Half of companies use a digital marketing agency to help them reach their goals. But statistics and studies don't tell the whole story. To get a better understanding of the challenges professionals in the field face, we asked digital marketing experts to share their experiences. Their answers provide insight into how small businesses can create a successful digital presence.
Before the pandemic, social media marketing was a popular tool for both B2B and B2C organizations. Regional preferences varied, with 30-40% of B2B and B2C companies in the Northeast and Midwest prioritizing social media marketing. These numbers dropped slightly in companies in the South, where between 25% and 30% of companies focused on social media marketing. In companies outside Western states, there was a divide between B2B and B2C trends, with B2B relying on social media marketing and B2C companies focusing more on SEO marketing strategies. The pandemic changed the way companies marketed their products and services.
Our respondents' data showed how businesses reacted to changes in consumer demand and online behaviors. Business-to-business responses differed across regions: Northeast and Midwest companies shifted their focus to other channels, while South and West increased their social media marketing efforts. For B2C services, the shift was widespread towards increased social media marketing efforts, with Western states shifting their focus from SEO to social media channels. Most of our Canadian respondents were from central Canada and the west coast. Other regions were not as well represented in our sample, but we included them to provide as much information as possible about marketing activities across the country.
Before COVID-19 began to cause shutdowns in Canada, B2B companies in the Atlantic and Northern Territories provinces and B2C companies in the West Coast territories prioritized social media marketing. Interestingly, B2B organizations heavily leveraged affiliate marketing, while B2C companies leveraged SEO and content marketing tactics above other channels. As the Canadian economy recovers, business marketing tactics have changed at the regional level. Both sectors of the Atlantic provinces have adopted social media marketing tactics, while B2B companies in Central Canada have followed suit. West Coast and Northern Territory businesses stayed the course, while Prairie Province B2B and B2C companies drastically changed tactics but continued to focus their efforts outside social media marketing. The industries represented by our survey participants were mainly educational services and technology-related (information services, software, telecommunications), accounting for 35% of companies.
The remaining businesses were spread across service-centric industries. After COVID-19, our respondents reported that Facebook and Instagram were the preferred social media platforms for marketing purposes, with Google's YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok completing the list. When creating a social media marketing campaign, it's important to focus your efforts on platforms that align with your target audience or customer base. It's also important to use each platform in a way that aligns with user behaviors associated with that platform. Companies should diversify their campaigns by leveraging several relevant social media platforms for their brand.
Most platforms provide access to advertising performance metrics so users can adjust their strategies based on consumer behavior or conversion of potential customers. We asked professionals which social media platform they prefer for digital marketing and why, as well as how often they use it in current strategies. On-page and technical SEO represent an almost equal share of SEO strategies used in the field, with only 11% of companies focusing on off-page strategies. Popular SEO management tools include Google Analytics and Google Search Console united by the Moz platform. For PPC advertising, Google Ads is one of the top choices among our survey respondents. If you consider that the Meta landscape is made up of Facebook and Instagram among other brands, Meta stands out as an important tool for managing SEO efforts.