Digital marketing is a bit like dropping bread crumbs for your buyers to find and follow, ultimately leading to your company’s products and services. But, unlike a straightforward road, digital channels allow prospects and customers to venture on a maze-like path toward purchase.
Strategizing for this shifting buyer’s journey can be a bit challenging, especially as the tools you use to connect with customers change along with the ways they want to receive information. But the goal—to communicate effectively with buyers—remains the same.
So how are marketers handling their budgets and strategies for 2015?
Here are 10 digital marketing statistics to help you put together the right blend of tactics and tools to land customers and inspire action.
1. Digital marketing spend is forecasted to increase to 35% of total budgets by 2016. (Tweet This!)
Every business knows they need to market, but the trick is knowing how to split a marketing budget between traditional and online marketing—then allocate the online portion among various channels. To make the most of your money, shoot for where your target market hangs out online or where your competition has a strong presence. The best strategy is to try something, track results, then tweak your strategy to maximize ROI. Mobile marketing is on the rise as the fastest growing digital marketing channel, making it a budget must-have in 2015.
2. Content creation and management now claim the second largest share of digital marketing budgets. (Tweet This!)
Between social networks, customer-driven forums, blogs, and video, creating and strategizing around content that’s interesting, timely, and effective is big for 2015. The pressure to fuel the right marketing channels is also increasing, as customers use more digital channels for collaboration, research, and purchase. To stay competitive, focus on online content development. Create a dynamic strategy and a team of talented people to build awesome content that inspires customers.
3. 28% of marketers have reduced their advertising budget to fund more digital marketing. (Tweet This!)
This signals an important shift away from the old-school way of marketing towards more non-traditional online channels. Strategy changes based on results are much easier to put into action, businesses are able to stretch money further when digital marketing is working effectively, and marketers are confident that online options give them a higher ROI.
4. Search engine marketing (SEM) will continue to capture the largest share of online spend at 47%, or about 14% of the firm’s total marketing budget 2014. (Tweet This!)
Companies are spending big dollars to capture eyeballs online, which means they are setting the competitive pace. Knowing where to find your customers is the key to connecting with them, and it changes as new apps, software, and mobile devices impact customer habits. Investing money into search engine marketing and SEO is a must if you want to engage or re-engage a customer on their path to purchase.
5. 60% of B2B marketers use web traffic to measure success instead of using sales lead quality or social media sharing. (Tweet This!)
Success comes down to the analytics. It’s much easier to track performance and measure ROI with reliable website traffic numbers. These solid numbers give you a clear picture of an online campaign’s viability, but traffic isn’t everything. This stat also shows the immaturity of marketing measurement in the majority of organizations, and the need for more in-depth data and analysis. If you can ramp up your content marketing analytics in 2015, you’ll be leaps ahead of your competitors.
6. 84% of top performing companies are using or plan to start using marketing automation by 2015. (Tweet This!)
The content train is now in perpetual motion—and it’s become almost impossible to manage marketing efforts manually. Automation allows companies to keep consistent contact through personalized content and meet the needs of customers in a global economy. It also allows organizations to centralize email marketing, web analytics, landing page creation, segmentation, list management, and multi-channel campaign execution, and create a deeper alignment between marketing and sales and find a way to measure performance accountability.
7. Online display advertising (banner ads, re-marketing, and re-targeting) will capture the next biggest share of the online spend at about 34% of total online spend and about 10% of the total marketing budget. (Tweet This!)
Digital marketing is very flexible; companies can increase the scale of a successful online campaign, tweak a failed campaign, or copy a successful digital marketing strategy from another product or service. With the ability to track success within hours, companies with the infrastructure to be agile can quickly turn around changes or update strategies faster than ever before.
8. 73% of B2B marketers use video as a content marketing tactic, and 7% of marketers plan on increasing their YouTube marketing. (Tweet This!)
When it comes to video content marketing, large companies rely heavily on YouTube to spread the word on their products and services. However, you don’t have to be big to leverage the power of video. With smart phones in the pockets of most people aged 18-44, access to video is a no-brainer, and that doesn’t even factor in other types of mobile devices.
9. 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands they follow. (Tweet This!)
One of the biggest benefits of Twitter is the fast-moving stream of information, which makes it easy to add fresh content throughout the day. Tweets are easy to automate, repurpose, and use as a tool to share links for blogs, videos, contests, or announcements in a form that is quick to share. Twitter also gives brands an effective way to connect directly with customers to manage customer issues or showcase positive customer service.
10. Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate. (Tweet This!)
Organic search is the Holy Grail of web traffic, because it means people are finding you of their own volition—no pushing required. However, it takes lots of little seeds like social media shares, word-of-mouth, engaging cross-platform content, and consistent fresh content to get people there. The benefit is that, by educating the buyer early in the digital marketing pipeline and in little steps, the salesperson can close the deal more quickly.
When all the little “bread crumbs” you plant along the way come together, it can have a big impact on the bottom line. It also makes all the digital marketing data you collect that much more valuable in determining your content strategy, especially as you enter a new year.