If you’re hungry for fresh stats on inbound marketing, look no further than HubSpot’s recently released 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. By surveying over 3,300 marketers, executives, and business owners from around the world, HubSpot gained insights into areas like the adoption, challenges, and priorities of inbound marketing, along with its impact on the overall marketing landscape.

If you don’t have time to go through the full report, here are 10 interesting (and sometimes surprising) takeaways from the annual survey.

1. Inbound Marketing is Gaining Ground

The majority of marketers are now using inbound strategies, as 60% of companies reported adopting at least some element of inbound marketing. More resources are also being allocated to inbound, with 49% of marketers planning to increase spending in 2013. The most common reason behind this budget change? Past success with inbound marketing! This means that as marketers continue to learn more and refine inbound practices, we’ll likely see an even greater shift to inbound in the future.

2. Understanding Inbound Marketing is Still an Issue

Despite wider adoption, 19% of respondents don’t know if their marketing activities can be defined as “inbound,” indicating there’s still confusion within the industry as to what inbound actually means. Seeking out educational resources on inbound methodology and practices will allow marketers to execute their strategies more effectively, and help them gain support for inbound marketing within their company.

3. Measurement and Proving ROI are Major Challenges to Overcome in 2013

Added to the confusion over how inbound is defined is a lack of consistency in measurement practices. Answers were varied when respondents were asked how they measure marketing success – no single KPI is widely used – showing that marketers have yet to agree on which metrics are most important to track. This relates to the fact that 25% of marketers say proving ROI is one of their top marketing challenges, followed closely by securing budget.

How Marketers Evaluate Success4. Despite Benefits, Testing is Not Standard Practice

One of the most surprising stats I found is that 45% of survey respondents do NOT test their inbound marketing tactics, and 21% do not know whether they test or not. Testing is not only important for making improvements to your strategy, but also helps with reporting; companies that test are 75% more likely to show ROI for their inbound marketing efforts compared to those that don’t.

5. Inbound Marketing Delivers More Leads for Less

Marketers reported that on average 34% of their leads come from inbound, compared to just 22% from outbound. Among companies that have a marketing budget of at least $25K, those that do inbound have a lower average cost per lead and average cost per customer. This type of highly targeted, customer focused marketing means less spending wasted on broadcasting your message to the “wrong” people.

Average CPL and CPC for Inbound vs. Traditional Marketing

 6. Inbound Marketing Channels Prove Best for Converting Leads into Sales

Conversion rates for SEO and social media are 15% and 13% above average, respectively. If you’re wondering which social sites convert best, 52% of marketers have acquired a customer using a lead from Facebook, followed by 43% with LinkedIn. Remember that your inbound success not only depends on which site you use, but also the amount of time and effort you invest in understanding your target customers and delivering relevant, quality content to them.

7. Capturing and Converting Leads are Top Inbound Marketing Goals

Converting leads into customers and increasing total lead volume are two of companies’ top marketing priorities for 2013. Marketers are also making it a high priority to reach the “right” audience. Inbound marketing strategies, which “attract and convert visitors into customers through personalized, relevant information and content,” will help marketers to achieve these targeting and lead related goals.

8. Inbound (Especially Social Media) Marketers are in High Demand

If you’re looking for a new marketing job, it’s time to start polishing up your inbound skills! When asked how many full time marketers they’re planning to hire this year, companies that use inbound strategies responded with an average of 9.3 marketers, while companies that don’t only plan to hire 4. What types of skills will these new hires likely have? 16% of companies currently employ at least one full-time social media marketer, followed by 11% with dedicated email marketers, and 10% employ marketers focused on content marketing.

9. Marketers are Investing their Time in Inbound Marketing

Although inbound can be highly effective for capturing and converting leads, it also requires a large investment of marketers’ time. Check out the chart below to see the difference between the time and budget that marketers allocate to various channels (and notice how both blogging and social media require more personnel than money).

Marketing Channel Allocations by Time and Budget10. Blogs Deliver Results

When it comes to blogging, the more you commit to it, the greater the reward will be. While 57% of marketers who blog monthly have acquired a customer through their blog, that number jumps up to 82% when marketers blog every day. 43% of marketers surveyed have acquired a customer through their blog this year alone, so it’s not surprising that over 60% of companies now publish a blog.

Tagged with: blogging, conversion, HubSpot, Inbound Marketing, lead generation, ROI

About Brittney Stephenson

Marketing Assistant at Powered by Search with a special interest in social media, marketing strategy, and market research. Read more posts by Brittney on her personal site brittneystephensonblog.wordpress.com.