Here is our list of the top 100 content marketing statistics to think about when planning your campaigns for 2018.
We cover inbound marketing research on everything from budget plans and content-creation strategies to consumer attitudes to marketing.
What’s new for 2018?
Overall, the picture points towards growth. But it will come as no surprise that video and mobile seem set for a budgetary lift. It has been estimated the content marketing sector will be worth over $300 billion by 2019.
However, there are still many issues to be solved.
Strategy and planning
Return on investment (ROI)
It starts with strategy
Whether it’s B2B or B2C, inbound marketing now qualifies as a marketing discipline in its own right.
However, there are still issues with strategic planning and, at a B2B level, bringing in leads.
Content marketing strategy: the marketers view in facts and figures
- 21% say targeting content for an international audience is a major challenge (Hubspot).
- 57% claim an understanding of buyer personas is included as part of their content strategy (Content Marketing Institute).
- 20.3% say content marketing is their top form of digital marketing (Smart Insights).
- 46% don’t have a defined strategy for their activity (Smart Insights).
- 83% of the most successful B2B marketers rated their content strategy as extremely effective (Content Marketing Institute).
- 73% say content strategy is part of the overall mission, not just one campaign (Content Marketing Institute).
- 35% say an ability to scale is included as part of the content strategy (Sprout Social).
- Only 16% of marketers say outbound marketing provides high-quality leads (Sprout Social).
- 29% of companies are prioritising social selling (Sprout Social).
Inbound research shows consumers are happy
The foundation of content marketing is brand communications targeted at consumers in a way that doesn’t oversell the brand.
Overall, consumers across the board appear happy with this. For many, communications with brands is a regular part of their media intake.
Yet marketers need to be aware of how this information is being consumed.
Consumer opinions towards inbound marketing in numbers
- 8 seconds – the average time before a person is distracted when reading from a screen (Microsoft).
- 81% of people skim when reading online (Nicholas Carr – The Shallows).
- Posts with images have x650 higher engagement than text-only posts (Adobe).
- 46% of buyers feel strongly about researching a product before contacting the company; 35% mildly agree with this (Content Marketing Institute).
- 40% of B2B buyers feel the source of information is unimportant even if it comes from a brand or company (Content Marketing Institute).
- 73.4% of users follow a brand because they’re interested in the product or its service (Sprout Social).
- 61% of millennials recognise that terms such as “promoted” and “sponsored” refer to native ads (MindEdge).
- The average response time for a brand to reply to a user on social media is 10 hours, while the average user will only wait 4 hours (Sprout Social).
- 7 in 10 Generation Xers are more likely to make purchases from brands they follow on social (Sprout Social).
- 32% of Generation Xers interact with brands at least once a month, which is higher than millennials (30%) and baby boomers (14%) (Sprout Social).
- 89% of marketers believe custom content is a great way for brands to break through the clutter (Business Insider).
- Asked about attitudes to native ads, 56% say they like it that brands aren’t selling to them. Instead, they think brands are sharing something “cool” or teaching them (Business Insider).
Remember: ROI means Return on Investment
How do you define ROI for content marketing?
Clients have different methods. For example, social shares are measured by Coca-Cola as a form of ROI.
The more popular measurement is traffic. But worryingly, many are still grappling with this issue.
ROI for marketers: statistics, facts and figures
- 76% of marketers use website traffic to measure ROI (SmartInsights)
- 36% use backlinks from other sites (SmartInsights)
- Only 41% of B2B marketers say they understand what a successful content marketing campaign looks like (Content Marketing Institute).
- 45% of marketers said their content marketing was more successful than the previous year (Content Marketing Institute).
- 80% of B2B marketers in the US are focusing on lead generation in 2018 (Content Marketing Institute).
- 46% of B2C marketers say their content market is more effective than a year ago (Content Marketing Institute).
- 63% of marketers say one of the top challenges is bringing in more traffic and leads (Hubspot).
- 40% say proving the ROI of marketing activities is a challenge (Hubspot).
- 28% say securing enough budget is their top marketing challenge (Hubspot).
- 52% say their success has flatlined due to lack of time (Content Marketing Institute).
- 33% say their success has flatlined because content marketing was not prioritised (Content Marketing Institute).
Operations and how companies structure them
Content marketing has become as crucial a part of B2B as B2C. Content teams have to build as much emphasis on infographics, audio, and video as they do on text.
Marketing department and operational statistics
- Only 6% of B2B marketers say their company is not committed to content marketing (Content Marketing Institute).
- 62% of B2B content marketers use an editorial calendar (Content Marketing Institute).
- 82% of B2B marketers use content marketing (Content Marketing Institute).
- 51% of B2B content marketers have guidelines for the tone of voice (Content Marketing Institute).
- 40% of B2B content marketers use A-B testing (Content Marketing Institute).
- Blogs and social media are the main weapons of choice for B2B, with 83% and 80% using them respectively (Content Marketing Institute).
- Across the board, 76% of companies in North America use CM compared with 72% in EMEA (Hubspot).
- 26% say managing their website is a serious challenge (Hubspot).
- 48% of technology firms meet daily to discuss content strategy. This compares to 44% average overall (Content Marketing Institute).
Content creation remains a focus and a challenge
Ultimately, content is more than just text. Images and multimedia have become an essential part of any web page.
But from a consumer angle, there is more to it. For example, page speeds are an ever-increasing factor with most expecting a page to load in two seconds or less. Something to keep in mind as web pages become more complex.
Content creation: statistics
- Of marketers who described their campaigns as successful, 85% say this was at least partly the result of greater output (Content Marketing Institute).
- Re. (above) 42% of respondents also credited better measurement (Content Marketing Institute).
- 46% of marketers say images are crucial to content strategy (Sprout Social).
- Infographics and webinars are among the least used types of multimedia in B2B. But they are still used by 53% of respondents (Content Marketing Institute).
- Post length was up 18% in 2017. The average post now stands at around 1,080 words (Orbit Media).
- Content glut is an ever-growing issue. Google indexed 30 trillion pages in 2013 compared to 1 trillion seven years before. Now it stands at more than 130 trillion (Google).
- Unsurprisingly, most (52% of B2B marketers) think blogs are of greatest importance to success (Content Marketing Institute).
- Speed is crucial. Even back in 2011, 47% of consumers expected a web page to load in two seconds or less. Google has also admitted page load times are a ranking factor.
- A significant 61% of marketers plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope and 69% want to learn more about it (Social Media Examiner).
- 34% of marketers say video is crucial to B2C content (Hubspot).
Platform diversity is key
Anyone who thinks they should focus all their attention on their website is more out of date than glam rock.
Yes, the brand site is of core importance. But it should be supported by other platforms. And research shows that many content marketers are aware of this, too.
How marketers view platforms (in numbers)
- 8% of marketers plan to add Medium to their marketing efforts (Hubspot).
- 48% will expand their focus on YouTube (Hubspot).
- 40% of seniors now own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013 (Pew Internet).
- 46% of marketers will expand into Facebook Video.
- Mobile is unstoppable. Over 51% of web pages were served to mobile phones in 2017 (Statista) compared to 43% in 2016.
- 11% of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months (Hubspot).
- 24% plan to add messaging apps to their content marketing strategy in 2018 (Hubspot).
- Mobile makes up more than half of all YouTube views (YouTube).
Marketing budgets and how the money is spent
In times of difficulty, it is always the marketing budget that gets squeezed first. Content marketing’s allocation is rising, although it remains a relatively small part of overall expenditure.
Marketing budgets and where the money goes on content
- Content marketing spend in the UK in 2016 was £1.17bn (Smart Insights).
- B2B content marketing accounts for 7% of revenue in the content marketing industry (Express Writers).
- The most successful B2B marketers in 2016 dedicated at least 39% of their marketing budgets to content (Marketing Profs).
Native advertising could be publishing’s saviour. Display advertising revenue has been falling and classified is rapidly becoming a thing of recent memory.
Native advertising: statistics
- Native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021 (Business Insider).
- Spending on native advertising in the US will reach $21 billion by 2018 (Business Insider).
- The number of advertisers buying native formats jumped 74% between the start of 2016 and Q1 2017 (State of Native).
- The top 100 publishers globally will collectively generate $3 billion in branded content digital revenue in 2017 (Polar).
Social media is key to traffic and relationships
Social media has become almost as important as Google when it comes to distribution. Yet social is not just a distribution channel. It is a showcase and communication channel where all brands and companies are expected to have a presence.
Facebook, Twitter, etc: statistics
- There are more than 33,000 chatbots active on Facebook (Sprout Social).
- Facebook makes up 84.2% of all US native advertising display (eMarketer).
- 68% of all US adults use Facebook compared to 25% for LinkedIn (Pew Internet).
- 26% of US adults use Pinterest; 45% of US women online use Pinterest (Pew Internet).
- 51% of Instagram users access the platform on a daily basis, with 35% saying they do so several times (Pew Internet).
- 42% of Twitter users indicate that they are daily visitors, with 23% saying they visit more than once (Pew Internet).
- 93% of Twitter users also use Facebook – as do 95% of Instagram users and 92% of Pinterest users (Pew Internet).
- 54% of those who use Instagram also use Pinterest and 57% of Pinterest users are also on Instagram (Pew Internet).
- Teenage girls are the biggest users of visual social platforms; 61% of girls use Instagram compared to 44% of boys; 51% of girls use Snapchat compared to 31% of boys (Pew Internet).
- 74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes (Hubspot).
- 62% of US adults get their news on social media (Pew Internet).
- LinkedIn posts that include images receive 200% more engagement than text-only posts (Sprout Social).
- More than 50 million businesses are using a Facebook Business Page (Sprout Social).
- Mobile makes up 86% of Twitter’s ad revenue (Sprout Social).
- 47% of marketers say Twitter is the best social media outlet for customer engagement (Sprout Social).
- More than 91% of Instagram posts are photos (Sprout Social).
- Most Instagram users are between 18 and 29 years old. This accounts for roughly 60% of adults online (Sprout Social).
How content marketing is distributed
Google’s index is now 30 trillion pages long – and, of course, it is only going to get longer.
As a result, the concept that good content will rank on its own is becoming increasingly devalued, if not ridiculous.
The job is only half done when you hit publish.
Content delivery and how marketers are promoting pages
- Email is overwhelmingly popular. 91% of marketers rate it as one of their top B2B distribution methods. The next highest is LinkedIn on 71% (Content Marketing Institute).
- Search engine marketing is more popular than social in terms of paid promotion. 54% go with SEM compared to 50% on social (Content Marketing Institute).
- About 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Content Marketing Institute).
- Emails with names in subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened (Content Marketing Institute).
- 50% of B2B marketing uses paid social media by way of promotion (Content Marketing Institute).
- 86% of professionals prefer email when communicating with business (Hubspot).
- 66% of consumers prefer a brand to communicate via email (Campaign Monitor).
- 26% of consumers prefer a brand to communicate via direct mail (Campaign Monitor).
- 94% of B2B organisations rely on LinkedIn for content marketing and distribution (klick.com).
- 54% of B2B marketers use search engine marketing to promote content (State of Native).
Influencer marketing looks like an area of growth
It might not be content marketing as we know it, but more brands are turning to influencers as a cost-effective form of endorsement. We predict this will continue.
Statistics back this up, with marketers increasingly open to using the likes of Pew Die Pie.
Influencers and how they will be utilised by brands
- 57% of marketers are set to make influencer marketing part of their main marketing campaign (Top Rank Blog).
- 80% of marketers believe content marketing will be the sector most affected by influencer marketing (Top Rank Blog).
- 50% of marketers say they have a small budget (under $100,000) for influencer marketing (Top Rank Blog).
- 55% of marketers plan to spend more on influencers over the next year (Top Rank Blog).
- 80% of marketers who use influencers do so as part of their content marketing strategy (Top Rank Blog).
- 88% of marketers who use influencers want to reach new targeted audiences (Top Rank Blog).
- 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities (Think with Google).
Conclusion: content marketing is growing – but challenges remain
Looking ahead to 2018, content marketing statistics show the sector is on the up. At the same time, new challenges are presenting themselves. These include content generation, distribution, and definition of ROI.
Have we missed anything? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sprout Social Social Media Statistics
- State of Native
- Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing Study
- Campaign Monitor Email Marketing New Rules
- Hubspot Content Marketing Statistics
- Top Rank Blog Influencer Marketing
- Statista Mobile Phone Traffic Share
- Smart Insight – Managing Content Marketing
- Pew Internet – Social Media Update
- Express Writers — Content Marketing Spend