You’re interested in content marketing – you must be, otherwise you wouldn’t have ended up reading this post. But since you’re reading it, you might not yet have taken the jump and either started creating content, investing in the content strategy for your business. Perhaps you’re thinking about jumping, but you’re yet to be convinced that it truly is as good an investment as people are telling you it is. Whatever the reason you’re reading this post, you’ll find some truly incredible statistics in this post that will help you come to the same conclusion most marketing professionals already know – content marketing will provide you with incredible return on investment, and can boost your sales, and profits exponentially.
What is content marketing?
We wrote a post about this recently – so if you want to know more of the ins and outs of content marketing, we highly recommend a read of this post. But what it boils down to is that content marketing is simply creating and sharing content – whether it is text-based such as blog content, video or podcast – in order to reach an audience that ultimately converts.
Content marketing simply isn’t the same as traditional marketing, where the aim is to get the customer to buy the product or service that you’re advertising. Instead, your content marketing is there to show the strengths of your products in a non-promotional way, while demonstrating your team’s expertise. Content marketing will increase trust and to prove that your company is one that they want to do business with. Therefore, businesses invest in content marketing to increase brand awareness, to drive organic traffic to their website and to reach new customers.
Content strategy statistics
Without knowing what content you’re going to produce, and why you’re creating it, you’re just going to be winging it – which, unless you’re extremely lucky, isn’t likely to add up to your success. Your content strategist will be able to identify the business interests that your content needs to support – whether that’s increasing brand awareness, reaching potential new customers or helping to increase the profile of your business so that you can make new strategic partnerships. Once they’ve identified the business requirements, they can create the plan, so that your content creators – your blog writers, your videographers or your podcasters – can set to work that will create the returns you want and need.
70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. That statistic alone tells you just how powerful most marketers believe content marketing is, but 24% of marketers are planning on increasing their investment in content this year.
SEMrush conducted a huge survey that showed that 91% of companies are already using content marketing, but just 77% of companies said they had a content marketing strategy! That means there’s a good 14% of businesses that are just winging it – which might explain why 10% of businesses think the performance of their content marketing strategy was ‘fair’ or ‘poor’.
38% of content marketers rate their content marketing strategy as average, and just 9% believe their strategy is excellent. We’re not sure whether that shows that businesses don’t understand what excellent content strategy is, or whether they don’t have the time and funds to invest in taking their content strategy to the next level, but either way it’s clear that there is more work to be done.
The most successful B2B marketers are documenting their content strategies – over 69% of the most successful marketers are doing so. The least successful (16%) are not planning and documenting their approaches – but with all that in mind, it really does show that perfect planning can prevent pretty poor performance!
It is already clear, even at this early stage in the post that content is ever more important to businesses. 92% of marketers report that their company views content as a business asset – and let’s face it, when you’ve got good content that drives traffic, it is definitely something your business cannot afford to lose.
72% of marketers say that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic – which could also be why 84% of B2B marketers are outsourcing their content creation. Blog posts are getting bigger and more detailed, videos need to be higher quality and podcasts need post-production, all of which takes substantial amounts of time. However, the return on the investment that can be obtained from them is increasing too – so it makes sense that they’re getting professionals on the case. Not only that, content strategies are diversifying. In 2019, 51% of marketers were updating and repurposing their existing content, but more than a third were creating more video and visual content.
There’s a distinct skew when we look at who content is being created for. Around 50% of all content created by B2B marketers was created with brand new customers in mind – those at the top if the purchasing funnel. Less than a third of the content created was for late stage, or post sale customers – which means there’s a huge amount of opportunity for content to be created that could be being used to increase retention and brand loyalty.
When it comes to what consumers want – well, they love authentic, realistic content – and it shows – around 91% of customers are prepared to reward brands showing authenticity. Even if customers don’t make purchases when they are viewing the content brands are putting out, if they share the content with their social media followers, the increase in reach and brand awareness can add up to huge potential increases in sales.
To sum up our content strategy section then: a strong, well documented content strategy will set your business up for success. Content is valuable to your business, and there are plenty of opportunities to create content for all your customers, including the ones you already have.
Blogging has only really grown to be a major part of internet culture and specifically for marketers in the past decade or so – a relatively short amount of time in the history of the internet! Initial blogging platforms included LiveJournal and Blogger, which are generally credited with the explosion of the popularity of blogs in the early 2000s. Once it became clear that you could monetise your blog with adverts – the launch of AdSense in 2003 helped a generation start to earn from their hobby – and as businesses realised that they could use blogs as a way to drive traffic to their websites, showcase their expertise and increase their domain rankings, it became clear that blogs would be here to stay.
Today there are more than 600 million blogs on the internet. That’s out of approximately 1.74 billion websites (correct as of January 2020 – whenever you are reading this post we guarantee that number has increased dramatically! Tumblr hosts over 2/3 of the blogs in the world – over 496.1 million. But it’s clear that many businesses are using their WordPress websites to create their blogs – 36.6% of blogs are created using WordPress, and there are approximately 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments on WordPress every month. That’s a pretty healthy amount of engagement.
Blog posts are some of the most shared content, which is why 53% of marketers are prioritising blog content. There are plenty of different types of blog posts that work, and 36% of content marketing teams are considering ‘how to’ guides and educational content to increase their traffic and brand awareness.
Longer content is getting shared more often than short content. The content that gets shared most often is more than 3,000 words long (although we like even longer blogs!). Blogging is evolving – most blogs today (66%) are being published a few times per month, rather than several times a week in 2014. That’s probably because it takes 65% longer to write a blog post (on average) now than it did in 2014.
Updating your content is one of the best ways to refresh it – 34% of marketers say that doing so creates strong results, but yet only 38% are actively doing so. Not only that, 90% of marketers think that repurposing their content is a better use of their time than creating fresh content.
Creating an article with images will get you 94% more views than those without, but video content is 50 times more likely to get organic search traffic. Combine fantastic text with great images, and throw in a video – especially if it is one you’ve created – and you’re onto a winning combination.
We see many businesses that have had a go at writing for their blog, but that it has fallen by the wayside – either because it has not been made a priority, because they ran out of ideas for useful content, or because the person that was responsible for their blog has parted company with the business. As with your social media, your blog content needs to be high quality, and relevant to the people you are trying to reach.
If you have the expertise in your industry but not the time or inclination to generate blog content, then you might want to consider engaging with a writer to help you create your blog. You can find professional writers through an agency, and they will have knowledge of the sort of keywords that your posts need, or you can work with
When you’re creating content for your audience, you can provide an awful lot more information that they can access in a shorter amount of time by producing videos. There’s an old phrase that suggests ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, but with that in mind, how many words is video worth? Dr James McQuivey suggests that video is worth 1.8 million words per minute. Here’s how they broke that down:
- 1 picture is equal to 1000 words
- Video is filmed at 30 frames per second
- That means that just 1 second of video is worth 30,000 words
- 30,000 words x 60 seconds = 1.8 million
For those of you who say that some video is shot at 24 frames per second, well – the video would still be over 1.4 million words per minute – and when you’re counting over a million, who’s keeping close track?
89% of marketers say that video gives good return on their investment, with over 80% stating that video helps with lead generation, increased traffic to their website, and for helping to increase sales. And the evidence is there from customers too – surveys have shown that 54% of people want more video from brands.
Research has found that people look at video for up to five times longer than static content. It doesn’t matter where the video is posted – video is eye-catching, and provides more visual cues that keep the attention for longer, including colour, movement and music. Video hooks viewers for much, much longer than other forms of media, so marketers, and small businesses, simply can’t afford to leave it out of their marketing strategy.
Over a billion hours of video are watched on YouTube daily. With the worldwide lockdowns brought about by COVID-19, this figure is likely to be significantly higher when reporting for 2020 emerges. Although that’s an awful lot of video being watched daily, there isn’t much chance that people will end up running out of viewing material. Over 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day – which means to watch a single minute’s worth of uploads, you would need to watch those videos for 20 days continuously.
Video content marketing isn’t just for YouTube though – social media is perfect for sharing your video content. Social media posts that contain video have been shown to increase views by 48%, which is an incredible amount of return on your investment, and can contribute exponentially to brand awareness. Around 60% of people in a Facebook survey said they expect to increase the amount of social video they are watching over the next year, so starting to share your content on your social media now is a wise investment of your time.
When you’re creating your social media posts that are sharing your video content, you need to be cautious with how you set up your video. 85% of viewers watch video on Facebook with the sound off, and 80% of Facebook users feel negative about videos that start playing loudly in their feed. Since 71% of Facebook users say that the ads on the platform are relevant or highly relevant, you don’t want to decrease that positivity, especially if you’re using that video content as part of your Facebook Ads campaigns.
Of course, you’ll be posting your video content on your website too, whether you’re embedding your video from YouTube, or you’re uploading it to the website directly. Users spend around 88% more time on pages that have video playing than on those that don’t have video – and as you already probably know, the more time a visitor spends on a website, the greater the likelihood they will become a paying customer.
Video content can be a winner for you in your email marketing too – adding the word video to your subject line results in recipients being 19% more likely to open the email. Embedding your video in your email can increase click-through rates by a whopping 300%, and embedding video on your landing pages leads to increased conversion rates of up to 80%. That’s not a bad return for simply sharing the video content that you’ve already created in your email marketing – which you were going to be sending anyway!
Podcasts are like a radio show that you can access on demand, or download to a device for offline listening. Usually they’re free, or pretty affordable for the most part, which is why podcasting is considered by many as a disruptive medium. Generally they’re made with the cost underwritten by the company that makes them, but some of the more popular podcasts have either taken to adding advertisements in order to fund the podcast creation, or they have chosen to sign up with paid podcast platforms such as Luminary. Since long-running podcasts have a lot of episodes, many customers will binge episodes, listening to one after another.
There are over 30 million podcast episodes in existence from approximately 800,000 active podcasts – but that data comes from Apple iTunes, that figure is likely to be way higher, since of course, there are podcasts that don’t ever make it to iTunes. The majority of podcast statistics are US-centric, but in the UK surveys have shown that just 24% of people listen to podcasts, although that number is growing.
82.4% of people who listen to podcasts spend more than seven hours a week listening. That’s around an hour a day, which for many people will be a longer time than they spend watching TV. Are they listening during their commute, or on their lunchbreaks? We don’t know – we just know people are listening and want fresh content.
When you’re formatting your show, it is worth remembering that 19% of listeners increase the speed of the podcast they are listening to, which enables them to listen faster. If you’re able to, it’s well worth checking how your podcast sounds on 1.5x, or even faster – and if you’re adding calls to action, make sure the web addresses you’re giving are short and easy to remember.
Podcast listeners are much more active on social media channels – 94% are active on at least one social media channel. That means when they find content they like, they are much more likely to share it, and they’re more likely to follow the companies, brands or individuals that they listen to podcasts from on social media too.
69% of podcast listeners agree that podcast adverts helped them become more aware of new products or services. Add that statistic to the fact that 45% of podcast listeners have an annual household income of more than $250,000 and that 54% of podcast consumers say they think about buying advertised products, and it becomes pretty clear that there’s huge potential to reach people with more disposable income, and to convince them to buy from you by creating podcast content.
35% of people who don’t listen to podcasts say it’s because they don’t know how to find them. If you’re creating podcast content, and you’re promoting on your social media, don’t just use the line ‘get it wherever you get your podcasts’. There’s a lot of people who don’t know to head to iTunes, Spotify or Luminary – so tell them. Consider adding a link to a landing page that explains how to get your podcast on each. It won’t take up much room, and might not get a huge amount of hits, but might just increase your listeners enough to have put the effort in for – especially if the people who find that page convert to a paying customer!
Whether you decide to get into the podcasting game or not, there are plenty of things to consider before you get started. With fewer people listening to podcasts generally, you need to be sure that you’ll create enough return on your investment – even if your investment is just your time, time is money, and creating podcasts isn’t as simple as sitting down and chatting for an hour. You’ll need to carry out research and plan your time, otherwise you’ll find you end up running out of things to say, and you’ll end up needing to spend time editing your podcast to fill the time effectively. And remember, not everyone likes listening to podcasts, just as some of your audience prefer video to text articles. Whether you’re creating a podcast to educate, to inspire or to entertain, you’ll need to keep your audience firmly in mind when you’re doing so.
Social media statistics
When you’ve spent time creating fantastic content, you’ll want to share it with your target customers, and for them to share it on for you too! If you’ve got an extensive email marketing list, then you can send it out that way – but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re restricting the number of potential new customers you might be able to reach.
By sharing your content on your social media channels, you’ll be sharing your content with your followers, who – assuming they like your content – will share your content with their followers. In addition to that, if you’re using relevant hashtags and keywords, you’ll also be found by anyone who is searching for the keywords and hashtags you use. On some platforms, your content may disappear from timelines after a few days, but you can (of course) continue to promote that content with new comments and statuses periodically, and when it makes sense to do so. On other platforms such as Pinterest, your content is accessible indefinitely – which means in years to come, a new customer might find you just because you pinned your article and they had searched for a keyword that the Pinterest algorithm deemed your pin as being suitable for.
Sharing your content on social media just makes sense, because it costs so little to do so – in many cases, it will literally just cost you your time to create the post. Since 94% of marketers are using their social media channels to distribute their content – and doing so is definitely well worth your time, since 59% of people will share an article on social media even without having read it! Here are some of the most impressive social media statistics to help you see the benefit of sharing your content marketing on these platforms.
Most of us know that Facebook was initially launched in 2004 with the intention of helping college students to stay in touch with each other, and today, it’s the world’s biggest social media channel by far. Although Facebook is helping people to connect and stay in touch with more people than ever before, it is also helping businesses reach target customers, both through their business pages, and through Facebook Ads.
Facebook is the busiest of the social media platforms with 2.6 billion active monthly users. Of those users, over 1.69 billion users log in daily. And Facebook users aren’t likely to shrink any time soon – there are 500,000 new users joining Facebook every single day.
Behind Facebook are YouTube and WhatsApp with 2 billion monthly active users each. Although YouTube is hot on the heels of Facebook, Facebook videos are becoming more popular with over 11% of Facebook posts being videos, but more than 85% of Facebook users watch those videos without the sound turned up. For marketers, that means ensuring they’ve added captions or that the message of the video is clear enough to not require sound.
94% of Facebook ad revenue comes from mobile customers. That’s absolutely essential to know when you’re creating your social media content – and is a really important reminder to us all about how we need to check how our posts look on a smartphone screen before we post them!
Although younger members of the population are shunning Facebook in favour of other social media channels, there are still plenty of people who are signing up. In 2019, the fastest growing group of people signing up for Facebook were people aged 75 and over – so if you are looking to connect with this generation, then posting on Facebook could be a valuable strategy.
Since it launched in October 2010, Instagram has been pivotal in helping to create careers for the selfie generation. Influencer marketing has become one of the most successful types of marketing in recent years, and Instagram has had a huge part to play in that coming to fruition, but it’s also become one of the most used platforms for sharing content by businesses too.
Instagram is far from the most popular social media, trailing behind YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. But the Facebook-owned platform (since 2012!) still has over 1 billion monthly active users, which is nothing to be sniffed at – there are plenty of customers that you can share your content with through your Instagram feed, Stories, Instagram Live and IGTV.
Considering demographic information, over half of Instagram users are aged 34 or younger, but there’s a pretty even split when it comes to gender – 51% are female and 49% male, while the USA has the biggest pool of users – over 120 million Americans log on daily. Worldwide, we see India and Brazil using Instagram the most with 88 million and 82 million users accessing their feed daily.
The most followed account on Instagram is @instagram – the official Instagram account, which has over 349 million followers. While many Instagram users are likely to follow celebrities, over 90% of Instagram accounts follow at least one business account – which affords marketers a great opportunity. 79% of Instagram users say they search for more information when they have seen a product or service on the platform. And that’s not all, because 37% of users who see products or services visit the store – and once they’re on the store, they’re more likely to make a purchase – which 46% eventually do! That makes promoting your content on Instagram well worth your time.
Initially launched as a microblogging service in 2006, Twitter has come a long way from it’s humble roots. Today Twitter users get double the number of characters to play with – up to 280 characters in 2017, and the ability to use other forms of media has been added – it’s not just about the words anymore. As with the other social media platforms, today businesses and marketing professionals are using Twitter to share their content, to provide customer service, and to increase the reach of their brand.
There were more than 145 million monetizable daily users on Twitter in 2019. With around 386 million Twitter users, it might be a more specific audience to reach but with a strong strategy, it can be a valuable addition to a social media strategy to share content. The majority of Twitter users are in the 25-34 age bracket – around a third of Twitter users are in this group, with 22% in the 35-49 bracket and just 15% aged over 50.
Considering other demographic information, the majority of Twitter users are male – just 39% of Twitter users worldwide are female. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Twitter to share your content if your target customer is female though – on the contrary, Twitter can be really valuable for showing off your customer service. But when it comes to what, and how you share your content on Twitter, you’ll need to think about the strategy you use in order to get your content shared and in front of your target customers.
Twitter has also shown itself to be an excellent platform for sharing video. In the past 12 months, video views on the platform have grown by 220 times. Whatever content you’re creating, you can only stand to get more value from it by sharing it on your Twitter feed.
CEO Ben Silbermann describes Pinterest as a ‘catalogue of ideas’ – which means that many users turn to it to find the sort of interesting content you’re producing. Combining your content with a great image to pin is an easy way to share your current content, but also your older content.
There are more than 300 million users of Pinterest logging in to the platform each month. Although there have been more than 200 billion pins that have been pinned, the beauty of Pinterest is that whatever has been pinned is there for people to discover forever. That means that if you create a pin with an article, or a video, and use the right combination of keywords, hashtags and description, then you might find that periodically you get new customers as a result of that pin. When a user searches for one of the keywords on your post and then pins your post on one of their boards, it might be returned for other users too.
The majority of Pinterest users (70%) are women – some might argue that women have shunned Twitter in favour of Pinterest! While that might not be quite true, even if your content is aimed at men, it can be well worth your time pinning it anyway. Pinterest is becoming more popular with men, with around 50% of new Pinterest signups being men. And remember, women are likely to share valuable content they have found with the men in their lives, whether they’re family members, partners or friends.
Given that you can pin up to 200,000 pins on up to 2,000 boards, Pinterest is a way to continue sharing your content potentially indefinitely – and given how simple it is to pin your content, it’s a no-brainer to increase the reach of your content.
LinkedIn has over 675 million users, and almost half (310 million) are active monthly. But although that’s an awful lot lower than the other social media platforms, it doesn’t mean that it’s a waste of your time. LinkedIn simply isn’t the same as other social media platforms, because it’s designed for professionals to create valuable connections for their careers.
Because it’s designed for a different reason than just being social, businesses are using LinkedIn to share their content and showcase their expertise in order to create more valuable connections. 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, compared with just 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook, but 43% of marketers have also said that they have sourced customers from LinkedIn. LinkedIn have discovered that the average decision maker reads 10 pieces of content before making a final purchase decision, so sharing your content on your business profile can help to build trust and grow your business. But you need to be careful with how you’re sharing your content – LinkedIn users access the platform for an average of 17 minutes per month. That means your posts need to be really concise, to the point, and compelling since you don’t have long to get your message across.
Although fewer people use LinkedIn than other social media, it is really likely to be worth your time sharing on there – LinkedIn users tend to be pretty affluent. The average income of a LinkedIn user is $83,000 – so we’re talking professionals that are likely to have buying responsibility. It’s also worth noting that around 41% of millionaires are present on LinkedIn – and while just having a LinkedIn login won’t make you a millionaire, (boo!) being active on the platform is almost certainly going to help you create potentially lucrative connections.
Is content marketing essential for your business? Well, no. But will you see the benefits if you can add content marketing to your activities? Absolutely you will – the statistics don’t lie. Will you get left behind if you don’t invest in content marketing? Well, there will be a few businesses that will manage to do well without having a content marketing strategy, but we can almost guarantee that they would do better if they created a content marketing strategy, or invested in having someone handle it for them.
Whether you decide to invest in your content marketing through blog posts, video content or podcasting, the key thing to remember is to do so consistently. Your audience will come to expect your content, and for it to be high quality content every time that they seek it out. The quality of your content is far more valuable than the quantity of posts, so whatever your approach, it should be realistic and sustainable for whoever you put in charge of your content creation, whether that’s one person, or you share the load across several members of your team over the course of each month.
If it isn’t going to be sustainable for your team to handle your content marketing and maintain business as usual, then your business doesn’t have to miss out. Working with an agency to create the content on your behalf can be an affordable option that provides significant return on what it costs you – especially if you don’t have a clue where to start with creating your plan.
Aires Loutsaris is a content marketing specialist working with some of the world’s biggest VC funded startups and eCommerce companies. He has 15 years of experience in organic search optimisation and content writing with over 2500 students enrolled in his Udemy SEO course. An ex-head of two award-winning agencies, he has lectured at the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion on content marketing and has consulted for all three of the Universities he studied at: The Open University, The University of Hull and Kings College University of London. Feel free to connect with Aires on LinkedIn or Facebook.