The best stats to help you understand how to tap into blog, video, podcast and social media trends to reach new audiences
Grabbing attention has got harder across the board since the pandemic shifted audiences online en masse. Success in these most unusual of times is now more likely to come to brands which most deeply understand the need to engage audiences, rather than just try and sell to them.
As a result, use of content marketing to help shape brand identity, educate and build trust continues to soar and budgets are also broadly on the up. In fact, content marketing has become so ingrained in promotional activities that recent analysis by marketing software experts HubSpot found that only 10 per cent of marketers don’t use it at all.
Finding success through content creation and promotion, however, means staying on top of the ever-shifting rules of engagement. But the sheer amount of advice about what to create, how often and where to distribute it can be overwhelming – and contradictory. To help, we’ve pulled together some of the most authoritative stats and indicators, grouped into key content areas, to offer a guide to what best practice in content marketing should look like in 2022.
In a rush? The full article is well worth your time, but the key points to absorb for 2022 are…
- Written content is still a key plank of content marketing strategies, whether a blog post, case study or how-to-article…
- … but video is being watched like never before, offering a bite-sized opportunity to get across key points concisely to customers living more and more of their lives online
- Written content needs to be at least 300 words long, but longer content can get better traction in search engines and be more effective at reinforcing expertise
- Also bear in mind that it’s not just what you say, but how often you say it – companies that blog more receive more leads. This is a consistent trend over multiple years
- And, last but not least, content marketing is simply the most cost-effective way to get in front of audiences, generating more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing while costing 62 per cent less, according to Canadian marking software company Demand Metric.
READ ON FOR THE BIG 50 STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW…
Blogs – the written word is still a content staple
With one-third of all webpages in existence believed to be blogs, what are the hallmarks of a good one?
- According to research from software company Semrush, 75 per cent of people prefer reading articles under 1,000 words long and the median reading time per article is 37 seconds, so you need to make what you write count.
- However, while readers may prefer shorter articles, longer ones (from around 2,100 to 2,400 words) are better for SEO and in terms of search engine rankings, according to HubSpot research, because they are, funnily enough, more comprehensive.
- The same research found that even longer blogs – 2,500 words upwards – help reinforce knowledge and authority on subjects, particularly those that are niche.
- The above stats may explain why articles or posts of up to 3,000 words were the most commonly created content asset by 90 per cent of those whose responses made up the latest benchmarks, budgets and trends report by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
- Search optimisation expert Yoast, meanwhile, agrees that longer articles often rank better because Google has a better chance of determining what they are about…
- … while also recommending that any written content is at least 300 words long.
- The most popular types of content among bloggers are “how-to” articles (77 per cent), followed by listicles (57 per cent), and news and trends (47 per cent)…
- … and 76 per cent of marketers surveyed by the CMI said they use a blog to distribute content.
- Bear in mind, though, that 90.63 per cent of content gets no organic traffic from Google (so effective, and likely paid, distribution is important).
- But, according to Semrush, on average, companies who blog produce 67 per cent more leads each month – so it is worthwhile!
Video – the new leader of the pack
As the pandemic pushed us inside and online, viewers consumed more video than ever before. An estimated 12.2 billion minutes were watched in 2020, equating to 23,211 years’ worth of content and up 84.8 per cent on the previous year.
- So perhaps not so surprisingly, according to multiple surveys including by HubSpot, video was the primary form of marketing media created in 2021, overtaking blogs.
- This is backed up by the seventh annual Wyzowl video marketing statistics report, for 2021, which found that 86 per cent of businesses now use video as a marketing tool…
- … possibly because 44 per cent of those surveyed thought that making video had become more affordable…
- … while 39 per cent said it had become quicker and less time-consuming to create.
- Research from video hosting platform Wistia’s 2021 State of Video report, based on over 44 million videos uploaded to its site between 2016 and 2020, also found the amount of videos uploaded has increased by 263 per cent in that time, as brands increasingly commit to video as part of their content strategy.
- Wyzowl, meanwhile, found that 69 per cent of respondents prefer to learn about a product or service from a short video, compared to 18 per cent for a text-based article, website or post…
- … with a whopping 94 per cent of over 800 people surveyed saying they had watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
- ROI from video appears to be significant, with Wyzowl finding that 86 per cent of those using video had seen a traffic increase.
- Short-form videos remain the most popular according to Wista, with over 4.8 million sub-30-second-long videos uploaded to Wistia in 2021 – a 62 per cent increase over 2019 and a 100 per cent increase since 2016.
- Long-form video is also growing in popularity, however, with videos of between 30 and 60 minutes growing 140 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 as businesses embraced video series and other long-form video content.
Podcasts – lend me your ears…
But streaming is not just about video; audio also remains a big growth area and podcasts in particular continue to rise steadily in popularity. If you’re wondering if they are for you…
- Edison Research’s Infinite Dial survey for 2021 found that 28 per cent of Americans aged 12 and over listen to podcasts each week, a 17 per cent rise on 2020…
- … while 41 per cent, or around 116 million people, listen at least once a month.
- The podcasting audience is also growing more diverse, with female listeners reaching an all-time high of 39 per cent of the audience in 2021.
- Additionally, one-third of Americans, or around 94 million people, now own a smart speaker, a key indicator of online audio consumption – a 22 per cent rise year-on-year.
- Most podcast listeners stream audio using their smartphones and listen to episodes via a major podcast app.
- Apple is the most popular podcast app, with around 34 per cent of listeners, followed by Spotify on 29 per cent.
- Spotify, in fact, remains the largest single source for online audio and has played a significant role in the growth of podcasting, especially among younger listeners.
- Popular where you are? The United States accounts for 50.5 per cent of podcast listeners, followed by the United Kingdom with 6.1 per cent and Canada with 5 per cent.
- According to podcast hosts Buzzsprout, the most popular duration of podcasts uploaded to its platform is 20-40 minutes (31 per cent), followed by 40-60 minutes (22 per cent).
- Listener numbers are only forecast to keep rising: according to data specialists Statista, there could be over 100 million podcast listeners in the US by 2024, up from 75.9 million in 2020.
Social media – sharing is caring
- Social media was the number one channel used for distribution in 2021, according to HubSpot…
- … not surprising, given that more than 4.33 billion people worldwide use some form of social media – around six-in-10 of all people on earth.
- LinkedIn is used by 93 per cent of B2B content marketers to distribute content organically, followed by Facebook (80 per cent) and Twitter (71 per cent), according to the CMI.
- The same survey found that the social platforms that produced the best organic results in the past 12 months were LinkedIn (77 per cent), far ahead of Facebook (37 per cent) and Instagram (27 per cent).
- A mighty 81 per cent of marketers use paid methods to promote content…
- … with social media advertising and paid posts the most popular, used by 77 per cent, followed by search engine marketing / pay-per-click on 65 per cent.
- Here LinkedIn was deemed the most successful by 75 per cent of respondents, with Facebook close behind on 69 per cent and Instagram on 30 per cent.
- Use of TikTok surged, particularly among 12- to 34-year-olds, with 44 per cent using the short-form video platform in 2021, up from 25 per cent in 2020…
- … but it’s not just a young person’s game – with recent user base statistics showing that one-in-three users is now over the age of 30.
- And a social media trends report for 2022 suggests TikTok will continue to expand and “take over social media”, forcing other brands to adapt.
Other things to consider / looking to the future…
- The CMI found that 58 per cent of respondents said virtual events/webinars/online courses produced the best results for their content marketing in the last 12 months.
- In 2021, 47 per cent of marketers reported using bots for marketing efforts, up from 45 per cent in 2020…
- … while 76 per cent of marketing companies used automation for some processes in 2021.
- According to HubSpot research, marketers’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) increased by 190 per cent from 2018 to 2020…
- … and the main expected growth areas include personalisation and ad targeting, improving efficiency, campaign management and content creation.
- Marketing news site Search Engine Journal recommends getting up to speed on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in marketing and thinking about how to make content more immersive.
- Talkerwalker’s social media trends report for 2022, meanwhile, declares that it’s time for brands to get on board with the metaverse – an interactive community of users able to engage in a wide variety of social activities online…
- … and also exhorts brands to make metrics their new BFFs, ensuring content and distribution decisions are data-driven.
- (Almost) finally – a major study found there is no ‘best day’ to publish content – so experiment and see what works best for your audience.
One final, 50th, stat to round off all this food for thought? According to the CMI, more large companies are now outsourcing their content marketing than in 2019 – 75 per cent versus 71 per cent. Should you be one of them? Get in touch with us to see how we can use our experience working with 90-plus clients in 17 countries to help you build an effective content marketing strategy, produce beautiful and effective content effortlessly across multiple media and meet your marketing goals in 2022.