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B2B Buyers Research Purchases on Multiple Screens

Peer advice, social networks and websites common purchase resources

September 26, 2011

The internet is a staple information source for the business-to-business purchase decision-maker. This is particularly true for buyers investing in riskier, high-cost industrial or technology purchases that require extensive research and consideration. In their own time and from their own desk, buyers can research, vet vendors and solicit peer advice to inform their purchase decisions.

But findings from TriComB2B and the University of Dayton School of Business Administration suggest B2B buyers are also turning to smartphones to gather purchase information.

More than half (59%) of B2B purchase decision-makers and influencers had used a smartphone to gather such information, indicating a sizeable mobile audience likely engaging with company content assets like websites, catalogs and blogs.

But data indicates few companies are actively catering to this audience. According to June 2011 data from Google and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), only a third of US advertisers had mobile-optimized websites. Even fewer (19%) had a mobile app—unfortunate considering 52% of US executives had already used a paid for or sponsored B2B mobile app to gather business information as of October 2010, according to Forbes Insights. A more recent study of mobile site optimization rates found similar results.

Though mobile-optimized websites or apps might not make sense for every B2B, marketers that do receive ample site traffic from these sources, particularly technical or industrial firms, would benefit from enhancing their online locations with mobile buyers in mind. These B2B companies often display dozens, even hundreds of products on their website, which can make for a cluttered and confusing user experience if not mobile-optimized.

According to TriComB2B and the University of Dayton School of Business Administration, other online content assets important to buyers researching technical and industrial purchases online included technical data sheets and company websites.

Peer advice gathered from industry contacts was also very important to more than half (54%) of buyers. This is also indicated by the 46% who regularly followed industry discussion forums to gather information, and the 35% who leveraged LinkedIn to seek peer recommendations or feedback.

Overall, the data points to a growing number of sources used by B2B buyers to inform their purchase decisions, including social media, traditional websites and mobile. By engaging with industry peers and investing in both online and mobile content, marketers can better connect with B2B purchasers.

Keep your business ahead of the digital curve. Learn more about becoming an eMarketer Total Access client today.

Check out today’s other article, “Publishers Slow to Take Advantage of Mobile Sites.”


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