Survey data from MarketingSherpa revealed conversion rates are not the same for industries across the board, and marketers shouldn't expect them to be.

Marketers continue to invest in content and spend time developing SEO strategies because they work. As difficult as it is to quantify the intangibles of the web, such as anonymous internet traffic or the value of social shares, marketers have rolled up their sleeves and learned to read content analytics reports. Data from the 2013 MarketingSherpa SEO Marketing Benchmark Report serves as a reminder that it’s easy to get wrapped up in metrics like bounce or conversion rates without seeing how these figures fit into a bigger story.

MarketingSherpa surveyed marketers across consumer- and business-facing brands, revealing the average conversion rate from organic search traffic is around 16 percent. However, there’s a noticeable discrepancy between B2B companies and B2Cs.

Media, publishing and marketing companies (both offline and online) reported 20 percent conversion rates for organic search traffic. Ecommerce vendors, brick-and-mortar retailers and wholesale vendors saw around half as many goal conversions (11 percent) from visitors who found sites through organic queries.

The conversion gap between B2Bs and B2Cs doesn’t mean some industries are innately running better web marketing campaigns than others, or that certain verticals are doomed to see mediocre results. Instead, it highlights that marketers have different web marketing goals and set different targets based on expected audience behaviors. For instance, an online retailer site might only count a purchase as a conversion, where a VoIP phone service provider may deem a demo request a completed goal. Other companies’ conversions might include form fills or even the simple act of watching video content from start to finish.

The average conversion rate from organic search traffic is around 16 percent.

It might be difficult for businesses to optimize for appropriate, scalable objectives if they don’t have dedicated strategists who are skilled in content analytics. Brafton reported that this is unfortunately still the case for over one-quarter of all brands. However, marketers who have technically skilled strategists can accurately assess how their conversion rates – and other important metrics – stack up with competitors, and then craft competitive campaigns that move full speed ahead.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.