30% of B2B marketers use email as a primary lead generation tactic; most consider email to be a more valuable tool for lead nurturing. The majority of B2B marketers (65%) spend less than 25% of their budgets on email. Tuesday is generally viewed as the best day for sending B2B emails, and Friday the worst. And there’s more.

Email List Building Tips

25 Clever Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List by HubSpot

Andrew PitreConstantly adding new names to your subscriber list is crucial, because as Andrew Pitre reports, “your email marketing database degrades by about 25% every year. Your contacts’ email addresses change as they move from one company to another, they opt-out of your email communication, or they abandon that old AOL address they only use to fill out forms on websites.” He then offers more than two dozen tips to help keep your list growing, from QR codes and online contests to ebooks and videos.

5 Ways to Generate More Email Sign Ups by Duct Tape Marketing

John JantschJohn Jantsch steps through five tactics by building an email list, such as feature with content: “Many WordPress theme frameworks today (Genesis and Thesis) allow for what are being called ‘feature boxes.’ These feature boxes make it easy to place a sign up box at, say, the end of each blog post or top of your blog home page. Placing your email offer where people are reading and enjoy your content improves uptake.”

Email Tips for Lead Nurturing

6 Lead Nurturing Emails Every Business Should Send by HubSpot

Corey EridonCorey Eridon advises that “If you’re interested in starting or improving upon your existing lead nurturing campaigns, make sure you incorporate these 6 types of emails into your lead nurturing mix to help move your leads swiftly through the sales funnel,” including emails that are personal, that educate, and that help recipients improve some aspect of their lives.

7 Critical Things Every Lead Nurturing Email Needs to Communicate by HubSpot

Sarah GoligerNoting that “The idea behind lead nurturing is to provide your leads with valuable content that targets their needs and goals in order to guide them through your buying cycle until they are sales-ready,” Sarah Goliger serves up seven tips for more effective nurturing emails, from communicating to your prospects based on information you already know about them to putting the emphasis on helping your prospects—not yourself.

Email Design Tips

It’s Not You, It’s Outlook – The Complete Guide for Email Marketers by VerticalResponse Marketing Blog

Noting that Outlook has numerous problems rendering HTML emails properly–“If you’re an email marketer… you’ve probably encountered some form of Outlook error. Your email looks pristine on your shiny iPhone, Android device, or web-based email client, but suddenly blows up when you open it up in Outlook”–this post details HTML elements that Outlook does not support, and provides recommendations for work-arounds.

Creating Emails That Pop: Basics of Design & Layout by Litmus

Lauren SmithLauren Smith reviews the basics of email design: color, typography, layout, and device-awareness. That last consideration is easy to overlook, but “rather than focusing on creating emails that look great in one particular environment, emails should be optimized for all inboxes,” particularly since only 3% of recipients will typically bother trying to read your email on more than one device.

How to Write Awesomely Effective Email Subject Lines

14 Email Subject Line Hacks by ClickZ
***** 5 STARS

Brian MasseyNoting that “If our email is to be read, our subject lines must save our recipients from mindless autonomy,” Brian Massey lists 14 helpful “hacks” for creating compelling subject lines, such as shock and awe (example: “Media Measurement: Science, Art or a Load of Crap”), make up words (“The Making of Twittamentary”), and metaphors and similes (“Snackable Content: Working in a Bite-Sized Future”).

The Subject Line Strategy That Gets 541% More Response by AWeber Communications

Amanda GagnonAmanda Gagnon reports on an extensive test conducted to determine which type of email subject lines (clear or creative) perform better in terms of comments, tweets, Facebook Likes, traffic and subscriptions. And the winner is…

Use web analytics to choose email subject lines by WhatCounts

Christopher PennChristopher S. Penn provides step-by-step instructions one how to use Google Analytics data to identify high-volume, high CTR search queries you can test as email subject lines “to see if your audience is as interested in your emails as they are in what’s bringing them to your website.” Note that you’ll need to have your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools accounts linked in order for this to work.

How to Write the Perfect Subject Line [Infographic] by Litmus

Justine JordanAlthough she acknowledges that “there’s really no such thing as the perfect subject line—or, if there is, it must be hiding with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster,” Justine Jordan nevertheless takes a shot at that process with this helpful infographic. Among the tips: ask questions; keep subject lines short (40 characters or less if possible); focus on being relevant, specific and timely; and always be testing.

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24 of the Best Google+ Guides, Tips, Rants and Raves of 2012

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Will Google+ be a “Facebook killer” or just Google’s next failed social network? It’s certainly gaining traction, with over 500 million users now on board, already half of Facebook’s total. Then again, the average Facebook user spends nearly seven hours per month on the site—compared to just three minutes for the average Google+user.

Best Google+ Guides, Tips and Rants of 2012Many of this year’s best posts about Google’s newest social platform were written early in the year. Since then, though the user base has continued to grow, enthusiasm seems to have waned. While Marty Weintraub offers a more provocative metaphor below, it almost seems like Google+ is becoming the colonoscopy of social networks: everyone agrees it’s vitally important, but few people really want to talk about it or spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary.

“Ghost town” or not, many experts agree that Google+ is here to stay, and it’s valuable for b2b marketing, SEO, personal branding, and reputation management. So what makes Google+ special? What are the best practices for business use of the platform? How can an individual or organization most efficiently grow a following there? And will Google+ end Facebook’s domination of social networking—or will it “break the Internet”?

Find those answers and more here in two dozen of the best Google+ guides, tips, rants and raves of the past year.

Google+ Guides and Tips

5 Things Google+ Offers Brands That Facebook Doesn’t by Sprout Insights

Susan GuneliusSusan Gunelius outlines five social networking features unique to Google+, including circles (which enable you to “separate your customers from your colleagues and online influencers from your business partners”) and hangouts (which can be “used for things like small-group webinars, question and answer sessions, and more”).

Why brands will lose if they ignore Google+ by iMedia Connection

Though he calls Google+ a “half-baked invention,” Daniel Flamberg nevertheless advises that “savvy marketers should use Google+ these five ways,” including experimenting with hangouts, expanding social assets and audiences, and optimizing branded search: “Link owned digital assets to Google+. Use the +1 and encourage your followers to do the same. Plant +1 badges on all your assets to take advantage of the Direct Connect tool that automatically brings customers and prospects searching in your category to your page.”

6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+ by Social Media Examiner

Marc PitmanFor marketers who are either still on the fence about Google+ or just haven’t done much with it, Marc Pitman provides an excellent guide to the basics like filling up your links “While you’re editing your ‘about’ page, be sure to pay attention to the ‘other profiles’ section…(consider adding) links to other social media networks, links to your business sites (and) links to special pages on your website.”

The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page by WindMill Networking

Mark TraphagenOnce you’ve finished with Marc Pitman’s post above, Mark Traphagen presents a five-step process for taking your business presence on Google+ to the next level, starting with 1 four-item list on optimizing your page for SEO followed by upgraded the visual appearance of your page and filling your stream with quality content.

3 reasons Google+ is not a social network by iMedia Connection

Lauren FriedmanLauren Friedman explains why she thinks Google+ is not a social network but brands should be there anyway–for example, for SEO purposes: “The best way brands can take advantage of Google+ is to amp-up their SEO. Each time a user clicks the +1 button, it helps with that brand’s SEO and the content getting served to users above other content. Search results are personalized based on the +1s of those in your circles, and as a marketer, that changes the game. Search results are still based on Google’s proprietary algorithms, but sites with more +1s will appear to be more relevant and thus ranked higher.”

3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work by Social Media Examiner

Lisa PeytonLisa Peyton highlights three examples of successful Google+ brand pages such as the NASA page, where “The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands outlined in this article.”

Google+ for SEO? Don’t Focus on Your Brand Page! by B2B Digital Marketing

Eric WittlakeContradicting popular wisdom, Eric Wittlake argues that “Google+ Brand Pages are not the ticket to SEO success. In fact, if you focus your Google+ efforts on your new brand page, you will miss the most important search benefits of Google+.” He then outline three strategies he says are designed to improve search rank and traffic.

6 Reasons Why Adding Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy is a Good Idea by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs offers six reasons for brands to embrace Google+, among them fresh content (“Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results”) and the fact that Google+ produces social signals which factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.

32 Totally Free Google “Search Plus Your World” #SEO Resources by aimClear Blog
***** 5 STARS

Marty WeintraubFrequent best-of honoree Marty Weintraub compares Google+ to a dominatrix (it makes sense the way he writes it), offering short-term pleasure (search rank improvement) at the expense of long-term frustration. Still, he thinks it’s worth the effort to chase the temporary bump and so shares an excellent list of nearly three dozen how-to articles from writers like Lisa Barone, Matt McGee and Stephanie Cain.

Reputation Management: How Google+ Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy by Business2Community

Danny DeMicheleContending that “PageRank, Google’s ranking scoring system, is profoundly impacted by these (Google +1) votes,” Danny DeMichele provides a simple four-step process for using Google+ as part of a broader reputation (personal or brand) strategy.

20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know by Sprout Insights

Susan Gunelius (again) presents helpful definitions of basic (e.g., “Chat: Using the Chat feature, you can notify people in your Google+ Circles that you’re online and available for an online chat from within Google+”) and advanced Google+ terms (such as “Data Liberation: Use this feature to download and backup the content in your Google+ Account, which is available through the Google+ Settings option [the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen when you’re logged into your Google+ account"]).

How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO by Mashable

Keith KaplanKeith Kaplan explains that although “The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results,” it can indirectly help with SEO by making a piece of content more likely to be clicked on and shared on other social networks—which does actually affect rank.

How to Effectively Create a Google+ Following of 10,000 Engaged Fans by Search Engine Watch

Eric SiuEric Siu shares advice from Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today space and astronomy news website, on how to build, maintain and engage a large following on Google+. Eric contends that Fraser’s success, based on unique content and active network, belies the notion promoted by some (such as Austin Carr, below) that Google+ is a “ghost town.”

Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages by WindMill Networking
***** 5 STARS

This tip from guest blogger Mark Traphagen (again) is almost too good to share. “What if you could create opt-in subscription lists on Google+? You can! Here’s the wonderful secret: you can create a Google+ page about virtually anything, including a topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with a brand name.” He then details a “simple strategy for using Pages to create opt-in subscription lists about specific topics.”

Quick Tricks to Make Your Google Plus Business Page Sparkle by ZD Design Blog

Donnie BryantAgain arguing against the “Google+ is a ghost town” thesis, Donnie Bryant here provides a handful of helpful tips for getting more performance out of a Google+ business page, from creating a short URL and maximizing the use of photos and video to encouraging sharing.

The Marketer’s Guide to Google Plus by KISSmetrics

Zach BulygoZach Bulygo offers a highly detailed and richly illustrated guide to marketing on Google+, from the basics of business page setup and getting a verified name to optimizing your tagline, use of photos. Google+ author tag and the +1 sharing button.

How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank by WindMill Networking

Neal SchafferNeal Schaffer quotes Mark Traphagen (one last time), who calls Google+ a “powerhouse” because of its “tight integration into Google search. Google+ posts are easily indexed by Google search, and unlike tweets or Facebook posts, are treated much like regular web pages. That means a well-constructed G+ post (with a main keyword in the first sentence/title and a good amount of engagement) can rank well in Google search and, unlike other social media status posts, actually stay ranked for a long time,” and explains why Google authorship is important and how to set it up.

Google+ Rants and Raves

Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet by ReadWrite

Jon MitchellJon Mitchell is not a fan of Google’s latest social network and isn’t afraid to say so. He writes, “Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships ‘the Google part’ of its new Google+ identity, it’s breaking the Web it once helped build,” and then offers half a dozen specific reasons why.

“Don’t Be Evil” Tool — Backed By Facebook & Twitter — Shows Google’s “Search Plus Your World” Can Go Beyond Google+ by Search Engine Land

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan details the use and results from the “Don’t be Evil” browser bookmarklet, stating that “The companies behind the tool feel Google’s hasn’t focused on what’s best for its users with Search Plus Your World. They have a good point. But the tool makes this point better than all the debates that have happened so far around Search Plus Your Word, because it shows what Google could have done to better serve searchers, if it had wanted to.” He also explains how some features of Google+ are part of the problem.

How Google+ Is Encircling Your Brand by MediaPost

Though he believes “Google+ is emerging as a great way for brands to connect directly with consumers,” Gavin O’Malley also notes that a disproportionate share of interaction is driven by a few aggressive, early adopting brands on the platform, and points out “Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has achieved.”

Exclusive: New Google+ Study Reveals Minimal Social Activity, Weak User Engagement by Fast Company

Austin CarrAustin Carr reports on the findings of a study which paints “very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity.” Among te research findings from RJ Metrics, “Roughly 30% of users who make a public post never make a second one” and “Even after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.” The author concludes that Google+ “might indeed just be a ‘virtual ghost town,’ as some have argued.”

Think You Don’t Need Google+ in Your Business? Think Again! by Rebekah Radice

Rebekah RadiceWhile acknowledging that Google+ has its shortcomings and that many marketers remain (not entirely unreasonably) skeptical about the platform, Rebekah Radice nevertheless offers half a dozen reasons to embrace Google’s social network, such as the circles and hangouts features and the B2B networking value.

With Google+ Communities, Google launches its own version of Facebook Groups by VentureBeat

Tom CheredarTom Cheredar explains how Google+ Communities work and how this capability compares with Facebook groups: “There are a few notable (notable differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups), including the ability to start a Google Hangout video chat with the community and sharing things specifically with G+ communities from any +1 button. That’s pretty cool, and something that might actually attract people to use it over Facebook.”

Google+ becomes the world’s social platform…with Community by Relevanza

Steve HartWriting that “While Google announced Google+ reached 500 million users, the bigger announcement by far was the roll out of Google+ Communities,” Steve Hart explains what Communities are, how they work, what they can be used for, and why they are “a BFD.”

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Best Social Media and Digital Marketing Research and Statistics of 2011, Part 2

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Reports, surveys, studies and infographics are among the most popular content posted and shared across social networks. We’re all hungry for data.

Marketers, we’re told, need to think like publishers. But which networks are most effective for spreading the content produced? How widespread, really, is the use of social media for marketing? How are B2B marketers using social media differently from their B2C counterparts? How are marketers measuring social media success? Who is actually consuming all of this content?

Find the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 40 of the best reports, studies, videos and other sources of social media, search, and other marketing facts and statistics of the past year.

General Social Media Statistics

The Growth of Social Media: An Infographic by Search Engine Journal

Jenise HenriksonJenise Uehara Henrikson highlights the phenomenal growth of social media over the last six years, and particularly since 2008. Also noted:

  • • One in four Americans watches a YouTube video every day.
  • • 53% of employers now research candidates on social networks before hiring.
  • • 71% of companies now have a presence on Facebook. 59% are on Twitter, and 43% use a company blog for marketing.

Researchers To Marketers: Go Social, Mobile by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Les LuchterLes Luchter looks at research showing that 10% of all website visits to the top 1,000 web properties come from social sharing, half as much as from search. Sharing accounts for nearly a third of all referral traffic, and shared links are “clicked on 4.9 times each, on average, across all sharing channels, so content shared by large groups of people reach a wider audience than content passed along from others.”

Social Networking Growth Stats and Patterns by Social Media Today

Dan NelmsDan Nelms dives into a Comscore report which found that although Facebook engagement is increasing (the average time spent on the site per user per month increased from 4.6 hours to 6.3 hours in the last year), niche social networks are experiencing the fastest user growth (up 48.1% for the year). Still, the top 10 social networks account for nearly 80% of all social network traffic.

Twitter, Facebook And LinkedIn: Age, Ethnicity And Gender Of The Major Social Networks [STUDY] by All Twitter

Shea BennettShea Bennett examines research finding that, no surprise, the user base on LinkedIn skews older than on other social networks: more than half of all members are aged 36-65, with just 6% younger than 22. People over the age of 65 don’t make up more than 6% of membership on any social network (the 6% figure is for Facebook). And while women outnumber men on almost every major social network (e.g. women make up 64% of Twitter’s following), men (63% to 37%) are the larger share on LinkedIn.

Infographic: Social Media ROI Statistics by Digital Buzz

Aden HepburnAden Hepburn shares a wealth of social media ROI statistics here, such as that 74% of CMOs believe they will get a handle on social media ROI in 2012. Website traffic is the most commonly measured social media metric, followed by conversions, positive mentions and number of fans/followers. In the coming year, 77% of companies plan to spend more on YouTube; three-quarters plan to increase spending on Facebook and blogs, and 73% will invest more on Twitter.

You just shared a link. How long will people pay attention? by bitly blog
***** 5 STARS

Hilary MasonHilary Mason reports on research showing the “half-life” of a link on various social networks (the time in which half of all clicks the link will ever get occur). Among her key findings: “(looking at) the half life of 1,000 popular bitly links, the results were surprisingly similar. The mean half life of a link on twitter is 2.8 hours, on facebook it’s 3.2 hours and via ‘direct’ sources (like email or IM clients) it’s 3.4 hours. So you can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on facebook than if you post on twitter.”

The State of the Internet Now
***** 5 STARS

This incredible site displays real-time statistics on a variety of global internet metrics, including today’s “Intetnet mood poll,” the relative positions of the largest social networks, how time is spent online, and a constantly changing collection of “Fun Facts” (e.g. “Lady Gaga is Twitter’s most followed user with 8.4 million followers”).

11 infographics for your next presentation by Ragan’s PR Daily
***** 5 STARS

Arik HansonArik Hanson shares a collection of “Infographics that would fit nicely into many digital marketing/PR presentations.” Topics include online demographics, the growth of social media, Twitter facts and figures (e.g., 40% of all tweets are pointless babble; only about one out of every 11 tweets gets retweeted), location-based marketing, and how executives use social media (LinkedIn is used by 92% of top executives, Facebook by 51%, and Twitter by 41%; half of all top executives use at least three different social networks regularly; and 83% trust social media sites “somewhat” or “strongly”).

Social Media Adoption Slows For Fortune 500 by The Realtime Report

Marissa McNaughtonMarissa McNaughton looks at social media use among America’s largest companies. Among the findings: 114 companies (23%) of the Fortune 500 maintain blogs, 62% have active corporate Twitter accounts, and 58% have a Facebook presence. But after rapid growth in 2009 and 2010, the study found that “There has been little or no change in the number of companies using corporate blogs (0%), Facebook (2%) and Twitter (2%) in the last year.”

McKinsey Social Technologies Survey: the Business Ecosystem Benefits by Fusion Marketing Experience

J-P DeClerckJ-P De Clerck passes along some fascinating stats from a McKinsey study on social technologies, including:

  • • 72% of companies use at least one type of social technology; 50% use social networking, 41% have blogs, and 38% use video.
  • • The most rapid increase in adoption has been in the use of social networking, which has nearly doubled since 2009.
  • • 27% of companies expect “the elimination, or at least lessening, of an organizations formal hierarchy because it will be easier to make decisions as a group.”

Out with the Old (Marketing) And In With the New by Blue Focus Marketing

Mark BurgessEchoing the statistic from Erik Qualman that “78% of people trust peer recommendations vs. only about 14% who trust ads,” Mark Burgess makes the case for online and inbound marking using numbers: consumers are more likely to trust online consumer opinions (49%), opt-in (vendor) emails (40%) and even brand websites (35%) than any type of web-based advertising–though search ads (21%) outperform other formats.

Companies Should Communicate Via Social Media by MediaPost Onlne Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley relays research from New York University which finds that “78% of respondents (consumers) agreed that either social media platforms would soon replace other means of customer service altogether, or become the dominant way for consumers to communicate with corporations.” The study also noted that “45% of respondents would feel ‘angry’ if ignored by companies on a particular social media platform…nearly 1 in 3 respondents said they would stop doing business with the offending company altogether…(and) if confronted with unanswered customer complaints on a company’s social media site, 88.3% of respondents said they’d be either somewhat less likely or far less likely to buy from that brand.”

McKinsey Research Again Validates Social Technology Benefits by paulgillin.com

Paul GillinPaul Gillin quotes from McKinsey research findings on social media use in the enterprise that 72% now use some form of social media, with more than 40% participating in blogging and social networks. Why? Because it produces real business results: “Executives at fully networked organizations report greater benefits from both internal and external interactions…Self-reported operating-margin improvements correlated positively with the reported percentage of employees whose use of social technologies was integrated into their day-to-day work. Market share leadership in an industry, the final self-reported performance measure, (also) correlated positively with the integration of social tools in employees’ day-to-day work.”

B2B Marketing Research and Statistics

10 informative B2B marketing infographics by Econsultancy

Graham CharltonGraham Charlton presents 10 B2B-focused infographics, filled with statistics and findings such as that B2B buyers are increasingly getting their information from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs while other sources fall in popularity, and that 86% of B2B firms are using social media (versus 82% of B2C companies), but they are less engaged than their consumer-focused counterparts (with 32% of B2B companies engaging online daily, compared to 53% of B2C enterprises).

B2B Marketing [r]Evolution (Content Marketing) by PropelGrowth on YouTube

The latest version of this video provides a wealth of B2B-related stats, including: 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising (but most do trust recommendations from other users online). Google attracts more than one billion unique visitors per month. 92% of B2B buyers use online resources to research products and services. And most B2B buying cycles are 70%-80% complete before the salesperson is even aware of the buyer.

The End of Blogs (and Maybe Websites) as We Know Them by Forbes

Scott GillumScott Gillum believes that tools like Blogger Dynamic Views and Flipcard have “the potential to turn over complete control of the user experience to the visitor.” He explains what it means for B2B marketers when buyers are essentially able to create their own UI.

How B2B Search Engine Marketers Can Better Impact the B2B Buying Process by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

Derek EdmondIn this must-read post for B2B marketers, Derek Edmond reviews research from TriCommB2B detailing the role of content marketing assets in B2B marketing (e.g., which assets are viewed as most critical to buyers—technical data sheets and vendor websites—and which are least important), the six distinct phases of the B2B buying cycle, SEO best practices, using social networking for link building, and more.

Types of Valuable Marketing Content by The Daily Numbers

David EricksonDavid Erickson reports that 39% of B2B marketers (as well as 37% of their B2C counterparts) view blog posts as the most valuable type of content to support their marketing efforts. He notes that some companies try to use a blog simply as a mechanism to re-post their press releases, and are subsequently disappointed by the results. But he also points out that companies who stick with blogging over the long term “gain immeasurably through an understanding of content marketing, what types of content appeal to their customers, (and) how content works with search in attracting new customers.”

B2B Marketers Have Much To Learn About Social by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley passes along findings from a Pardot study, indicating that “as much as marketers like social media, they’re not spending proportionately on the new channel.” Although 95% of B2B marketers report using social networks to reach prospects, “nearly 30% are not tracking the impact of such campaigns on lead generation and sales. And among those who do, about 42% of marketers replied that zero or an uncertain number of sales leads resulted from social media programs.”

Study Shows Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketers by Marketing Pilgrim
***** 5 STARS

Frank ReedFrank Reed examines the differences in digital marketing practices between B2B and B2C marketers, such as that 75% of B2C marketers say Facebook is their most active social media channel, while B2B marketers are more divided on the question (35% say Facebook, 26% Twitter, and 25% LinkedIn). B2B marketers on average spend a higher percentage of their online budget on SEO (33%) than their B2C counterparts (22%), but less on PPC advertising (28% vs. 43%) and social media marketing (10% comapred to 15%).

Only 8% of B2B Companies Heavily Engaged in Social Media by Social Media B2B

Jeffrey L. CohenJeffrey L. Cohen looks into an Accenture study finding that although 65% of B2B marketers call social media “extremely or very important,” only 8% would describe their own social media use as “extensive.” 26% are only slightly engaged or not using social media at all. Why? According to the study, “50% of marketers surveyed felt they needed new tools and technologies to manage their social media efforts and 40% indicated that their team was not properly trained to take advantage of social media.”

4 Ways To Boost The Value Of Your B2B Marketing Content by Social Media B2B

Adam Holden-BacheHow can B2B companies best take advantage of social media? Adam Holden-Bache passes along research showing that 77% of B2B buyers view content as more influential if it includes social sharing buttons. 92% say that when video “is embedded in content it positively or very positively effects the overall influence.” And 37% of buyers have consumed b2b content using a mobile device.

Social Media and C-Level Executives

Executives Fail to Focus on Social Media Marketing Strategy by eMarketer

Despite the fact that 80% of companies with 100 or more employees now use social media in their marketing mix, “only 27% (of business executives) list social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admit a social plan is necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% say social business strategy is simply not necessary.” Given those figures, it’s not surprising that just 17% of executives believe their company’s social media strategy is ahead of the curve, while 33% are concerned that they trail the market.

Social Media Stats for the C-Suite by Social Media Today
***** 5 STARS

Jeff EspositoJeff Esposito here compiles results from several research studies in a collection of 30 interesting social media facts, among them: 82% of 18-29 year olds utilize at least one form of social networking. 40% of corporate Twitter accounts include customer service use. Only about 10% of CMOs say that social marketing efforts are integrated with their overall marketing strategies. And nearly half of consumers “combine social media and search engines in their buying process” (which is why web presence optimization is critical).

Social Media: A Must For CEOs Of The Future by V3 Integrated Marketing

Shelly KramerThe always insightful Shelly Kramer comments on recent research showing that more CEOs are starting to embrace social media. More specifically, “Twenty-eight percent of CEOs under the age of 40 maintain a work-related blog daily. And 32 percent of them contribute or read micro-feeds using Twitter or a similar application.”

Twitter Stats

13% of Online Americans Use Twitter [STATS] by Mashable

Lauren IndvikAccording to Pew Research stats cited by Lauren Indvic here, 13% of all online Americans, 15% of those with incomes greater than $75,000 per year, 16% of college graduates, and nearly 20% of Internet users aged 25-34 use Twitter.

Study: 76 percent of communications professionals use Twitter by Ragan’s PR Daily

Michael SebastianMichael Sebastian reports that “76 percent of communicators (PR professionals) in the United States and Canada used the site, nearly double the percentage from 2009,” and in addition, “The percentage of organizations with a budget devoted to social media has doubled since 2009, to 30 percent from 15 percent. 32 percent of PR pros said they have a dedicated social media team in place.”

30 Terrific Twitter Facts And Figures by Geeky Stuffs

Shaan HaiderNoting that its “glamor and brand problem has not held back (Twitter’s) growth after its humble origins and launch in 2006,” Shaan Haider lists 30 stats about the microblogging service such as that the service had only three million registered users in 2008 (but 225 million by March 2011); 60% of all tweets come from third-party apps; and mobile Twitter users increased by 182% in the past year.

StumbleUpon Stats

The Shelf Life of a Web Page by The Daily Numbers

David Erickson (again) reports that StumbleUpon not only accounts for the bulk of social sharing (it drove “50.3% of the social media traffic referrals in the US from August to September” in 2011) but also that its link have a much longer half-life than those on Facebook or Twitter. He also notes that once-hot Digg has devolved into “the MySpace of social sharing sites.”

Why StumbleUpon Drives Over 50% Of All Social Media Traffic [Infographic] by PSFK

Emma Hutchings shares an infographic loaded with StumbleUpon statistics and facts, such as that “2.2 million web pages…are added to StumbleUpon every month, which works out at 51 each minute. The average Stumble page view lasts 72 seconds, nearly 25% longer than the average web page view, and the average Stumble session lasts 69 minutes, which is three times longer than the average time someone spends on Facebook.”

Facebook Stats

Social Network User Base Grows, 56% Are Adult Females by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Mark Walsh relays survey results revealing that nearly half of Americans now use at least one social networking site. Facebook is, no surprise, the dominant network, but interestingly “the average Facebook member has 229 friends on the site, with people from high school making up the largest share at 22%, followed by extended family (12%) and coworkers (10%), college friends (9%), and immediate family (8%).” The survey also suggests that Facebook may have reached its saturation point in the U.S..

Social Media Surpasses Search, Facebook Leads by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanFrequent best-of honoree Laurie Sullivan looks into a Nielsen report showing that in terms of time spent on the site, Facebook (yeah, I know, a shock) is the leader followed by Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn. All came in well ahead of sites like Google, AOL and MSN. In addition, “Tumblr has grown to become the eighth-largest U.S. site, jumping 183%…in the past year.”

Doing Some Social Networking? You’re 5x More Likely To Be On Facebook Than Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea Bennett (again) posts an infographic loaded with online usage stats, such as that 65% of adult internet users engage on social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn (vs. 13% who are on Twitter), 92% use email and search engines, and 81% go online to check the weather. Meanwhile, dating websites and virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) are reportedly among the least popular online activities.

SEO Research and Stats

SEO Underused, Forrester Report Suggests by MediaPost Search Blog

Laurie Sullivan reports Forrester research discovering that three-quarters of technology vendors have embraced SEO; less than 10% don’t use search optimization at all. However, SEO remains under-used in certain areas, such as “supporting sales in moving prospects through the sales process.” From the buyer perspective, Forrester found that “When customers search for IT products, 20% said they primarily search for best practices; 19%, vendors and products; 18%, technology categories; 17%, other experiences; 16% business problems; and 9%, organizational adoption programs.”

Wow, you can make good money in Search by iMedia Connection

A.J. LawrenceAJ Lawrence shares SEMPO research on SEO salaries showing that the average search marketer earns $75,542 per year. This ranges from rookie analysts starting at around $30,000 annually to vice presidents bringing down more than $250,000. More than half of all SEO professionals (57%) have five years or less experience.

SEO Salaries and the Best Cities for SEO Jobs by Onward Search

Going a bit deeper into the topic of SEO compensation than the post above, this post/infographic shows the top cities for SEO work (New York, LA and San Francisco top the list; Minneapolis, where I’m at, comes in at a respectable 12th place), a breakdown of SEO titles, and salary ranges by market (if you don’t mind the heat, SEO jobs in #10 Atlanta apparently pay considerably better than those in #9 Seattle).

SEO Behavior: Click-Through Rates Drop Per Search by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie Sullivan (again) notes research showing that more than half of searchers click on a first-page search result. In round numbers, the top result generates 18% of click-throughs, the #2 result 10%, and positions 6-10 each get 4% or fewer of all clicks. David Erickson offers additional detail on the same study in Organic Click-Through Rates by Ranking.

10 Stats to Justify SEO by Search Engine Journal

Daniel BianchiniDaniel Bianchini shares some high-level stats on the importance of search, such as that 93% of all internet traffic comes from search engines, with Google dominating. The figures here are specific to the UK, but the general ideas are more universal.

Google Longtail Keywords Infographic by SEO Book

Aaron WallAaron Wall presents an infographic titled “How Google Killed the Long Tail,” which delves into topics like spell correction (sometimes a friend, sometimes not), Google Instant (ugh), query freshness and “not provided” keywords in Google Analytics (boo, hiss).

A Tale Of Two Studies: Google vs. Bing Click-Through Rate by The Daily SEO Blog

According to this infographic, results on the first page of Google generate higher click-through rates across all positions (maybe that “Bing and decide thing isn’t working out—or maybe this data set is simply too small). 55% of Google searchers are male, while women (58% to 42%) are more likely to be searching on Bing. And in terms of ranking factors, Google supposedly no longer cares about the H1 tag, while neither search engine gives weight to domain age (hmmm).

General Marketing Research

Among Affluent Americans, Print Media Is Tops by Ad Age Blogs

While social media generates headlines, don’t write off traditional media just yet. Stephen Kraus and Bob Shullman report that of households with more than $100,000 in annual income, 93% read magazines in hard-copy format, while just a third read them online. Similarly, 86% read printed newspapers compared to 39% who read the same news online. And 94% watch television shows on (gasp!) televisions, versus 23% who view TV shows online.

Study Says Drudge Report Drives More Traffic Than Facebook & Twitter Combined by Mashable

Lauren Indvik (again) takes note of research from Outbrain which finds that the Drudge report drives 7% of traffic to sites like the New York Times, MSNBC, and The Atlantic (and Mashable), more than twice the percentage of Facebook and Twitter combined. That figure was up 1.5% from the previous year. Overall, according to the study, “social networks still drive relatively little traffic (7%) compared to content sites (56%) and search (37%).” Among social networks driving traffic, Twitter and Reddit came out on top.

2011 Insane Mobile Marketing Facts & Trends by Bit Rebels

Diana AdamsThe delightful Diana Adams reports that more than one-quarter of all mobile phones are now smartphones, that mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop usage by 2014, and that Americans spend about twice as much time on their mobile phones each day as they do eating, among other fascinating factoids in this infographic.

Paid Search To Grow 15% In 2012 by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie Sullivan (yet again) shares findings from recent search marketing research. Among the trends: paid search is projected to grow 15% in 2012 and 2013, followed by 13% in 2014. Costs are rising: “a promoted trend on Twitter now costs $120,000 daily, up from between $25,000 and $30,000 when Twitter first launched in April 2010.” And the fastest growing format is expected to be online video ads.

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39 More (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Insights of 2011

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The notion of using social media for business has gone from cutting edge to commonplace in an amazingly short time. And for those laggard firms still resisting social media, recent changes by Google now make it all but imperative.

Of course, there’s no single cookie-cutter approach to social media marketing that works for every enterprise. And many companies that jumped in early experienced failures and disappointments, pulled back, and then re-approached social media from a more strategic angle.

Best Social Media Guides of 2011While certain aspects of social media have stabilized (e.g., Facebook is the largest social network and is unlikely to fall to any “Facebook killer” application anytime soon; Google is going to keep trying to build its own social network until it manages to create one that attracts more users than lawsuits), many practices are still evolving. What’s the most effective way to grow a company’s social influence? How widely within an organization should social media tasks be distributed? How can an brand establish trust online? What are the best practices for sharing content on each major social network? What common mistakes and pitfalls should be avoided? Is it really possible to measure social media ROI—and if so, how?

Find the answers to these questions and more here in more than three dozen of the best social media guides, insights, rants and reports of the past year.

Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics

Social Media, What Matters Most for Marketers by iMedia Connection

Noting that the “trend in digital information sharing (on social networks) is still a huge challenge for many companies,” Rick van Boekel advises marketers to develop a strategy, stay involved (or stay away), and integrate efforts among other guidance for marketing success in social media.

Practical Reasons Why Businesses Need Social Media by Social Media Today

Austen Mayor articulates both qualitative and quantitative justifications for social media investments. Among the hard numbers he lists: according to a social media industry study, 72% of companies active in social media report higher website traffic, 62% say it has improved search engine rankings, and 48% say it has increased sales.

Why Aren’t You Promoting Your Social Profiles? 10 Ways to Make it Happen by The Social Media Chef

Chris TomkinsChris Tompkins supplies 10 methods to help “promote your social media profiles OUTSIDE of logging in to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter,” such as adding your social media profiles to company email signatures, business cards, advertising and all marketing collateral.

Stop shoving social media down my throat by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer explains why be believes it is NOT a good idea to force “social media down the throats of employees at every level of the company,” contrary to advice given elsewhere. People bring different skills to the job. As Mark concludes, “Being adept at social media is NOT EASY for everybody. And we should be able to live with that human diversity.”

50 Social Media Marketing Tips and Tactics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas lists “50 synergistic social media marketing tips and tactics to market your content and ideas and help them to spread to a global audience,” divided into six platform categories: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Slideshare.

Forrester: 5 Stages Of Social Media Growth by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reviews research from Forrester on the five stages of social media maturity that corporations typically pass through, starting with the dormant stage (“one in five companies still don’t use any social media. These companies tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested, according to Forrester”) then progressing through “distributed chaos” and additional steps before reaching the optimization stage.

A quick guide to 5 social media platforms by iMedia Connection

Linda IrelandLinda Ireland offers helpful tips to marketers on going beyond the basics to take advantage of the unique strengths of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and LinkedIn (e.g., “If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn is a great way to identify, connect with, and build stronger relationships with potential customers by interacting with them through LinkedIn Groups and providing responses to the questions they post on LinkedIn Answers”).

Social Trust Factor: 10 Tips to Establish Credibility by The Marketing Nut

Pam MooreFrequent best-of honoree Pam Moore explains the importance of the trust factor in encouraging brand engagement and offers 10 tips for increasing your social trust factor, such as developing a consistent online brand persona, hanging out with the “right” people in your business social networks, and taking the time to cultivate relationships.

Social Media Marketing – 10 Inspiring Infographics by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas shares some interesting social media statistics (e.g., Tumblr is now attracting over 90 million unique visitors every month; StumbleUpon drives over 50% of all social network traffic) as well as helpful how-to’s (e.g., How to Twitter and LinkedIn Boot Camp) in this intriguing collection of infographics.

How to be a rock star on 8 social media platforms by iMedia Connection
***** 5 STARS

Kent LewisKent Lewis packs an incredible amount of useful information into this concise post, which outlines tactics for marketing success, illustrated with real-world examples, for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora and Foursquare.

Don’t Let Legal Keep You Out of Social by Social Media Marketing Magazine

Glen GilmoreGlen Gilmore reviews some high-profile examples of social media legal cases, which, he writes, “have largely been related to cases of egregious misconduct.” He then explains the basic legal and regulatory risks associated with social media, and presents a plan to minimize such risks in business social media use.

Busting Social Media Myths and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Five Social Media Myths You Need to Know by frogloop

Allyson KapinCommenting on Facebook’s dominance and huge market reach that, “while it maybe true that your organization needs a better Facebook strategy, it’s also important that you dig a little deeper into social media stats,” Allyson Kapin debunks five social media myths. Though her focus is on fundraising and social media use by non-profit organizations, much of the material here applies more broadly.

Beware Best Practices, They Can Kill Productivity, Innovation and Growth – Adopt Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter by Forbes

Adam HartungFor those executives who still block or limit access for their employees to social media sites and mobile devices, Adam Hartung reminds readers that personal computers were once looked at as productivity destroyers (PCs were viewed as toys that lacked the robustness of mainframe applications by some CIOs back in the 80s) and warns that “best practices” (e.g., “We need to control employee access to information” and “We need to keep employees focused on their job, without distractions”) are a dangerous myth.

Four Common Social Media Mishaps by iMedia Connection

Erik DeckersErik Deckers advises against, among other social media faux paus, socialcasting, relying on a single network, or, interestingly, “Putting a B2B company on Facebook or a B2C company on LinkedIn…People go to Facebook to chat with family and friends, not to buy industrial adhesives. People go to LinkedIn to connect with people who can help them do their jobs better, not share their love of your white chocolate macadamia nut brownies.”

Ten Myths About Social Networking For Business by Forbes

Neal RodriguezNeal Rodriguez provides “a comprehensive guide to social networking misconceptions—each accompanied by a tangible action plan that you can take right now,” such as “Myth 4: You have to spend hours a day on Twitter” (he recommends using Tweetchats—not a bad idea, but not right for everyone).

B2B Social Media Guides

Top social media platforms for businesses by iMedia Connection

Kent Lewis outlines the benefits of social media for B2B businesses, the challenges such vendors face in social media, the essential elements of a B2B social media program, and the best platforms to utilize (blogging, LinkedIn and Twitter are obvious; Facebook and Quora somewhat more questionable).

Turn B2B Buying Into a Social Experience by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoTony Zambito outlines the changes social media has brought to the B2B buying process and identifies four areas where buyer expectations have changed that B2B marketers need to be aware of and address. Another outstanding post from Tony is The New Social Buyer Ecosystem, which delves into the concept of social Buyer Circles and their implications for marketers in engaging social buyers in the B2B realm.

YouTube Tips and Tactics

YouTube etiquette for 2011 by iMedia Connection

Daisy WhitneyDaisy Whitney provides excellent tips for making the most of YouTube, such as paying special attention to the crucial first 15 seconds of every video you produce; entering your keywords in rank order; and uploading a custom thumbnail image for each video rather than relying on the YouTube default selection.

6 Best Practices For Small Business YouTube Marketing by OPEN Forum

Todd WassermanTodd Wasserman shares advice from entrepreneurs who’ve been successful with YouTube marketing on best practices for the platform, including buying ads, finding your niche, using technology such as Hot Spots to test the effectiveness of your videos, and tracking ROI.

YouTube It; You Rank for It – Improve Your YouTube Rankings by iMedia Connection

Chris Adams of gShift LabsChris Adams of gShift Labs explains how to optimize video rankings in YouTube, the factors that affect ranking (beyond the obvious) and the importance of analyzing and acting upon YouTube metrics regularly.

Search and Social

When search meets social by Econsultancy

Nick JonesDue to the growing importance of social signals in search results, Nick Jones writes that “2011 marks the year when social media has shifted from being nice to essential…Social elements play a huge part in the traffic generated, but also…citations and “votes” in the form of Tweets and Likes go a long way to indicating to search engines that this content has value and deserves to rank for relevant keywords.”

How Social Media Affects Content Relevance in Search by Mashable

Shane Snow explains why and how Google and Bing are incorporating social signals into the search algorithms, how these changes may help newer businesses, and which previously helpful SEO tactics are now much less important. The key to success in this new world is creating highly sharable content and building a network of influencers who will share it.

Social Media Monitoring and ROI Measurement

10 Measures of Social Media ROI for Your Brand by SocialTimes

Neil GlassmanNeil Glassman presents his “ten measures of social media marketing ROI,” though ROI purists may quibble with some of his entries, e.g., raising the quality and quantity of job applicants by creating a “social culture.” But it’s an intriguing list nonetheless.

Forget Social Media ROI by ClickZ

Heidi CohenThe brilliant Heidi Cohen contends that only a third of companies are attempting to track social media ROI; outlines three reasons why such calculations are difficult (e.g., “Social media interaction tends to happen outside of the purchase process, either before or after”); and presents as alternatives five social media metrics she believes really do matter.

Social Media ROI for Me-Too-ers versus Innovators by SocialSteve’s Blog
***** 5 STARS

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner uses a graphical social media activity scale to explain the differences in tactics and related ROI measurements between “Me-Too’ers” (focused on basic activities like setting up social profiles and adding sharing buttons to their websites) and “Innovators” (integrated social media efforts, formalized social media relationships).

Things We Should Ask The ROI Question About Before Social Media by UnMarketing

Scott StrattenScott Stratten makes a concise yet blistering argument against obsessing over social media ROI, noting that social media is held “to a higher level of judgment than most things in business,” then questioning the ROI of things like meetings, logo-emblazoned coffee mugs and employee commute time.

5 Ways to Measure Social Media by ClickZ

Ron JonesFrequent best-of contributor Ron Jones recommends measuring a number of different metrics within categories like Awareness/Exposure (the most basic level), Influence, and Engagement (e.g., number of shares, mentions, comments and retweets).

The ROI of Social Media ROI by iMedia Connection

Scot WheelerScot Wheeler presents a helpful diagram for evaluating social media while also noting that “ROI is not always the best way to evaluate the value of social media engagement to an organization…Often, when management asks for the ROI on social media, what they are really asking for is the value of social media engagement to the business.” He then describes the usefulness of awareness, buzz, reach and sentiment as measures of social media value. Also worth checking out is Scot’s follow-up to this post, The Four Principles of Social ROI Measurement, in which he contends that “the accumulation of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ and the generation of engagement are not ends in themselves.  These are tactics which are meant to prime a growing and engaged users for eventual transactions, but which are no more directly measurable in terms of revenues generated than is PR, print, TV or radio advertising.”

Explaining “social media ROI” AGAIN. And again. And… again. by The Brand Builder Blog

Olivier BlanchardOlivier Blanchard serves up an entertaining and informative rant about the continued inability or refusal of many social media professionals to explain the ROI of social media, writing “As annoying and curious as it was, back in 2009, when so many so-called ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ couldn’t figure out how to explain, much less determine the ROI of anything relating to social media, it is inexcusable today.” He explains the basics of social media ROI measurement, though conceding in the end that “Not all social media activity needs to drive ROI.”

14 Top Tracking Tools For Your Social Media Stats by Abnormal Marketing

Fiona McEachranFiona McEachran takes a look at 14 social media monitoring tools, ranging in price from free to “don’t ask,” including Trackur, Webfluenz and BackType.

Social Media Facts, Stats and Research

INFOGRAPHIC: How Much Does Social Media Really Cost? by Scribbal
***** 5 STARS

Mariel Loveland presents an outstanding infographic detailing the internal and external costs of social media marketing along with the expected savings or return in various business areas, drawing on both statistical and anecdotal data.

The Business Impact of Social Media [Infographic] by ReadWriteWeb

Klint FinleyKlint Finley reports on research regarding social media use in Forture 500 companies covering priorities, success measures, rationale, and brief profiles of successful social media use in big companies (Coca Cola, jetBlue, Dell, Red Bull and others).

Facebook, Twitter Shares Outpace Other Social Buttons by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie SullivanLaurie Sullivan highlights research from BrightEdge showing that “Web site pages displaying the Twitter share button get seven times the social media mentions compared with those that do not…(yet) nearly half of the largest 10,000 sites on the Web still don’t display any kind of social sharing links or buttons.”

10 Intriguing Insights on the State of Social Media and Blogging by Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas (again) summarizes 10 key insights from Nielsen research on social media, among them: Facebook dominates the “time spent online” metric—Facebook users collectively spend three times as many minutes with Facebook as they do with Yahoo, and four times as many as with Google. Nearly a quarter of total online time is spent with social networks and blogs. And women outnumber men on eight of the top 10 social networks—but guys are in the majority on LinkedIn.

Social Media Bigger And More Influential Than Ever, Reveals Q3 Nielsen Report [INFOGRAPHIC] by All Twitter

Shea BennettShea Bennett shares more takeaways from Neilsen research, such as that “40% of social media users access content from their mobile handsets,” with users over the age of 55 driving much of this growth. Social networks and blogs are visited by more than three-quarters of Internet users. And Tumblr is among the fastest-growing networks, tripling its user base in 2011.

Social Media Report: Q3 2011 by Nielsen Research

Want to draw your own conclusions from the research cited by Jeff and Shea above? Here’s the source.

9 Social Media Infographics You Must See by DreamGrow

Mart ProomMart Prööm presents a fascinating collection of infographics, with stats and findings ranging from the percentage of U.S. adults who use social media every day (65%) and the top buyers of social media monitoring tools (43% are social media managers, 19% are agency professionals) to the leading social networks for small business (78% are on Twitter, 75% on Facebook) and a simple process for creating a social media strategy.

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Best Social Media and Digital Marketing Research and Statistics of 2011, Part 1

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Sure, teenagers spend a lot of time on YouTube, but did you know that three-quarters of business executives watch work-related online videos weekly? Or that 73% of U.S. companies now use social media for marketing (though the figure varies widely based on size of company)? Or which four cities rank ahead of Seattle and San Francisco as the “most networked?” Or that49% of B2B journalists write blogs, and 84% are on Twiter? Or that a third (or more, depending on which study you believe) of all clicks go to the top result on a search engine query?

Best of 2011 - Social Media Statistics and ResearchGet the details behind these stats and many, many more here in more than 40 of the best articles and blog posts about social media, search, budgeting and digital marketing research, facts and statistics of 2011 so far.

Social Media Stats, Facts and Research

Does Facebook Need To Build A Search Engine? by MediaPost SearchBlog

Laurie SullivanSocial media sites now drive more traffic to many popular sites—including Comedy Central, NFL.com and Netflix—than Google does. Citing these and other statistics, Laurie Sullivan ponders the meaning of the term “search engine.” She quotes Wedbush Equity Analyst Lou Kerner, who has called Facebook “‘the second Internet,’ with time spent on Facebook and page views surpassing Google search.” Facebook has become the (far more successful) second coming of what AOL was back in the early 90s. As Mark Twain allegedly quipped, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

Executives & Online Video [CHARTS] by eStrategy After Hours

David EricksonDavid Erickson shares eMarketer findings about the popularity of online video among business executives. Among the findings: “Three-quarters of all executives said they watched work-related videos on business websites at least once a week, and more than half did the same on YouTube.” Nearly a quarter prefer video content to text. And nearly two out of three executives have visited a vendor’s website after viewing an online video elsewhere.

Content Sharing Trends in 2010 [Infographic] by Pamorama

Pam DyerPam Dyer reports on data from AddThis showing the top methods for sharing information from more than 300 options. Not too surprisingly, Facebook is the #1 method for passing along content, followed by email and then Twitter. Gmail and StumbleUpon are the fastest growing methods, however.

B2B marketers: give us inbound, social, e-mail, marketing automation and content by Conversion Marketing Forum

J-P DeClerckAfter pondering some of the differences between B2B and B2C marketing, J-P De Clerck shares data from MarketingSherpa showing that lead generation is (by far) the top priority for B2B marketers (with 78% saying that generating high-quality leads is their top priority) while budget increases are going overwhelmingly to inbound marketing tactics (with 60%+ spending more on content, social media and SEO).

Pew: Republicans, Democrats Use Social Media Equally by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Mark Walsh summarizes research findings from a Pew survey revealing that “22% (of) online adults used Twitter or other social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace in the months leading up to the November 2010 elections…Among social network users, 40% of Republican voters and 38% of Democratic voters used these sites to become involved politically.” At least something is bipartisan.

Social Media 2010, The Fastest Growth Ever by MyCorporateMedia

Randy SchrumRandy Schrum supplies some interesting social media statistics, such as: Twitter users post more than 65 million tweets per day. Over 2 billion videos are viewed every day on YouTube. And 73% of U.S. companies now use social media for marketing.

16 social media statistics that might surprise you by Communications Conversations

Arik HansonArik Hanson lists social media stats from various sources showing that 75% of brand ‘Likes’ on Facebook come from advertisements. 22% of Fortune 500 companies have a public-facing blog that has at least one post in the past 12 months. Fridays at 4 p.m. eastern time (U.S.) are the most retweetable day/time of the week, per Dan Zarella of HubSpot. (I don’t buy that one, as in my experience, Twitter pretty much dies between noon on Friday and early Saturday morning.) 48% of Twitter users say they rarely or never check Twitter. (That I believe.)

Report: CMOs Eager To Integrate Social Tools by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley reports that chief marketing officers have embraced social media: “From Facebook to Twitter, a full 90% of chief marketing officers now participate in an average of three or more social media activities.” And 93% planned to use some form of user-generated content in their marketing efforts this year, including customer stories, product suggestions or ideas, and customer reviews.

65 Terrific Social Media Infographics by Pamorama

Writing that “These snapshots communicate essential information to help marketers make sense of the social networking space and how people are using it in their everyday lives to communicate and share information and ideas,” Pam Dyer shares a huge collection of infographics on everything from the history of social networking to how marketers are using social media to the meteoric rise of Twitter to how people are using social media on mobile devices.

Is a Blog Still Important in 2011? by Edelman Digital

Jonny BentwoodNoting that “a blog is a focal point and acts as a base of operations for communications,” Jonny Bentwood details the benefits of business blogging as well as the growth stats: 39% of U.S. companies are currently using blogs for marketing purposes, up from 29% in 2009 and just 16% in 2007.

Minneapolis is 4th-Most Socially Networked City by Twin Cities Business

Congrats to my fellow Minneapolitans! According to the TCB article,”If you live or work in Minneapolis, chances are good that you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and/or a LinkedIn page. The city ranked fourth on Men’s Health magazine’s just-released list of the ‘most socially networked cities.’ Minnesota’s most populous city earned an A+ grade and ranked just behind Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Georgia; and Denver, Colorado.” Minneapolis ranked ahead of Seattle (#5), San Francisco (#6) and Boston (#9). Oh yeah.

Social Ads Spur Big Engagement Opportunities by iMedia Connection

According to research from social media advertising firm appssavvy, social activity ads (e.g., “an item in a social game or appear after a social network user fills out an online poll”) significantly outperform rich media ads, performing roughly twice as well. Paid search ads, however, still outperform both.

Social Media Statistics by The B2B Guide to Social Media
***** 5 Stars

This is one of the most amazing and comprehensive sources of social media statistics anywhere (other than the Webbiquity blog marketing research section, of course). Among the multitude of stats you can find here about blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, video, social gaming and more:

  • • 49% of B2B journalists have blogs. 14% of all blogs are about technology and internet marketing.
  • • Only 20% of blogs attract 10,000 or more unique visitors per month; 48% draw less than 1,000 readers each month.
  • • 70% of marketers planned to increase their social media budgets by 10% or more in 2011.
  • • 85% of B2B journalists are on Facebook. Almost one-third of all Facebook posts are created from mobile devices.
  • • The number of monthly active users on Twitter increased 82% from January to September 2011.
  • • 84% of journalists are on Twitter.
  • • 58% of people said “they unfollowed someone because their tweets appeared automated” while 34% said the same because the offenders tweeted about themselves too much.
  • • 66% unfollowed someone due to excessive tweeting (35 tweets per day is considered, on average, the upper limited of acceptable tweeting).
  • • And much more.

The Winners & Losers of Social Networking [INFOGRAPHIC] by Mashable Social Media

Jolie O'DellObserving that “social networking as a whole might be leveling off,” Jolie O’Dell explains which networks are still on the rise (e.g., Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn) and which are declining (MySpace – there’s a shock, Friendster, Ning and Hi5) as well as sharing details about the demographics of several top social networks (e.g. Habbo users are the youngest, Plaxo’s the oldest, and LinkedIn’s the wealthiest).

Under 1 Percent of Web Visits Comes from Social Media by Marketing Pilgrim

Cynthia BorisCynthia Boris shares research findings from ForeSee Results indicating that, across a cross-section of websites, less than 1% of visits come directly from a social media URL, though an additional 17% of visits are “influenced” by social media. That sounded low to me, so I checked some of the B2B technology client sites I manage. Their social media traffic ranged from 4% to 9% of total traffic. And nearly 15% of visits to this blog come from social media sources (including other blogs). So, check your own stats; your mileage may vary.

Study: 93% of B2B Marketers Use Social Media Marketing by Social Media B2B

Adam Holden-BacheThe always insightful Adam Holden-Bache reports that according to research from BtoB Magazine, “B2B marketers overwhelmingly favor ‘the big 3′ social media channels, with LinkedIn being the most-used channel (72%). Facebook (71%) and Twitter (67%) are close behind…Other channels used by B2B marketers include YouTube (48%), blogging (44%) and online communities (22%).” Although B2B marketers are increasingly using social media channels in their marketing and PR efforts, however, Adam notes that “75% of B2B marketers who conduct social marketing say they do not measure the ROI of their social marketing programs.”

Report: Where Marketers are Focusing in Social Media by Social Marketing Forum

Jim DucharmeJim Ducharme demonstrates the increasing importance of social media for marketers based on the amount of time spent on such efforts. 58% of marketers devote six hours or more each week to social media, while 15% spend more than half their time with it. The amount of time spent tends to increase with experience. Preferences also shift: while Facebook is the top network of choice for those with one to three years of social media marketing experience, Twitter is the favorite tool of those who are more seasoned.

Report: Future Plans for Focus in Social Marketing by Social Marketing Forum

In a follow-up piece to the post above, Jim Ducharme discusses social media marketers’ future plans. The largest percentage (77% overall, 82% in large enterprises) plan to invest more in YouTube and online video in the coming year. 75% intend to increase efforts on Facebook and blogging, 73% on Twitter, and 71% on LinkedIn. Just 19% plan to increase efforts with GroupOn.

Social Media 2011 Just The Stats by Reciprocate

Karen EmanuelsonKaren Emanuelson shares research from HubSpot showing that there are 10.3 billion searches on Google each month; one-third of U.S. consumers spend at least three hours per day online; 9 out of 10 internet users visited a social networking monthly last year; more than half of all internet users read blogs at least monthly; and many more fascinating and useful statistics.

Marketers: Content Sharing Fuels Social-Media Boom by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Gavin O’Malley delves into the differing social media habits of men and women. “While women outnumber men online — 53% vs. 47% — males are more likely to share digital media content — 51% vs. 49%.” Men are more likely to share information that they feel is important and helpful to others (such as how-to tutorials) while women are slightly more likely to share information about “common interests like politics, art and parenting.” One other interesting finding: “60% of content shared on social platforms includes a link to an external site.”

Study: Marketers Reporting Social Media ROI of 100, 200, Even 1,000 Percent by Forbes

Lisa ArthurLisa Arthur nets out research from MarketingSherpa showing that “the overall average social media ROI reported by CMOs who are measuring it is a whopping 95 percent. What’s more, nearly one-third (30 percent) of those in the survey reported a ROI of at least 150 percent!” Still, 54% of survey respondents identified “achieving or increasing measurable ROI from social marketing programs” as a top challenge, while 55% said the same for developing an effective social media strategy and 45% converting social media followers into paying customers. Most importantly, Lisa shares the study’s conclusion that “marketers who are new to social media tend to focus on “fast and easy” tactics…rather than on those that show a much higher level of effectiveness (blogger relations, SEO, e.g.). More advanced social media marketers work from a strategic plan and know that often the most difficult and time-consuming tactics are worth the extra effort because they are the most effective.”

What Marketers Can Learn from Consumers’ Sharing Habits by eMarketer

According to an AOL/Neilsen report, “93% of internet users turn to email to share content, while 89% use social networks and 82% use blogs.” Sharing habits differ based on the group being shared with, however, as “Social networks are the top method for sharing content with friends (92%)…In sharing online content with the general public, consumers prefer to use message boards (51%) or blogs (41%).” 60% of shared information contains links to published content (online publications, blogs, etc.); just 4% contains links to non-blog corporate website content.

Infographic: What the Largest Social Media Companies Are Worth by The Atlantic

Derek ThompsonIs there another tech bubble forming? Hard to say, but draw your own conclusion after taking a look at these possibly “over the top” valuations from Derek Thompson. Facebook was valued at $15 billion in 2007, but is expected to go public next year at a valuation of close to $100 billion. Valuation timelines and stats are also shown for Skype, delicious, Groupon, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Large Enterprise Social Media Research, Facts and Statistics

Inc. 500 Social Media Success by e-StratgyBlog.com

Stats guru David Erickson compiles figures for the popularity and year-over-year change of several social media marketing tactics among Inc. 500 companies. 93% now consider online message boards successful, while 86% say the same for blogging and 81% for Twitter; all figures similar to the previous year. Online video and Facebook increased in popularity while podcasting fell somewhat.

Fortune Global 100 Social-Media Savvy, Getting Savvier by MarketingProfs

According to research from Burson-Marsteller, 77% of Fortune Global 100 companies now have Twitter accounts (up from 65% in 2010), 61% are on Facebook (up from 54%), 57% have YouTube channels and 36% maintain blogs. Geographically, 83% of large companies in Europe are on Twitter, versus 72% in the U.S. and 67% in the Asia-Pacific region. However, Asic-Pac companies tend to be more engaged than their large firm counterparts elsewhere, as measured by average number of Twitter followers, Twitter @ mentions and Facebook page “likes.”

Most Fortune 50 Brands Still Hiding Their Social Media by AdAge Digital

BL OchmanThe delightful B.L. Ochman breaks the news that “Only 44% of the Fortune 50 have any social media icons on their home pages, and 60% hide their Twitter streams. Call Inspector Clouseau if you want to find the rest. Kind of amazing considering the prevalence of social buttons of all types all over the web.” Just 30% include a Facebook icon on their home pages, and only 4% provide a blog link there. Most of these companies do include their social media links somewhere on their websites, but these are often buried on “about,” “contact” or investor pages.

10 Reasons Brands Need a Social Media AOR by iMedia Connection

Avi SavarAsking, “now that social has crossed the chasm, do brands need a dedicated social media agency?,” Avi Savar answers “yes” and explains why. What’s most interesting here though are the statistics showing the disconnect between why companies think consumers follow them in social media and why consumers actually interact with brands through social networks. The biggest disconnect: consumers say that discounts and purchases are their top reasons, while businesses place these at the bottom of the pecking order. 64% of businesses believe consumers follow them to “feel connected” to the brand, and 61% say it is to be part of a community. Just 33% and 22%, respectively, of consumers say they follow brands for those reasons.

Small Business Search and Social Media Statistics, Facts and Research

Small Business Owners Still Don’t Get Search Marketing by MediaPost SearchBlog

Despite findings that show “56% of small businesses that plan to allocate marketing budgets toward search or social media advertising in 2011 admit they need help with some part of their campaigns,” nearly three-quarters try to manage their search campaigns internally, and more than one in five “have a staff member handling SEM in addition to other responsibilities,” (e.g. a non-specialist) reports Laurie Sullivan. In short, while small business owners increasingly understand the importance of digital marketing, most aren’t taking advantage of tools and outside expertise that could improve their results.

Social-Media Study Teasers Unveiled by InformationWeek SMB

Michele WarrenMichele Warren reveals that “the most widely used social media channel for small and midsize businesses are company pages on Facebook (and) SMBs are ditching e-mail marketing in favor of social media advertising.” According to research from the SMB Group, 32% of small businesses have Facebook pages though just 18% use free tools like TweetDeck and only 3% are utilizing fee-based social media tools.

Small Businesses Online Marketing [CHART] by eStrategy After Hours

The prolific David Erickson passes along stats from eMarketer showing that “More than a third (35%) of US small businesses reported using online social networking for marketing, up from 15% in fall 2009. In addition, 12% of respondents were using blogs as a social tactic, nearly double the figure from fall 2009.” Somewhat surprisingly, just 36% of small businesses said they are doing SEO on their websites, and only 17% are using paid search advertising. Over half (56%) say they don’t use social media.

Search and SEO Facts, Statistics and Research

20+ stats you might not know about user search behaviour by Econsultancy

Jake HirdJake Hird shares some interesting findings about web searchers, such as: 37% of people don’t know the difference between paid and organic search results (including 20% of 20-somethings). 20% of people say they click on paid search results “always” or “frequently;” 37% said “rarely” or “never.” 6% said they rarely or never click on organic search results (so why are they searching?!). 48% said that they click on a company or brand if it appears multiple times in the SERPs (which is why web presence optimization is so important) while 28% are more likely to click on results that include a video.” And contrary to results you may have seen elsewhere, “79% will go through multiple pages of results, if their query isn’t answered in the first page.”

The Value Of SEO [CHART] by eStrategy After Hours

How important is a (very) high ranking in the search results? Rounding these numbers from David Erickson, roughly one-third of clicks go to the top result in search; another third go to results two through five; and most of the remaining third click on results six through 20.

Google Click Distribution – How Important is Number One? by Internet Marketing Blog

A study from Cornell University found results different from David’s in the post above. According to this study, more than half of all clicks go to the top link on Google, and almost 90% go to the first five spots. Interestingly, being at #8 or #10 generates slightly more clicks than showing up at #7 or #9.

Search Behavior Shines Spotlight on Organic Results by eMarketer

eMarketer reports several interesting statistics from recent eye-tracking and click studies on Google and Bing. First, paid ads are 3-4 times as likely to be seen if they appear at the top of the organic results as opposed to the right side. Second, 81% of searches on Bing result in a click, versus just 66% on Google (Bing results are more relevant?). And third, “internet users were 22 percentage points less likely in 2010 to rely on search engines to find websites than they were in 2004,” due to both increasing sophistication of internet users as well as greater reliance on social media.

SERPs: The Benefits of Being No. 1 by MarketingProfs

Yet another study on clicks-by-search-rank, this one from Optify, concludes that the top spot in search generates 36% of all clicks, and the top three places combined account for 60%; but appearing at the top of page 2 is actually slightly more productive than being at the bottom of page 1. What’s most notable in these results, however, is the difference in performance of multi-word long-tail terms versus shorter head terms: for long-tail terms, being in the top spot in much less important, as click-throughs are higher in the lower spots on page 1. And in SEM, relatively low-cost long-tail terms (being more specific than head terms) generate significantly higher CTRs than expensive head terms.

SEMPO: Social PPC is Giving Google Adwords a Run for Its Money by MediaPost Search Insider

Rob GarnerRob Garner reports that “Facebook has rapidly become a top PPC advertising vehicle,” and that advertising on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube–while still small compared with search advertising–is growing rapidly. In addition, “Three-quarters (74%) of North American agencies say their clients run PPC campaigns on Facebook.  Three-fourths of companies (75%) use Twitter for brand promotion, and more than a quarter (27%) of companies now use LinkedIn specifically for PPC campaigns.” Note that these results are skewed toward larger enterprises and B2C advertisers. Social media advertising is still a relatively rare tactic among B2B vendors and in the SMB space.

Marketing Budget Trends, Statistics and Figures

Online gets bulk of increased marketing budgets by BtoB Magazine

Kate MaddoxKate Maddox reports that after two years of budget cutting, 52% of marketers planned increased spending for this year. Customer acquisition is the top goal (69%) followed distantly by increasing brand awareness (18%). 79% of marketers planned increased spending on online marketing this year, far more than for any other tactical area. Breaking that out, 71% planned higher spending on their websites, followed by 68% on email, 63% on social media, 57% on search and 51% on web video. 69% of b2b companies now say they are using social media for marketing.

Social Media Marketing Budgets by e-StrategyBlog.com

“In 2010, 53% of social media marketing budgets were spent on Facebook,” according to statistics compiled by David Erickson, while 8% was spent on games and apps and just 3% on Twitter. However, among the Global Fortune 100 firms, 65% use Twitter compared to 54% maintaining Facebook fan pages, 50% having YouTube channels and 33% writing blogs.

B2B Inbound Marketing: Top tactics for social media, SEO, PPC and optimization by MarketingSherpa Blog
***** 5 Stars

Adam T. SuttonAdam T. Sutton summarizes MarketingSherpa survey results showing that website design and optimization is the top budget priority this year, cited by 69% of respondents as an area of increasing investment. Social media is a very close second, followed by virtual events / webinars, SEO, email marketing and paid search. The post also identifies the most effective tactic in each area: for example, the top tactic in SEO is on-page content optimization, while blogging is the most effective social media tactic.

‘Advanced’ Companies’ Spend On Social Media, Nets by MediaPost Online Media Daily

What separates the cutting-edge companies in social media use from other businesses? According to Mark Walsh, reporting on research from Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group, “they have formalized programs, dedicated teams, line-item budgets, and have been at it for more than two-and-a-half years,” among other characteristics. Budgets are a major factor: advanced companies spend nearly twice as much as their more average counterparts on social media generally, and almost 70% more on social-marketing teams specifically.

Other Marketing Research and Statistics

Who Do You Trust? Industry Analysts Reign Supreme by IT Marketing World

Tom PiselloTom Pisello shares findings from SiriusDecisions research showing that industry analysts are viewed as the most trusted source of information by buyers during the B2B IT buying cycle, followed closely by peers. Vendors are viewed as the least credible source (ouch!). However, the “most-trusted sources” vary by stage of the buying cycle. In addition, the study found that “The most favored sources of content during the early stages of IT decision-making are white papers (64.4%), peer referrals (51.1%), webinars (48.9%), trials or demos (42.2%) and analyst reports (37.8%).”

12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know by HubSpot

Marta KaganMarta Kagan shares a dozen interesting marketing stats, among them: “78% of Internet users conduct product research online,” (seems low). A similar number check email on their mobile devices. Blogging is really important–57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog, and businesses with blogs generate 55% higher web traffic. And my favorite: “200 Million Americans have registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. That’s 2/3 of the country’s citizens. The other 1/3, I’m guessing, probably don’t have a home phone anymore.”

Is Working From Home Becoming the Norm? [SURVEY] by Mashable Business

Jolie O’Dell brings to light some interesting findings on the state of working from home today, such as: 62% of businesses now allow at least part-time remote work (this varies by business size, with 77% of the largest organizations permitting this). The ability to work from home is rated by employees as the third-most important determinant of job satisfaction. And 56% of decision makers believe that remote workers are more productive.

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