SMB inbound marketing software provider Optify recently released their 2012 inbound marketing benchmark report. You can get mofe information on inbound marketing by following Optify on Twitter (@Optify). The report is based on an analysis of data points extracted from over 600 small and mid-sized B2B websites that produced 62 million site visits, 215 million pageviews and 350,000 leads. While many of the results conformed to expectations, there were some surprising findings in the report. A summary of the report follows.
B2B website traffic follows a clear seasonal pattern
The report found seasonal trends in B2B website traffic. The peak period were the first quarter of the year and September to mid-November. Not surprisingly, summertime and the year-end holiday season were the low points for B2B website traffic. This tracks with my own experience - my December traffic was 14% lower than November. January is back up 46% over December to date.
Organic search drove the most B2B website traffic
Organic search drove 41% of website traffic followed closely by direct traffic at 40%. Surprisingly, social media drove just 1.9% of B2B website traffic. With the continued adoption of social media marketing, we expect the percentage of traffic driven by social media to increase.
Direct traffic drove the most B2B leads
The top 3 sources of B2B leads were direct traffic (34%), organic search (26.5%) and referrals from other sites (12.5%.) Social media produced 4.5% of B2B leads. In terms of conversion rates (leads divided by web visits), paid search and email marketing had the highest conversion rates.
The average lead conversation rate was 1.6%
Email (2.89%), referrals (2.04%) and paid search (1.96%) were the sources with the highest conversion rates. The social media conversion rate was 1.45%.
Median website statistics
The median website in the study had 1,784 site visits per month, 124 leads per month and 3.03 pageviews per visit.
Google is by far the largest source of organic search traffic, producing 88.2% of total visits from organic search. Bing was a distant second at 5.95%. 41% of organic traffic was performed using Google's Secured Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, which results in the organic term showing as "not provided."
This poses a challenge for inbound marketers as less of their organic traffic is being identified. Only 35% of organic search visits from Google will provide keyword data that can be analyzed to improve SEO campaigns.
The usage of paid search platforms like Google Adwords is declining - 10% of the companies participating in the study stopped using paid search in 2012. While paid search has a higher than average lead conversion rate (1.96%), engagement as measured by pageviews per visit (2.415) is lower than average.
While overall visit, lead and social media engagement is low, companies who actively engage in the use of social media to generate website traffic and leads are seeing results. Websites in the 75th percentile generate 169 visitors and 28 leads per month through their social media marketing process. Social media traffic is highly engaged for these sites, with an average pageview of 3.54% per visit. Lower results at the median indicate that the use of social media to generate visits and traffic is still in the beginning stages for most companies.
Not surprisingly, LinkedIn traffic showed the highest engagement for B2B websites with an average pageview per visit of 2.48. Twitter traffic was the least engaged with an average pageview of 1.51 per visit.
Overall, lead conversion rates for traffic resulting from social media was below average at 1.22%. However, lead conversion rates resulting from Twitter traffic was above average at 2.17%.
The Optify study is particularly relevant to SMB companies because the data used in the study comes from SMB websites.
Organic search (specifically organic search coming from Google) is the largest source of website traffic for SMB websites. However, Google's SSL protocol poses a challenge to SMB companies as 41% of organic visits show as the keyword is "not provided."
Social media is producing a relatively small amount of traffic and leads for SMB companies, but those who actively manage their social media channels for lead generation (as opposed to an awareness tool) are getting results.
Email marketing is an excellent tool for both lead generation and engagement - it has the highest lead conversion rate at 2.9%. Visitors resulting from email marketing are highly engaged, producing an average of 3.75 pageviews per visit. Both of these statistics are well above the overall average.
This data provides an excellent resource for SMB companies managing inbound marketing programs. Compare your results with the benchmarks and use the comparison to identify areas for improvement. How do your results compare with the Optify data?