Last Month we wrote a post about a web marketing experiment: SEO and its effectiveness in delivering good quality traffic to a website. The outcome was interesting but somewhat lacklustre. Suggesting that SEO might not be the magic wand ‘NBIT’ some people make it out to be is all well and good; but what are the alternatives for SMEs wanting to deliver marketing messages to their target contacts? This post aims to point to some answers.
Social Media in a B2B world
In parallel with the SEO experiment, we have started to make greater and more focused use of social media, especially LinkedIn and Twitter (As our focus is B2B, we decided not to use Facebook for our own marketing: here is a post explaining how we came to this decision). Below, we look at the results of this activity in comparison to those achieved through SEO for the term “Effective Marketing”.
What we did
Having selected Twitter and LinkedIn, the first step was to set up profiles on each of the chosen platforms. I am not going into the mechanics of how you do this here as I want to focus on the results rather than the method – But fear not, I will revisit the ‘how’ in a future article. Once our profiles were set up, we started the process of interacting with other users on the platforms:
- Recommending people
- Requesting recommendations
- Building LinkedIn Connections
- Posting LinkedIn updates
Again, The details of this process will be the subject of another post in the not too distant future. Right now, I would like to get on to the results.
What we are comparing
1: SEO – Getting our website onto the front page of Google for the keyword “Effective Marketing”. AND 2: Social Media – Using LinkedIn and Twitter to get our message out there We are looking at the relative impact these tools had on the traffic to the bsamarketing.com website, as measured using Google analytics. The results look at traffic from March to May 2013.
The two key figures used in this comparison are:
- Traffic contribution index – The relative contribution to new traffic made by each of the traffic sources being investigated
- Average viewing time per page -The level of engagement with the content
Traffic contribution Index
The figure below shows the relative contribution to site traffic made by each of the traffic sources under review.
Although the SEO traffic looked promising in April, this has dropped off in May, whilst LinkedIn and Twitter traffic continue to increase (Despite the slow start from Twitter!) Furthermore, social media traffic to date in June is suggesting that the upward trend continues. Traffic from the Effective Marketing SEO on the other hand, continues to show decline in June. Average viewing time per page The chart below shows the average time spent on each page by visitors from our sources.
It is clear that the SEO visitors are spending significantly (30%) less time on each page than those visitors that have reached the site through social media. This suggests that these latter visitors are more engaged with this content and are spending more time reading posts in depth.
Given that social media referrals are coming into the site via individual posts on a specific subject, this is not too surprising.
This brief study suggests that developing social media as a tool for delivering targeted traffic would seem to:
A: Be more sustainable than SEO
B: Deliver more engagement than SEO.
However, it must also be recognised that these media are all about engagement with the market long term rather than seeking the quick leads. In order to deliver business opportunities, they should be used as part of a comprehensive, joined-up marketing strategy, where other tools like email, networking & face to face contact are used to leverage the credibility & value delivered by social media activity. As always, Social media is not a magic wand, but it is a valuable tool in an integrated marketing strategy.