March 31, 2015: We’re closing in on the launch of our second annual B2B Website Usability Report. Last year, we learned a lot about the objectives of the B2B buyer and how vendors may miss opportunities to connect and provide further value through their website presence.
This year, not only did we want to see if B2B vendors had improved their efforts, but we wanted further clarity in several points of respondent feedback that left us scratching our heads. One of those points was in the impact of social media and blogging on the vendor selection process.
Unfortunately for B2B marketers, the response was quite similar to last year’s results, if not more emphatic. The role of social media and blogging remains a minimal in vendor selection.
45% of survey respondents indicate social media is not a factor in vendor selection.
46% indicate a corporate blog is not a factor in vendor selection.
Disappointing for certain but not necessarily unexpected. That said, in our experience, we understand that blogging and social media serve a range of objectives in B2B content marketing programs.
In this year’s report, we’re not just focused on vendor selection, but the entire B2B buyer journey; from discovery to relationship building to purchasing. We plan on releasing these findings and key takeaways in the coming weeks.
What This Means for B2B Marketers
Even though most B2B marketers advocate social media and blogging as part of their content marketing programs (they are ranked 1st and 4th respectively in tactics used via CMI / MarketingProfs’ 2015 Content Marketing Trends Report) there is a clear disconnect between production and sales effectiveness.
However B2B marketers should ask themselves questions like the following when evaluating social media and blogging performance.
- How does the quality of website visitor traffic compare between blog posts and other forms of content marketing assets? Are you measuring performance metrics such as time on site, exit rates, and certainly ties to lead generation with blog posts in comparison to other web pages and sections of website?
- How has your organic search referral performance changed since you’ve adopted a blogging initiative? Are you seeing a growth in organic search referrals and / or keyword visibility as a result of blogging and social media initiatives?
- How has your community grown since adopting a social media initiative? Are you more successful acquiring partners online, through social channels, that might link to your content marketing efforts and / or help augment your message?
On one end, there is a range of business objectives other than lead generation for which B2B marketers should measure the impact of blogging and social media tactics.
On the other, if you’re not seeing any significant improvements in traffic quality, organic search, or your organizations’ professional community, among other business metrics, it might be time to reassess your content marketing focus.
But social media and blogging are only one of the component of the website and an organization’s content marketing initiatives that B2B marketers need to reevaluate.
Stay tuned. The 2015 B2B Web Usability Report will be on the way soon!