B2Bs much more divided on primary social network than B2Cs: eMarketer

Business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies may have different target audiences, sales cycles and products, but when it comes to online marketing, they both must choose from the same set of tactics and channels designed to help them meet similar goals.

According to Webmarketing123, both B2B and B2C marketers have similar top priorities for their online marketing programs: lead generation and sales. The importance of both objectives, however, varied by business focus. B2B marketers were more than twice as likely to emphasize lead generation over sales. Conversely, generating sales was the number-one priority for B2C marketers.

This difference likely reflects the distinct nature of each purchase process. B2C sales cycles are often shorter and easier to track and attribute to online activity. B2B purchases, however, can take weeks or even months to convert—and may involve multiple marketing exposures that could be difficult to tie back to a direct sale.

The majority of companies are taking advantage of social media marketing and using their social presence as a lead generation source. Only 11.7% of B2Bs and 7.9% of B2Cs reportedly abstained from social media marketing.

Facebook was the overwhelmingly dominant social network for B2C marketers. More than 75% of B2C companies said they were most active on Facebook compared to Twitter (8.4%) or LinkedIn (6.2%).

B2B marketers were much more divided in their primary social network usage. Though Facebook was also the most commonly cited social network (34.6%), LinkedIn (25.3%) and Twitter (25.6%) were also important.

Facebook’s vast reach and mass adoption make for an easy way to target consumers, but B2B audiences can be more difficult to pinpoint online, particularly in a social setting. This fact may be reflected in the varied reliance on primary social networks among B2B marketers.

The importance of Facebook for B2C marketers is undeniable: 73% have generated leads from their Facebook accounts, compared to only 35.1% of B2B marketers.

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