Hello and welcome to Factors Labs — a segment that reviews actionable insights from our data science team on all things marketing analytics and attribution. We report on patterns that emerge from real data collected across markets, companies, campaigns, events, funnels, and more.
This week, we’re exploring marketing channels that influence web sessions, and web sessions that influence form submissions. We crunch data from across 25,000 customer journeys to determine
which channels perform best at driving web sessions that ultimately lead to form submissions.
Your website, especially in B2B SaaS, is the face of your company. It provides requisite context and valuable information about your work to prospects looking to learn about, and potentially purchase, your product or service. A well-structured, appealing website can leave a lasting positive impression on visitors. Most importantly, an engaging website will propel itself to capture leads through form submissions. This is all the more significant to B2B firms due to their convoluted sales cycles that stretch over several months and involve multiple stakeholders. Your website is a major road sign along your customer’s journey
Forms submissions — demo requests, trial sign-ups, webinar registrations, etc — are core elements of B2B SaaS websites. They’re also an appropriate proxy for lead creation because form submissions are often strong signals for buyer intent. So what channels contribute most significantly to form submissions? Let's have a look.
In this case, we’re defining a “successful” web session, as a session where a visitor successfully submits a contact form. This could be a demo request, trial registration, webinar sign-up, or any other form involving contact information. So what channels are positively influencing this form submission?
Here’s what the data (collected over a period of one month) has to say:
The results reveal that, out of the ten marketing channels considered, visitors who find your website organically are most likely to submit a form. One implication of this is that organic visitors have the most buyer intent. This goes to show that investments in branding efforts — webinars, podcasts, thought leadership, community-building and more — will pay extensive dividends in the form of lead creation down the line. Additionally, SEO practices — keyword research, domain authorization, page ranking optimization could contribute to lead generation as well.
With recent improvements in Google’s ML ads targeting technology, it’s no surprise that paid search ads perform very well when it comes to driving form submissions. Paid search ads can precisely identify individuals and businesses with real intent for a particular product or service, and present search results accordingly. Hence, bidding on the right keywords may provide up to a third of your total form submissions in a relatively short time frame.
Coming in at 4th is referral channels. A referral channel is unequivocally one of the strongest sources for high intent prospects. When you have a valuable product in hand, your existing customer base may transform into a positive feedback loop of buyers than refer your business to other buyers who do the same to generate further buyers still. This channel speaks to the vitality of building a wide and ever-growing network of clients, advisors, influencers, and more.
The data reveals that Paid Social and Organic Social don’t do a particularly good job of driving website form submissions. This is an especially interesting insight because both channels seemed to have blown up in recent years. With social selling bigger than ever, one would expect these channels to be thriving sources of high-intent website visitors. One explanation for this could be an oversaturation of social media content — making it increasingly difficult to stand out of the crowd and pick out the right prospects.
Third to last in our list of marketing channels is Email. Cold outreach, newsletters, product updates, and virtually every form of content that needs to be directly distributed is done through email. This volume of information in our inbox means that even though email marketing is still alive and well, the intent with which visitors arrive at your website through mail may be inadequate. This, in turn, explains the poor form submission rates as well.
And there you have it. After analysing thousands of customer journeys, hundreds of form submissions, and ten marketing channels, we identify which channels are driving your customers to submit contact forms. Insights derived from this analysis include — organic traffic, garnered through branding efforts, SEO, and more, perform exceedingly well. Paid ads, with recent advents in AI-technology, also provide an impressible contribution to form submissions. Social marketing, though currently all the rage, offers disappointing results. Deriving a cause for this conclusion requires further research. Other channels, including Referral, Direct, and Email extend marginal results.
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