The 2017 International Builders’ Show (IBS) is upon us. As we prepare our agendas and get excited to see what is new and noteworthy in the industry this year, our digital marketing team has taken a look at the state of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for the industry and select segments. Knowing that XX number of B2B buying decisions start with a search engine and that new technology and competition continues to make the building materials channel more important to move products through than ever, we need to harness search engine traffic to build leads and sales.
Overall, in the building materials industry in 2016 we saw a slight decrease in direct traffic by visitors keying in the domain name and going straight to the website as well as a decrease in visitors who came from referral sites and links; however, we saw a major increase in traffic from social media sources, a slight increase in organic search traffic, and a steady rate of paid search traffic.
The number one source by far is organic search engine traffic. This highlights the importance of basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if you want to be found by users already aware of your brand. It’s even more important that you go beyond the basics in order to be competitive for the most important generic terms.
The second and third biggest sources are both paid sources through the search engines and display ads. Combined, they make a big impact and are big drivers of traffic—right behind the “free” organic traffic.
Social media is a growth area and while it hasn’t been adopted as fast in building materials and further up the channel (compared to other consumer-focused industries), it is growing rapidly and poised for further expansion as manufacturers, distributors, and dealers find ways to help support selling products down the channel.
Building Materials & Supplies industry vertical under Construction & Maintenance from Google Analytics
|Organic Search Traffic||46.1k||47.9k|
|Paid Search Traffic||25.2k||25.2k|
|Traffic from Social Media||4.2k||2.8k|
|Traffic from Email Marketing||3.9k||3.3k|
|Display Advertising Traffic||13.2k||11.2k|
In addition to looking at stats by traffic source, we researched website engagement metrics. One encouraging discovery is that the growth in traffic is accompanied by quality content. A major increase in new visitors is coupled with double-digit percentage increases in pages per session and the average session duration. Not only is site traffic increasing in the industry, but audiences are staying on pages longer and viewing more content. This is a great trend to measure your 2017 efforts against.
While we’re not surprised by the benchmark data in 2016, there are encouraging signs. B2B companies, especially in the building materials industry, will be poised for more success if they push further into growth areas like social and continue competitive positioning in both organic and paid search. Be mindful of competitive pressure from new entrants as well as many changes in the Google organic and paid search algorithms that have an impact on positioning and performance.
Do you know where you stand in comparison to these benchmarks? We’d love to hear about your 2016 performance and if you’re seeing the same trends we are.