15+ Real Marketing Automation Statistics
Investing in marketing automation can be a big step. B2B marketers have all heard the hype about automation, but before taking the plunge, they understandably want to take a look at the numbers. What do the marketing automation statistics say?
It’s not the easiest question to answer! There’s no universal marketing automation benchmark that companies can run to see how automation could help them, and online marketing automation statistics sites can be hit or miss.
It can also be difficult to separate the signal from the noise with marketing influencers pushing specific automation software and a flood of digital marketing ready to blanket your social feeds as soon as you show an interest in automation tools.
In fact, there’s not even a single definition of automation, and different marketing automation vendors use the term to refer to everything from digital marketing tools to campaign monitoring alerts to full-on artificial intelligence.
However, there are enough recent, reputable marketing automation statistics out there to make it pretty clear that marketing automation technology has value, and the automation trend isn’t going anywhere.
How Big Is the Marketing Automation Software Market?
Estimates vary, but many sources seem to agree that as of 2022, the marketing automation industry is worth somewhere between $5 billion and $20 billion. Some estimates put the number at well above $30 billion.
Part of the reason there’s such a wide range in valuation is that it’s not always clear precisely what counts as a marketing automation system, and different researchers define the tools differently.
For example, is a sales automation tool considered a marketing automation solution? What about (for example) B2B marketing automation platforms that include both marketing and sales-facing features?
One thing that virtually everyone agrees on, however, is that the value of the marketing automation software market is rising, and it’s expected to keep rising swiftly.
Mordor Intelligence, for example, says the marketing automation market was worth $3.6 billion in 2020 and projects it’ll be worth more than $11 billion by 2027.
How Many Companies Are Using Marketing Automation?
According to a 2019 survey, 75% of companies were using marketing automation software. That number has almost certainly grown now.
However, most companies likely still haven’t implemented a complete marketing automation strategy. Only 25% of companies are making extensive use of marketing automation, according to one recent study.
Surveys have shown that the most popular use case for marketing automation so far is email marketing.
This likely has much to do with ease of adoption; virtually all companies are already sending marketing emails using some kind of tool, and most email marketing tools now include some features for sending automated emails.
Email marketing thus provides an easy entry point for this new marketing technology, particularly for small businesses that may not have a lot of a marketing automation budget to throw around.
It’s also a familiar place to start for older companies that are already familiar with direct mail and interested in dipping their toes into new marketing technology.
So, while most companies may be using automation to do things such as instantly send welcome emails to new users or automate subject line A/B tests for open rate, far fewer have implemented holistic automation solutions.
(Consider these eight marketing automation examples to whet your appetite for more use cases.)
Fewer are taking advantage of this new marketing technology in their content marketing, despite the fact that content marketing automations have the potential to substantially increase the ROI of content creation.
What Was the Percentage Increase in Revenue Generated From Marketing Automation?
According to Salesforce, the average company can expect automation to increase revenues by about 34%.
Of course, this is just an average. The real number will be highly dependent on the specifics of a particular business, and the types of automation it pursues.
For example, a company using automation purely to schedule social media posts isn’t likely to see a massive boost in revenue. A company with a full-on marketing automation strategy aimed at increasing customer engagement throughout the funnel will likely see a much greater impact.
How Does Marketing Automation Impact Sales Productivity?
According to research and consulting firm, McKinsey, marketing automation typically increases sales productivity.
In part, this is because automation reduces the manual, repetitive tasks that can be associated with the sales process, enabling the sales team to spend less time entering data and more time closing deals.
Marketing automation also contributes to sales productivity by generating a greater volume and a higher quality of leads and assisting with lead management. Salesforce, for example, has reported that automation leads to a 32% increase in qualified leads from marketing to sales.
Forrester Research has reported that using automation can result in a 10% increase in sales pipeline.
1. 72% Of Successful Companies Are Using Automation.
One study of 402 Swiss marketers (most of them from B2B companies) found that successful companies were several times more likely to be using marketing automation than unsuccessful companies.
72% of successful companies were using marketing automation, compared to just 18% of unsuccessful ones. Similarly, 84% of successful companies were using CRM/sales automation, while just 42% of the unsuccessful companies were.
This gap may be related to another one found by the same study. 82% of successful companies were using digital analytics tools such as Google Analytics, whereas just 27% of unsuccessful companies were engaged in digital analytics.
The study compared successful and unsuccessful firms across a number of different sales and marketing activities, and the gaps between them weren’t always so broad. For example, 95% of successful companies are using email marketing, but so are 85% of unsuccessful ones.
The largest gaps between successful and unsuccessful firms were in marketing automation for lead gen (58% more of the successful companies were doing it), marketing analytics (55% more), and general marketing automation (54% more).
(Source: Marketing Automation Report 2021)
2. 87% Of Companies Are Using or Plan to Use Marketing Automation Software
But only 25% of companies say they’re making extensive use of marketing automation software as of 2021, per the same study of Swiss companies.
This suggests that while almost every company recognizes the value of marketing automation, actually implementing it into marketing campaigns can still be a major differentiator, as most companies haven’t yet been able to fully integrate automation into their marketing operations.
But that window of opportunity likely won’t be around for long. Very few marketers (fewer than 10%) felt that marketing automation would lack value for their company. Just 2% said that marketing automation wasn’t a part of their company’s future.
(Source: Marketing Automation Report 2021)
3. Lack of Know-How Is the Biggest Barrier to Adoption of Marketing Automation Tools.
Companies reported a variety of barriers to the adoption of marketing automation software, but the top three were lack of internal expertise (33%), poor or insufficient data (24%), and lack of prioritization from the company (24%).
Among these, lack of expertise is the biggest barrier across companies of all sizes, according to the Swiss study. Companies with small, medium, and large marketing budgets all reported that a lack of internal expertise was their biggest barrier to adoption.
A separate report from Liana Technologies found the same thing: lack of know-how is the most common reason companies cite for not having adopted or fully implemented marketing automations.
One in five companies also cited the technical complexity inherent in implementing automation as a barrier to adoption.
(Source: Marketing Automation Report 2021)
4. 83% Of Marketers Say Social Media Is Ripe for Automation
There are a wide variety of use cases for marketing automation software, but according to a 2019 report that surveyed marketers, social media posting is one of the ripest areas for automation. 83% said that they thought social media posting was well-suited for automation.
Email marketing was also close to the top of the list, with 75% of marketers saying that email automation was worth pursuing.
In terms of what’s actually in use, though, email marketing automation is actually more widely used than any other form of marketing automation, according to a report from around the same time.
(Source: State of Marketing Automation Report)
5. 76% See ROI From Automation Within One Year
According to Marketo, marketers typically don’t have to wait long to see their investment in marketing automation pay off. More than three-quarters of marketers say they see a positive ROI within the first year after implementation.
In fact, nearly half of them (44%) say that they see a positive ROI within the first six months.
It wasn’t always this way. In 2015, a report from Circle Research and B2BMarketing.net found that it took years to see ROI from marketing automation. However, the quality, ease of use, and variety of marketing automation software have skyrocketed since then.
6. Marketing Automation Generates ROIs of More Than 500%
When research firm Nucleus reviewed public case studies of marketing automation between 2016 and 2020, they found that on average, for every dollar spent on marketing automation, companies could expect a return of $5.44 on average over the first three years.
In other words, companies that implemented marketing automation were generating an average return of 544%. That’s impressive, particularly considering that the nature of averages means that some companies were generating even stronger ROI.
Where are those returns coming from?
According to the research, marketing automation provides benefits including more efficient digital marketing operations and campaigns, more productive marketing team members, cost savings, and improved engagement from leads and prospects.
(Source: Nucleus Research)
7. 20% Of Companies Say Finding the Right Marketing Automation Tools Is a Challenge
Although there are a wide variety of marketing automation platforms and tools on the market, one in every five companies struggles to find the right tool for the job, according to a 2019 report from Automizy.
This likely has less to do with the lack of quality or available automation tools and more to do with the challenges that companies face in choosing between so many options. The best marketing automation tools aren’t always the most popular ones, either.
The fact that a lack of internal expertise in marketing automation is the biggest single barrier to adoption that companies face is probably also a factor here. Companies that are struggling to choose tools may not even have the internal know-how to effectively compare their options.
(Source: Marketing Automation Challenges Report)
8. B2B Marketers Say the Most Profitable Uses of Automation Are Lead Generation (80%) And Conversion (71%)
Companies may not all be on the same page about actually implementing automation, but among B2B marketers, there’s a strong consensus that it adds a ton of value and should be part of any forward-thinking marketing strategy.
Specifically, 80% B2B marketers say they see the potential profitability of automation as coming from an increase in quality lead generation. 71% said the same thing about sales conversion.
9. Automated Emails Have 70.5% Higher Open Rates and 152% Higher CTR
That’s according to Epsilon, a technology solutions firm that sends hundreds of millions of emails each year and has shared its data on the performance of its automated email marketing in comparison with other messages.
On the whole, Epsilon says triggered messages — automated messages sent as the direct result of a user action — have 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher clickthrough rates than other types of email campaigns.
This makes sense, given that using automated triggers to respond instantly is a powerful form of customer engagement.
Epsilon also noted that when click-through rates drop, it can be because some customers don’t want to make certain types of purchases on mobile devices. There, automation can be used for retargeting to re-engage these users when they’re on a desktop or laptop.
10. 56% Of Marketers Doubt Their Company Can Keep Up With the Innovation in Marketing Automation
According to 2017 research by Walker Sands, most marketers are concerned that their companies aren’t willing or able to keep up with the fast pace of growth and development in the marketing automation industry.
That’s a worrying trend, but could be a good area of differentiation for companies looking to set themselves apart from the pack when hiring marketers and marketing automation users.
Implementing a holistic, forward-thinking marketing automation strategy may make it easier to source and win quality marketing hires, in addition to the benefits it can provide in terms of revenue.
(Source: Walker Sands)
11. 90% Of CMOs Planned to Use Marketing Automation by the End of 2021
It’s not just the on-the-ground marketers who are sold on the benefits of marketing automation software. Their bosses are very interested in it too!
Research firm, Dun & Bradstreet, surveyed more than 250 Chief Marketing Officers across eight industry sectors in India in 2021 and found that 90% were already using automation or had plans to start using it before the end of the year.
(Source: Business Insider)
12. 48% Of Marketers Say Automation Strengthens Relationships With Customers
One recent study looked into how sales and marketing automation have affected companies’ relationships with customers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced traditionally offline brands to focus more on fostering digital customer engagement.
48% of respondents said that automation efforts such as content marketing automation weren’t just helping them improve their company’s bottom line, it was actually helping their brands build closer relationships with customers.
(Source: Italian Journal of Marketing)
13. Marketing Automation Can Generate Repeat Customers
A recent study of more than 300 Chinese “digital native” consumers found that marketing automation techniques such as chatbots enhanced customer engagement and ultimately contributed to a more positive brand experience that led to repeat sales.
This demonstrates that marketing automation isn’t just an important tool for attracting new customers or generating leads, it’s an important tool for turning one-time buyers into loyal fans of the brand, too.
(Source: Marketing and Smart Technologies)
14. 67% Of Marketers Say Their Email Marketing Automation Is “Very” or “Quite” Successful
Most marketers who try email marketing find success, according to Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Industry Census — 67% of them said their email marketing was “very” or “quite” successful.
Perhaps relatedly, 66% of respondents said that automation was the most important feature they looked for in an email marketing tool.
15. 85% Of Marketers Say Their Automation Is Effective
A 2018 survey asked 350 B2B marketing professionals across North America and Europe about their experiences with automation. A strong majority, 85%, said their marketing automation work was effective.
Perhaps even more tellingly, the vast majority — a whopping 98% — agreed that marketing automation was critical to the long-term success of their businesses.
Clearly, automation has an important role to play in the B2B marketing funnel.
(Source: State of B2B Marketing Automation Report)
When you review marketing automation statistics, the conclusion becomes clear fairly quickly: marketing automation works.
At the same time, though, it’s clear that many marketers think their companies aren’t doing enough, and many companies think they lack the internal skills required to implement marketing automation effectively for long-term success.