Marketing is a process that continually evolves, using new forms of media and technology—from radio, magazines, and newspapers to television, mobile phones, and the internet. Modern technology has prompted the biggest shift yet, from the more traditional outbound methods to newer inbound marketing. While technically the battle still continues, inbound marketing looks like the clear winner here, as we’ll see throughout this look at the latest content marketing statistics.
For the uninitiated, content marketing is all about providing value to your potential customers, rather than trying to sell to them. Instead of directly promotin29.g a brand, it builds a meaningful and useful relationship with the audience, which should ultimately result in sales anyway.
In this article, we’ll cover all the stats you need to know about content marketing in 2021, from the current trends to the associated costs. Let’s get started!
If you were wondering why there was a need for inbound marketing, and content marketing specifically, this explains it. Advertising has been a big business for a long time, but in the modern age, people are absolutely bombarded with ads. It can be as obvious as an advertisement on the side of a bus or the hundreds of brand names, logos, and packaging designs in the supermarket. In short, people have become increasingly numb to traditional advertising. A new approach was desperately needed, which is why the impact of content marketing has been so dramatic.
Content marketing isn’t just used for B2C purposes, but for B2B too. It can be a much harder task given that you’re marketing to a much smaller audience with B2B, but it indisputably works. Content marketing statistics like this show that just as a consumer might read blogs to find out which shampoo to buy, or which protein powder works best, a modern B2B buyer also scours the web for the best products.
This is another fundamental way in which marketing has changed. 50 years ago, for example, it would have taken considerable time to plan out a billboard advertising campaign, get all the artwork done, make revisions, and finally get the billboards up. Now, a new piece of content can be created within an hour. In fact, one of the core content marketing benchmarks is simply how much content you can pump out (something we’ll cover in more detail later), with the general rule of thumb being “the more, the better.”
While quantity is certainly important, quality is still key. The content marketers who really understand the industry, and take the time and effort to create quality content, reap substantially better rewards than those who don’t. In this specific case, we can see the effectiveness of content marketing—when done properly—in driving web traffic, which is still a leading metric for most marketers.
Few people buy from a brand they’ve never heard of, which is why raising brand awareness has been a key part of marketing since time immemorial. The whole reason marketers spend so much time on those aforementioned billboards is to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. In this case, therefore, we see that even content marketing in 2019 doesn’t represent a complete break from the past. Marketers are generally trying to achieve the same goal: to get people to hear about their brand. They’re just going about it in a completely different way now.
Old habits die hard, and—as we touched upon in our introduction—it certainly took time for old-school marketers to cotton on to the importance of content marketing. This particular statistic, though, shows that the transformation is well and truly complete. While it might not necessarily be their “priority,” modern-day CMOs clearly recognize that content marketing is the future. And as we’ll see shortly, they’re already taking pretty drastic steps to make sure they’re ready for it.
Generally speaking, marketers are a pretty smart bunch. As we just established, they already know that content marketing is the future, and this stat shows just how much effort they’re putting into adapting. Success in this arena doesn’t happen by accident. To achieve the best content marketing stats in 2019, a marketer needs to invest time, effort, and money. The fact that almost three-quarters of B2B marketers say they’re getting better results than they were a year ago shows they’re ticking all three of those boxes.
Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and marketers’ jobs depend on keeping up with it. They might have just felt they were getting a grip on digital advertising (the supposed successor of traditional advertising) when the popularity of content marketing exploded. Thus, they were forced to adapt again. 28% might not seem like a huge number compared to some of our other content marketing stats, but considering how important digital advertising has been in the past two decades, we’d argue that this is a pretty seismic shift.
So far, we’ve concentrated mostly on the marketer’s point of view, but this shows a key trend in consumer buying behavior. While blogs might have initially been dismissed as a fad, or something only geeks living in their parents’ basement do, they’re now a fundamental part of people’s buying decisions. The majority of people have now bought something after seeing it recommended in a blog, and accordingly, blogs have become a cornerstone of the content marketing industry.
Here we encounter one of the few major issues with content marketing. Or to put it more accurately, it’s an issue marketers have always had, which content marketing hasn’t solved. Namely, how big of an impact does their marketing actually have?
While a slim majority of marketers still wish they had more digital marketing statistics from 2019 to work with, that number would be vastly higher for something like a billboard campaign. It’s hard enough to measure how many people see a billboard, let alone how many of them make a purchase because of it. Even if they crave more, the bevy of analytical tools available to modern content marketers still makes them much better informed than their old-school counterparts.
As we said before, success in content marketing doesn’t just happen by accident. One of the most important factors, by far, is staying organized. The best marketers—otherwise known as “leaders”—have a defined schedule for both creating and posting their content. In turn, this ensures a degree of consistency, in both the content’s frequency and delivery, which is vital to long-term success.
While the leaders might be ahead of the game here, this content marketing survey reveals that the majority of businesses still lack a defined, dedicated strategy. Again, this clearly speaks to how new content marketing is. We’ve already established that most marketers recognize how important inbound marketing is, but that doesn’t mean they actually know how to do it particularly well! Given that a documented strategy is a fundamental part of successful content marketing, we expect this statistic to drop sharply in the next couple of years.
One of the things that differentiates modern marketing from that of the past is the sheer number of avenues a marketer can take. While some might see this as overwhelming, the latest of our content marketing facts shows that professional B2B marketers have happily seized the opportunities this presents. They now have a multitude of ways to reach all sorts of demographics, which skillful marketers are able to weave together into an effective strategy.
We’ve briefly touched on blogs already, but this hammers home how important they’ve become. Content marketing stats from 2018 and beyond clearly show that blogs not only increase brand awareness but can create tangible returns too. For B2B marketers, who thrive on generating leads for their companies, this is an absolute godsend. Companies who don’t have a blog in place, by contrast, are getting left in the dust.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll surely say it again: when it comes to content marketing, the more, the better. Quality is vital in content marketing—you’re trying to build a relationship with the client or consumer, after all—but these business blogging statistics from 2018 show that sheer quantity plays a huge role. Web traffic isn’t seen as the be-all, end-all it used to be, but it’s still an important part of how businesses generate leads. Businesses that put time and effort into posting a blog almost every weekday reap the rewards in website visitors.
As we were just saying, web traffic isn’t everything! While it was the number one goal when online marketing was first being developed, it continues to be surpassed, according to the marketing statistics from 2018 and on. Online traffic alone is too general, too vague. Content marketing professionals certainly feel this way, preferring to target more specific metrics like engagement and conversion, which are arguably more likely to lead to actual sales.
Creating quality content takes time. That’s almost certainly one of the reasons content marketers outsource this work in the first place, and it’s definitely one of the reasons they like to reuse it. Articles like “how-to” guides, and other evergreen content, don’t simply lose their appeal after they’ve been posted once. They continue to be relevant for months, if not years, and smart marketers take advantage of this by reposting the content multiple times.
It’s fair to say that content marketing (and inbound marketing in general) is considerably cheaper than more traditional methods, and we’ve got the stats to back that up. That’s not to say, however, that it’s free! Aside from paying for content creation, whether it’s done in-house or by a freelancer, the majority of B2B marketers also spend money on actually distributing the content. Whether it’s done by sponsored backlinks or social media advertising, paid distribution helps content find a much wider audience than it otherwise would and, in turn, helps boost those all-important content marketing statistics.
Of course, this level of spending is far beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of companies. It’s still interesting, though, to see just how much money the top organizations will spend on content creation, particularly when that money could otherwise be spent on more direct advertising. This serves as yet another indicator that content marketing works. If it didn’t, there’s no way that even the biggest content marketing budgets would divert millions of dollars toward it.
Things like “building a trusting relationship” sound nice, but at the end of the day the goal behind content marketing is the same as any other form of marketing: to make money, preferably while spending as little as possible. As a bevy of lead generation statistics from 2018 show, content marketing absolutely excels in the cost/results arena.
The vast majority of modern content marketing may be done online, but it still has to battle with a variety of other digital marketing avenues. Paid search, which helps marketers make their sites more visible on search engines, has been popular with marketers for many years now. As we can see here, though, content marketing often costs considerably less than paid search. And it still delivers comparable, even superior, results.
This is one of the most eye-opening B2B content marketing trends to watch in 2019. We’ve already established that modern B2B marketers view content marketing as important, but this statistic shows the sheer extent to which that’s true. The marketers who get the best results from content marketing are the ones who commit a sizable chunk of their precious budget toward it. That chunk is already approaching the 50% mark and, given the way things are going, could very well reach it in the next couple of years.
Anecdotally, mobile usage is sky-high, simply going by how many people you see staring at their phones on an average day. Here, though, we have a definitive number showing the incredible popularity of mobile browsing, with over half of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices. This presents a range of opportunities to content marketers, but there are challenges too. Specifically, can they achieve the same inbound marketing statistics while catering equally to both mobile and desktop users, or should they target one sector or the other?
If you could design the perfect way to deliver your inbound marketing, it’d probably look something like a blog. After all, this form of content can be as long or short as you want, use any tone you desire, and be fitted to any subject under the sun. These content marketing statistics have already shown that the most successful marketers post at least 16 blogs per month. And here we see that of all the avenues available to them, a comfortable majority of marketers actually see blogs as the single most valuable channel.
The age of social media being used solely to share baby photos and videos of cute cats ended long ago. Nowadays, social media experts should be part of every marketing team. After all, producing content is only half the battle. You then have to actually send it out into the world and get people to read it. Given the enormous demographics that social media encompasses, this is the perfect platform for just that.
Arguably, it’s not especially surprising that people are willing to make purchases based on blog recommendations. Blogs have been around for well over two decades, after all, and the statistics about blogging suggest the majority of people read them regularly. By contrast, Twitter is a much newer invention and is part of far fewer people’s lives. As we see here, though, a content marketer who fails to explore every tool available—including less heralded ones like Twitter—actually misses out on a big opportunity.
Our Twitter stat might have been a little eyebrow-raising, but there’s nothing surprising about this one. For all its negative news, and its age, Facebook is still the undisputed king of social media. It’s certainly not just for kids and teenagers, either—68% of adults (i.e., the people who actually have money to spend) use it too, making it a juicy target for marketers looking to achieve impressive content marketing stats. The fact that it has an extremely active user base, with 74% of Facebook users visiting daily, makes it a necessary tool for all digital marketing professionals.
Content marketing rewards experimentation. After all, if people hadn’t been willing to try a much softer, more consumer-friendly approach to marketing in the first place, then the field never would have existed. Social media is an extremely popular marketing avenue, but those who explore less obvious avenues like podcasts may be duly rewarded. Content statistics from 2018 show almost half of all millennials listen to podcasts, and many of the bigger companies out there, including General Electric, McDonald’s, and eBay, already have their own branded podcasts.
Marketing is all about understanding your target audience. In many ways, content marketing already reflects its consumers’ changing habits (as we’ve seen earlier in this article), with the proliferation of blogs and social media usage. Here we have another extremely useful example of how doing this leads to excellent results. There’s a whole slew of visual content statistics out there showing that more and more people prefer to consume video content. As we can see, the content marketers who’ve already exploited this trend have achieved incredibly impressive conversion rates.
The flip-side of video content, of course, is that it’s pretty darn hard to produce! In fact, the majority of marketers list it as the single toughest form of content to create. It’s not hard to imagine why—quality video creation requires the right equipment, plenty of planning, skillful direction, proper editing, and a sometimes lengthy uploading process. We’d say that marketers have the best shot at ripping the benefits of video content if they hire a professional video production team instead of doing it by themselves.
We’d like to finish off with a really cool example of how content marketers can give new life to old ideas. There’s absolutely nothing modern about conferences or seminars, which have been held for decades. Webinars, though, use video streaming to deliver a similar level of professional education to a potentially wider audience. In doing so, they thoroughly encapsulate the spirit of content marketing by providing plenty of value to their viewers and promoting their brand in an extremely positive light. And the stats show that this approach definitely works.
Content marketing is a relatively new priority for many businesses. However, based on the content marketing statistics we’ve looked at in this article, it’s definitely here to stay. It adds a great deal more value than traditional marketing for the people who consume it, and it’s also cheaper and in many cases more effective. Whether it be via a blog, social media, a podcast, or any other platform, the content marketing trend is only going to get bigger in the years to come.