social media still accounts for less than 5% of total leads to B2B websites, according to Optify's 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. Among social media, Twitter is the primary driver of leads, outperforming both LinkedIn and Facebook.

Not surprisingly, organic search is the No. 1 driver of traffic to B2B websites, accounting for 41.00% of the total in 2012, followed by direct traffic (40.00%) and referrals (11.50%). Social media accounted for 1.90% of total traffic to B2B websites in 2012.

Google was the most important referring source of traffic to B2B websites in 2012, accounting for 88.21% of all organic searches (vs. 5.84% from Bing) and 36.07% of total traffic (vs. 2.34% for Bing).

Below, additional findings from Optify's 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report.

B2B Leads by Source

Similar to the website traffic breakdown, the top three sources of leads in 2012 were direct traffic (34.00%), organic search (26.50%), and referrals (12.50%). However, the relative lead-conversion rate between sources was different, with paid search (10.50%) and email (9.00%) contributing proportionally more leads than their traffic shares (4.70% and 0.80%, respectively).

Social media accounted for 4.75% of total leads to B2B websites.

Conversion Rates* by Source

Among key sources of leads, email recorded the highest conversion rates—defined as the proportion of visitors who submit a lead form during a single visit—with an average of 2.89%. Referrals ranked second with 2.04%, followed by paid search (1.96%) and direct traffic (1.65%). Organic search and social media generated the lowest conversion rates, 1.45% and 1.22%, respectively.

Twitter Strongest for Leads, LinkedIn for Engagement

Among the top 3 social networks, Twitter was the strongest channel for generating leads, accounting for 82% of all leads from social-networking sources and outperforming Facebook and LinkedIn 9 to 1:

Even so, LinkedIn had the highest engagement rates (2.48 pageviews per visit), followed by Facebook with 1.94. Twitter, not surprisingly, averaged only 1.51 pageviews per visit, even though it had the highest average conversion rates.

Other key findings:

  • Branded searches (those that include the name of the company) recorded the highest engagement of any other source (3.71 pageviews per visit) accounting for 31% of all visits from organic search.
  • Paid search recorded a decline among B2B marketers: Over 10% of companies in the report discontinued their paid-search campaigns during 2012.

About the report: Findings are based on data collected from over 62 million visits, 215 million pageviews and 350,000 leads from more than 600 small and midsize B2B websites that used Optify's marketing platform. Data was collected using Optify's visitor and lead tracking technology and include only US-based .com sites with 100 to 100,000 monthly visits. The digital channel analysis included websites with a minimum of 10 visits per traffic source each month.

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image of Lenna Garibian
Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.