The role of video increases with changes in the B2B marketplace

Seventy percent of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. That’s a 52% jump in only two years.

Google/Millward Brown Digital
B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014.

Google and research partner Millward Brown Digital tracked clickstream data from 3,000 “B2B Researchers” over 13 months into 2014. The findings are summarized in an article at ThinkWithGoogle by Kelsey Snyder and Pashmeena Hilal.

There are some notable changes since this same study was fielded in 2012, which may make you want to redirect some marketing strategies and resources.

70% more millennials

Half the B2B researchers in the study were under 35. That’s a big change from 2012, when the generations were more or less evenly represented. When these buyers joined the workplace, everyone was already using search engines. As the researchers point out, they’re digital natives. Plan your content and media channels accordingly.

Distributed decision-making

The research supports the idea that “the buyer’s journey” is not a solo excursion. Yes, 64% of final decision-makers work out of the c-suite, but if you put all your focus there, you’ll miss out. 81% of researchers said they influence the buying decision. I take that as validation for our Buyer’s Journey Video Bundle™ approach — packages of several short videos designed to be relevant to different personas on the buying team.

Generic vs. branded searches

The researchers averaged 12 searches before deciding to visit a specific brand’s site. Implications for video content? A variety of videos that focus on different value propositions and concepts may work better than one comprehensive product-centric video.

Mobile search used throughout the buying process

Mobile devices are used by 42% of researchers during the B2B purchasing process. Of those, the number who say they use a mobile device for the whole buyer’s journey — not just the start — has increased by 91% in two years. Implications for video? Well, you share videos with your phone, don’t you?. So you would expect buying team members to do that, too. And they do.

The most growth: Online Video

Seventy percent of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos throughout their path to purchase, up 52% in just two years.

What’s more, during the research process. they typically spend (in total) 30 minutes or more of B2B-related videos, with about 20% putting in more than hour watching videos over the course of their buyer’s journey.

What happens after B2B researchers watch videos?

  • Talked to colleagues, looked for more information
  • Visited website/store
  • Shared the video.

Opportunities for technology marketing

Because so many buyers look for generic solutions before they look at brands, marketers need to, as the authors put it, “identify where you can be part of the conversation early on and throughout their searching.” What kinds of videos can become part of the conversation early on? An intriguing insight the Google authors offer is this:

It’s not enough just to bid on your brand terms. Influence and decision making are happening earlier on in the purchasing path, even prior to brand awareness. Identify where you can be part of the conversation early on and throughout their searching.

Another way to put it is that the search terms that typically bring people to your website may not be the ones they’re using early in the buying process. Buyers are searching with terms that are more relevant to them than to your product/brand messaging.

This seems to argue strongly for the persona-based approach to technology marketing videos that we advocate. In order to make your videos relevant to different personas on a buying team, you need to speak in terms that resonate with each individual persona, terms that persona would use during the search process. If you can do that, you will greatly improve your video’s chance of becoming “part of the conversation.”