In a world where the best goods and services can be easily gained from anywhere around the world, marketing is how businesses keep up with each other and stay ahead of the pack. Even the brightest diamond can be lost in a sea of websites and social media pages without it, and while reputation and word-of-mouth matter greatly (more on that lately), there is so much more you have to consider. You have limited resources, and as such, you’ll have to focus. With these statistics, you’ll have the tools you need to
Here are things you should know going into the rest of 2023:
Word-of-Mouth Is Still Key
Just because we are now online doesn’t mean that people don’t consider their friends and family to be the best and trusted sources of information on what they should or shouldn’t buy. People are understandably cynical of marketing or just ignore most of the commercials that come their way. More people have some sort of ad-blocking program than ever before, if not to avoid annoyance than to stay safe online (there are a fair number of malicious ads that could potentially infect a computer with malware).
As a marketer, you need to harness word-of-mouth above all else. Here are some facts to drive this home:
- More people use YouTube than practically any other platform, and for some marketers, it presents the perfect opportunity. Content and influencer marketing are becoming more common for a reason. If a company can find its audience, it will see a great return.
- Word-of-mouth is the most popular way to recommend a business, above all online platforms.
- Word-of-mouth is responsible for $6 trillion in sales annually.
- Content marketing is a different option and one that has maintained its effectiveness. Not only does it allow for a site to gain traction in search results, but it also allows for experts to showcase their thoughts and provide worthwhile recommendations. We will be talking more about it in a later section.
- People will four to six people about a positive experience with a business if they have their problems solved.
- If a customer has a bad experience, however, they will tell eight to 16 people about it.
Paid Marketing Still Has Its Place
While paid marketing through advertisements and the like has nearly always been the way of things, marketers have had to more frequently rethink their methods and their options. Advertisements could take many forms, but traditional ads are often ignored by people. Placements, search ads, and more, however, are part of the future. Here are some stats on the matter:
- Google estimates that for every dollar spent on Google ads, eight dollars come back as profit. Granted you might want to take this with a grain of salt as it's an estimate coming from Google itself (and they have a vested interest in high ROI), but it does show that advertising works online. It also shows that Google is still king when it comes to online advertising. Social media advertising is something, but Google is ubiquitous and one of the true pillars of the internet. Such advertising is also a way for some companies to cut the line, or as a supplement to regular SEO efforts.
- While browsers and computers as we know them have been around for a couple of decades (with a lot of cleaning up, mind you), mobile is newer, shinier, and more open to possible marketing uses. Kenshoo reported that in the US, 70 percent of ad impressions (and clicks) occurred on a mobile device. This was in 2019, and there’s little sign of it slowing down when we get more data. Marketers might want to use their paid advertising dollars on mobile campaigns if there is a choice in the matter.
- According to the 2019-2020 State of PPC Report, 74 percent of brands cite PPC ads as a primary business driver.
- PPC is also an adapting industry, using automation and AI to create and adapt tests on the fly. In general, we are seeing huge increases in automation usage in nearly every industry. It’s fewer robots taking over jobs than AI taking over and automating tasks so marketers and other professionals can handle more important work instead, or get clearer sets of information.
- The next realm of paid marketing could be in voice searches. A reported 72 percent of survey respondents have used digital assistant features, which almost certainly includes voice searches. Marketers may want to familiarize themselves with these options to fine-tune campaigns.
You can’t talk about online marketing today without talking about content marketing. It does often require specialists and a bit more time to set up properly than some other forms of advertising and marketing, but it also has the opportunity to provide value to your customers in other ways, and to keep people interested in your brand.
Here are some key stats to keep in mind and facts to take to heart:
In a survey taken by Semrush, respondents noted several key challenges. Let’s go over the top five:
- 41 percent of respondents had trouble attracting quality leads with content. Unfortunately, creating great content is only part of the battle. Having personnel that specialize in a lead generation might be one of the few ways to combat this issue.
- 39 percent had trouble generating traffic and promoting content. Similar to the previous topic, there may not be a clear-cut solution to this issue.
- 31 percent found creating content that resonated with their audience challenging. This is likely even harder for businesses with a wide range of potential customers.
- 30 percent had difficulty proving the ROI of content. While content marketing absolutely shows results, it often takes time to do so. People who do not know how it works might get impatient and pull the plug too early.
- 29 percent of respondents had issues with improving the SEO performance of content. Creating excellent content is a somewhat different skill than optimizing SEO. Many find that a solid team is necessary to maximize content marketing’s effectiveness.
- In fact, most businesses according to the survey have either a team of 1-3 or 4-10 specialists in content marketing.
The Success of Content Marketing
- Out of the above survey respondents, 97 percent said that content was an important part of their strategy.
- A sufficient budget is key. Out of those companies that were unsuccessful with content marketing, 53 percent of them spent less than five percent of their budget on it.
- Out of surveyed companies, 72 percent companies intend to increase their content marketing budget. Only two percent plan on decreasing their budget. This is a clear trend that showcases the results companies are experiencing.
- Interestingly, not all companies measure the success of their efforts. Only 66 percent of brands will measure performance.
- Out of those that do track metrics, they look at organic traffic increases, search rankings of the content, and total leads. There are other things to look at, but these three are key.
- Out of the types of content used, the most successful forms were either video content or blog posts.
- Companies found that the main areas to invest in for content marketing in the coming years are social media, increasing the quality of written content, and promotion and distribution of said content. They’re common thoughts, perhaps obvious ones, but they are truly vital.
Compared to some of the other topics listed here, email marketing might be a little boring. Yet it is perhaps boring, but by no means dead. It remains one of the best and more important tools in the marketer’s toolbox, a vital part of the chain.
Here are some things about email marketing to remind yourself of from time to time:
- Just because people subscribe to a company email doesn’t mean they stay. About 91 percent of email users have unsubscribed from an email they previously signed up for. Marketers must be wary of sending too many emails or emails that are too aggressive. Customers value their time and their inbox space.
- Compared to even paid ads, email marketing is worth it. For every $1 spent on email marketing, there is a $42 return. Naturally, the campaigns need to be done well, but email marketing is clearly a great way.
- And smart marketers know that there is something to be gained. About 50 percent of markets plan to send more emails in the near future (3-6 months). Whether they follow through depends on other circumstances and discipline.
- What marketing emails are opened the most? The ones related to hobbies. They have an open rate of 27 percent. It makes sense, as such emails likely have information about their interests.
- Everyone sends emails. 90.9 percent of internet users say they send an email at least once a month. Email hardly seems dead with a usage rate such as that.
- Compared to ads on social media, emails have a much, much higher open rate. This is likely since people sign up to receive emails and can opt out of them if they become too troublesome. The same cannot be said of social media ads and certain pages.
The Mobile Factor
Smartphones have taken over our lives. In fact, you probably are reading this very article on a smartphone. To this end, here are some important statistics you as a marketer should know about these devices:
- About 97 percent of United States adults own a cell phone. The penetration rate of smartphones is 85 percent. That’s a large market.
- Successful sales aren’t always about marketing, it’s also about the user experience. If a site is poorly designed, 57 percent of users wouldn’t recommend it.
- On smartphones, three out of four users deal with their immediate needs via search first. Search rankings and SEO matter.
- The intersection between social media and mobile marketing is huge. People in the United States spend 49 percent of their time on their smartphones on social media.
- Mobile messaging and marketing are important, but they can be overdone. The top reason people unsubscribed from or ceased messages from a brand is over messaging.
- Mobile ad spending is anticipated to reach $93.26 billion by 2024. This might be an overestimation in the eyes of some, but there is reason to believe such spending will skyrocket in the coming years.
- Out of the current mobile markets, the United States had the most mobile advertising spending.
- A total of 46 percent of Americans searched for more information about a service or product on their smartphone.
Social Media Isn’t Going to Stop Growing
You probably already know this by now, but social media is the future of marketing. People are constantly seeking out ways to best use their ad dollars, but the good news for marketers is that the targeting of advertising is becoming the norm, and companies can find their preferred audience that much more easily. Some research will be required and marketers will need to know their audience more than ever, but the potential ROI is massive compared to the advertising of the past.
And odds are your intended audience will be on social media. Look at the growth of total social media users over the past years.
- Eventually, there will be a stopping point at the market reaches complete saturation and the vast majority of the world’s population is online. However, we aren’t there just yet, and there is growth to still be had. Do you want your company to be behind the rest of the pack when it comes to at least thinking about these new markets? You should consider whether they are relevant and make a plan for the future.
- Depending on how you look at it, around 4 billion people currently use social media, with continued growth all but guaranteed over the next few years. With word of mouth, content marketing, and paid ad options on social media, it would be foolish to ignore them.
- And few businesses are so foolish. A surprising 97 percent of organizations use Facebook for content marketing in some manner. Even most of the smallest of businesses have some sort of Facebook page, allowing users to look up hours or a location.
- Facebook is still the largest platform, whatever bad press it might get. We would urge you to consider the largest platforms by numbers:
- We would like to note that such large numbers might not be worth much to marketers unless they know their area of intended influence and their popularity. Some social networks are more popular in certain regions or with a particular audience. For example, the user base of Pinterest is overwhelmingly female, and marketers should take note accordingly.
- What platform gets the most engagement? Currently, the crowd goes to TikTok, which has a greater degree of engagement than the other platforms by 15 percent. Given how it is also one of the fastest-growing platforms, especially among a younger demographic, TikTok might be the best network for marketers to get to know better.
- Interestingly, however, shoppers on Pinterest have bigger carts. Their shopping carts are 85 percent larger, and they spend twice as much each month. There is more information to be found on the different userbases that are worth digging into when you have the time.
Video is Key
There was a time when dealing with video marketing online was something of a risk, partially because of the expense and partly because the video wasn’t always seen. A decent internet connection was required and video was something of a commitment for the consumer. That time has long since passed us by. Now video marketing is one of the smartest moves possible, and people are consuming hours of video content each day, often without realizing it.
Here are some statistics to drive home its importance:
- Out of the different options, video was the number one strategy used by marketers in 2021. And it seems to be working, 87 percent of those marketers say that traffic has increased and 80 percent say that there was a direct sales increase as a result of the video campaign.
- Where should video campaigns be concentrated? While Google or YouTube clearly sees the most eyes, Facebook otherwise has a massive set of eyeballs on it, and people are more likely to watch videos on Facebook than in many other markets.
- However, that does not mean we should ignore TikTok. Because of its rapid growth, we do not see the full extent of its usefulness yet. And it being a video-based platform, it could be a hub for brand pages that want to gain followers to the pages organically, without so many paid advertisements. Such platforms could be a direct route to more consumer engagement.
- Out of all time spent online, one-third is spent watching videos.
- More than 85 percent of internet users in the United States watch videos. Video marketing or ads on videos reach an incredibly wide audience. And with the targeted advertising options available to marketers, it is only getting better, large company or small.
New and Expanding Markets
The internet is huge. And it’s getting bigger. More people are coming online than ever before. Look at the total number of people coming online via one form or another over the last several years:
Naturally, it isn’t as easy as companies saying “oh yes, we’re just going to provide services to the entire globe now” if it is a retail business. International laws can be complicated, and shipping or providing logistics to reasonably operate in other regions is no small feat. You may have to consider just which markets will provide the best ROI, both when it comes to service and advertisement.
However, do note that more people are online around the world than you might think, and more people will be able to afford or otherwise need the goods and services you are marketing. You as a marketer might want to at least be aware of these markets, or consider what is working in them.
And we probably don’t need to tell you this, but eCommerce is growing faster than most people would have predicted a decade ago. Companies are doing a much better job of providing consistent service online. People are better able to access the internet and are more used to the idea of shopping online. Look at the growth of eCommerce revenue over the years:
World events being what they are, there could also be disruptions to the online world, available markets, and what would be most effective. It will come down to marketers and executives (with the help of a lot of research) to determine where resources would best be spent. The internet can be chaotic, but there are plenty of opportunities arising every single day as well. Keep on top of things so that you and your team can adapt as necessary.
Finally, the realm of online audio has not been utilized as much as other formats, even though radio commercials were a large (if not as large as TV) driver for many years. And there is a lot of attention from users, with listeners spending more than 16 hours a week with online audio (Spotify is the largest platform). Podcasts are listened to regularly by more than a quarter of the United States population, and that is an audience that is likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
As marketers get more involved online than they already are and the internet grows, marketers will need to consider their actions and the weight of their campaigns. There are certainly some pitfalls that they could run into that the stats show. Here’s what you should be aware of:
- Many customers do care about the values brands or companies espouse. 56 percent of customers say that they are more loyal to brands that align with their values.
- However, one can go too far and a marketing team can care too much about the relationship with the customer. About 77 percent of customers do not have a relationship with a brand. Most people do not have a strong relationship with the company that sells them light bulbs. Customers will tune out in some cases, or alternatively, campaigns will be derided as hollow coming from a company, as well-intentioned as it might be.
- Similarly, marketers must walk a tightrope when it comes to values on display. What agrees with one customer base does not agree with another. A company at the center of moral outrage (justified or not) is not the most stable company and often does not get as many sales as it could be.
- Online marketers might also make a mistake by not sticking with matters for the long haul. While adjustments are often necessary, and certainly so after a time, customers might be slow to convert. It can take at least five impressions before someone will remember a brand in a sea of endless logos and products. An online ad or content needs to stand out and stand out in a good way. Then that impression needs to be repeated as much as possible.
There is a lot to say about eCommerce these days, and no single article could hope to go in-depth enough to provide a complete picture. Nonetheless, we hope that you have some points to jump off on now and that you as a marketer are more confident in your online strategy. It will take effort and it will likely take time, but your clients and your own services will eventually see results if you follow the data and keep your strategies going with that in mind.