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Social Media and Lead Generation: Tracking Nearly 500,000 Leads

Social media isn’t typically thought as a lead generation channel, but it can have a big impact on any business and shouldn’t be ignored.

Bizible tracked all the marketing touches for 480,000 leads, analyzed the data, then published the results. From incremental volume to shorter marketing cycles, social media is a channel ripe for growth. One important note is that social is a combination of both paid and organic.

Bizible looked at the very first marketing touch and found that social, was the marketing source for just 5 percent of the leads. 5 percent sounds small, however its lead volume is higher than both email and display. Search dominated by contributing 56 percent of leads.

Once you break this out by industry, social actually contributed more than 10 percent of leads in two industries: education and finance. Not surprisingly, those industries tend to be more consumer focused. On the flipside, a number of industries had social contributing 1 percent or less to lead volume. Lots of room for improvement, I suppose.

One bright spot for social media is it’s short marketing cycle, defined as the time (in days) from the very first marketing touch to opportunity creation, typically when a lead is handed to sales. Social media has the shortest marketing cycle at just 18 days, with email and display the longest at 54 and 51 days respectively.

If you are seeing a company’s update on social, you are likely connected to them in some way or already interested in their offering, at least that is my assumption.

This is good for companies, because short marketing cycles mean that companies can realize revenue after the marketing touch faster and likely have lower sales costs, making them more profitable opportunities.

While a snapshot of the results may not be completely appealing to B2B marketers, with Facebook’s recent announcement of using browsing history to target ads (translation: better targeting) and LinkedIn putting more emphasis on it’s overall ad platform, there are signs it will be improving.

You don’t have to wait for ad networks to make improvements in order to realize more revenue from social lead generation. Here’s a few things you can do today:

  • Adopt a pipeline marketing mindset. Forget lead generation goals and focus on revenue. Optimize your campaigns by what converts the best and ultimately is the most profitable or at least provides the highest return on ad spend.

  • Use retargeting. Drive lower cost clicks to content and products via Facebook and use retargeting to pull contacts through the sales and marketing pipeline. Recapture people who don’t fill out forms on the first visit.

  • Keep testing. Don’t settle for your current performance. Keep trying new ad networks, content offers, and targeting settings.

The biggest takeaway is that, while social might not be a major contributor today, you should build your foundation now in order to take advantage of future ad platform improvements.

What percent of leads does social drive for your business?

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