Post pandemic the numbers started to slide. People stopped binge watching their favourite series’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney +. Their general internet usage dropped off too – a trend that’s continued to the present day.
Would it shock you to know internet usage has declined by 5% in the last 12 months? In which case the question beggars: why are people spending less time online?
And if the time we spend online is falling, what effect will that have on B2B brands that rely on digital marketing to make a tidy profit?
The internet isn’t dead – how people use it is changing
In 2022 workers aged 16-44 spent an average of 7 hours online everyday. That figure has since decreased to 6 hours and 37 minutes. This might not sound like a lot; but if this trend continues it could have a serious impact on B2B brands and global industry in general.
To understand what’s happening we must move beyond ‘why are people spending less time online?’ and focus on search behaviour. And when we do the landscape becomes a little less threatening. Because, decrease not withstanding, this is about search engines.
Before discussing changing search habits it’s important to note time spent online in 2023 is roughly equivalent to that observed in the third quarter of 2019. In other word this could be a reversion to normal behaviour.
The death of the search engine? Surely not
It’s true, 16-34 year olds in particular are turning to the power of social media to learn about the brands they’re interested in before parting with their hard-earned moolah.
So, if you’re a B2B organisation, having a strong presence across social channels and posting informative content often is non-negotiable.
Which social channels should B2B brands post on?
Spreading your B2B brand across multiple platforms is the wrong move for two big reasons:
- Not all platforms will fit your brand identity – and Gen-Z can smell inauthenticity from a mile off
- You don’t have time to devote to ideating, writing, and analysing content for every social platforms
Choose your platforms wisely then focus on the question: why are people spending less time online using search engines – and how can I fill that gap by answering their questions effectively?
Should B2B brands focus on SEO – or devote more time to social media content?
The idea of search, SEO, or any other digital function that’s used to find information being ‘dead’ is misleading and unhelpful. Google still reigns supreme and boasts 99,000 searches every second. So it’s still very active but it used less for buying and more to find information.
In terms of the shift towards searches on social Instagram is the go-to source for 18-34 year olds with purchase intent and who want to learn about a product or service before buying (which they can do via posts or visiting the brand’s very own website).
This is a long-winded way of highlighting how search engines and social media channels have swopped roles. Instagram is now used as a buying channel and Google to find information.
Digital marketing shouldn’t be limited to a single channel
Google, and search engines in general, are all about user experience and therefore flex and contract to meet the needs of their audience. At the moment search is used to discover information – arming savvy consumers with the information they need to make better purchasing decisions.
Having learnt more about your brand via its website prospects might sign up to your email list – in which case you’ll keep close by sending them tailored how-to guides about your offering, cases studies, and promotions.
Naturally, before buying, would-be customers will hit-up your social channels to get a better sense of what you do and visit the comments sections – providing them with invaluable feedback that could make or break their decision.
Being everywhere all at once sounds daunting – which is why brands need a helping hand
Trying to nail your SEO, social, and email digital marketing – while getting the right overall balance – is hard, so why not hand the mantle of responsibility to us instead.
Book your free consultation today and let’s talk.