Clutch surveyed 501 digital marketers at businesses across the U.S.
It found that the most widely used digital marketing are social media marketing (81%), websites (78%), and email marketing (69%).
Businesses invest in those channels because they can use them “to tell a story about their products or brand,” the study states.
Jeremy Greenberg, founder of the digital marketing agency 97 Switch, added that “there’s not as much ability to tell your story” in other channels, as quoted in the study.
Following the top three are display/banner ads (55%), mobile apps (53%) and content marketing (53%).
SEO is the least popular channel, used by only 44%. Businesses lack awareness of SEO, and feel that the results aren’t immediately obvious.
The study notes, though, that “other channels go hand-in-hand with SEO.”
Why do businesses use digital marketing? The main goal -- this year -- is to increase sales and revenue (28%). Second is to improve brand awareness (19%).
However, businesses with more than 5,000 employees are more likely to use digital to stand out from competitors: 21%, vs. 13% overall. Smaller businesses will use it to improve brand awareness.
“For larger organizations, your efforts to grow your company are based on longer sales funnels,” said Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism, as quoted in the study.
Zaiger added, “Using your digital marketing to help differentiate yourself will get you more leads and increase your close rate, an essential growth strategy for larger companies.”
In contrast, HealthLabs.com relies on digital to humanize its brand, the study notes. “It shows customers that we’re more than just a brand -- we’re people who care about our customers’ health and wellbeing,” said Lauren Crain, digital marketer at HealthLabs.com.
The study also found that 15% deploy digital to convert leads and 11% to increase website traffic.
Why so many channels? “Digital marketing is like a complex recipe,” said IntelliChief Content Marketing Manager Faith Kubicki, according to the study. “If you leave one ingredient out, you’re not going to completely ruin the entire dish, but it will be pretty evident that something’s missing from the final product.”
Whatever the upfront goal, “every digital marketing strategy should ultimately lead to a sale," Clutch concludes.