New research from the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) has shown that business decision makers regard business-to-business (B2B) websites* as the most useful media source for finding work-related information, well ahead of print business publications, national and regional newspapers, and web portals.
Most useful media source for finding work-related information
Thirty-nine per cent of the 300 business decision makers interviewed by telephone in January 2005 said that search engines such as Google were the most useful source for finding information relating to their work. However, of the media (destination) sources that were listed as options, B2B websites came out top. Twenty-four per cent of business decision makers agreed that B2B websites are the most useful source of information, above print business publications (14 per cent), national and regional newspapers (four per cent each), web portals such as MSN, Yahoo and Wanadoo (three per cent), and exhibitions (also three per cent). Other B2B online media products such as email newsletters and alerts were listed by six per cent of business decision makers as being the most useful source.
Active response to advertising on B2B websites
The AOP research, ‘The role of B2B websites’, also revealed that business decision makers actively respond to advertising on B2B websites*, with eight out of 10 (83 per cent) saying they have taken action as a result of seeing advertising on a B2B website.
More than half (54 per cent) had bought a product online or offline as a result of seeing advertising on a B2B website.
Alexandra White, director of AOP, said: “These findings prove beyond doubt the effectiveness of using B2B websites for targeting business professionals. Not only do they spend almost an hour per day online for work purposes, they are also very responsive to the marketing messages that accompany quality, branded content online.”
Seventy-one per cent had clicked on an advertisement to find out more, 64 per cent had visited a (client) website for the first time, 53 per cent had requested further information or a quote, and 47 per cent had registered with a (client) website.
B2B websites suited to brand advertising
The research has demonstrated that B2B websites are ideally suited, not just for generating direct response, but also for brand advertising campaigns.
More than 75 per cent of business decision makers use B2B websites at least once a week. These users spend, on average, almost an hour per day online for work purposes. Sixty-four per cent find B2B websites a trustworthy source of information, 63 per cent believe that B2B websites provide a modern environment for a company to advertise, and more than 50 per cent use these sites to research and inform business decisions.
Additionally, 31 per cent said they had remembered advertising on a B2B website and had responded at a later date.
An integral part of daily workflow
The findings showed that 75 per cent of business decision makers use B2B websites to keep up to date with news in their sector, 71 per cent use them as a technical reference source, 62 per cent use them to review products and suppliers and 61 per cent use them to review and analyse competitor activity.
Said Iain Melville, managing director of Reed Business Information and AOP B2B research chair: “For the first time AOP can provide B2B publishers with solid industry research statistics to back up their claims about the importance of B2B media websites in the lives of business decision makers. Proof of the quality and depth of relationship that users have with these strong media brands will, we hope, secure a central position for B2B websites in an integrated planning schedule.”
70 per cent of business decision makers expect their usage of B2B websites to increase over the next two years.