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Google and Millward Brown have surveyed some 3,000 B2B researchers about their research and purchasing habits and use of digital medium giving us myth busting data that is worth sitting up and taking notice of.

The data ‘sample’ analysed was 13 months of clickstream data, the results of which dispel the following widely held beliefs.

Millennials (18-34) are not making B2B decisions – not true

In the last two years there has been a dramatic shift in the demographic of B2B researchers, moving from an even mix to an increase of 70% in this group. Now,18-34 year olds account for almost half of researchers.

What’s important to note about this group is the oldest members were born around 1980 and are very comfortable with the Internet world – in fact, they are the first generation not to know a world without it.

By the way, when engaging with this group, it’s important not to refer to them as Millennials.

The purchase decision remains only with the highest-level executives – not true

While 64% of executives are final signatories so are 24% of the people around them. Furthermore, 81% of non-executives are heavily influencing the purchase decision.

Brand should be at the heart of the search strategy – not true

By the time a B2B buyer engages with your website they are 57% of the way to making a decision.

This is what happens leading up to this point.

Internet searching is the number one resource for research. 90% of researchers, who are online, use search to specifically research business purchases. Although this number has remained consistent for a few years, the way they are searching has changed. A great deal more time is being spent on research. On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.

71% of researchers begin their search generically – they are looking for product first, not your brand.

For large and medium enterprises, generic paid search factors strongly in the first part of the customer journey to purchase.

The traditional purchasing method through relationships is moving on-line – that means influence and decision-making is happening earlier in the purchasing process, even prior to brand awareness and engagement with sales happening later.

Search strategies need to focus on identifying where you can be part of the conversation early on, and throughout the search process, with a very clear value proposition whilst educating and advocating.

B2B are not using mobile – not true

42% of researchers use a mobile device during the purchasing process. In the last two years this has grown by 91% resulting in 3 times the number of enquires via a mobile device.

During this time researchers are:

  • Comparing pricing
  • Reading about products
  • Comparing feature sets (with difficulty)
  • Watching video (lots of it)
  • Making contact and purchasing

Purchasing rates on mobiles have increased by 22% in the last two years.

Video is for just for awareness – not true

This medium has seen the most growth everywhere. In the B2B space the increase has been a staggering 52% with no fewer than 70% of buyers and researchers watching video throughout the entire purchase process – but what’s also interesting here is the number of hours they are putting in. YouTube reports that over 895,000 hours of B2B video were watched in 2014. To give 895,000 hours context, that is 111,875 working days or 306 working years of video in a 12 month period. Nearly half of these researchers viewed 30 minutes or more and some 20% watched over one hour of content.

The most watched were:

  • Product features
  • How-to’s
  • Professional reviews

After watching a video researchers talk to colleagues, look for more information and visit the brands’ websites and many share the video too. It is clear that video results in action.

When considering content for your video, produce content that helps your audience to compare and research their B2B purchases.

Video is not only extending the conversation – it is an essential tool in creating an emotional connection that is impossible to achieve when you can’t physically interact with this “invisible” audience.

When did you last review the demographics, behaviours and content needs of your target market?