The Impact of Social Media on Search Marketing

Kate Maddox from B2B Magazine released a story today outlining key findings from a recently completed study on The Impact of Social Media on Search. This study was a collaboration between B2B Magazine and Business.com. I was not able to find the full story – once I do I will post a link.

The survey was designed and conducted to explore how marketers are integrating social media with search marketing and the collaborative results.

According to survey, the top goals for social media marketing are:
• 81% – building brand awareness
• 77% – increasing traffic to a website
• 67% – generating leads
• 66% – providing deeper engagement with customers
• 57% – improving search results

It was very interesting to read how B2B Marketers were using using social media to improve their search results:

• 48% – to drive inbound links through various social media channels
• 45% – social media accounts to increase rankings on major search engines
• 40% – monitoring social media conversations to influence organic SEO
• 26% – monitoring social media conversations to influence keyword purchases

The impact on links is interesting since many of the social media sites actually use no follow tags negating the value of the links from social. Note, I have seen a lot of incremental links from influencers who have been reached via social media that generated links that do pass value.

I am very intrigued by that last reason – to influence keywords purchases. I am waiting to see the full report for me details but this is something we are really focused on at Back Azimuth. By mining the chatter in social you are really able to understand current voice of the consumer to better understand context and needs before they show up in historical search data.

They were then asked what has been the impact of social media on their search performance.

• 44% – impact has been positive
• 28% – impact has been neutral
• 27% – impact was unknown
• 1% – impact was negative

I was curious what they are measuring since most companies are still struggling with how to measure social let along measuring the collaborative impact of each on the other. The article indicted that 41% are not currently measuring the impact of social media on their search performance. The 59% that are measuring the impact the most common metrics were:

• 37% – organic search rankings (assume the organic rankings of social media content)
• 30% – number of inbound links (30%)
• 23% – search volume for brand or keyword phrases
• 22% – search marketing conversion rates

In terms of actual impact the research asked where they are seeing the most impact of social media activities:

• 35% – seen an improvement in organic search rankings
• 24% – increased in search referrals
• 15% – increased click-through rates in paid search campaigns

The survey also looked at how companies are using search to enhance their social media efforts. Of the 70% that are using search to influence social media performance:

• 54% – search for conversations about their company’s brand or products on social media channels
• 42% – perform search engine optimization on their social media content
• 37% – search for conversations about their competitors on social media channels
• 13% – place social media links in paid search ads

The key metrics used to measure social media marketing efforts noted in the research:

• 55% – visits to websites
• 48% – number of fans, followers and “likes” on social media networks
• 35% – number of mentions about a company or product
• 28% – and number of retweets

The article mentioned another nugget when they asked about the level of sophistication of the companies SEO performance:

• 39% – program needs improvement
• 27% – program is somewhat advanced
• 26% – program is adequate
• 9% – program is very advanced

It is great that we finally have some data to help with the integration of these two key tactics. Some of the findings are interesting since they are B2B where this type of adoption and integration is less common. This data also help support many of the recommednations I made in my article on integrating Search and Social Media.

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