Paid-Search Ads Dip, Marketers Invest Less


Paid search, as measured by the number of companies running business-to-business (B2B) ad campaigns, dropped by more than 10% in 2012, according to a study released Wednesday.

From the businesses that kept running B2B campaigns, paid-search campaigns saw strong contributions to visits and leads, as well as an above average conversion rate. The annual B2B Optify study, a benchmark report and analysis of Google search market share, suggests that paid search contributed 23% to visits and 16% to leads, the remainder--77% and 84%, respectively, by other sources.

Although conversion rates for paid search rose, averaging 2.34% and 3.58% for 75%, engagement rates measured by page views per visits fell in 2012. The report points to the nature of paid-search campaigns designed to quickly convert visitors to leads.



Google product listing ads, content marketing and social media continues to drive more traffic to brand Web sites. Doug Wheeler, Optify CMO, said the graph clearly indicated that "in December it drops off the planet."

Despite the hype and increase in adoption, social media remains the smallest referrer to B2B Web sites, contributing only 5% of all traffic and leads. Breaking down that 5%, Facebook generated 54% of B2B referral traffic to Web sites, followed by 34% from Twitter, and 8% from LinkedIn.   

When analyzing the traffic converting to leads, Twitter contributed 82%; Facebook, 9%, and LinkedIn, 9%. "People still want one-on-one communications to respond," Wheeler said.

Email shows high engagement rates with an average 3.75 page views per visit and offers the highest comparative conversion rate at 2.9%.

Companies like Covario and Kenshoo might disagree, factoring Google product listing ad budgets that suggest brands to increase allocation to paid search. Optify's data analyzes more than 62 million visits, 215 million page views and 350,000 leads from more than 600 small- and medium-sized B2B Web sites.

1 comment about "Paid-Search Ads Dip, Marketers Invest Less".
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  1. Dennis Hart from AnalyticsSEO, January 24, 2013 at 7:29 p.m.

    Sorry guys, but I really don't believe that pages per visit is the best measure of engagement in this case. In some cases, it's an appropriate proxy, but not in this case IMHO. If conversion rates rose, that is likely because search marketers are getting smarter and building better landing pages. Better landing pages likely require less "pages" to get the right offer to the right visitor based on their intent. Not only that, but many landing pages are on a sub domain and additional clicks are likely to lead to another "site"- such as the main brand site. Especially for B2B sites, the best one may hope for might be a form completion to request digital assets or to hear from a representative.

    Don't get me wrong- I believe that a healthy marketing mix is essential. PPC, SEO, E-mail, Content, Social... smart marketers should find the right balance. Just not sure the right metrics were used in this case.

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