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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2022-05-11

Social media isn’t going anywhere—at least not any time soon. But is it really the top channel for B2B marketing?

According to a recent study in ANA it is. The study ranks social media and social media advertising as the most implemented marketing tactic in 2022. This marks the first time social has surpassed email marketing and search engine optimization, which came in second and third, respectively.

What are the reasons behind this increase? Changes in the workplace have trickled down to impact B2B buying. We’ve seen personal and professional lines blurred, with emails answered before the morning coffee pot is ready and workers scrolling social in between (or during) Zoom calls. The ANA article says this has resulted in “B2B buyers (that are) conditioned to purchasing from home” and open to B2B ads on the more casual social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. ANA also noted that B2B social ad spend is on the rise—more marketers are putting their faith and their budget into the channel.

But not everyone agrees.

An Inc. article recently shared insights arguing the opposite—even for consumer marketing. The article points out that the cost per thousand impressions has increased significantly (up 41%) for social media advertising. It also says escalating data privacy issues have made it difficult or impossible to zero in on the right audiences, and that social channels may have reached a point of brand saturation. Additionally, it reports that customers earned through social media may be less loyal. 

Whether B2B social marketing is the best channel or not, one thing is clear: it’s a channel you can’t ignore. Because in 2022, none of the channels can be ignored. B2B marketers need to have their feet in all of the metaphorical pools if they want to reach audiences today. Here’s why:

  • Buyers today expect omnichannel experiences, with multiple touchpoints coordinated across the buying journey. It’s a shift that’s been growing and amplified by the pandemic. McKinsey calls it the “omnipresence of omnichannel.” The number of channels that B2B customers use has doubled in the past five years. Today B2B customers interact with sellers through 10 or more channels, up from an average of 5 channels in 2016. And buyers are more likely to conduct their own research and there are more options, including webinars, social media content, review sites, industry experts and peer recommendations.


  • The omnichannel strategy is working. McKinsey research shows that more than 90% of B2B sales organizations view omnichannel as equally or more effective in reaching and serving customers, up from 54% at the beginning of the pandemic.

That’s good news, but it doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing. The ANA article notes that with the many channels (and growing use of social marketing), the challenge for marketers will be to “tailor their messages so they play into the strengths of each channel.” For omnichannel marketing to be successful, it needs to hit the right notes on the right channels, at the right time in the buyer's journey. Short of a crystal ball, B2B marketers need the right data to fuel their campaigns and the insights to understand their audiences for targeted content that’s actually targeted correctly.

I’ll leave you with this: according to McKinsey, B2B customers prefer omnichannel, no matter their industry, country, size or customer relationship stage. B2B marketing today needs to include a variety of channels—including email, digital and social—in coordinated efforts, to reach and stay relevant for customers.

OMI has 75 million of our 80 million manager-level and above contacts matched to the LiveRamp ID graph, including 65 million records from our SMB and medical market databases. Contact us today to learn more about building a custom audience.

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