In 1995 when I was selling websites and studying SEO at McDougall Associates Advertising, I witnessed the Internet gold rush in its infancy. I have seen my share of trends and am amazed at how currently some companies are scurrying to get high ROI from web marketing but can’t see the forest for the trees. As I’ve mentioned, Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms can be great tools and are clearly a major part of the wave of the future, but they are only one part of the bigger picture.
Facebook and Google are the big monsters online in terms of traffic, we all know that. And the media pumps up everything related to Facebook and Twitter and now Pinterest to the point where some marketers think they can drive all their traffic solely through these mediums. One banker, during a new business pitch I gave, showed me a long list of Internet marketing activities he was researching and said, “I think we should just start with Facebook and do only that.” In some industries like travel and entertainment, where people often rely on social connections to help them search out vacations, movies, events, or restaurants, you may drive even more traffic using Facebook and Twitter than through Google. This is generally not the case in other industries. Our monthly review of sources of traffic in the analytics for our clients shows clearly that organic traffic and sometimes email marketing are the largest drivers of high-ROI traffic. Social media generally provides earlier-stage leads, though it has many other benefits besides immediate sales. A recent webinar from HubSpot about the state of inbound marketing included these statistics based on over 1,000 surveyed customers:
Lead to customer-close, percentage by channel
Direct Traffic 15%
Paid Search 7%
Social Media 4%
Traditional “Outbound” Marketing 2%
Forrester Research has surveyed marketers about what forms of advertising they think will increase in effectiveness moving forward. Social media is at the top and traditional media is at the bottom. If you look at Forrester’s predictions through 2016, the spend on search marketing will still be more than six times the spend on social media. So just because social and mobile are hot, don’t forget where the bulk of the actual spend is going when determining how much to spend in each category. You need to focus on the buyers!
What aspect of Internet marketing do you think will be most important moving forward?