According to a November Webmarketing123 study, one-third of US marketing professionals didn’t know exactly which marketing channels produced the strongest return on investment (ROI) for their marketing dollars. This finding was applied equally to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) professionals.

B2B respondents reported that they could prove the ROI on the following marketing channels:

  • Email – 66%
  • Paid Search – 37%
  • SEO – 23%
  • Display – 21%
  • Social Media – 17%

B2C respondents reported slightly different results:

  • Paid Search – 51%
  • Email – 44%
  • SEO – 31%
  • Social Media – 27%
  • Display – 21%

That said, marketers in both B2B and B2C companies didn’t always allocate their marketing dollars based on which channels had the most proven results. Instead, US marketers seem to follow their instincts. No channel makes this trend clearer than social media. Both groups reported 87% usage of social media, even though it was only proven to be effective 17% of the time for B2B marketers and 27% of the time for B2C marketers.

There were similar findings in both groups for paid search. Despite its proven return on investment, only 56% of B2Bs reported using it and 64% of B2Cs used it. These findings are surprising considering how high it ranked for results for both types of marketers.

Email marketing remains a highly-utilized marketing channel in the US, especially in the B2B sector, with 93% utilization. A full 80% of B2Cs report using this channel as well.

One issue the survey uncovered was that B2Bs and B2Cs alike don’t necessarily have effective methods in place for properly verifying the ROI for their marketing channels. In fact, 38% didn’t have a way to prove the effectiveness of their marketing at all.

The Webmarketing123 study showed that US marketers used the following types of attribution models:

  • Multichannel (all influencing touchpoints) – 21%
  • Last Touch (conversion) – 19%
  • First and Last Touch (lead and conversion) – 18%
  • First Touch (lead source) – 15%
  • Other – 9%
  • No Model – 38%

Based on the number of B2B and B2C marketers with no clear way to measure ROI on marketing channels, there is a clear opportunity for marketers in the future to do a better job of aligning their marketing dollars with those channels that provide the highest returns.


eMarketer. Do Marketers Rely on Instinct Over ROI? February 24, 2015