While creativity is important in marketing, there are factors that those innovative ideas need to be built upon – namely, consumer behavior and potential performance.
Just like with any problem, to truly reach its full potential, marketing and advertising must be approached strategically. The best digital marketing agencies know that they must use metrics to create effective marketing solutions.
Those oh-so-important marketing statistics that determine successful strategies can be found in psychology and, of course, experience. Using them to your advantage when planning can stop you from making costly mistakes.
Lucky for you, we compiled an overview of the latest studies and surveys conducted in the field of marketing to help you determine the most effective tactics for your brand.
Digital Marketing Has Changed With The Emergence Of Digital Platforms
As times change, society changes with it. People adapt to their environment, and businesses follow suit to continue capturing consumers.
Therefore, marketing must be up for the task – but adapting to new societal trends is not easy.
Approaches to marketing that were relevant one year might not be as effective the next. That’s why research must be conducted on a regular basis, and strategies tweaked accordingly.
For example, your consumers may respond well to emails, but as your company evolves, Facebook Messenger chatbots might be the best way to communicate in the future.
When asked which part of the sales process became more difficult in the last two to three years, over 40 percent of respondents to HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing research answered “Getting a response from prospects.”
Connecting via phone troubled 29 percent of them and email communication was difficult for 20 percent. Unsurprisingly, only 16 percent of companies found it hard to use social media to advertise.
One thing we know for sure is that digital marketing is a requirement for every business in 2018. This rings particularly true if they want to achieve successful communication with consumers, clients, and prospects.
If brands want to market well, they must be present on social networks, publish relevant content, and communicate regularly and effectively.
Top Social Media Marketing Statistics In 2018
Social media is a part of our everyday lives. Last year alone, 2.46 billion people used social media of some kind, according to Statista.
It’s no wonder that 87 percent of all respondents to Social Media Examiner's (SME) yearly industry report indicated marketing on social media generated valuable exposure.
The same report states that 78 percent benefitted from increased traffic. These stats seem remarkably steady; they didn’t fluctuate much in the last four years.
On the other hand, 813 million people prefer Instagram’s picture format. Twitter ranked lower with 330 million users.
While LinkedIn did not publish official figures, its user base is estimated to be 260 million. These numbers prove how relevant social networks are in consumers’ daily lives.
What Is The Most Used Social Media Network?
A whopping 97 percent of responding business to consumer (B2C) marketers used Facebook to advertise.
This is followed by Instagram at 72 percent for B2C, and LinkedIn at 79 percent for business to business (B2B) marketers. Facebook was also the most useful social platform for B2B marketers.
Because Facebook offers excellent ad options for paid advertising, it’s no wonder it remained the industry leader, with 72 percent of online marketers using it. In fact, this social network giant is used as both a free and paid advertising tool.
To compare, the B2C runner-up Instagram is used by only 31 percent. Meanwhile, in B2B marketing, LinkedIn follows Facebook at 21 percent.
What’s more, Facebook Messenger is experiencing rapid growth – it is used by 1.3 billion people.
However, while 51 percent of Social Media Examiner’s responders plan to use Messenger chatbots in the future, only 15 percent currently do. Are you ready to surpass your competition and join them?
After analyzing inbound marketing statistics, HubSpot’s marketing and sales research offers interesting insights into the state of the marketing funnel. HubSpot’s respondents were asked to choose the marketing tactics they think are too hyped-up.
Traditional paid advertising -- including a broad selection of print, outdoor and broadcast advertising -- was selected the most overrated strategy at 30 percent.
But right behind it came social media organic reach at 14 percent, while paid online ads shared the third-place spot with email marketing at 11 percent.
When the B2B focused respondents were asked which aspect is more difficult to do now compared with two to three years beforehand, a lion’s share of respondents (40 percent) chose “getting a response from prospects.”
This was followed by getting in touch via phone (29 percent) and email marketing (20 percent). But it’s not all bleak!
When discussing the most successful ways to connect with prospects, LinkedIn and Facebook scored 12 percent and 7 percent respectively, running behind phone and email at 36 percent and 30 percent.
Interestingly enough, comparison with past results shows strong growth for LinkedIn, as it rose from 8 percent success in 2017 to 12 percent in 2018.
On the flip side, Facebook’s popularity dropped from 12 percent to 7 percent in business-to-business promotional effectivity.
Still, when asked to pick just one option, 67 percent of SME’s examiners chose Facebook as the single most important platform for their businesses. The runners-up were LinkedIn with 12 percent and Instagram at 10 percent.
So even though it has some drawbacks, it doesn’t look like Facebook will give up its position as a social media market leader. It’s still worth investing in “likes”!
Generating Effective Leads Are Marketers’ Main Metrics In 2018
SME also claims that a shift in marketer focus happened – less attention is paid to developing loyalty and more to generating leads. While cultivating loyal supporters is still important, it seems like the relevance of actionable metrics is on the rise.
Still, with good planning, it’s possible to achieve both. After all, there are amazing social media tools at our disposal when it comes to building effective social network presence, and new ones are developed by the day.
However, the figures show that social networks are incredibly effective in getting people interested and involved with your brand.
In fact, social media marketing campaigns can greatly influence brand recognition and connection. If we consult science, we can pinpoint the reason for this.
In short, people develop strong connections with brands through the use of social media.
Today, brands post funny pictures or address important social issues through social network profiles. This allows followers to learn about a brand’s mission and core values, empowering them to choose companies that align with their own beliefs.
With a closer and more intimate attachment, the brand relationship quality is improved, and anthropomorphism perceptions strengthen. This means that people associate human traits with brands. Like with the beloved animals from fables, it’s easier to see them as fellows this way.
So, not only should you share content your customers can relate to, you should show some of your own personality as well. You can even share occasional workplace stories or post some behind-the-scenes photos to humanize your brand!
By socializing with followers online, you have a good chance of winning over new customers if you socialize with them. For example, use small social cues like writing your content in the first person, using “we,” and addressing your customers by name when possible.
The statement you make this way will be that you treat your customers as individual people. Approaching your social media connections as you would a friend can make a big change to your brand engagement.
Use your channel to share engaging content with your followers, too. A 2018 survey conducted by Demand Gen reports that content sharing on social networks helps both B2C and B2B companies by circulating industry-related information.
Naturally, the big-shot in this field is LinkedIn, with 52 percent of respondents using it, and Facebook following up at 38 percent of respondents using the platform to share content their customers and partners might find valuable.
Still, the top content sharing platform of choice is email, with 70 percent of businesses reporting using it for syndication purposes. So, even if you focus on selling to other businesses, you shouldn’t shy away from utilizing good content.
After all, investing in good, informative content is one of the best ways to pique a prospective customer’s interest in your brand – regardless if you created the content, to begin with.
However, Let Your Own Written Content Marketing Shine
Simply put, good content speaks for itself. And compared to other marketing techniques, content has the most consistent power.
This rings especially true with written content. As you publish interesting material on your website -- and especially if you market it well through social media -- you create something with evergreen staying power.
After a month or even a year, a high-quality blog article still provides value to a prospective customer. The real value of written content is its longevity – it continues to bring in new prospects long after you forget about ever investing in it.
As a form of inbound marketing, the goal of content is to attract fitting customers organically by showcasing value. If your blog posts are helpful to people interested in your niche, their attention will come along. Well-structured content has the power to guide a customer all the way from the initial spark of interest to purchasing.
Additionally, creating exceptional content can rapidly build up credibility and brand recognition. Utilizing the principles of search engine optimization (SEO) and producing high-quality content can make your website into a goldmine.
When questioned by HubSpot, 61 percent of responding companies said growing SEO and building an organic presence was paramount for their inbound marketing strategy.
The running-up tactics were blog content creation at 55 percent, content distribution at 47 percent and interactive content production at 36 percent.
What's better? Compared to last year, 46 percent of marketing teams will have bigger budgets at their disposal to achieve these goals in 2018.
Hopefully, the larger budgets will be smartly invested in fulfilling company goals. As stated by HubSpot, 69 percent of marketers set converting leads to customers as their top priority for the next 12 months. Another 54 percent of that same group aims to grow their website traffic.
In order to increase website traffic, there are a couple of approaches marketers can take – many of which involve investing in some kind of content.
Thirty-two percent of marketers chose pictures as the single most important form of content, while 27 percent picked blogging and 24 percent marked video content.
The results are significantly different between businesses that target customers and those that focus on other businesses. Thirty-six percent of B2B marketers consider blogging the most important part of their strategies, while only 22 percent of B2C experts do.
In fact, only 56 percent of B2C marketers use blogging at all, while up to 67 percent of B2B companies invest in it.
On the other hand, 37 percent of B2C marketers consider visual content the core of their strategies, while only 25 percent of B2B think the same, according to SME’s data.
Search Engine Optimization Still Reigns Supreme In 2018
Although not ideal for every business, the majority of companies will find great value in written content. And that’s an extra good thing, too -- after all, there’s no better way to introduce search engine optimization (SEO) into the mix!
Though Google’s exact ranking criteria remains a mystery, there are some pointers we could take from SEO statistics coming from Backlinko.
Ever since the Hummingbird Algorithm was announced, SEO became much more than keyword density and link building. According to Backlinko, creating comprehensive content that examines the topic in-depth can help your Google ranking.
The average word-count of Google’s first-page search results is 1,890 words.
Longer content is, overall, a positive SEO factor. It’s hard to know whether longer content makes it easier for Google to determine the topic, or it signals the search engine the publisher cares about content quality, though.
Of course, the length of your content should be tweaked to suit your particular audience. Some audiences prefer longer content dense in information, and some look for short answers to specific questions.
For example, in B2B businesses, more may not be better, as business people generally avoid fluffy content that takes a long time to read.
In fact, when asked how much time they’re willing to devote to different types of content, big chunks of buyers admitted giving up reading after 5 minutes for 8 out of 13 content formats. Specifically, 58 percent weren’t willing to devote more than 5 minutes to infographics and 43 percent don’t have a lot of patience for videos and listicle-type articles.
The numbers shift with blog posts, though, as 22 percent of respondents devote less than 5 minutes to reading. Conversely, 41 percent say they’re willing to allocate up to 10 minutes for reading a blog article.
Volume matters as well. The same survey states that 40 percent of respondents consume between 3 and 5 pieces of content before reaching out to a salesperson. Twenty-one percent choose to check out more – up to 7 items, while only 22 percent have the patience for up to 3 pieces of content.
This means that consistency is key in creating your marketing funnel. According to HubSpot, the volume can make a large difference in your website traffic. In fact, their blogging frequency benchmarks state that companies which publish content regularly get the most consistent traffic results.
This is reflected in the numbers, as companies that publish more than 16 posts monthly gather 3.5 times more traffic than those who publish less than 4.
Written content was also the most shared type of content in B2B settings. When asked about what they share with their colleagues and peers, 74 percent of business people stated they share blogs often. No wonder 55 percent of companies consider blog content creation their top inbound marketing priority!
If you are familiar with Alice in Wonderland, you might remember the line: “How could one possibly pay attention to a book with no pictures?”
It seems like Google agrees, as nearly 98 percent of the first 9 results contained at least 1 image. Still, one might be as much as you need -- additional images did not influence rankings in any way.
Video Content Continues To Expand
Motion picture might be a great way to set your marketing in motion!
When asked which types of content they preferred in their social media strategies, marketers did not turn to text as much as they did on their websites.
Eightly percent agreed they need visual assets like photos and illustrations. The runner-up was video content at 63 percent, surpassing text (60 percent) for the first time this year.
Forty-five percent of HubSpot’s respondents already recognize the marketing potential of YouTube, saying that they plan to use it as a content distribution channel in the following year.
Plus, 77 percent of marketers will increase the amount of motion picture in their marketing mix… and for good reason!
With more than a billion users, YouTube is one of the largest social networks out there. The thing that sets it apart – video content – makes it virtually incomparable to other ones. The mainstream substitutes for YouTube are few and far between.
Video Marketing: Is It really That Effective?
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that many companies are starting to focus their marketing efforts on YouTube. According to Google, viewers over 18 years old are not consuming TV during prime time anymore – they’re on YouTube.
The generational gap does not stop there. When compared to those over 35 years old, teenagers consume 64 percent less TV these days. Meanwhile, older millennials, those aged 18 to 34, tend to spend 47 percent less time watching television than Generation X.
In a similar study, Google estimates that the companies advertising on prime-time broadcast TV could reach a 56 percent larger 18 to 49-year-old audience if they also used YouTube for advertising.
So, if this age group fits into your target audience, video might be the way to go – especially because more than half of all video content is watched on mobile devices.
However, video-watching is not a pastime limited to millennials. Though they are the age group that spends the most time watching videos, 35 to 44-year-olds are not far behind either.
While 30 percent of youngsters spend more than 4 hours on YouTube videos daily, 22 percent of Generation X does as well.
Compared to the 5 percent of Gen X, the percentage of millennials who don’t spend any time watching YouTube videos is a staggeringly low 1 percent.
HubSpot claims that the industries publishing the most video content are high tech and manufacturing. The most common type of videos published are product demos, testimonials, explainers and how-to tutorial videos.
Actually, product how-to videos are becoming increasingly buzzy for businesses. Over a quarter of companies plan to invest in how-to video content in the upcoming period.
Video content has a remarkable power to channel engagement. Perhaps the most valuable feature of video compared to other content types is the way users consume it.
According to HubSpot, the content people consume most thoroughly and pay the most attention to is -- you guessed it! -- video. This means video is an incredible tool for savvy marketers to use, as it generates attention easier than other content forms.
Through video, you can produce powerful content that speaks to your audience clearly and concisely, conveying personality with ease. Investing in high-quality video commercial or content might be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it!
When In Doubt, Turn To Tried-And-True Email Marketing
Email has been pronounced dead countless times, yet it never fails to surprise with its persistence. Introduced in 1972, email is the oldest online communication form, and remains the most widely used one to this day. Email marketing was, and still is, one of the most powerful tools of a digital marketer today.
According to The Radicati Group, the number of email users will top 3.8 billion this year. This number is staggeringly large – that’s more than half the population of planet Earth! It’s not expected to drop either – 4.2 billion users are expected by the year 2022.
The average number of email addresses per person is about 1.75 accounts; this ratio is also expected to grow, as people make different accounts to separate work from personal address books.
Not only that, many use different email addresses for various purposes, like shopping and communication with friends. In any case, the amount of business and consumer emails exchanged daily is almost unbelievable - it exceeds 280 billion.
Of course, email is famously convenient for business communication. In fact, when asked which form of formal communication they prefer, 83 percent of businesspeople marked email.
This figure tops even the old-school face-to-face communication and phone calls… and not by a small margin. Direct conversation was chosen by 59 percent and phone by 55 percent of respondents.
Prospect response rate is not far behind either, as email (30 percent) ranks second only to phone calls (36 percent) in HubSpot’s research. This statistic seems pretty stable, as the previous two years saw figures at 26 percent and 29 percent.
So, what does this mean? No matter what they say, email seems to be the most consistent marketing channel.
In fact, when asked how successful they considered their email marketing strategy, 79 percent of Ascend2’s respondents answered positively. Out of these, 39 percent are very satisfied with their email marketing results. The top priorities they have include improving engagement (55 percent) and boosting sales revenue (48 percent).
How To Write A Successful Email Campaign
Forty-six percent of respondents said that single-topic email campaigns brought the most success. Following that, 39 percent swore by new subscriber welcome emails.
Actually, there is a little trick that 30 percent of marketers use in their first welcome email to boost its effectiveness – they offer a small discount.
In fact, the reason these two types of emails are so effective is that they provide the best cost-benefit ratio. When respondents were asked which tactics required the most resources in time and money, the single topic campaigns and welcome emails were rated the least costly. Automated and event-triggered emails were the next best-balanced email type.
Plus, according to the 2017 DMA Statistical Fact Book, Mondays are the best choice if you're not sure which day to send your emails on.
On average, Monday has the highest email open rate of 13 percent, while Fridays have the lowest email open rate: 11 percent.
The chances of hitting the jackpot with your email marketing strategy grow the more attention you pay to the details. Creating content that’s valuable to the reader, making it long enough (but not too long) and placing your call to action in the right place are all factors you should pay attention to.
And don’t forget making a compelling subject line! Be sure to check out DesignRush’s best email marketing practices overview for some specific pointers.
Additionally, half of the respondents admitted to using a combination of in-house and outsourced resources to execute their email strategies.
If you need help launching your own campaigns, DesignRush has a list of top email and marketing automation companies in their Agency Listing section.
In Digital Marketing, You Must Be Bold & Be Visible At All Times
The world is better connected than it ever was, meaning that it’s easier for customers to find exactly what they want. However, this also makes being noticed harder than ever.
No matter how good the service or the product you provide is, standing out is not an easy task. To catch the eye of prospective customers, brands need compelling, bold marketing strategies capable of grabbing and keeping attention.
Whether you choose social media, email, video, written content or something else as your main tool for online marketing, consider these statistics to make informed decisions.
Then, if you still want professional expert assistance, you can find the top digital marketing agencies in our Agency Listing section!