Hopefully, by now, your company is one of the 91% of B2Bs and 86% of B2Cs that are currently using content marketing. With increasing budgets in content marketing, it’s important to always be optimizing your budget spend and looking for new ideas to maximize ROI. However, it is a sad fact that as many as 1 in 4 marketers aren’t measuring their content marketing ROI. For that reason, I’ve compiled what I feel to be the most important content marketing statistics that should inform your strategy.
I am not going to flood you with all the statistics you can find on the Internet. I am going to present the most compelling and relevant data to you and go into the details to help you decide if it’s the piece of information that you need or not.
So, with all that being said, let’s dive into the top content marketing statistics that I have curated just for you.
The Background for Content Marketing
But before we take a look at the statistics, let’s take a step back and better understand the role of content marketing in the entire scope of marketing options that your business has.
In a nutshell, there are three main types of marketing: traditional advertisements such as those seen in print or radio/TV formats, online advertisements including banner ads on sites or paid search, and content marketing, which includes everything from blogs to social media. This third form of marketing is the focus of our discussion today. Hopefully, these statistics will help you to choose the right types of marketing for your business, and gain an understanding of the costs involved.
Compared to traditional marketing, content marketing is less expensive per lead.
In particular, a Kapost study shows that:
Using content marketing can save larger businesses up to 40% on the cost of each lead
For smaller businesses, savings are closer to 30%. In each case, this is a significant advantage for the business over the cost of traditional marketing. Think about it: cost savings this high can, by itself, really boost the bottom line of your business. Even before you consider the value of sales you made as a result of consumers reading the content.
Best of all, these costs aren’t ongoing for the same piece. Once you create a piece of content, it remains on your website for as long as you keep it there. For that one item, you’ll just pay for the continued web hosting and related infrastructure. By contrast, more traditional marketing mediums charge you every time the advertisement is published, every time it is clicked on, or both.
Content provides benefits to consumers
According to Demand Metric,
90% of customers see a benefit from content marketing
Of course, it would be interesting if we had a specific reason why this is the case. However, there certainly are some possibilities. Most of us view traditional advertisements as transactional: say, 30% off the whole site for Black Friday. What this says is, “we want your business, so we’ll discount our product.” That’s fine, but remember that on Black Friday everyone else is doing the same thing. It is easy for a customer to ask why they should accept that 30% off from your company instead of another one.
Naturally, there are some organic reasons like personal taste or function that might motivate a customer to choose one transactional offer over another. But that’s not the only reason. Perhaps they’ve decided that your product is the best of its type by reading the content you’ve produced. All they need is for that discount to push them over the edge of a buying decision. They’ve already decided your product is awesome, so they feel there’s more value to be had from the same money by purchasing what you have to offer.
Customers are more likely to buy from companies with content.
According to a Dragon 360 study,
61% of customers report a preference for brands with a content presence.
Think about it: customers really like to read about products and services before they buy. When your company uses custom content, it allows you to help the customer become educated about what they might need. For example, let’s consider skincare: customers with dry skin have different needs than someone with oily skin. Another example might be seen in construction: if a potential customer lives in a very cold climate, they might need better insulation than someone who lives in the Caribbean. Likewise, the Caribbean customer is more worried about hurricane damage.
By providing content on these subjects (as appropriate for your products), you are giving customers something of value. If they get the same information from a sales professional at the local beauty retailer or builder’s supply, they’ll be offered products made by your competitors, in addition to your own. Then, the customer will have to decide which competitive product to buy. With content on your own website, they’ll be motivated to buy what you’re selling after determining which product they need.
Content marketing builds customer loyalty
Using content marketing to build customer loyalty is the goal of 52% of content marketing clients
Many industries are very competitive, and for most businesses, it is better to retain customers than to constantly be replacing the same ones. Otherwise, it’s a lot harder to expand the business. Think about the two types of auto mechanics: there are some that will try to get as much money out of each customer as they can, and the ones that always give their customers a fair deal. Each mechanic type has a different sales strategy. One isn’t worried about whether or not the customer comes back, because they’ll just find another one. The other type prefers long term relationships with clients and the referrals they provide. Usually, the dishonest mechanic can’t grow their business because they get bad reviews and are always looking for new clients. On the other hand, honest mechanics gain an ever-larger clientele.
Using content marketing as a way to foster customer loyalty is like being an honest mechanic. You’re trying to attract the type of customer that will buy your products and services again and again. The ones that will refer their friends, leave positive reviews on the Web, and share your content on social media. Happy customers are the best advertising anywhere, and smart marketers use content to earn them.
Perhaps this is why
75% of marketers are increasing investment in branded content creation
The Digital Transformation Continues to Shape Content Marketing
The above content marketing statistics should give you an idea as to the background for content marketing and why more and more businesses are increasing their investments in content marketing.
Why is their such great ROI from content marketing?
It all begins with the digital transformation. Understanding this concept will unlock the ability to see the future of content marketing.
In the last two decades, there has been a monumental shift in the way that people consume media and entertainment. To illustrate this point, think about what you like to do during your free time.
When you are not working, whether it is during a lunch break, decompressing after work, or relaxing on the weekend, what do you spend most of your time doing? In the past, the most likely activities would have been watching the programmed entertainment on your television, reading a paperback book, browsing through a newspaper or perhaps surfing the web on your desktop computer after dialing up to the internet. In today’s society, all of these activities have changed significantly.
The world of leisure has gone online. We have given up browsing television channels for internet streaming sites that deliver us shows and movies on demand. We have transitioned from books and newspapers to e-readers and online blogs. And if we want to interact with our friends and family, we do so from the comfort of our apartments using social media platforms. The point I’m trying to get across is that we are always online, and the statistics back this up. The chart below comes from Pew Research Centre.
81% of American adults go online at least once a day
Furthermore, when you break these statistics down into different age brackets, it shows that:
Young adults aged 18-29 the proportion who are ‘almost constantly’ online is a staggering 48%
What does this mean for marketers? Unsurprisingly, it makes it imperative that marketing strategies are focused on digital platforms. If the majority of consumers are going online for their media, news, entertainment and social life, then this is where the focus should be for companies who are trying to engage with their customers and generate new ones.
Just proving that people are increasingly living their lives online does not by itself mean that content marketing is necessarily the way to reach out to your target market. We need to ask why is it that content marketing has become so important for companies.
For marketing professionals, it is all about engagement. If you can engage your customers, then you are likely to attract them to your brand and to increase loyalty. And the statistics say that content marketing does increase engagement.
According to one survey, “72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement.”
In addition, content marketing is said to get “three times more leads than paid search advertising.”
Clearly those companies that understand the digital transformation and the role of content are reaping the benefits of content marketing.
Online Content Marketing Distribution Channels
Now that we’ve determined that marketing efforts should be focused on people’s online activity and use content marketing as the medium, the next step is to determine which are the most effective distribution channels that should be implemented. Obviously, there are going to be certain channels which are more effective for certain types of company and product. As a result, I am not going to dictate to you which is the best option because it really will depend. What I will do is show what some of the trends are and some interesting statistics that will help you to better make your decisions.
The chart below reveals the distribution channels that companies are planning on adding to their marketing in the coming year. As you can see, many companies are opting for video content to add to their marketing strategy in the next year through platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Interestingly, 20% of respondents said that they are looking to add messaging apps as a distribution channel for their content. This channel is an even more recent phenomenon than many of the other more traditional (in a very modern timeframe) channels.
Many companies are opting for video content to add to their marketing strategy in the next year through platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram
An important caveat to this chart from HubSpot is that it does not show how marketers are currently distributing their content, only the channels they are looking to add.
The role of social media in content marketing
Today, social media is one of the main ways in which content marketers distribute their content. 95% of content marketers leverage social media distribution. These two statistics go together: many businesses have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presences of some type. It might be a Facebook page or the LinkedIn profile of the founder. Twitter accounts can be used both in the corporate persona (Apple) or through a company founder (think Elon Musk). Content marketers can post stories on many different social media platforms, or use Twitter to broadcast a link. With Twitter, the content article itself is often housed on a website the company controls, and that can be the case with other types of social media outreach as well.
The chart below explains how popular the role of social media in content marketing is in more detail by comparing the types of content that marketers are using to reach their customers (the companies are separated into B2C and B2B)
Social media content is the type of content most used by B2C content marketing
Social media content is the type of content most used by B2B content marketing
If you’ve decided on your content and your distribution channel, you can now scroll down to find some statistics that are specific to your choices. We will start with blogging and then move on to the other major forms of content marketing.
Blogs are virtually as old as the Internet itself. Human beings have always looked for a way to express themselves and to share their opinions and the latest expression of this is through online blogging.
There are now more than 500 million blogs. 440 million on Tumblr. 60 million on WordPress.
On WordPress, about 70 million blog posts are published each month.
You might think that blogging is a waste of time. After all, why put something out there that will occupy a less-visible part of the internet than a banner ad? But the reality is quite different:
Almost 80% of Internet users read some type of blog.
Suffice to say, blogs are very popular with consumers.
Of course, blogs can include a very wide variety of content. Bloggers write about everything from makeup tips to farming know-how. They’ll even post product reviews and thoughts on the deepest of philosophical questions.
Especially if your products appeal to a particular niche or are in a competitive industry, the opportunities are yours for the taking. Think about it: reading a blog, or performing other consumer-level market research, can really help customers learn who is the “authority” in a field. Sometimes, choosing the right product or service includes more than just considering what the customer needs. Instead, they might want to know about quality options vs. budget options. By writing your own blog, you are helping to control the dialogue about various options in your industry.
Somewhat surprisingly, it took businesses a fair amount of time to catch on to the idea that they could use blogging themselves as a way to engage and connect with consumers. Now, it has become one of the most popular forms of content marketing because it is low cost and has an ability to generate a narrative around your brand that is difficult to match. Of course, as its popularity has increased, so has the science around how to use blogging in the most effective manner.
According to OkDork, the longer the article, the more likely that it is to be shared online. This is a vitally important metric because the sharing of content is crucial to its success and the level of engagement. If someone reads your content and then shares it with a friend or an online community, it is much more likely to compel someone to read it, and to concentrate while doing so.
The longer your content, the more it gets shared
Articles with images get shared more than twice as much than those without images
In addition to length, the other insight from OkDork is that articles with images are much more likely to be shared. This use of visuals as a way to increase engagement is not specific to blog posts. You will see this point made in many places that images are important both for garnering attention and for increasing the likelihood of action and engagement on a company’s marketing content.
It should be no surprise, then, that:
Marketers have found that using long-form content generates 9x the leads of short-form content
What is long-form content? Generally, this category includes blogs, articles, and whitepapers of 2,000 words or more. This length of content allows a more in-depth discussion of any topic. In particular, it is useful for customer education within your industry. Let’s say you’re selling building materials. Short-form content might only list what is available along with the specifications. Long-form content might allow your construction business to explain to your customers why they should choose a granite countertop over a wooden or ceramic one. Then, when they come into your showroom, they can have a more intelligent discussion about pricing or color choices to make a final decision.
The Popularity (?) of Infographics
Infographics are the most likely type of content to get shared
Content is most shared in social media on weekdays, especially Tuesday
Of course, blog posts come in all shapes and sizes. One trend that I have seen represented in numerous data sets and articles is the popularity of infographic type blog posts. As the chart above suggests, they are incredibly effective in generating shares. OkDork also managed to collate data to let companies know the best days of the week to publish blogs in order to maximize the number of shares for their content. Based on the results, it would appear that consumers are much more likely to share content during a weekday whilst they browse the internet at work than when they are enjoying some leisure time on a weekend.
Interestingly, I decided to see if people were actively searching for infographics or if they were just more likely to share them once they were on the article. It turns out, the demand for infographics has actually been declining steadily since 2013. This just goes to show that when it comes to content marketing statistics, you need to be careful and properly analyze the information you are looking and to not blindly rely on a singular chart or statistic.
Search demand for infographics peaked in 2013
Think about it: people watch a lot of videos. Some of this stuff can be fun to watch. It’s also an advantage for consumers who are less literate, or who just want to relax after a long day of work. People who spend all day behind a desk, or have gotten tired of doing their homework, might want to give their eyes a break. Not only that, but a cute or funny video is just waiting to be shared on social media, or laughed at with friends. In this way, content can go viral and reach a lot of potential customers. Best of all, memorable content can make people remember your brand as well.
It’s no surprise, then, that the importance of video content has exploded in recent years and this is in large part due to the proliferation of cell phones and mobile data that allows consumers to consume video like never before. Consumers will watch videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram as well as on blogs and articles. The concept of the ‘viral video’ and the desire for companies to create content that will be shared by those who watch it has resulted in billions of dollars flowing in to this form of marketing. The following charts are all from Oberlo. They indicate the strong demand for video content that consumers have and the enormous potential that this type of content has for companies to try and reach a large audience.
Demand for video content is increasing: 54% of consumers want to see more video content
Video is a powerful marketing tool: 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool
The power of YouTube: As the second largest search engine, YouTube receives more than 1.5 billion users per month and plays over 1 billion hours of video each day to users.
The growth in video content marketing just in the last year has been astonishing as companies look to harness its full potential. The following video content statistics all come from Wyzowl:
87% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool, a sharp rise from 63% and 81% in previous years.
A lot of companies focus on Youtube and Facebook but are also now turning to Instagram.
51% of companies have used Instagram in their video marketing efforts and this is up from 41% in the previous year. Perhaps most importantly, the survey found that 67% plan to use it this year.
The reason for the focus on video content is clear.
Of the people surveyed, 68% said that video would be their preference for learning about a new product.
Indeed, video was far more popular for this purpose than all the other types (articles, infographics, presentations etc combined).
In addition, 48% of respondents indicated that of all the types of marketing content that are put out there, they would be most likely to share a short video.
The final content medium I will look at is podcasts (side note: you’ve already subscribed to my Maximize Your Social Influence podcast, right?).
Podcasts are by no means a new form of audio content, but their potential for content marketing has only recently been recognized. The reason why businesses are starting to take notice of them is because there has been a huge increase in the number of people who listen to podcasts in just the last decade. In a society where people are constantly looking to multi-task and make the most efficient use of their time, podcasts offer people the ability to stay informed on current events or their hobbies or sports teams whilst they perform other tasks.
90 million Americans listen to podcasts at least monthly
This is what makes them so attractive. As the chart above shows, it is estimated that 32% of the US population listen to at least one podcast each month. That is around 90 million people which makes this a huge audience for companies to pitch to. There is also a core of podcast listeners who are extremely engaged with certain shows. This is indicated by the statistic that nearly ¼ of Americans listen to podcasts every week. Also promising for marketers is the fact that this is not just a phenomenon amongst young people. The increase in the total podcast audience is happening across the age spectrum, with only those aged over 55 who are not fully engaged (although even they are increasing).
The increase in the total podcast audience is happening across the age spectrum
As we just mentioned, a lot of podcaster listeners are extremely engaged when they follow a podcast. When you generate podcast content, your audience is normally much more concentrated on the content than someone who is skimming a blog post or skipping through a video. According to the data from the above source:
93% of people will listen to most of a podcast episode, with 52% listening to an entire episode
Of course, there are many more forms of content marketing than just blogging, video and podcasts. Our aim here was not to list every statistic on the Internet (as you may find on other sites) but to try and analyze some of the more important bits of information that will be useful for you.
How Will You Leverage These Content Marketing Statistics?
Content marketing is increasingly important as a source of sales leads. Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, building a rapport with your customers through quality content is a cost-effective way of standing out from the crowd. Best of all, by effectively leveraging your social media presence you can increase the profile of your brand without spending a huge amount of money.
Content marketing use is on the rise
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably bought into content marketing or will want to increase your investment. And you’re not alone.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, full-service marketing agencies are seeing more customers who use content marketing as part of their mix. In fact,
62% of marketing agencies saw an increase in the number of clients seeking content marketing services
Why? As you’ve already seen, content marketing is popular with consumers, and marketers would be silly not to take advantage of this trend.
So much of being a business owner involves providing what a customer wants or needs. After all, if something isn’t popular, then it won’t sell. Likewise, the rise of content marketing is tied to its popularity with consumers, as well as its effectiveness. For so many business owners, this is a product worth buying themselves.
If you want to learn more in depth about content marketing, make sure to check out some of the other articles on this site shown below. There’s a treasure trove of information just waiting for you to discover by some of the best bloggers on the Internet.
- Content Curation vs Content Creation – Which is Better?
- Seven Powerful Tips to Create Social Media Content Your Readers Love
- 13 of the Best Content Marketing Tools You’ve Got to Try Today
- Why Do Content Marketers Need to Write Long-Form Content?
- How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Funnel
Which of the above content marketing statistics did you find most compelling? What’s your content marketing success story? Let us know in the comments.
Check out the coming-up trends for content marketing, for 2020; in this great infographic from SEO Charge.