Here are some of the most interesting digital marketing statistics we saw last week.

Statistics include the efficacy of Facebook ads, business opportunities in 2014, Google’s product listing ads (PLAs), alternative payment methods and the top reasons that websites are losing sales.

For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.

Customer experience and mobile seen as most exciting business opportunities in 2014

  • Customer experience, mobile and content marketing are among the three most important business opportunities in 2014, according to a new report from Econsultancy and Adobe.
  • One-fifth (20%) of client-side respondents said that the customer experience was the most exciting opportunity for their organisation, making it the most popular answer. Among agency respondents mobile came out on top (21%) for the same question.

Which one area is the single most exciting opportunity for your organisation (or for your client) in 2014?

Product Listing Ads (PLA) investment on the increase

  • A new report from Marin Software into the use of Google’s PLA ads shows that from January through December 2013, retail advertisers increased spend on PLAs by nearly 300%. To put this in perspective, retailers only spent 67% more in December 2012 than they did in January 2013.
  • Some advertisers allocated as much as 80% of their paid search budget toward PLAs during the holidays; this represents a sharp increase from the 30% share of spend observed during the 2012 holiday season.
  • From January through June 2013, PLA CPC rose 35%. Over the same time period, text ad CPC increased only 14%. By the end of the year, PLA CPC increased 141%, while text ad CPC increased 21%.
  • From October through December 2013, PLA CTR increased nearly 21% year over year. In contrast, CTR for text ads increased less than 5% year over year.

Facebook ads drive 60% increase in sales revenue

  • Q4 2013 saw a spike in quarter-on-quarter impressions and click-through rates on paid Facebook ads.
  • The latest report from Kenshoo seems to bolster the logic in this possible change in direction for Facebook into a more ad driven marketing landscape, rather than a content driven one.
  • Core impression and click volume metrics rose more than 50% in Q4 vs. Q3.
  • Increased engagement drove click-through rate up 10% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).

Baidu’s Zeitgeist 2013

  • Chinese search giant Baidu has published its most popular queries for 2013 with ‘weather’ coming out on top.
  • Second was ‘Taobao’, followed by ‘Wu Dong Qian Kun’, ‘The Tang Door’ and ‘Mang Huang Ji’.

Facebook still the top social network

  • A new study into global social media usage shows that Facebook is still in good health. While the level of active usage fell by 3% in the second half of 2013, Facebook is still hugely popular among all demographics and has actually increased the audience size for its apps.
  • The GWI Social report shows that Facebook remains the most popular social network in terms of global account ownership (83%), active usage (49%) and visit frequency (56% of users log in more than once a day).
  • In terms of account numbers Facebook is followed by YouTube (59%), Google+ (58%) and Twitter (51%), all three of which saw increasing membership during 2013. Facebook still remains someway ahead of this pack, but the gap has been narrowing.

Alternative payments used for 43% of online transactions

  • Alternative payments only account for a small proportion of ecommerce transactions in the US and UK, however methods such as e-wallets, direct debits and cash on delivery continue to show strong growth in other regions.
  • A new report from WorldPay highlights the way in which the use of alternative payments differs across global markets, with PayPal shown to be the most popular AP method globally, though Chinese companies Alipay and Tenpay are also popular and growing at a faster rate.
  • It’s estimated that alternative payments accounted for 43% of all online transactions in 2012, a figure that is predicted to rise to 59% by 2017 (though predictions should always be treated with some scepticism).

Leading alternative payments – size and growth


UK’s top tweet topics 2013

It seems the British keenly take to Twitter to discuss sporting events, as only two of the top 10 trends from 2013 aren’t sports related.

The top 10 events that created the biggest spikes in UK Twitter traffic in 2013 were:

  1. 5th March: Real Madrid beat Manchester United 2-1, knocking them out of the Champions League.
  2. 1st January: New Year 2013 arrives.
  3. 13th July: British male, Andy Murray wins Wimbledon for the first time since 1936.
  4. 2nd June: England draw 2-2 with Brazil ahead of the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
  5. 30th April: Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the Champions League semi-final second leg.

UK creative industries make £8m an hour

  • By 2025 the UK will become the global ‘creative services hub’, according to the predictions of the Creative Industries Council.
  • Currently £8m an hour is generated by the sector that includes advertising, marketing, design and publishing, as well as architecture, arts, craft, fashion, games, music, and TV and film.
  • Gross value added of the creative industries was £71.4bn in 2012 and accounted for 5.2% of the UK economy.
  • IT, software and computer services accounted for 46.5% of creative industry service exports in 2011.
  • Exports in the IT, software and computer services industries group increased from £5.8bn in 2009 to £6.3bn in 2010, and most recently to £7.2bn in 2011.

Top reasons websites are losing sales

Price and product range are consumers’ top complaints when it comes to retail websites according to new research from Qubit.

The research analysed 1.5m pieces of feedback from the users of over 300 retail websites. It found that the top five complaints were:

  1. Price
  2. Product Range
  3. Size
  4. Site functionality
  5. Website speed

Twitter is now the leading platform for inbound customer requests

  • A quarterly study from Socialbakers shows that more than half of all social customer care queries are now directed at Twitter. However, Facebook queries still maintain a higher response rate. This indicates that customers are growing more and more comfortable using social media channels to interact with brands.
  • Other key findings from the Q4 2013 Socially Devoted report show that 59% of all inbound customer requests via social channels are made via Twitter, as compared to 49% via Facebook.
  • Brands overall are responding 12% faster to fan questions over Facebook and Twitter, as compared to Q3 2013.
  • The Airline industry has the highest response rate on both Facebook and Twitter; Airlines respond to 76% of all in-bound questions on Facebook and 56% of those on Twitter.