Marketers have a love-hate relationship with content. While more than 80% of businesses claim to have a content marketing program in place, only 30% rate their programs as effective according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) Benchmarking Study.
Top Content Marketing Trends and Challenges
So why the low effectiveness ratings? Content marketing is still a relatively new discipline and many marketing departments haven’t fully made the organizational pivot required for content marketing excellence. Some of the top challenges include:
Lack of Resources/Unclear Ownership: 50% of businesses have no dedicated staff to manage their content marketing programs which makes content creation and distribution yet another time- consuming task on top of already stressed resources. Many respondents expressed concerns about their ability to find trained content marketing professionals.
Lack of Clear Strategy: Only 32% of businesses claim to have a documented online marketing strategy in place. Those organizations with a strategy have significantly higher confidence in their program effectiveness.
Volume of Web Content Exploding: With seismic increases in the amount of content available, it is becoming increasingly difficult to guarantee return on content development efforts. Algorithms are rewarding higher quality content vs. keyword-stuffed articles and ad-blocking is making it more difficult to get paid content views.
Difficult to Measure Impact: Only 21% of marketers claim they are successful at measuring impact, in part due to difficulty in linking content viewership with sales and in part because of lack of time to devote to program analysis and tracking.
Just because content marketing is difficult, doesn’t mean marketers are giving up. 76% of CMI survey respondents say they will produce more content because the data suggests content marketing delivers. In 2015, Hubspot performed a Benchmark Analysis of more than 7,000 businesses to quantify the impact of content marketing. Below are some of the key takeaways:
- Companies with 51-100 website pages generate 48% more traffic than those with under 50
- B2B & B2C companies with 101-200 website pages generate 5x more leads than those with under 50
- B2B companies that blog just 2x/month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog
- Companies that increase blogging from 3-5x to 6-8x/month nearly double their leads
- Companies with 51-100 Twitter followers generate 106% more traffic than those with under 25
- Companies saw a 185% increase in traffic after crossing 1,000 Facebook likes
Key Content Marketing Trends
A number of important trends will impact content marketers. Some reflect the growing maturity of the discipline and others are in response to technology advances and user preferences.
Shift in focus from Quantity to Quality
While the Hubspot data above stresses the importance of meeting certain content quantity thresholds, many organizations are shifting focus from sheer quantity to improved content quality. More organizations are creating content marketing strategies that narrow their focus to those items that yield the best results in terms of web visits, downloads, shares and other quantifiable calls to action. They are looking to create content that addresses each stage of the sales funnel to both generate leads and nurture them along. Content marketers are also focused on better repurposing of existing content and ideas. Given the increased difficulty in getting viewership, businesses need to maximize visibility of one theme before moving on to the next.
Greater Emphasis on Visual Content
With more and more content being consumed on mobile devices, user preference is migrating to more easily digestible visual content. YouTube visitors consume more than 4B video views per day. Websites are increasingly incorporating video as a key component of home page design and many companies are adding vlogging in addition to published blogs. Other forms of visual content are also on the rise including infographics, animated GIFs, short-form videos and real-time storytelling on platforms like Periscope and Meerkat.
With content marketing now accounting for 28% of overall marketing spending, management is demanding better tracking of program performance. Content marketers need to determine the key performance metrics that matter most and take the time to analyze results. According to CMI, businesses are increasingly focused on lead generation and sales as the primary measures of content marketing program success with brand awareness and engagement as secondary. Improved use of marketing automation technology is helping content marketers better link content viewership with not only lead generation, but right through to the end sale. This focus on ROI is helping marketers understand which content drives the highest quality leads both in terms of interest and urgency to help refine strategy over time.
Content personalization has been proven to drive better conversion. Consider the examples below:
- The average website conversion rate is just 2%
- Personalized web experiences drive an average increase of 20% in sales
- 35% of Amazon’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine
- 75% of users select movies based on Netflix recommendations
- Personalized calls to action (CTAs) resulted in 42% higher conversion than generic CTAs
Content marketers will look for more ways to personalize content in the coming year. Common tactics include customized landing pages and dynamic website content where the tools can serve up a customized message based on the IP address of the visitor or the ad they clicked to get to the page. Personalization can also be achieved based on improved segmentation of content by persona vs. delivering of one-size-fits-all messaging. For example, one pet food company was able to achieve substantial sales increases by segmenting dog owners by the size of their pet. Messaging to owners of lap dogs looked very different than what they served up to Labrador owners. Lookalike-inspired segmentation allows marketers to find and deliver messages to audiences that look like their current customer base.
The importance of content marketing continues to grow and is the time to start refining your program. Make sure you have the team and tools in place to develop, deliver and measure a top- quality content marketing program. f you need help boosting your content marketing effectiveness, Webolutions can help. Call us today at 303-300-2640.