How have things changed over the course of 2012 in digital marketing?

We have had Google+ making its mark, Pinterest entering the field and all the many changes at Facebook we continue to see.

Increasingly businesses are turning to inbound marketing rather than outbound. In an effort to attract customers by providing them with relevant and timely information about products and services, rather than the direct and sometimes expensive means of direct mail and trade shows. Prospects are encouraged and engaged and relationships built.

Businesses continue to use inbound marketing techniques and market expenditure has increased during 2011-2012 by 50% against that of outbound marketing. Inbound marketing channels have a cost advantage over outbound marketing and companies register a 61% less cost per lead to that of outbound marketing. Inbound marketing consistently delivers lower costs per lead, with staggering comparison of $346 cost per lead on outbound marketing as opposed to $135 cost per lead on inbound marketing. Although both figures saw a slight increase in 2011, figures for 2010 are very similar to those in 2012. While blogs, social media and organic search rated as the top three least expensive the bottom three ranks and most expensive, were taken by telemarketing 33%, PPC (paid search) – 28% and trade shows – 19%.

Businesses continue to spend the same, if not more, on their inbound marketing in comparison with previous years and those that have increased expenditure cite past success with inbound marketing as the reason. Only 11% had reduced their expenditure, while 62% blamed the downturn on the economy and 21% attributed it to a change in management. As a result the budgets continue to move further apart and show an increase towards inbound marketing, an increase from 8% in 2011, to 12% for 2012. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, small businesses intend spending 43% of their budget to lead generation while the large companies (upwards of 500 employees) will spend only 21%. Small business will use their largest % on blogs and social media marketing while big business show a bigger spend on outbound marketing techniques.

Comparisons between 2009 and 2012 show an increase in importance and value gained from company blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook shows the largest % increase, 18%, with Twitter and YouTube close with 15% and 13%.

Dependent on whether you are B2B or B2C, different platforms bring better results. B2C report a 77% customer acquisition via Facebook (43%- B2B) while LinkedIn performs better for the B2B market with 65% (51%- B2C). A closer look at these numbers also breaks down performance into the various industries. A majority found that blogging was highly effective, but the greater success is seen in the retail industry via Facebook and Twitter.

During 2012, 62% of businesses reported growth in the importance and lead- generating capabilities across the social media world. Consumers are realising the advantages and benefits of inbound marketing while they continue to pursue a more relevant and cost-effective form to market to their prospects. Outbound marketing continues to increase in cost and become less efficient, businesses turn to cost- effective inbound marketing to build rapport, relationship, leads and sales.

So what were the key new developments we saw in 2012?


The most important one was the rollout of new company pages at the beginning of the year. As the rollout affected all pages at the same time, all businesses had to adjust and re-evaluate their marketing strategy using the new features.

Additionally, throughout 2012 we got access to scheduling posts on Facebook to ensure we target our fans when they are most likely to be engaged and present.

The most recent developments were those of promoted posts and offers that you can post on Facebook to increase visibility of your posts on fans’ news feed.

Algorithm change meant that businesses needed to get more creative with content they publish on pages to make sure it is visible to fans, especially those using mobile devices.

During the year there have been many changes which help you target ads with more relevancy. Realising the importance and usage of mobile devices, Facebook introduced sponsored ads that are only available to a mobile audience.

Instagram purchase for 1 billion dollars brought a dynamic and younger sector of the community to Facebook. Instagram app allows sharing of images across many networks and with over 30 million users, our view of the world in pictures just got bigger.

Additional admin roles: Five admin roles introduced in May 2012 which can then be sorted into what amount of access each admin has. Divided into 7 areas roles they can be finely tuned and assigned.

Privacy options improvement as always is debatable! Facebook continue to be hounded by privacy issues, some in part because of their default changes. Privacy issues they say are top of their agenda and so they should be. ‘Privacy policy became ‘data use policy’ and was there to clarify how information can be shared by apps that are used. Each app can be tied down to what ever amount of privacy or sharing you are happy with.